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An original TRS-80 with Expansion Interface.

The the TRS-80, (short for Tandy Radio Shack 80), is an 8-bit home computer designed by Tandy Corporation and first sold through Radio Shack on 1977-08-03. It is the first model in the largely incompatible TRS-80 series. It was originally called the "Micro Computer System," but later rebranded as the "Model I." Later compatible models include the "Model III," released in 1980, the "Model 4" in 1983, the "Model 4P" in 1983, and the "Model 4D" in 1985.

The TRS-80 uses a Zilog Z80 CPU and the initial model shipped with 4 KB DRAM, but could be expanded up to 48 KB. The display is monochrome and text only, however, the text set included a 2x3 block grid which could serve as low-resolution graphics. Pixel-graphics were added in the Model III. Color graphics were only available on the incompatible TRS-80 Color Computer released in 1980. The computer initially booted into Level I BASIC until a couple years after released when Microsoft finished Level II BASIC. It shipped with a cassette drive for storage, but 5.25" floppy disk drives were sold a few months after release. The Expansion Interface peripheral was necessary to use disk drives (up to four) and printers. Data storage was controlled with TRSDOS. The computer didn't have a speaker, but audio could be generated by plugging an amplifier into the cassette's microphone line and sending audio data into the cassette port. Several games used this hack.

The TRS-80 competed with the Commodore PET and Apple II and outsold both of them by the end of the 1970s, though the Apple II would go on to have a longer lifespan and eventually outsell it. The Model I was officially discontinued in January 1981 to help push sales to the Model III and 4. The TRS-80 was popular enough that a clone called the System 80 was also produced.


I don't think I ever used a TRS-80, although I'm pretty sure my middle school English teacher had a Model III which I offered to buy from her, but she was reluctant.


Over 1,100 games were made for the TRS-80. I've only glanced at the library, but haven't found anything worthwhile.

See all TRS-80 Games.




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