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Tandy 1000

From Academic Kids

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A Tandy 1000 machine

The Tandy 1000 was a line of more or less IBM PC compatible home computer systems produced by the Tandy Corporation for sale in its Radio Shack chain of stores.

The machine was geared toward home use and a modest budget, and it copied the IBM PCjr's 16-color graphics (PCjr's graphics were an extension of CGA video) and 3-voice sound, but didn't use the PCjr cartridge ports. As the Tandy 1000 outlasted the PCjr by many years these graphics and sound standards became known as "Tandy-compatible" or "TGA," and many software packages of the era listed their adherence to Tandy standards on the package.

The Tandy machine had built-in game ports compatible with those on the TRS-80 Color Computer, as well as a port for a "light wand". Most Tandy 1000 models also featured line-level sound and composite video outputs so that a standard television could be used as a monitor, albeit with much poorer video quality. Unlike most PC clones, several Tandy 1000 computers had MS-DOS built into ROM and could boot in a few seconds. Tandy bundled DeskMate, a suite of consumer-oriented applications, with various Tandy 1000 models.

The original line was equipped with the Intel 8088 CPU which was later extended to the 286. Common models of the machine included the Tandy 1000, EX, HX, SX, TX, SL, RL, and TL.

Eventually the Tandy Corporation sold its computer manufacturing business to AST Computers. When that occurred, instead of selling Tandy computers, Radio Shack stores began selling computers made by other manufacturers - such as Compaq.

Contents

Selected Tandy 1000 Models

Tandy 1000

The original Tandy 1000 was a large computer similar in size to the IBM PC, though with a plastic case to reduce weight. The original Tandy 1000 featured a proprietary keyboard port along with 2 joystick ports on the front of the case. The rear featured a digital monitor connector (compatible with CGA/EGA monitors), a composite video-out connector, a single RCA-style monophonic line-level audio connector, a port for a light wand, and an unusual edge-card connector used to attach a parallel printer. The original Tandy 1000 came standard with one 5.25 disk drive, with an additional bay usable for the installation of a second 5.25 disk drive (available as a kit from Radio Shack). 128k of memory was standard, with the computer accepting up to 640k of total memory with the addition of expansion cards. MS-DOS 2.11 and DeskMate 1.0 were included with the system.

Tandy 1000 EX

The Tandy 1000 EX was designed as an entry level IBM compatible personal computer. The EX was a compact computer that had the keyboard directly connected to the computer. The computer had one 5.25 disk drive on the side of the right side of the machine.

Tandy 1000 HX

The Tandy 1000 HX was designed as an entry level IBM compatible personal computer. The HX was meant as the successor to the EX. Like the EX, the HX was a compact computer with the keyboard directly attached to the computer. The computer came with an Intel 8088 CPU, 256 kilobytes of memory, and had one 720k 3.5 inch disk drive on the right side of the machine behind the keyboard. HX computers came with MS-DOS 2.11 built into the ROM. Deskmate 2 was included with the HX.

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Tandy1000HX.jpg
A Tandy 1000 HX, with a Tandy RGB monitor, an external 5.25 disk drive, joystick, and a Tandy DMP-133 dot matrix printer.

The computer's memory could be expanded to 640k. This would be accomplished by placing a memory expansion card in the expansion slot, which came with 128 kilobytes, and adding another 384 kilobytes in memory chips to this board. The expansion cards were not industry standard - they were specialized "Plus Cards" that were built by Tandy. There were three slots available in the computer case. There was another 3.5 inch drive slot in the computer case. On the back of the machine there was a port which allowed a user to connect an external 360 kilobyte 5.25 or 720 kilobyte 3.5 inch disk drive. There was also a slot to connect a printer.

The 1000 HX did not come with a hard drive, and Tandy Corporation did not manufacture fixed disks for this type of computer. However a number of third party vendors made fixed disks for the HX available for sale.

The settings on the computer could be changed so that instead of looking in ROM for DOS at bootup that it would go to the floppy drive instead. Most versions of MS-DOS worked with the 1000 HX, including DOS 3.x, DOS 5.x, and later versions. There was a quirk in the DOS 4.0 environment that prevented that version of DOS from working with HX computers.

Tandy 1000 TL/2

The Tandy 1000 TL/2 was meant to be the high end machine to the 1000 series. The machine came with an Intel 286 processor. The computer had 640 kilobytes of memory. There was also room for an extra 128 kilobytes to be installed to bring the total to 768 kilobytes. The TL/2 was designed to use part of its memory as video memory, so a machine with 768 kilobytes of memory would provide 128k for video and 640k to the operating system.

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