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I > ICL  > Personal computer   

Personal computer

In the early 70s, the British government whished an English computer company could compete with the world major manufacturers. Some years later, the ICL company became one of the larger manufacturer of computers in Europe and did really compete with U.S. companies.

In 1980, before the ICL Personal Computer was born, the company met serious financial problems, the English government paid several million pounds and ICL asked the British RAIR CIE to provide the ICL-PC hardware.

This ICL Personal Computer is thus exactly the same machine as the RAIR Black Box system, a backplane 8085 based system using a serial video terminal as video display, and CP/M (single user) or MP/M (multi-user) operating systems.

Two series were released. The PC1 series is the model pictured here. The PC2 series was the same design case as the ICL PC Quattro. This used an Intel or AMD 8085AH-2 CPU at 5MHZ

The model numbers for the PC1 series were:
Model 10 (pictured here) - 64 KB RAM, 2 x 5.25" FDD, CP/M O.S.
Model 30 with a 5 MB hard disc, CP/M O.S.
Model 31 64 KB RAM, three users, 5 MB hard disc, MP/M O.S.
Model 32 256 KB RAM, three users, 10 MB hard disc, MP/M O.S.

Those of the PC2 series were:
Model 15 64 KB RAM, 2 x 5.25" FDD, CP/M O.S.
Model 25 with a 5 MB hard disc, CP/M O.S.
Model 26 64 KB RAM, three users, 5 MB hard disc, MP/M O.S.
Model 35 256 KB RAM, three users, 10 MB hard disc, MP/M O.S.

Agnus WR Gulliver reports us:
There were a few simple games written for it, mostly text based (what do you expect, it uses CP/M), but it's main use was of course as an office machine.
I recall it being a slow machine to use, even boot-up took about a minute. You had to be very careful with the hard disk because it didn't have auto-parking heads. After it was switched off you had to wait about a minute to switch it on again.

According to K.-L. Butte,there were 3 different models of it marking the 3 major development steps: The first incarnation wit 8085 and MP/M, the second with 8088 and Concurrent CP/M and the third with 8086 and Concurrent CP/M.

Please consider donating your old computer / videogame system to or one of our partners.


I used to work as a test engineer in the ICL plant in Kidsgrove where these machines were made. I automated the test suite by utilising the 25th line of the screen which you could both write to and read from. This enabled the machine to know where it was up to after a reboot say after formatting the Hard Disc. This greatly reduced the number of manual interventions required to test the machine and earned me an award from the ICL Suggestion Awards Scheme.

Wednesday 9th March 2011
Steve Johnson (USA)

The technical authors at BRA01 were very keen on using the game that was started with the command Advent.something to "learn" about the RAIR $)

Friday 13rd October 2017
Stephen Dewey (United Kingdom)

Hello I have a ICL 8120/01 with 6 xtra cards and all the original ICL software,cp/m disks, ICL PC10 ,,,
Would like to know what the /01 means in 8120/01 ,,

Saturday 25th June 2016
Murray (New Zealand )


NAME  Personal computer
TYPE  Professional Computer
ORIGIN  United Kingdom
YEAR  1981
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke 102 keys with function keys and numeric keypad
CPU  Intel or AMD 8085A
RAM  64 KB up to 512 KB
VRAM  Depending on the video terminal used
TEXT MODES  80 characters x 25 lines
COLORS  Monochrome
SOUND  Beeper
SIZE / WEIGHT  50.5(W) x 40.5(D) x 14(H) cm.
I/O PORTS  2 x serial ports. Serial printer and keyboard on terminal
BUILT IN MEDIA  2 x 5.25'' 256 KB Double sided / Double density FDD
OS  CP/M or MP/M
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply
PRICE  From £1,800

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