A Quick History...

Early development of the Tatung Einstein took place at Tatung UK's technical laboratory in Bradford before production began at its factory in Telford.

They produced a large, very well built, reasonably priced (for the specification) machine using the very popular Z80A processor running at an impressive 4MHz, supported by an equally impressive 80K of RAM, of which a generous 16K was devoted solely to the display.

Outputs to TV and RGB were provided, along with standard serial and centronics printer ports, two joystick connectors and the BBC like "Tatung Pipe" which directly accessed the 8-Bit data bus.

It also had a superb, full sized professional leyboard.

Tatung Einstein TC01
The Tatung Einstein TC-01 was released in the summer of 1984.

The system included a built-in 3" disk drive, with space for a second optional drive - a very impressive package built in a large case with a sunken top case for the monitor to stand in.

It was unusual in that it entered a machine code monitor called "MOS" (Machine Operating System) on start up. A clever idea as a variety of software could then be run from disk including Xtal DOS (a CP/M compatible OS), XtalBASIC or even the excellent BBC BASIC which was available for the machine.

Programmers of other Z80A based machines used to use the TC01 for program development because it was so nice to work on.

Tatung Einstein 256
The Einstein 256 (TCS-256) followed the TC01 and was very similar to the original, but with more memory, improved video and a slimmer black case.
Unfortunately, a monitor could not be mounted on top of the case (a very welcome design on the TC01) because of the new position of the disk drive in the new case.

Whilst the Einstein may have been technically impressive (and loved by programmers), its price (£499 for the TC01) and specification fell in the uncomfortable mid ground between home and business computers.

Although Tatung themselves wrote software for the machine and produced a dedicated user magazine, few third party software houses were interested in developing for it as its price was just too much for the home computer market.

Ironically the TCS-256 was also popular with programmers and it was used by many software houses for programming, then porting the code to other more popular games computers such as the Spectrum, Amstrad and Commodore 64! 

Equally unfortunate was that despite the standard ports, disk drives, RGB output and great keyboard, it lacked the power (and software support) for the growing business and education markets.

Ultimately, these excellent machine were stuck between a rock and a hard place. The Einstein had a short life and was dropped by Tatung after they acquired the rights to produce IBM PC clones...


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