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CP/M User
May 30th, 2003, 04:21 AM
I've interpreted this from a French website. I've tried to clean it up & whatever I couldn't make out deleted. The original site is here:
http://www.gloub.com/musee/machines/jupiterace.phtml

Actually, I've got a little envy towards this guy (he was one of the lucky ones).

Cheers,
CP/M User.

Jupiter Ace, of Cantab

Ahhh that there, I am very glad to have it: a large thank you with Christopher, the happy giver of this machine. The Jupiter Ace is a computer rare in Europe, and almost untraceable elsewhere.

It was conceived by two ex-engineers from Sinclair, Steven Vickers and Richard Altwasser, which explains its many common characteristics with Sinclair ZX81. Jupiter is what one can call a clone, more or less (buzzer!). This machine is rather exotic, and its programming language integrated there is much going for it: instead of associating with the computer the traditional BASIC, slow and greedy in memory, the creators preferred language FORTH, faster and not taking as much place in memory. On the other hand the FORTH was a language much less widespread than the BASIC at the time (and always today I think!), and its syntax moved away it from the initial public.

The Jupiter came out in 1983, in the United Kingdom, in Cambridge, and died in the current period of 1984: it was'nt really a best seller... what isn't more badly when one has it in collection! Its price in 1984 was of 1140 F, that is to say relatively cheap.

GENERAL ASPECT

Jupiter ACE is white, and of a design not unpleasant: it is definitely more beautiful than are cousin the ZX81 , and its black keyboard with gum keys is much less irritating, but is not equivalent nevertheless to the comfort of use of a motorized keyboard. The keyboard is a QWERTY (logical, English manufacture obliges) of 40 keys, and bars it of ridiculous space is particularly frustrating when one does not have the practice. Each key can have several roles, but one is also very far from the overload of the ZX81 .

TECHNICAL CARACTERISTIQUES

They take again those of the ZX , as a whole, most interesting is the arrival of a buzzer, and obviously the FORTH.

System:

Jupiter Ace is equipped with the processor Zylog Z80A to 3.25Mhz, standard at the time since it also equipped Amstrad CPC , the ZX81 , and Spectrum ...
It is equipped with 3 KB RAM, extensible to 16 KB in option, and has a ROM of 8Ko containing language FORTH. Documentation is relatively well provided (180 pages, in French), and especially makes it possible to learn FORTH: and 180 pages to learn Forth, believe me it is not luxury! For those which know: Forth is with BASIC what the Assembler is in Turbo Pascal:)

Sound part:

The buzzer is one cannot basic, generating a sound a voice, on 3 octaves. It is better than a ZX81 , but it is insufficient for the time, especially when one knows that Amstrad CPC integrated a sound chip Yamaha 3 votes, at the same time, in 1984.

Graphic part:

Jupiter is able to post in mode 32 columns, for 24 lines.

One cannot really say that the computer offered a graphic mode, because on the one hand, one is strictly limited to monochromic (but finally let us pass...), and especially one needed a trick to post something drinkable with one the screen: a character was made of 8X8 pixels, and one could define 128 characters, which could make some graphic effects (frameworks kind, small sprites) but one did not go well far. By this method one could emulate a graphic mode are equivalent to 256x192 pixels (normal: 8x32 columns, and 8x24 lines).

Peripherals:
Tape recorder: 450 F (speed of 1500 bauds)

PERFORMANCES/GAME LIBRARY

The language provided with the computer is the FORTH, which is a language little known of general public, and especially used in the Eighties (newsgroup: comp.lang.forth). I admit that I have some gaps in FORTH;) but this language was apparently a good alternative, speed question and resources system necessary, with the traditional BASIC of Micro$oft (heh yes, already).

For the game library... do not dream :)

PROBLEMS OF COLLECTOR

The computer ages rather well... Stored with dryness, its video chipset will not suffer. Let us note that a transformer of ZX Spectrum makes it possible to make it function (and that it is nevertheless quite practical, because the Jupiter Ace adapters must be untraceable...).