Intertec Superbrain 1979 Vintage Computer Tech
The Intertec Superbrain was an all-in-one microcomputer that was first sold by Intertec Data Systems Corp. of Columbia, South Carolina, USA in 1979. The machine ran the operating system CP/M and was somewhat unusual in that it used two Z80 CPUs, the second being used as a disk controller. In 1983, the basic machine originally sold for about $2000.
There were several variants, including the Superbrain II, Superbrain II Jr., “QD” (quad density disk drives) and also “SD” (super density) models.
The Superbrain is also notable for being at the user end of the first Kermit connection in 1981.
The machine itself was practical and quite useful in the office, but somewhat limited until the arrival of the first 5 MB hard drive in one of the floppy drive bays. This was soon replaced by the 10 MB hard drive that effectively removed all limitations on what could be programmed and stored.
The SuperBrain contains two Z80 microprocessors. (Reference Figure 3-1) uP1 is the master processor. It communicates with the 64K RAM and the I/O devices (serial port, keyboard encoder, interface controller, and CRT controller). Aside from these devices, it can also access the 2K ROM and DATA BUFFER RAM in the FLOPPY DISK CONTROLLER. uP2 is slaved to uP1 and can only access the 2K ROM, DATA BUFFER, and the DISK
INTERFACE. This processor is used exclusively for disk control.
The 32/64 kilobyte main memory consists of up to thirty-two 16K x 1 bit dynamic RAMS. These are divided in four banks (0-3) with each bank containing 16 kilobytes of storage. The RAS-CAS timing sequence necessary for memory access is created by the memory timing generator.
|Model Number||Processor||Disk Drives||Clock Speed|
|10 (Compustar)||Z80||No drives network device||4 MHz|
|QD (Quad Density)||Z80||340Kb||4 MHz|
- DSS-10 10Mb Hard Drive
- CDC 96Mb Hard Drive with removable platter
- Priam 14″ 144mb Hard Drive
- Microsoft Basic
- 8080 Assembler
- Microsoft Cobol 74
Intertec Superbrain User Manual
The SuperBrain’s unique internal design assures users of exceptional performance for just a fraction of what they would expect to pay for such “big system” capabilities. The SuperBrain utilizes a single board “microprocessor” design which combines all processor, RAM, ROM, disk controller, and communications electronics on the same printed circuit board. This type of design engineering enables the SuperBrain to deliver superior and also competitive performance.
Intertec Superbrain II
The SuperBrain II appeared in 1982. It offered a faster and enhanced disk operating system, new video visual attributes and better graphics capabilities. The SuperBrain and SuperBrain II were both 5¼ floppy disk based CP/M machines.
Furthermore each could have one or two drives. Intertec did not sell or support a hard drive or an S-100 bus for these machines. The network version of the SuperBrain was called CompuStar. The network was a parallel cable design with large gray cables about ½” diameter.