Grundy NewBrain

Grundy NewBrain was a microcomputer sold in the early 1980s by Grundy Business Systems Ltd of Teddington and Cambridge, England.

The NewBrain project was launched in 1978 when Sinclair Radionics began working with Mike Wakefield as a designer and Basil Smith as a software engineer. This project was intended to create competition for Apple and did not pay much attention to Sinclair’s focus on inexpensive consumer products. When it became clear to Sinclair that the NewBrain could not be priced at less than £ 100 he was thinking about the ZX80 being developed by his other company, Science of Cambridge Ltd. The NewBrain project was relocated to Newbury Laboratories of the National Enterprise Board (NEB), owner of Sinclair Radionics and Newbury Labs, following the closure of Sinclair Radionics. In 1980 Newbury announced the imminent release of three NewBrain models, including a battery-powered laptop.

In the early 1980s, the Continuing Education Department of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) conceived the idea of ​​an informatics program, primarily in response to the impact of a series of six ITV documentaries in 1979, The Mighty Micro. The National Physical Laboratory of the United Kingdom has predicted the coming (micro) computer revolution. It was a very influential documentary & mdash; so much that questions have been asked in parliament. BBC Engineering has been tasked with trying to establish an objective specification. As a result of questions in Parliament, the Department of Industry (DoI) became interested in the program, as did BBC Enterprises, which saw the opportunity to sell a machine for the series. Finally, under pressure from the DoI to choose a British system, the BBC “chose” the NewBrain. The BBC specification was closely written around the NewBrain specification, with (presumably) the expectation that Newbury Laboratories would bid and win. He did not have to be. Although the NewBrain was strongly developed by Newbury, it soon became clear that Newbury would not be able to produce it. Newbury did not bid, opening the door to other companies. The BBC programs, initially scheduled for the fall of 1981, were postponed until the spring of 1982. After Chris Curry and Clive Sinclair discovered the BBC’s plans, the BBC authorized other manufacturers to submit their proposals. Chris Curry visited the BBC and persuaded them to change the specification so that Aland could submit their design. The BBC finally chose a computer from Acorn Computers Ltd. Following the decision of the BBC, the British Technology Group, which replaced the ONE, sold the final design and production to Grundy. Grundy was looking for a newcomer to the personal computer business, as he was already producing a CP / M 2.2 machine, integrated into a “silent terminal” as a virtual clone of Intertec Superbrain.

Two main models have been published. Model “A” displayed a TV or monitor. The “AD” model also included a 16-character VF fluorescence display on the device that allowed operation with or without a TV screen or monitor. the VF display responded to the cursor keys and scrolled the display area of ​​the screen. An additional template has been released, but it was a customized version for a pharmaceutical chain, without screen display & mdash; only the display VF & mdash; and has never been discussed in general. An expansion chassis has been released, providing an additional 64 KB of paged memory. Since the Z80 has a 16-bit address bus, it can handle only 64 KB of memory at a time. The expanded-memory system in the expansion chassis used bank switching to allow NewBrain to take advantage of several 64-KB modules. The expansion module included a parallel printer port and two hardware-based serial ports, as well as an expansion bus to connect other modules such as the 8-channel and 16-channel serial modules being developed. The plug-in included the Series 2 software, replacing the processor module and the software for the new devices. CP / M 2.2 was also available. Under CP / M 2.2, the internal ROM BASIC was released for the ROM CP / M but this gave only 32 KB of memory to CP / M. With the expansion module installed, the three ROMs of 8 KB of processor module were returned to give NewBrain one of the highest TPAs ​​available (Transient Zone Memory – memory left after OS requests are satisfied) at CP / M. Grundy Business Systems has released two disk formats 5, 25 “, 40 single-sided 200 kb tracks and 80 double-sided 800 kb tracks Several independent dealerships provided 400 kb double-sided training 40 kb In 1983, the Sony 3.5” became available and the single and paired units supplied to resellers in crates of NewBrain cream. The 3.5 “800K disks also obtained a more efficient format for storing 4x200K diskette files on an 800KB disk.

More than 50,000 NewBrain units were sold to the education, science, industry, small business and banking sectors; as well as home users. Scientific use was strong due to the unusual accuracy of NewBrain’s floating point calculations and its very high resolution graphics. Commercial use was also proportionately high due to the availability of CP / M based software. The main industrial use was in the pharmaceutical industry. The computer has been widely used by the Angolan government; The central planning of the Angolan Ministry of Commerce in 1981-1984 was done using this machine instead of much more expensive computers.

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