Peter's z80.eu site blog
Predecessors of 8080 hardware.... almost forgotten - R2E Micral , a Intel 8008 based "PC" 
Thursday, February 19, 2009, 09:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
For many of us, they are not known or at least forgotten.... but 3 years before the Altair 8800, in January 1973, there was already a hardware available for computer enthusiasts:

The R2E Micral was one of the first, may be the first computer which can be called "Microcomputer", because it wasn't a cabinet sized hardware, it was in a similar size like an Altair, or even the first IBM PC.
Although it was based on an Intel 8008 Chip (running at a 500 Khz frequency), it provides additional instructions for interrupt handling and data manipulation. It was created from the "French National Institute for Agronomic Research" (I.N.R.A.) because of the lack of money for PDP-8 hardware.
It has a bus system similar to the S100 bus, called 'Pluribus', several I/O and memory cards were build. At least, 2KByte RAM was the standard design, but 16KByte could be used (14 bit address bus, 8 bit data bus) in total.
One year later a Two-Pass-Assembler was available, and also a high level control language.

For more information, please look at the following URLs:

http://www.old-computers.com/MUSEUM/computer.asp?c=352
http://www.feb-patrimoine.com/projet/micral/micral.htm
http://febcm.club.fr/systemes_ord/Micral_n.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micral
http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Micral
http://www.heise.de/newsticker/Vor-30-J ... dung/33686
http://www.avandor.net/micral.htm

A very interesting interview with the creator of that piece of computer history can be found at Wired.com: http://www.wired.com/science/discoverie ... 97/09/6850

To get an impression how it looked:

Also interesting... some Infos about a self-made (no kit, just plans and pcbs) computer in mid of 1973 - the Mark 8, also based on the 8008:
http://web.archive.org/web/200402160215 ... ark8b.html
http://www.bytecollector.com/mark_8.htm

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