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J > JUPITER CANTAB  > Jupiter Ace   

Jupiter Ace

The Jupiter ACE looks very similar to the Sinclair ZX 81. Actually, the designers of this computer, Richard Altwasser and Steven Vickers, played a major role in creating the Sinclair Spectrum.

The ACE is very similar to the ZX 81, but has some extra features: it has a user port, and it can generate sound (the ZX 81 can't). It can also use RAM expansion modules for the ZX 81 smaller than 64KB via a small adapter.

Its most significant feature is its language: instead of using BASIC like other computers, it uses the FORTH language (as did the Hector HRX).

FORTH's advantages are that it's comprehensible, small, interactive, fast and extensible. It centers around writing procedures which operate on objects on a FIFO stack, and is not as intuitive as BASIC. FORTH was three to ten times faster than BASIC but was not as easy to learn.

This computer did not achieve significant success, probably due to its relatively obscure language - as far as the general public was concerned.

Steve Vickers wrote the ZX Spectrum manual - he has been an academic researcher working most recently (2003) at Imperial College London, and the Open University.

NAME  Jupiter Ace
MANUFACTURER  Jupiter Cantab
TYPE  Home Computer
ORIGIN  United Kingdom
YEAR  1983
KEYBOARD  QWERTY, chicklet keyboard, 40 keys, auto-repeat
CPU  Zilog Z80A
SPEED  3.25 MHz
RAM  3 kb (up to 51 kb)
ROM  8 kb
TEXT MODES  32 columns x 24 lines
COLORS  Monochrome
SOUND  Internal beeper
SIZE / WEIGHT  21.8(W) x 19.2(D) x 3.2(H) cm. / 246 g
I/O PORTS  UHF TV out (channel 36), User Port, Tape interface (1500 baud), Z80 Bus
PRICE  £89.95 (UK, september 1982)

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