Tatung Einstein

The Tatung Einstein was an eight-bit home/personal computer produced by Taiwanese corporation Tatung, designed in Bradford, England at Tatung's research laboratories and assembled in Bridgnorth and Telford, England. It was aimed primarily at small businesses.

Tatung Einstein TC-01
TypePersonal computer
Release date1984; 38 years ago (1984)
Introductory priceGB£499 (equivalent to £1,706 in 2021)
Media3-inch floppy disk
Operating systemXtal DOS
CPUZilog Z80 @ 4MHz
Memory64KB RAM, 16KB VRAM, 8KB-32KB ROM
Storage3 inch floppy Drive 1770 FDC
Display256 × 192, 16 colours (TMS9129)
Input51 key Keyboard, Joystick
Dimensions43.5 × 51.5 × 11.5cm


The Einstein was released in the United Kingdom in the summer of 1984, and 5,000 were exported to Taipei later that year. A Tatung monitor (monochrome or colour) and dot matrix printer were also available as options, plus external disc drives and an 80 column display card. It was also capable of running ZX Spectrum software with the "Speculator" addon.

More expensive than most of its rivals, the Einstein was popular with contemporary programmers but was commercially unsuccessful.[1]

A later, revised version, called the Tatung Einstein 256 suffered a similar fate.


The machine was physically large, with an option for one or two built-in three-inch floppy disk drives manufactured by Hitachi. At the time, most home computers in the UK used ordinary tape recorders for storage. Another unusual feature of the Einstein was that on start-up the computer entered a simple machine code monitor, called MOS (Machine Operating System). A variety of software could then be loaded from disk, including a CP/M-compatible operating system called Xtal DOS (pronounced 'Crystal DOS', created by Crystal Computers in Torquay), and a BASIC interpreter (Xtal BASIC). Thanks to the reliability of the machine, and ample memory, the machine proved useful by many software houses to use for programming, and then porting the code to the machines they were made for, namely the Spectrum 48k, Amstrad CPC, and Commodore 64. Eventually, it was superseded by the PC and Atari ST as the development systems of choice.

The follow on machine, the Einstein256, basically was the same as the original, with improved video (Yamaha V9938) and a more slimline black case.

Technical specificationsEdit

  • CPU: Zilog Z80A @ 4 MHz
  • 64K RAM
  • 8K to 32K ROM
  • Z84C30 CTC
  • Z84C20 PIO
  • intel 8251 SIO
  • 1770 FDC Floppy disk Controllers
  • Z80 'Tube' bus/interface
  • Analogue joystick Ports
  • RAM: 64 KB system RAM; 16 KB video RAM
  • Video: Texas Instruments TMS9129 16 colours, 32 sprite planes
  • Audio: AY-3-8910 (Also Reads keyboard Matrix)

Like the MSX specification

  • 64K User RAM 192K Video RAM
  • Video : V9938, 512 colours

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit