< What is an Oric Atmos?

More on the Atmos.

click for atmos spec.THE ORIC ATMOS Vs Oric-1

What are the differences between the Oric-1 and the Atmos ? There is different information about this and the real answer is, "not a lot".

The Obvious difference is THE KEYBOARD and new black and red livery. The oric computers have always been acclaimed for having rather good looks and the Atmos really excels here. The use of two types of plastic on the facia and the dimples make for a stunning design.

The dimples are apparently a false speaker grill. The idea was to move the speaker from the odd position of pointing downwards to one where it would face the user. The idea was dropped though being too costly. I reckon someone forgot that you'd have to redo all the circuit boards in order to accomodate the new position.

Jon Howarth's book Available from here mentions the dimples but in the wrong place. It talks about them at the start of the Oric-1s inception.

The keyboard also has an EXTRA KEY - the function key! This needs to be programmed to work. Many computer magazines claimed that the key didn't work and was useless - far from it. The function key opens up a whole new range of possibilities. It works rather like a new shift key, giving the possibilities of having every other key do something else. an extra 50+ possible functions !!!

As part of a Sedoric disk system the keyboard is mapped out to contain DOS commands and BASIC keywords etc available at the touch of a button, in a similar way to Sinclair's 'One Touch BASIC'. Unlike that dreadful system you have the option of using it - or not.

The next difference is in the THE ROM. The Oric-1 has a V1.0 ROM chip whereas the Atmos uses the V1.1 ( see Oric ROMs)

The Oric-1 ROM had several bugs. It was in correcting these that Oric took the opportunity to make a few improvements and decided to add the better keyboard while they were at it. A wonderful example of a computer firm actually listening to their customers requests and producing the machine they asked for. Regrettably it is also a very rare example of this actually happening.

The new ROM has a few additions. It shows title of a cassette file as it loads and also shows whether it is BASIC or machine code. There is a verify routine to check tapes CLOAD"filename",V

There is a command to join programs CLOAD"filename",J You need to be careful not to have clashing line numbers for this though !

There are a couple of extra commands to store and recall arrays
STORE A,"name" saves the array and ..
RECALL A,"name" will load it back into the computer.

The last new command is a PRINT@ command which is rather useful.

With a Sedoric disk system you get a whole new set of commands though. There are auto-renumbering (using the function key) and so many more improvements I won't go into them here - I guess that's another page I'll have to add !

The CIRCUIT BOARD is pretty much the same as teh Oric-1. There are those that claim they redisigned it but I've yet to find any difference. The only difference is that a the keyboard has a different connector which requires longer pins - so you can spot an Atmos board by the length of pins on the connector. There also sseems to be one less pin on the Atmos for some reason.

That's about it then. The Atmos is definitely the better machine and if you had to choose between these two it is the one to go for.
It is worth remembering that all that messing around has resulted in machines that are partially compatible. This means that A great many programs for one machine will NOT work on the other - and vice versa - although some will. So if you have stacks of Oric-1 tapes it isn't such a good idea getting an Atmos and expecting it to work. The chances are that quite a lot of the tapes will have an Atmos version on one side and an Oric-1 version on the other though - so the Atmos is still the the machine of choice in my opinion !!!

A little more about peripherals...

Click for Plotter spec.ORIC FOUR COLOUR PRINTER

There has been some questioning of whether or not there was an Oric plotter in Oric-1 livery - or indeed if there was one in the Atmos colours.

Well yes to both. I've gota link here and a picture of the Atmos version, which came later of course, than the original Oric-1 plotter.

Just to please you lot though here is a picture of the Oric-1 plotter - and by the way, they aren't any different apart from the colour scheme.
The plotter needs little pens that will mostly be dried up by now - unless anyone knows differently, you can't buy the things now. The only way to get this plotter work then is to manufacture some pens yourself or to try and re-ink the existing pens - which isn't easy - but I have done it so it is possible


click for Microdisc spec.THE ORIC MICRO DISC

Now the early Oric-1 advertisements featured a picture of the computer with a pair of 3" disk drives in Oric-1 livery. These are believed to be Hitachi drives. There were never any commercially avaible though. The first Oric drives were the Atmos Microdisc - actually the first drives for the Oric was the independantly produce Byte Drive 500 who beat Oric themselves to it by several months !


Go to What is an Atmos

Go to Atmos tech page

Go to Microdisc tech page

Go to Plotter tech page

Information on the Oric Ports

 

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Copyright 2000 by S.D.Marshall email me