Tatung Einstein

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The Tatung Einstein has characteristics very near those of the MSX machines (same video modes, same sound chip, sprites, etc.) but is not compatible with this standard. It was built in the UK at Tatung's plant in Telford in Shropshire.

The Einstein runs under Xtal/DOS which is an operating system compatible with CP/M. It was possible to connect an other floppy disk drive and a 80 column card was available.

The Einstein was a very attractive computer but it was too expensive to have great market success.

Technical Specifications

Tatung Einstein TC01

  • CPU : Zilog Z80-A @ 4 Mhz
  • RAM: 64 Kb system RAM; 8 Kb ROM with expansion for up to 32k internally; 16 Kb seperate video RAM
  • Display : Hi-Res graphics 256 x 192 pixels, plus 32 planes of "sprites". In addition to "sprites" there is a text/graphics and backdrop plane. The display is capable of 16 colours.
  • Display Format : Raster Scanned 625 lines 50Hz field non-interlaced; Resolution 256 x 192 pixels.
  • Display Priority : Sprite 0 (Highest), Sprite 31, Text/Graphics, and Backdrop (lowest)
  • Character Generator : 96 alphanumeric characters and 160 graphics symbols. All characters and symbols are software re-progammable.
  • RF Output : UHF - 591.25 Mhz 1.5mv peak syncs, negative modulation, PAL encoded.
  • Display Output : YUV : Y-Luminance signal with negative going syncs. 1V p-p into 75 ohms. U & V-chrominance signals. 0.68V p-p into 75 ohms.
  • RGB and Syncs : 1V p-p into 75 ohms.
  • RS232-C Port : Full duplex capability to RS232-C/V24 standards. Transmission speeds are software programmable between 75 & 9600 bauds. Signals available - Tx data, Rx data, RTS, CTS, Ground.
  • User Port : 8 bit bi-directional with strobe and ready signals TTL levels.
  • Analogue to Digital Converter : 4 Channels, 8 bits resolution. Conversion speed less than 40us (for 8 bits). Input range 2V.
  • Printer Output : Centronics interface standard.
  • Tatung 'Pipe' : Z80A buffered bus to TTL Levels, with clock and control signals.
  • External Disc Interface : Provides signals for up to two self-powered external disc drives. Either 3 inch compact floppy, 3.5 inch micro floppy disc, or 5.25 inch mini floppy.
  • Programmable Sound Generator : A means of providing a variety of sounds, including chromatic music, with envelope shaping is provided. The sound generator has three 'voices'.
  • Sound Output : 250mW into internal 3.5 x 2.25 inch elliptical loudspeaker.
  • Switch Mode Power Supply Unit : Self Oscillating Flyback Converter 20 - 40Khz; Mains - 220V to 240V; 50 to 60Hz; Output (Fused @ 1AMP); External 5V output load.
  • Full QWERTY keyboard
  • Disc Drives : Teac FD30A 3 Inch disc drive is to be incorporated; Single Sided, 100 tpi, 40 tracks, MFM coding, Disc fully enclosed in a cassette - Access time 12ms track-track, 171ms average; 250K bit/sec transfer rate; 10 sectors per track; 512 bytes per sector.

Tatung Einstein 256

The successor.

  • Compatible with existing Einstein Software
  • Built-in 3" disc drive
  • Matching 14" high definition colour display
  • Memory : 256K
  • Processor : Z80A - Clock Speed - 4Mhz
  • Display Processor : V9938
  • Display Resolution : 512 x 424 pixels max (512 x 192 pixels from EBASIC)
  • Sprites 32 total, 8 per line - multi coloured
  • 512 colours
  • I/O : Dual digital joystick port
  • Serial Port
  • Read only cassette port
  • 3- Channel sound, noise, generator
  • Stereo sound output for headphones
  • Sound : 3 tones plus noise
  • Centronics/general purpose printer port
  • VAMP (video, mouse and light pen) interface
  • Keyboard : Typewriter style full travel, 69 keys, including 48 alphanumeric, 8 function, 9 control and 4 cursor keys
  • Language : EBASIC
  • Operating system : EDOS

CPC generation

This computer have some similarities with the Amstrad CPC (but also with MSX).

  • It was launched in 1984.
  • It is a Z80 computer with 64K RAM (16K VRAM)
  • It used a 3" disk Drive.
  • Same Soundchip capability as CPC (and MSX).

The Einstein 256 casing is not quite unlike a CPC664 casing... The keyboard features arrows and Function keys, the built in 3" diskdrive is on the right.

This computer was used for cross development purpose before PC and AtariST became the norm.


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