Retro Computers - Jupiter Ace - Retro Computer

Retro Computers - Jupiter AceJupiter Ace
The Jupiter Ace was a British home micro of the early 1980s. The machine was produced by a company named Jupiter Cantab.

The Jupiter Ace differed from other computers of the era in that it used FORTH as the built in language instead of the more traditional BASIC.

Incidentally FORTH as a language combines high performance and code compactness with the programming benefits of high-level programming languages.

The Jupiter ACE is and was often compared with ZX81 due to its similar size and low cost - even though internally it was a different design. The ZX81 used 75% of its CPU time (Z80) to drive the video. Not in the ACE though - here the Z80 CPU was fully used for running programs.

The ACE used dedicated video memory of 2 KB, leaving the 1 KB main memory free for user programming.

The Jupiter Ace was new to the market and the designers could not afford to use a ULA (logic array) - which were common in other computers such as the ZX81 to reduce component count.

By clever design the creators of the machine managed to use less chips as a space saving method.

Like the ZX Spectrum, the Ace used black rubber keys (not so good!). Audio capabilities were CPU controlled with programmable frequency and duration. Sound output was through a small built-in speaker - again similar to the Speccy. A television was needed as a display device (no monitor) which was monochromatic only.

As usual for the era data was saved and loaded via standard cassette tape - a portable cassette player could be connected to the machine.

Various add-ons became available for the machine such as a RAM pack, a better keyboard, a printer and an external disk-drive.

The machine was never a huge seller (probably less than 10,000 units sold) either in the home or in schools (it certainly was not robust enough for school life!) and as such is a rarity these days.

It was never widely known as a games machine either - and unfortunately was swept aside as the Spectrum and C64 took hold of the home market.

Any ACE machines that are in good condition are regarded as collectors items - if you see one (and any of the rare computer games for it) try and snap it up.

We recommend trying to pick up one of these machines.
Look at computers for sale online or even locally.

If you don't want to get hold of the real hardware then try and download an emulator and download those classic games. Alternatively you could try and play them online.

Retro Computers and Classic Games is what we are all about...


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