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Posted on June 17th, 2011 by Mike Jennings

The 8-bit computer that’s been built by hand

Duo Adept

Us tech folk take pride in building our own computers, but these days it’s easy, isn’t it? As long as you’ve got a motherboard with the right socket and the right type of memory, you’re good to go: lock down the processor, snap in the RAM, pop in the graphics card and plug in the hard disk. Voila, a computer.

Not everyone follows this traditional route, though. Programming enthusiast Jack Eisenmann has constructed his own PC from scratch using TTL chips and, presumably, plenty of patience.

He’s dubbed it the DUO Adept, and it comes with a specification that won’t exactly trouble our fastest machines: 64KB of main memory, 256 bytes of RAM and, in total, 263 lines of code.

It’s remarkable what can be done with such a relatively simple machine. His demonstration video, which we’ve included below, shows off Eisenmann’s homemade OS – programmed using a binary interface – and a simple game that he’s written himself.

He’s even managed to put it into a see-through chassis although, when compared with most of the cases we’re used to seeing, it’s a little simple. Still, there’s one question that needs to be answered about the DUO Adept – can it run Crysis?

Pictures and video courtesy of Jack Eisenmann.

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9 Responses to “ The 8-bit computer that’s been built by hand ”

  1. james Says:
    June 18th, 2011 at 2:22 am

    i love how you have to reset the CPU before the machine comes up – old school! :D

  2. Safwan Says:
    June 18th, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Good Hobbyist project which i would have loved to do myself if i knew how to code. :( ((

  3. ChrisTheProcessor Says:
    June 18th, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Wow. wow. Have I said it enough, wordpress?

  4. John Wiley Says:
    June 19th, 2011 at 1:22 am

    I love it! It runs just like my old Timex Sinclair with the 16K
    memory addition module.
    It may have been fun hobby for Jack Eisemamm, but no way I could have done this.
    Kudo’s Jack!

  5. Francis King Says:
    June 20th, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I built a computer, in a slightly different way. Z80A processor, 256 bytes of memory, hex switches to load the code, and RESET to run, HALT to stop. No operating system at all. It worked, mostly.

  6. John Greythorne Says:
    June 21st, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Looks too much like a Dud Adept running “DUD OS”. Otherwise impressive.

  7. Alan Says:
    June 23rd, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Computing and TTL electronics are not that old so there will be many readers who remember this process themselves. What is impressive is the fact that someone of the era of off-the-shelf solutions has taken the time to understand the basics to get this project to work. When I think of the issues we had over timing, bus loading etc. Jack has done a superb job that many of his peers would not have known where to start.

    My 1st programs were done in assembly language with an occasional drop down to the machine code for optimisation and not a compiler in sight.

  8. Gindylow Says:
    June 23rd, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    This guy should get a whole department assigned to him at Microsoft and given the money to create Windows “10″ in Binary…

  9. Tom Says:
    June 23rd, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    No, no, no. The real question is “Can it run DOOM?”


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