Acorn - 8-bit   BBC Micro Model B
bbc_micro_b

BBC Micro - Model B

The BBC Micro - Model B was an upgrade to the Model A in terms of memory. Other than that the machine was practically identical to the Model A.

During the early 1980s, the BBC started what became known as the BBC Computer Literacy Project. The project was initiated partly in response to an ITV documentary series The Mighty Micro, in which Christopher Evans of the UK's National Physical Laboratory predicted the coming microcomputer revolution and its effect on the economy, industry, and lifestyle of the United Kingdom.

The BBC wanted to base its project on a microcomputer capable of performing various tasks which they could then demonstrate in the TV series The Computer Programme. The list of topics included programming, graphics, sound and music, teletext, controlling external hardware, and artificial intelligence. It developed an ambitious specification for a BBC computer, and discussed the project with several companies including Acorn Computers, Sinclair Research, Newbury Laboratories, Tangerine Computer Systems, and Dragon Data.

The introduction of a specific microcomputer to a more general computer literacy initiative was a topic of controversy, however, with criticism aimed at the BBC for promoting a specific commercial product and for going beyond the "traditional BBC pattern" of promoting existing information networks of training and education providers. Accusations were even levelled at the Department of Industry for making the BBC "an arm of Government industrial policy" and using the Computer Literacy Project as a way of "funding industry through the back door", obscuring public financial support on behalf of a government that was ostensibly opposed to subsidising industry.

Regardles of controversy, the BBC Micro was introduced in 1981 and quickly became the UK education computer of choice.

Three model B systems were created:

  • BBC Micro - Model B (32KByte RAM)
  • BBC Micro - Model B+64 (64KByte RAM)
  • BBC Micro - Model B+128 (128KByte RAM)
The naming of these models can still be found back in today's Raspberry PI models.

By Acorn CPU MOS 6502A/6512 @2MHz Memory ModelB: 32K RAM, ModelB+:128K RAM Sound 4 channels
Speech synthesiser with optional phrase ROM.
Sprites none Display 640x256, 8 colors Display Chip none Sound Chip Texas Instruments SN76489
TMS5220 Speech synthesiser
CPU Class 6502 Developed by BBC
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Acorn BBC / Archimedes
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