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Jim Pez

Ever see a home computer with an 8 inch disk drive?

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My dad worked for xerox so my family had a xerox 820 ii with an 8 inch disk drive. The only time I ever remember seeing another one was in the movie war games and the tv show wiz kids. were there any other home computers back in the day with an 8 inch disk drive?

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Altos series 5 has a 8 drive, Exidy Sorcerer , altair

Edited by Seob

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According to Wikipedia, the "computers" seen in WarGames and Whiz Kids were props, not real production machines.

 

8 inch diskettes seemed really old to me back in those days, and not something for the typical user of an "inexpensive" home computer user, much like a modem coupler that used a telephone handset.

 

Mainframe storage made so much more sense, just like cloud computing does today! ;-)

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Any home computer that supported an S-100 bus had access to 8 drives. They were fairly uncommon because they were pricey and by the time the home computer revolution took off (not just the hobbyist tinkerers) they were already becoming obsolete.

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Yes. I own one.

 

Although, my TRS-80 Model II may not quite qualify as a home computer since it was targeted almost exclusively at businesses and professionals, with a price to match; in practice, it was probably found in very few homes.

 

But apart from the business-centric software lineup, monstrous peripherals, lack of cassette I/O, and exorbitant price, the Model II fits every criteria of what you'd expect a "home computer" to have been in its time.

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Just a word processor at my dad's CPA firm. The firm is now dissolved, but I remember arranging their file room as a summer job in the mid-90s and they had the 8-inch disks still in storage there along with their word processors. So, not technically a computer, but still have seen actual 8-inch disks with actual data on it!

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I have two brand new 8" drives that I plan on using as externals 3 & 4 on my Model III.

The disk controller inside the Model III supports them but you still need to make cable adapters and use a non standard power supply.

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only time I ever saw one was when I did an office tour when I was still in high school. I didn't know they existed before then. It was hooked up to a mainframe I think.

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Yep, plenty, but I'm old. I picked up a ton (literally, it was made from heavy gauge steel) of Dynabyte stuff from my college in the mid-80s. It was S-100 CP/M. 8" floppies, a hard disk with 8" platters.

 

As mentioned above, S-100 systems from the 70s (Altair, Imsai, Cromemco, Ithaca Intersystems.....) tended to use 8" floppies. Also, IBM "small" computers of the same era (5120), many wordprocessors and minicomputers.

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Yep, plenty, but I'm old. I picked up a ton (literally, it was made from heavy gauge steel) of Dynabyte stuff from my college in the mid-80s. It was S-100 CP/M. 8" floppies, a hard disk with 8" platters.

 

As mentioned above, S-100 systems from the 70s (Altair, Imsai, Cromemco, Ithaca Intersystems.....) tended to use 8" floppies. Also, IBM "small" computers of the same era (5120), many wordprocessors and minicomputers.

 

Have you ever used any Cromemco equipment? I have a new unbuilt Cromemco joystick and a few other things like a large power supply. I always thought it would be cool to toy around with some of those mid 70s systems but after pricing the equipment, that ship sailed long ago.

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Back when I was in high school in the early 1990s, the English classroom had a number of different computers for students to write on. Several were IBM PCs or compatibles, but there were 8 Xerox CP/M machines that had dual 8" floppy disk drives that we used WordStar on. They seemed old to me then, but several kids seemed to like those better than the newer PCs.

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Had these passed on to me a while back:

 

GDlXNX5.jpg

 

And yep, those are 8" disks. Don't have a drive to read them with, but they're one of my more favourite things to have picked up recently.

Edited by x=usr(1536)

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When we first bought insurance for home and auto around '84, we dealt with a firm that used 8" floppies. I'd never seen one before that, but knew they were dated tech by that time. Musta been a TRS system. I imagine the last ones to still be using them were diehards, small firms reluctant to lay out the cash and time to upgrade, while the old hardware and systems worked just fine. I think some three or four years later when we were insuring one our own rare upgrades to a different car, we commented they had finally gone "modern" with PC and 5 1/4 drives.

-Ed

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Have you ever used any Cromemco equipment? I have a new unbuilt Cromemco joystick and a few other things like a large power supply. I always thought it would be cool to toy around with some of those mid 70s systems but after pricing the equipment, that ship sailed long ago.

 

No, but CP/M is pretty much the same across systems. I've never seen CDOS. You should check out the Wikipedia article. It's pretty good.

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I have two brand new 8" drives that I plan on using as externals 3 & 4 on my Model III.

The disk controller inside the Model III supports them but you still need to make cable adapters and use a non standard power supply.

 

Thats interesting. Did the Model IV support them as well?

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Thats interesting. Did the Model IV support them as well?

 

I may have been wrong on how I put that...I have an aftermarket drive kit/controller in my Model III and still have the documentation sheets which lists 8" drives and 80 Track 5.25 drives.

I'm not sure if the original factory controller will handle an 8" setup. If it does, you'll need a good OS such as LDOS or NEWDOS-80. I have double sided 5.25 drives which Radio Shack never offered and mainly use LDOS to take advantage of them. Everything about it is 100X better than TRSDOS anyway.

Going to 8" is definitely not plug n' play as you need to make a cable adapter and the power supply is odd @ 24 volt, +5 and -5.

I have an old Tandy Bernoulli Box which I think will house both 8" drives and a power supply nicely.

 

From what I've read, 3.5" is an easy swap if you wanted something different.

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The year was 1982. The PDP-8/A "CLASSIC" in my high school Trigonometry class had 8" floppies. It also had a very loud card reader and a rather slow dot matrix printer. It had its own little "room" in the corner of the classroom, and my teacher Ms. Hill promoted me to "sysop" when she realized that I didn't need to hear her lectures to get good test grades. I explored most of those gigantic disks and messed around with DEC BASIC, but never got into PDP-8 assembly language ... I was already in love with the 6502, and was learning it at home in my spare time on my Apple ][+. It would be a bit of a stretch to call that PDP-8/A a "home computer", though ... it was roughly similar in price and capability to the TRS-80 Model 2, but much bigger and heavier, and most of the nerds considered it to be a dinosaur already in 1982.

 

Mike B.

 

post-40458-0-33734800-1523767980_thumb.jpg

Edited by barrym95838
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I took the computer merit badge in boy scouts. My instructor passed around an 8 inch floppy for show and tell. Only time I've evervseen one in real life. The system the disk belonged to supposedly was destroyed by lightning and the guy held onto it for nostalgia. I have used 5.25" floppies in the past, and have lots of experience with 3.5" floppies. I vowed never to trust floppies again after I lost an English paper as a Freshman in college. A couple years later, I briefly used a portable 750mb zip drive for storage whenever usb sticks were still a buck per megabyte. Now usb sticks and sd cards are under a buck per gigabyte.

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