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ScuzzBlog: Diaries June 2018

Entry 5th June 2018: Post: 1: MTX500


Memotech - MTX500

One of those computers that just came and went without saying goodbye.
Well known in the day as yet another next best thing and truly did
look the business. You can be forgiven for thinking this was an
MSX machine, which although has many of the characteristics is not.
The company did start life making memory modules for the ZX81 like
the Memopak which you can see on one of my ZX81s.

This computer is a beautiful shape and extremely elegant in all its
sumptuous curves. The problem, like so many of these machines of
the day was the support for games and software. Without an active
user base it didn't matter how good your product was it was dead
in the water without software and games. I recall going to a Sinclair
exhibition in the early eighties and man was it popular. And it was
that popularity that these machines had to compete against. The
bigger issue for the computer was that it entered into an already
oversaturated market at a time when home computers were in decline.

Like so many machines of the period they fizzled and died never really
realising their true potential. Sad in truth cus this is one of the
better looking and better built machines with high end attributes.

Memotech was formed by Robert Branton and Geoff Boyd whilst at Oxford
University. Branton was the software specialist whilst Boyd was
skilled in hardware. Branton taught mathematics at Oxford. Boyd
designed circuits in respect of laboratory projects at the engineering
department. Building on their success  with the Sinclair ZX81 they
decided to branch out into their own systems. The Spectrum was not
going to be so dependant on the memory packs and so a decision was
made to develop the MTX computer.

The computer was originally aimed at the higher end of the computer
range competing with the likes of the BBC Micro. It used the TMS29929A
video display adaptor, the SN76489AN sound chip, BASIC interpreter
and built in Z80 assembler. Although a home computer at heart it
retained all the necessary expansion functionality to be expanded
into a business machine including floppy disk controller and 80 column
graphics needed for CP/M.

Sadly though it hit the market at the wrong time and never made it.
There is surprisingly quite a long list of machines developed in
the range including the Holy Grail of all Memotechs the red MTX512.
Robert Branton left the company in 1985 whilst Geoff Boyd soldiered
on. The company never became main stream and although loved by many
enthusiasts is cast in the annals of computer history as just another
platform that came and went in the heady frantic explosive home
computer days of the early eighties.

And so does mine work.... We'll never know. Schrodingers cat.

The MTX500 manufatctured in the UK by Memotech in 1983
Uses BASIC, LOGO and Z80 assembler.
Has a full stroke keyboard with numeric
The CPU is a Zilog Z80A running at 4 MHz
Uses two co-processors TM9918/28 video and TI76489 sound
RAM is 32KB and VRAM 16KB and ROM 24KB

Evidently cost 275.



The Memotech MTX500

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Last updated 05/06/2018

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