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Thread: Most "accessible" CP/M Machine

  1. #1

    Default Most "accessible" CP/M Machine

    My Dad has always been really fascinated by the story of Gary Kildall and CP/M. I was thinking about getting him some vintage hardware to experience the OS on for Christmas, but I don't really know where to start.

    What's the easiest way to get into a machine that can run CP/M without an excessive amount of tinkering or purchasing hard to find add ons?

  2. #2
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    The easiest way may be to run CP/M-86 on a PC. CP/M on a Commodore 128 might also be fairly accessible. I suspect these are probably not really the direction you were wanting to go, but I'm posting them anyway, just in case they're useful ideas for you.

  3. #3
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    An emulator running on a modern platform is pretty darned accessible. Just saying...

  4. #4
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    In my opinion, a TRS-80 Model 4 is a safe bet, running Montezuma Micro's CP/M. The hardware is plentiful, and there's lots of support. That is, if you're really wanting vintage hardware. Otherwise, Chuck's suggestion is a good one, with my personal favorite emulator, z80pack.
    --
    Thus spake Tandy Xenix System III version 3.2: "Bughlt: Sckmud Shut her down Scotty, she's sucking mud again!"

  5. #5

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    not interested in emulation to be honest, the hardware is the fun part

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    TRS-80 Model 4 or a CP/M portable like Kaypro or Osborne are easy to get. Had you been in Europe, getting one of the Amstrad CP/M systems would have been a simple solution. I prefer a system without the integrated CRT because finding a replacement becomes a chore.

  7. #7

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    A lot of people are build (selling kits) modern machine that runs CP/M. Lots of those to choose from, one I know of is the https://rc2014.co.uk/
    - Doug

  8. #8

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    Depending upon whether you're considering actual vintage systems or possibly newer implementations, there's some interesting projects over at retrobrewcomputers.org. For example, I'm awaiting a few last parts to make a small batch of CP/M systems but unfortunately they're not going to be ready in time for Christmas as I intend to build them over the holidays. These are small / fast / encased and can seem virtually instantaneous compared to actual retro systems.

    Size: 50mm x 50mm x 15mm or approximately 2" x 2" x 0.6"

    Features:
    - Zilog Z8S180 at 33.333MHz or overclocked to 36.864MHz
    - 512KB Flash memory which contains the boot code, CP/M 2.2 and a 496KB "disk"
    - 512KB or 1MB SRAM which by default holds the 64KB CP/M system and a 436KB / 948KB RAMdisk
    - 256 Bytes of EEPROM and 64 Bytes of battery-backed SRAM
    - Two USB serial ports with RTS/CTS handshaking at 115,200 baud
    - Micro SD socket / card with a 25MHz SPI interface
    - Real Time Clock (RTC) with rechargeable battery (~5+ months)
    - A RUN (green) / HALT (red) indictor LED and one user programmable LED
    - An optional 2Hz LED which indicates that interrupts are working properly
    - A RESET pushbutton
    - USB powered
    - Full M80 source code is included.


    MinZc-1a.pngMinZc-2a.png

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxtherabbit View Post
    not interested in emulation to be honest, the hardware is the fun part
    Just pointing out that while I haven't run CP/M on "real" hardware in years, I routinely run CP/M programs on modern hardware. Works the same, only faster and less fidgety. My S100 systems have been collecting dust for at least 30 years.

    I used to have much the same discussion with my late father. He briefly had a thing for old (1920s) radios that he enjoyed during his youth. My point to him, that he grudginly conceded, was there was little practical difference in the result of using an old Atwater-Kent or a Sony transistor (this was a long time ago); the message was the same. No AM radio station back in the 1970s was still playing the A&P Gypsies. Might as well get rid of the necessity of A and B batteries of the A-K and enjoy the better sound of the Sony.

  10. #10
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    Kaypro's seem to be reasonably priced and plentiful... Seems like I run across several per year for less than $100.

    They typically need maintenance on the floppy drives and they are good to go again.

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