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M > MARK-8 > Minicomputer     


MARK-8
Minicomputer

"Build your own Mark-8". This title appeared on the front cover of the July issue 1974 of an electronic hobbyist magazine called Radio-Electronics.

The Mark-8 was an Intel 8008 / 256 bytes RAM memory based system without neither ROM monitor, power supply, case, video, keyboard, nor backup interface. Consequently, the user had to enter program instructions each time he turned the system on.

To build this computer, the home computing fanatic had first to buy for $5.50 the 48 pages instruction manual written by Jon Titus, the creator of the system, from Radio Electronics. Then order the circuit board from an Englewood, New Jersey based company for $47.50, and finally provide himself with various components, including the Intel 8008 processor for about $250. About 7500 home computing fanatics ordered the instruction manual and 400 of them the main board. Very few of them succeeded in running the final assembled system as it was a very long and full of traps job.

The LED display featured 4 rows of 8 leds. The two upper rows displayed the address bus (14 leds) and processor cycle state (2 leds). The third row displays an 8-bit memory data, and the fourth, the 8-bit value available from the output port 0.

Most of the fanatics who tried to bring the Mark-8 to a running state gave up and bought a few months later the first versions of the Altair 8800, the first real personal home computer.

If you want to learn more about the Mark-8 computer, you should read the page written by Jon Titus, the Mark-8 designer.

To note: Pictures of this page show a Replica version of the Mark-8, not an original system. The Replica was made by Steve Gabaly of Apalacia, NY and sold in the late 2000.
Original pictures needed!

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Mr. Titus later wrote a book on how to custom-build a computer based on the 8085A processor called the "8085A Cookbook".

It is part of the Blacksburg Continuing Education Series and was published by Howard W. Sama & Co Inc., out of Indianapolis. Mine is 1st Ed, 3rd Printing, 1982.

at 350 pages, it is an interesting little book...while not directly related to this computer, it is the brainchild of its creator, and I invite the editors to place this snippet wherever they deem appropriate.

          
Friday 28th September 2007
Erik Jordan (USA)

 

NAME  Minicomputer
MANUFACTURER  Mark-8
TYPE  Home Computer
ORIGIN  U.S.A.
YEAR  July 1974
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  None
KEYBOARD  16 switches on front panel
CPU  Intel 8008
SPEED  0.5 Mhz
CO-PROCESSOR  None
RAM  256 bytes
ROM  None
TEXT MODES  No display interface
SOUND  No sound interface
I/O PORTS  1 x I/O port
BUILT IN MEDIA  None
POWER SUPPLY  External power supply
PRICE  About $300





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