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IMSAI 8080

The IMSAI 8080 was arguably the first personal computer clone!

Closeup view of the IMSAI 8080

Closeup view of the IMSAI 8080

With the large and growing success of the MITS Altair 8800 early in 1975, IMS Associates, Inc. of San Leandro, California was able to capitalize on its success with an improved copy. Like the Altair computer, the IMSAI utilized the S-100 bus, Intel 8080 microprocessor and a front panel with LEDs and switches. You could utilize the switches to read and write to memory locations, single step the CPU, or even stop it. The LEDs would blink according to the values inside the address and data buses. The IMSAI 8080 could run all of the same programming instructions, and later software, when it became available. IMS Associates improved just about every aspect of the Altair’s design, with a higher specification power supply, an anodized aluminum chassis, more S-100 expansion slots and a better front panel with superior paddle switches.

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