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A > ACORN COMPUTER  > BBC Model A / B / B+

Acorn Computer
BBC Model A / B / B+

Lawrence Krancioch specifies:
The page on the BBC microcomputer is just a tad misleading. You infer that the model A was released first with the Model B coming later. This is not true, both models were launched simultaneously the only reason the model A existed was to make the range more accessible to the genral public. The model A was 'stripped down' to save money and sold £100 cheaper than the model B, in 1982 £100 was a lot of money!! the model B at £399 was beyond the pockets of much of the home computer buying public. Also the statement that the BBC micro was delveloped from the acorn atom is also incorrect, the early prototypes of the BBC machine were based on the earlier acorn system 1 boards, its modular rackmounted expansion system meant that the prototyping for the BBC range could occur. In fact in the early episodes of 'The computer programme' the BBC computer literacy project tv show, the BBC micro on the desk was just an empty case with the keyboard connected to an Acorn system 3 under the desk as it took longer than expected to compress the large amounts of TTL logic in the original prototypes into the LSI ULA unit that sat in the BBC micro. There were many delays in getting the machine to the marketplace and in over 15 years of collecting these machines I have never come across a mainboard earlier than Issue 3- Issue 1 and 2 are almost unheard of and were never released to market due to reliability issues. Anyone with a BBC microcomputer with an issue 1 or 2 mainboard needs to get it insured for a 4 figure sum!!!!!

Chris Carrigan adds:
The Model A and Model B were available at virtually the same time. The key difference was the amount of RAM. The 16KB in the meant that most of the video modes are not available and everybody bought Bs (much to Acorn's surprise). You could pre register and I still remember the awe with which we all read the "Provisional Specification". This machine really was a leap forward in capability.

Dave Gamble younger days memories:
I remember the launch of the BBC Micro model A and B. I first read about them in the U.K. computer press and as a 13 year old at that particular time, drooled over the spec of the model B machine. I then saw them used on the BBC TV program called "The Computer Program" host by Chris Searle. I wanted a BBC micro! But, they were £299 and £399 respectively for the Model A and B. I eventually "made do" with a Commodore 64. It is great testiment to the design of these machines, that they are still in use at my son's local primary school, albeit the "Master" version. AMAZING!

BBCs in Australian primary schools, by Jesse Chilcott:
This computer as well as others in the BBC range where also used in Australian primary schools. I attended primary school in both Adelaide and Perth between 1985 untill 1992. The first computer that we used was the Comodore 64, however a year later every primary school that i attended used BBC computers. If we were well behaved we were allowed to play educational adventure games and this wierd game that involved dodging aquatic animals in a submarine.

Also in the Kingdom of Bahrain, by Ahmad:
BBC micro was used in privet schools in the Kingdom of Bahrain in the mid eighties. I remember buying one in 1985 when I was on holiday in the UK (my first computer :). My first exposure to programming was with the BBC, and as I did not have a floppy drive, saving my work using a tape recorder was always a risky business! Many times I had to rewrite thousands of lines of code, because something went wrong and it was not saved properly. When I remember the frustration associated with loading a simple program of tape (45 - 60 minutes), I can not hate any modern pc!

BBC in British schools, by Robert McWhirter:
There were TWO reasons for massive success of BBC in micro in schools:
1. Massive product placement by BBC, as already mentioned. Did you knwo that you could download BBC programs from Teletext overnight, recording to tape recorder?
2. The governement launched a vouchers scheme for schools to buy computers. Apple had market lead in UK at the time. The government wanted schools to buy british, so vouchers were valid for either RM 380Z, Spectrum, or BBC.
This being 1980, or so, 380Z was too out-of-date, and Speccie wasn't sturdy enough for classroom use.
So guess what they all bought, even if they had some Apple kit already?

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