< What is an Oric Atmos?

What is an Oric Atmos?

For those that don't know, the Oric is an 8-bit computer from the eighties. Originally there was the black and grey Oric-1

This was upgraded to become the Oric Atmos.

The following was taken from a sales brouchure released to promote the Atmos system,
comprising of Atmos computer, Oric Microdisc and MCP40 printer plotter all in Atmos livery.

click for atmos spec.THE ORIC ATMOS 48K The new computer that takes a remarkable step forward in home computer technology. Which is hardly surprising when you consider ifs a development of the Oric-1,the UKvcomputer that was voted 'Best of the Year' in France. The original best-selling Oric-1 (150,000 already sold) has been completely re-styled, and refined to include a number of important advances.

USABLE MEMORY Believe it or not, computers often suffer from amnesia. 99% start off with large enough memories, but operating functions like text/colour sound and more particularly high resolution graphics, take large bytes out of them. Leaving very little 'usable' memory for programming and games. Not so the new Oric Atmos 48K. This is the one home computer that takes these normal working functions in its stride.

Unlike other home computers it uses the highly sophisticated serial attribute handling method used by Viewdata and Teletext. So these attributes are stored on the screen alongside the data, instead of taking up storage space in the memory. Thus the Oric Atmos never offers less than a healthy 37K of usable memory - even when the new colour printer and disc drive unit are attached. (Technical buffs see details overleaf). So it rivals the performance of the supposedly larger; more expensive Commodore 64K, which loses 26K of its "elephantine" memory in high resolution graphics. It beats its immediate competitors like the Sinclair Spectrum, Dragon 32K,Vic 20 and Atari 600. It beats the Lynx 48K, which costs over a third more yet loses 34K It even beats the Acorn Electron and the BBC Micro which costs more than twice as much, yet loses 23K in high resolution graphics.
And while this may surprise you, it's totally in keeping with a company recognised in the computer industry for performance and innovation.

COLOURS The Atmos offers 8 for graphics and text and 8 background colours. You can also 'paint over' the graphics area and mix text freely with colours and shapes. Areas can be filled with combinations of the 8 colours to effectively produce a multitude of shades and colours.
SOUND Most other computers don't have speakers and rely on a television set to produce the sound. The Atmos gives you a powerful loudspeaker and internal amplifie - which can be connected to your hi-fi system to produce sound quality on a par with the 400 BBC Micro. The Atmos measures up to the most sophisticated machines, and is even able to synthesize the sound of musical instruments.
KEYBOARD One important advance on the original Oric is the professional keyboard. The Atmos now gives you a full response 'typewriter style keyboard. The keyboard layout is standard and so it's easy to use.
LANGUAGE The Oric uses an extended version of Microsoft BASIC. This is now generally recognised as the best and simplest computer language.
DESIGN The new Oric Atmos includes many special features.
- The Atmos has ports where you can immediately 'plug-in' a wide range of additional peripherals to give you a comprehensive and professional system.
- The Atmos provides a text mode of 28 rows by 40 columns. The sharpness of the graphics is provided by a resolution of 200 points by 240 points. You will also be able to link up to the Prestel/ Viewdata system with a suitable modem.
- Unlike most others, the Atmos is compatible with most domestic cassette players.
- The Atmos has a device called a 'warm reset control which ensures that you can immediately start again if you make an operational mistake - without entirely losing your program. Many other computers don't give you this facility.
- The Atmos comes complete with all the leads you need, saving you the frustration of shopping around again, before you can begin using your computer. - You may want to extend the facilities of your Atmos. No problem! The Four Colour Printer and Micro Disc system simply plug-in, and can be used immediately. Each unit is designed in the same colours, and are illustrated and described on the following pages. There is also a full range of software, giving you a choice of games, educational and business programs.

Commodore tried to sue Oric for failing to mention that you could free some of the C64s
memory giving it a larger amount of free memory than the Atmos. Oric responded by saying they weren't running that advertising campaign any more so it was irrelevant !

See Jon Haworth's "The Story So Far ..." for further details.

Available from here

Click for Plotter spec.ORIC FOUR COLOUR PRINTER Your Atmos will soon become invaluable in producing information and details which you will want to keep in a printed format rather than viewing it constantly on a TV monitor. It's both simple and inexpensive to add an Oric Colour Printer to your system. The Oric Four Colour Printer is compact and styled to integrate perfectly with the new Oric Atmos.
Precision engineering has produced a machine that will give you an excellent hard print-out in four colours on plain paper. So you don't need to buy the expensive heat-sensitive paper required by many other printers.

The printer produces a high quality print-out and will print 40 or 80 columns at 12 characters per second.
The printer uses rolling ballpoint dispensers to print red, green, blue and black. Like the plain paper—the coloured pens are also inexpensive and easy to change. You'll find them available at most computer retailers.

The Oric Printer has a built-in power supply and comes complete with its own lead, which will plug directly into your Atmos computer (or any other computer with a Centronics interface). It can be used equally well — with either the 48K or the smaller 16K Atmos.

click for Microdisc spec.THE ORIC MICRO DISC Where does the Oric Micro Disc score over the normal audio cassette tape?

Quite simply it stores much more information (programs, games etc.) and you can locate each section in a fraction of the time.
The Micro Disc uses the small 3" format discs (probably the most reliable floppy disc medium). These are convenient to use and easy to store. Each disc is permanently housed in a protective discette (envelope). This means that the discs are never handled directly, which makes them ideal in schools and for carrying in briefcases and shirtpockets.

The discette is automatically loaded into the main unit within seconds. This medium of recording and storing programs is therefore ultra reliable.
The 3" disc can carry an enormous amount of information and has the same capacity of the larger, more costly 5 1/4 " floppy disc. The unit is 'user friendly,' which means your Atmos computer will instruct the Micro Disc to locate any part of an individual disc-fast.

The Oric Micro Disc will add an extra, powerful dimension to your Atmos computer - radically extending its performance.
A wide choice of advanced Oric software is available on this 3" micro disc format - and more is becoming available week by week.

More on the Atmos here

Go to Atmos tech page

Go to Microdisc tech page

Go to Plotter tech page

Information on the Oric Ports


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