Altair 8800 name Was: Re: Altair 680 Expansion Boards?

Eric Smith spacewar at
Fri Dec 23 05:14:28 CST 2016

On Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 3:59 AM, Peter Corlett <abuse at> wrote:

> People who know Uncle Clive's unwillingness to spend a penny more than he
> has
> to on bulding computers may wonder why they selected the relatively
> expensive
> Z80 over the 6502, but it was because they managed to trick the Z80's
> address-fetcting and instruction decoding cycle into generating video on
> the
> ZX80 and ZX81, and thus saved more money elsewhere.

The same trick works perfectly well with a 6502, and in fact was invented
by Don Lancaster using a 6502 years before the ZX80 was designed. That
doesn't really explain the choice of the Z80.

Also, by the time the ZX80 was introduced, both the Z80 and 6502 were
basically dirt cheap. Any premium price the Z80 had once commanded had long
since evaporated.

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