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fabrice montupet

Texas Instruments Dimension 4

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On 8/9/2015 at 4:17 PM, fabrice montupet said:

Who own this early version of the 99/4 computer?

I would be happy to see its innards, and especially under the top cover hole (optional Infrared feature) :-)

Hope it has the TMS9900 CPU modification instead of TMS9985 too!

 

X720-86.1.lg.jpg

 

Another picture of it, picked-up in a video:

ti994bta.jpg

The other one I had is on eBay currently rchildress is username 

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Is a shame the other prototype has been lost.  I suspect this is why people offer things "on loan" to museums and the like rather than donate.

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Then I misread the listing.  I understood it as having been donated to the Boston Computer Museum, but the computer was lost when the museum closed.  Glad to see is has not been.

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First public appearance by Dimension?  

Looking again at the June 1980 demo of Football on BBC TV Tomorrows World at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMReY2ReKqA

I noticed the black blob on top of the console, which makes it look very like a Dimension.

Or could it be a 99/4 with the IR receiver cutout??  Unusual to see this was in the UK, no rumours heard at the time.

 

 

It was to be another 12 months before TI had a PAL console available in the UK- would sales have done better if Tomorrow's World had demonstrated a wireless joystick instead of a rather boring two player game,  and if the consoles had been ready to buy?

40 years ago. Wow.

stomorrowsworld.jpg.42c228d7cc61a4fd733b932a32ef53d8.jpg

 

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Good point.  I wonder how many TI99/4's had the top with an IR Receiver hole (with a blanking plate probably?). I never saw (or even heard of) any and I was tracking the brand from early 1980 onwards.   
 

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I assume TI had more protection around 99/4 prototypes than 99/8 and 99/2 as the company was aiming for money and marketshares while the 99/4 was done and trying to avoid Industrial Spionage. When they left the Market in 1983 the interest to protect the products did go down for sure. But at that time hardly any 99/4 or Dimension 4 survived the Engineering Labs or got stored away already in 1979 and never went back to the Labs or the Employees.

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Just fyi, I've been corresponding with the museum that has the better prototype at their location that I donated.  They did add a credit to me for donation as I requested and I enquired if they were willing to turn it on to capture the boot screen but they said they don't do that with the artifacts as they don't want to risk them being damaged. So I hope whomever buys the one on ebay will get good information from roms at least and hopefully gets video working again. 

 

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Went for $2466. I was expecting $3000, so I was pretty close to guessing what it sold for. If it was working, I would have been in and most likely we would be talking around $8000. Now the question is, did someone from here end up with it? Or did it go to an unknown collector?

 

Looks like the high bidder has a k,m,f, and a 2 in the user id. Maybe Jim Fetzner? Those are his call letters, not sure if he added a 2 in all these years.

Edited by Toucan
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I have parts from another one, so I'll be trying to get it working again. . .this assumes my parts are from a Dimension 4 and not one of the earlier iterations, @Toucan.

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21 minutes ago, Ksarul said:

I have parts from another one, so I'll be trying to get it working again. . .this assumes my parts are from a Dimension 4 and not one of the earlier iterations, @Toucan.

Now, I know you're crazy, too.

 

...and far richer than I!:cool:

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1 hour ago, Ksarul said:

I have parts from another one, so I'll be trying to get it working again. . .this assumes my parts are from a Dimension 4 and not one of the earlier iterations, @Toucan.

Sad to have lost the auction but very happy that you are the winner 🙂 Congratulations Jim!

This Dimension 4 will be in very good hands!

 

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8 minutes ago, fabrice montupet said:

Sad to have lost the auction but very happy that you are the winner 🙂 Congratulations Jim!

This Dimension 4 will be in very good hands!

 

For something like this--it had to be either you or I, Fabrice. Between us, we have almost every possible TI prototype in our reference sets. I'll make sure I make lots of pictures for you too--like the ones I did for the Hex-Bus Floppy.

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Now I'm excited to see what you find out. I think you won't have much trouble getting it working. I remember it had a video tearing on screen and the other one , computer museum item, didn't and now of course nothing recognizable is output.

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So this adds to my 15 minutes of fame. In case you are interested,  I played bass guitar for The Nervebreakers,  a Dallas "punk" group that opened for the Clash, the Ramones , the Police,  the Boomtown Rats, and the Sex Pistols as well as serving as backing band for Roky Erickson of 13 Floor Elevators fame.

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Congrats Ksarul. Please please preserve and share the rom and grom of this unit so we can try to make a emulated preservation. I assume it comes with a TMS9985 Cpu, Video Input on the 5pin Din port, no digital joystick port and that the mainboard actually has a slot for the infrared interface, and it might not have full 16k of video ram. At least this would match the documents from CB Wilson.

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If this is like the parts I have, this will be VERY different inside. The main board probably only has a few chips on it. Most of the electronics will be on a daughter board that sits above the main board.

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On 8/10/2015 at 6:12 AM, Retrospect said:

I know, I found it hard to believe TI would consider it, but I read it somewhere within a series of letters penned to another TI guy, these are available on the net somewhere but I can't remember the path I took to find it. Maybe ftp site documentations deep within I think. I'm sure TI did have a policy of using it's own chips, so that's what made it hard to believe.

 

EDIT:

 

They may have been attempting the Z-80 for future CP/M compatability, as they knew at the time the Z80 was used quite widely for business, it can clock over 6MHz in some cases.

I do remember talk of the Z80 chip being used or contemplated at one time when I was there - but I was in Defense group so didn't know where I heard about it. John Phillips was working on the machine software, he might have been where I heard of it but I don't see him around at this time.

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I took a quick look at the Dimension 4 today. Looking carefully at it, I am sure of one thing--my parts set is different, very different from the Dimension 4. Some things are the same, but the rest looks like it is an even earlier iteration of the console. getting this working again may be a very interesting project. . .

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