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V > VECTOR GRAPHICS  > MZ   


Vector Graphics
MZ

The Vector Graphic MZ featured the same hardware basis as the VIP model: S-100 based system with a Z80A processor running CP/M operating system.
However, its separate main unit had an 18 slot motherboard and integral dual floppy disc drives (2 x 315 KB).

The system came with 48 KB of RAM, 4 KB monitor ROM, and used the Vector 3 "Mindless Terminal". Although it may look like a terminal, the Mindless Terminal only had a parallel keyboard, and a B/W monitor. All video and keyboard interface was via S-100 card called Flashwriter, with all power signals passed via a DB-25 connector.

A little more information about Vector Graphics Company, in 1980:
Systems shipped:
Vector 1, Vector 1+, Vector 1++ - 1,500 systems
Vector MZ, System B, Memorite 2 - 4,500 systems
Location of facility Westlake Village, California.
Number of square feet - 40,000
Number of employees - 140
Sales level:
Year ending June 30, 1979 - $6 million
Year ending June 30, 1978 - $2 million
Year ending June 30, 1977 - $400 K

The first shipped product was a 8 KB memory card, in September 1976.

_______________________

Jay Abel's memories:
I wrote drivers for this machine many, many years ago. It did, in fact, have a rough graphic facility. Each character cell was divided into six parts, and by changing the character ROM offset you could draw monochrome graphics with 160 x 72 resolution. Hey, back then, drawing a circle on the screen was a big deal.

Later models shipped with Double-Sided, double-density Micropolis Hard-sectored 5-1/4" floppy drives. I ported UCSD pascal to mine, and moved the drivers to the "scratchpad" (unused) 2k memory on the video card. I added an 8k RAM board to the original 48k that came with it. Though my machine didn't ship with CP/M, it was easy to port.
The only difficult part was that there was no standard boot code, owing to the wierd hard sectored drives with the most rudimentary controller possible, so once you go the O/S ported you had to write your own loaded. The only capability provided by the BIOS was to pull the first sector into memory. And this first sector was in a wierd format, so that the bootstrap couldn't be copied by the target O/S. So you *also* had to write a special program to copy the boot sector...


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I worked at New Dimensions in Computing in East Lansing where we sold Vector Graphics (and Exidys and Ataris). They used some CP/M accounting programs on the Vector Graphic, including a buggy sales tax program in MS BASIC. They asked me to fix it and that''s when I learned about inexact decimal values in binary floating point numbers (as opposed to Atari''s exact BCD values). I added some rounding and fixed the bug.

          
Sunday 12th May 2013
Claus Buchholz (Michigan)

I wrote using Memorite running under CP/M on a Vector Graphic System Z from 1984 until it became impossible to port files or support the hardware. In 1987 I found a man in Florida who offered to transfer from hard-sectored floppies at a ridiculous rate, so I spent 20 hours porting files over the parallel (printer) port (from the Vector to a 286 machine), using pip.com. ("pip a:*.* > com1:"-- I think) It worked, but Still miss Memorite!

          
Sunday 24th April 2005
J.T. Barbarese (Philadelphia, PA, USA)
http://crab.rutgers.edu/~barbares/

I have several Vector MZ's and Vector 3's. My original Vector MZ was purchased in June of 1980. It was configured as a System B (Two floppies, software, and a Qume impact letter quality printer). I still use one of the machines to this day.

          
Tuesday 16th November 2004
Bill Schneberg (Ventura, California)

 

NAME  MZ
MANUFACTURER  Vector Graphics
TYPE  Professional Computer
ORIGIN  U.S.A.
YEAR  1979
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  None
KEYBOARD  Full stroke 72 keys with numeric keypad
CPU  Z80A
SPEED  4 MHz.
RAM  48 KB
ROM  4 KB (Monitor)
TEXT MODES  80 chars. x 25 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  None
COLORS  Monochrome
SOUND  Beeper
I/O PORTS  2 x Serial RS-232C, 1 x Parallel
BUILT IN MEDIA  Dual 5
OS  CP/M
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply unit
PERIPHERALS  S-100 cards
PRICE  About $4800


retro computing t-shirts and goodies
3D Cubes
BASIC code
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C64 maze generator
Pak Pak Monster
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Pixel Deer
Ready prompt
Shooting gallery
Spiral program
Vector ship

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