The Link 480Z was meant originally as a disc-less network station. It was designed to offer a lower cost computer to schools. The name "Link" meant link in a chain. It was a very reliable system, and one of the first personal computers used in the English schools.
Because of the good reputation of the Research Machines computers, the Link 480Z was one of the three computers chosen for the U.K. 1982 Educational Scheme, with the Sinclair Spectrum and the BBC Model B.
The basic version (cassette based with 32 KB of RAM and 8 KB ROM Monitor) could be extended to a real professional CP/M based system with network ability.
An optional expansion board added:
- 32 KB of RAM
- Colour or monochrome high resolution graphics (up to 640 x 192)
- Full IEEE 488 and colour RGB monitor interfaces
- Floppy disc interface in single, double or quad density modes
The 480Z was fully compatible with the 380Z. It was initially released in a black metal case prior to tooling being made for the subsequent beige plastic case version.
In our secondary school computer lab in Banbury we had eight of these around the edges of the classroom. I''m sure we did some LOGO type programmes on them. There was an BBC Archimedes 310M in the corner running Arthur (RiscOS) and a PC emulator. We weren''t allowed to touch the Arch.
Saturday 24th September 2016
I remember my primary school getting one of these. It was on a huge wooden trolley with the monitor etc. and each class would take it in turns to have it for half a day. The first time our class had it the teacher eventually managed to get a program running that taught us all how to tell the time! I thought it was all so futuristic!
Friday 6th December 2013
We had 480Z''s in secondary school linked to a twin floppy 380Z "server" at the front of the classroom. I remember the teacher $ing 2x discs which I think had the same content and then instructing us to wait until he''d loaded the program onto his 480Z first. Then it would be our turn, with the workload split between the two server drives - a kind of load balancing system. Best way to wind up the teacher was for the entire class to jump the gun in unison $ get loading first!
Wednesday 31st August 2011
Ash (Didcot, United Kingdom)
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
Microsoft BASIC interpreter
Full-stroke with 4 cursor controls and 4 user definable keys
32 KB up to 256 KB
16 KB (expansion board)
8 KB up to 32 KB
40 or 80 chars. x 25 lines
640 x 192 monochrome, 320 x 192 (4 colours), 160 x 95 (8 colours)
Up to 8
built-in tone generator and speaker
SIZE / WEIGHT
53(W) x 33.5(D) x 8(H) cm / 3.2 Kg.
Composite, RGB and aerial video outputs, IEEE-488, Network, Serial x 2, Parallel, Tape recorder, Analog
BUILT IN MEDIA
Tape recorder or optional 5'' F.D. drive
Microsoft Basic or CP/M
Built-in power supply unit
Single or dual 5'' F.D. drives unit, Multi I/O expansion board