Altos Advert - August 1978
From Byte - The Small Systems Journal
Altos presents a new standard in quality and reliability - Altos ACS8000
This is an advert for the Altos "Sun Series" ACS8000, made by Walsh Avenue, Santa Clara, California-based Altos Computer Systems, that is surely vying for pole position in the field of adverts showing computers in utterly bizarre contexts.
Its challenge to Pearcom's Pear II - which featured an oil lamp as a prop - was having the Altos ACS8000 appear as some sort of family-silver presentation platter and/or pot-plant ornament.
The machine was made up of perhaps the most impressive Smorgasbord of tech names from the era, as it included a Zilog Z80A (at 4MHz), Shugart 8" IBM-compatible floppy drives, Intel's 2708 Eprom, an AMD 9511 maths co-processor and a Western Digital floppy disk controller.
It actually shipped with four high-level languages available - which was a rarity when so many companies would advertise things as "available soon" - BASIC, COBOL, Pascal and Fortran IV, and was capable of supporting up to four concurrent users. It retailed for $3,840 with 32K RAM and a 512K disk as standard - that's about £17,800 in 2024 terms.
Later versions of the Altos micro added support for Pick - a multi-valued database system that wasn't an actual operating system but acted like one - and Dibol, a language popular on DEC minicomputers. This was particularly useful as the Altos micro cost about half that of a DEC mini.
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