Sharp X1 CZ-800C

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This striking red computer was made by Sharp’s TV division, and is the first in a series of computers that would last until 1988. For its time it was a very advanced machine. Based on their own version of the Zilog Z80, the Sharp Z80 A, it had 64Kb of RAM and loaded it’s BASIC from tape, like their earlier MZ machines, there was no onboard BASIC ROM.

Sharp referred to this as the Clean Computer, any future revisions could simply be produced on tape, meaning the machine would not have to be upgraded. It also meant the memory was fully available to the user when not using BASIC. Both the tape BASIC and Disk versions had to be loaded from tape.

RAM was a huge 64KB, with 4kB of video RAM, and a 6kB ROM, graphics modes were similarly impressive for the time with 320x200 or 640x 200. The keyboard is a full size set with function keys and plugs into a socket on the front.

For connections there are 2x I/O ports, 2x Atari style joystick ports, audio out and a printer port. One of the most impressive features that could be added to the machine was the Color Image Board, which captured video, even in a limited eight Colours this was very impressive for the age. 

The display monitor contained a TV tuner, the computer screen could be superimposed onto this, the TV could be controlled by the computer.

One of the best features was the PCG or Programmable Character Generator, that allowed the character font to be completely reprogrammed with 4bit colour, it was used in many of the X1’s games, making it a powerful computer in gaming.

Unfortunately the machine was very expensive at 155,000 Yen, and for gaming was left behind by the likes of the NEC PC 8801. 

Manufacturer: Sharp
Date: 1982

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This exhibit has a reference ID of CH68301. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.


Sharp X1 CZ-800C

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