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A > AMSTRAD  > NC 100   


Amstrad
NC 100

By 1992, once fast-growing Amstrad was struggling. Its reputation as a PC maker had been undermined by a batch of dodgy Seagate disk drives at the same time that bigger-name vendors were engaged in a price war, squeezing Amstrad out of the market.

The NC 100, NC 150 and NC 200 were three products that its founder Alan Sugar was hoping would help revive the company's fortunes.

Cutting edge, they were not. Both were based on old eight-bit Zilog Z80 microprocessors. Curiously, both machines came with a BBC Basic interpreter on which users could develop their own applications.

The NC 100 was a £199 notebook computer the size of a piece of A4 paper, with a full size keyboard and a "letterbox" screen at the top, offering 80 columns by 8 lines.

It had an RS232 serial port and a Centronics parallel port for printer and communications. Built-in were 64 kilobytes of memory, expandable to 1 megabyte with the addition of an add-on memory card.

"If you can't use this new computer in five minutes, you'll get your money back," boasted the company in its launch advertising. For ease of use, it had four colour-coded keys giving instant access to a number of built-in applications, including a word processor, calculator, diary and address book.

At a time when an entry-level lap-top computer cost more than £2,000 and the sub-notebook had not been invented, the NC100 and NC200 offered a good value alternative for those with basic computing needs, such as word processing on the move.

All the NC computers were made in Japan by Nakajima. The company also sold its own version of the NC-100, called ES-210.

Thanks to Graeme Burton for information about NC series computers.

NAME  NC 100
MANUFACTURER  Amstrad
TYPE  Portable
ORIGIN  United Kingdom
YEAR  August 1992
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  BBC Basic
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke 64 keys
CPU  Z80
CO-PROCESSOR  NEC custom chip (various I/O and memory management)
RAM  64 KB
ROM  Unknown
TEXT MODES  80 char x 8 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  480 x 64 pixels
COLORS  bluish grey LCD
SOUND  Beeper
SIZE / WEIGHT  29,5(W) x 21(D) x 2,8(H) cm. / 1 Kg
I/O PORTS  Parallel Centronics, Serial RS-232
BUILT IN MEDIA  1 MB PCMCIA slot
OS  BBC BASIC, word processor, diary, calculator, address book, serial terminal in ROM
POWER SUPPLY  External 7.5V AC adaptor or batteries
PRICE  £199

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