4051

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Tek 4051 front 01.jpg

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.

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.

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