In 1985, despite of the severe limitations of the political system, the Romanian computer company ICE-Felix, located in Bucharest, started to design and produce Sinclair Spectrum compatible computers.
The company was founded in 1970 and became the main computer equipments manufacturer in Romania. Several mini and microcomputers were developed, based initially on the French C.I.I. company licence.
The HC-85 was the first manufactured model. It was primarily intended for the Romanian schools and universities. As the engineers could not use the Spectrum / Feranti gate-array chip, they replaced it by a whole of logical chips that carried out exactly the same tasks.
The plastic case and the keyboard were of poor manufacture quality. However, the machine looked solid and the motherboard printed circuit was same quality level as the Western productions of the time.
Actually the best Romanian Spectrum clone was Cobra, the computer designed and built at ITC Brasov. It was able to run both Basic and CP/M and used only cheap integrated circuits which were much easier to be found by enthusiasts who wanted to build their own computer. Actually a whole black market industry existed which reused defective motherboards dumped by the factory and chips imported from DDR or URSS. I am quite proud to say that I assembled a few systems myself...
Friday 24th August 2012
wolfy (bucharest / romania)
I''d like to add that the keyboard was really low quality . It had a couple of steel blades that were kept apart when the key was not pressed. When you pressed the key a plastic spacer $ped down and the springs would come together and close the circuit. Well, the blades used to get stuck apart and not touch even if you pressed the key. This used to happen very often.
Thursday 27th August 2009
Ciprian (Bucharest Romania)
Between the HC-85 and HC-91 weren't major aspect differences. But the mainboard is completely different at these two computers. HC-85 had a MMN-80 CPU, eight ROM chips... totally more than 50 chips, more than the HC-91. The performance was the same. The computers from ICE Felix were the best roumanian Spectrum clones. They give no errors, comparative with their rivals, CIP, JET, etc. We can still find HC-85, HC-91, CIP-03 , sometimes JET for sale, at second hand, in Roumania, for a very low price: about 50.000 lei (1,6 USD). CIP-04 and HC-2000 are very rare models. There are a few people who had such wonderful computers, but they will never sell them! After 50..100 years, I think these rare computers (eventually working) will cost ten times their weight in gold!
Wednesday 14th July 2004
Ion Tzuica (Chisinou)
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
Spectrum Basic interpreter
Mechanical 40 keys + Reset switch
32 columns x 24 lines
256 x 192 pixels
16 (8 colours in mormal or bright modes)
Beeper (10 octaves)
SIZE / WEIGHT
34 (W) x 25 (D) x 4 (H) cm.
Tape recorder, Joystick x 2, RGB, TV aerial, AC adaptor