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ScuzzBlog: Diaries March 2021

Entry 10th March 2021: Post 1: CGL SORD M5 - So she was working.


CGL SORD M5 - So she was working.

This was a strange turn of events. I am in my tubs in the store
and reflecting on the fact that I have two of these SORD computers
and on the face of it neither work. Just nothing on the screen when
you power up. What is also odd is that I have three outer box parts
albeit the one is rather banged up and damaged. My other which is
located elsewhere has a better inside. No matter.

Anyhoo I was minded not to take more pics of the machine as I had
already covered the computer in an earlier blog. However, I was
watching a video on YouTube about the SORD and noted that the guy
inserted the BASIC cartridge and then switched on.... I wonder?

I hot footed down the stairs and hurriedly set up the camera, not
very well as I forgot the micro setting, and inserted the BASIC I
cartridge. Nothing. Just a black screen. However the LED lit up.
I then tried one of the games and again nothing. I removed the
cartridge and tried again and incredibly the game came on and then
went off. So I cleaned the cartridge connector and she worked first
time. I was stunned. So I did the same with the BASIC I cartridge
and she worked no problem.

These machines have nothing running on boot and like the Atari 800
needs the BASIC cartridge to fire up the software. The cartridge
looks a little tatty but I can get that sticky label off. The
other of my machines has the cartridge and the tape. There are
various versions of the cartridge with differing end letters that
distinguish them for various things like BASIC G and BASIC F.

I had a little play and took some rather disappointing pictures,
sorry for that. But she is working and I have no doubt, so does the
other of these little computers.

The SORD M5 was a Japanese product that tried to take on Sinclair
but failed. It was not an MSX machine and struggled due to cost
and the fact it only had 4K of memory available once the system
memory was absorbed. Dating from 1982 though released a little
later I discovered, the computer has a strange keyboard , kinda
like a mix between an ORIC, Spectrum and Atari Portfolio. It was
not that bad to use in truth. The system is pretty sound for a
BASIC computer though its difficult to see any benefits over
computers of the day that were half the price. Personally you
would have been better getting a VIC-20.

There wasn't much developed for the machine so a sad lack of games
and software and it really didn't last very long. Rumour has it
that it was cornered out of the market by Japanese firms that had
secured the MSX franchise of design standards.

The computer is a SORD which oddly is a combination of the initials
SW for software and RD from the 'rd' in hardware. Odd. She has a
Zilog Z80A running at 3.58MHz. Cost in the day 150.

CGL SORD M5 - So she was working.


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Last updated 10th March 2021

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