|Manufacturer||MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems) (USA)||Type||Desktop|
|Production start (mm-yyyy)||3 - 1975||Production end (mm-yyyy)||-|
|RAM||256Bytes - 64Kb||ROM|
|CPU||8080 - 2 Mhz|
|Operating System||CP/M, Altair DOS|
|Text (Cols x Rows)||Only led, 16 x 64 with expansion card|
|Serial port||Parallel port|
|Others port||S100 slots x 16|
|Original price||Currency original price||439 USD|
|Note||Computer really hard to use, the first version suffered by some defects resolved in the newer versions 8800a and 8800b. On his site there was the low price for that time.
Note from John Fairbairn:
In the late 1970s, a company by the name of MiniTerm Associates, Inc. created an add-in for the Altair. This was a 2-board unit, with the two boards cross-tied through a connector between the boards and a local processor that operated separately from the Altair CPU. It was called Merlin, and it turned the rather restricted Altair into a fairly usable PC. Up to the point of inserting such an upgrade, the Altair had no keyboard, no rotating or othere form of long-term permanent data storage, and no display capability. Single cards could be obtained that would resolve one component of these issues, or a person could get an 'experimenter's' card that allowed the user to design a custom solution. Merlin was the first combined device that resolved all of those issues. It had a direct connection for a keyboard, a serial port for connection to a standard audio cassette recorder/player, and drive ports for either a TV or a CRT. A person did not have to be a design expert to obtain a working, usable computer and be relieved from the tedium of entering all data and programming using binary code on front panel switches, and reading the results from binary LED readouts. The Merlin board came with a tape, designated MCAS Program Test Tape and copyrighted 1977. This tape contained the program for Merlin, as well as several simple test routines to aid the user in determining that everything was correctly attached and working properly.
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