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Tektronix 4051
Graphics-capable desktop microcomputer
Tektronix 4051

Produced from 1975 to (?)

Manuals – Specifications – Links – Pictures

The Tektronix 4051 is a graphics-capable desktop microcomputer produced by Tektronix in the late 1970s through the early 1980s. The display is similar to the Tektronix 4010 terminal, using a direct-view storage CRT display (like an analog storage scope) to avoid the need for video RAM.

An all-in-one design, the 4051 includes display, keyboard, CPU and a 300 kByte DC300 quarter-inch cartridge tape drive in a single desktop case, and includes a GPIB interface. A simple operating system and BASIC interpreter are stored in ROM.

The storage tube display allows the screen to retain images drawn to it, eliminating the need for frame-buffer memory, and allowing the resolution to be as high as the display hardware can handle - logical coordinates are 1024 by 1024 of which the physical screen displays 1024 by 780. This type of display does not require a raster buffer memory, so all memory can be dedicated to programs and data.

The 4051 is based on an 8-bit Motorola 6800 CPU running at 1 MHz, and normally shipped with 8 kB of RAM expandable to 32 kB using 8 kB modules.

The remaining 32 kB of address space is reserved for ROM, which can be expanded using one or two external ROM cartridges of 8 kB each. The ROM includes six character sets and an extended dialect of BASIC including various vector drawing commands.

Option 1 adds a Data Communication Interface 021-0188-00 that attaches to the rear of the 4051 via a card-edge connector and provides an RS 232 port and two slots to accept expansion ROM cartridges/packs.

The 4051 was released in 1975 for the base price of $5,995 (2020 value $28,960). Adding the optional RS-232 interface allowed it to emulate a Tektronix 4012 terminal.

Key designer of the 4051 was Hiro Moriyasu.

See Also


General Information




Documents Referencing 4051

Document Class Title Authors Year Links
Tekscope 1975 V7 N5.pdf Article A Desk-top Graphic Computing System Colin Barton 1975
Tekscope 1975 V7 N5.pdf Article Graphing With the 4051 Graphic Computing System Tom Needham 1975
Tekscope 1977 V9 N2.pdf Article The Fundamental Beauty of Computer Graphics Bruce Rodgers 1977
Tekscope 1981 V13 N2.pdf Article Software Innovations Increase Productivity of Desktop Computer Users Bruce Rodgers 1981
Tekniques vol.6 no.1.pdf Article A Fast Unidirectional TTY Interface for a Minicomputer R. Christie Harper Ben M. Williams James E. Gaiser 1982
Tekniques vol.6 no.1.pdf Article 4050 Controls New Generation of Programmable Instruments for Measurement Automation 1982




Some Parts Used in the 4051

Part Part Number(s) Class Description Used in
Motorola 6800 156-0426-00 Monolithic integrated circuit 8-bit microprocessor 021-0206-00 021-0374-00 067-0902-00 067-1137-99 222 222A 222PS 2424L 2445 2465 4051 7912 7912AD 7A16P 7A29P 7B81P 7B90P 833 834 CG5001 CG551AP CG5010 CG5011 DF1 DF2 DM5010 MI5010 SI5010 PS5004 PS5010 SG5010