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1980s Computers Explanation of terms

The Oric Atmos

Oric Atmos


Oric Products (UK)



Date Launched

January 1984


(Owners of the Oric 1 could upgrade it to an Atmos for £50.)

Microprocessor type

MOSTEK 6502A @ 1 MHz

ROM size

16 kilobytes

Standard RAM

48 kilobytes

Maximum RAM

64 kilobytes

Keyboard type

Good quality typewriter style

Supplied language

Extended Microsoft BASIC

Text resolution

40 x 28 characters

Graphics resolution

240 x 200 pixels
Plus 3 text lines at the bottom.

Colours available

The Atmos used a peculiar system of 'serial attributes', similar to teletext, to control colours. This took up less memory than more normal designs but made programming trickier.


Three note polyphonic, output through speaker

Cassette load speed

300 or 2400 baud

Dimensions (mm)
Weight (grams)

280 x 175 x 52

Special features

Eye-catching styling

Good points

Excellent keyboard
Built-in printer port

Bad points

Cassette loading was better than on the Oric 1 but still not fully reliable, especially with the original V1.1 ROM..
No longer had a clear price advantage over its rivals.

How successful?

Not as popular as it could have been, though like the Oric 1 the Atmos sold quite well in France, probably around 100,000 units.
The Atmos was launched as the home computer market was saturating and lacked the large software base of established competitors like the Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore 64.


A matching four colour pen plotter and 3 inch disc drive were available.
The Oric Atmos was essentially the Oric 1 with a better keyboard and most of the bugs removed.
Theoretically the Atmos was superior to its arch rival the Spectrum and had the Atmos been launched at the beginning of 1983, rather than the flawed Oric 1, it could have been one of the topselling micros.
As it was it arrived too late to make a real impression.
Review of the Atmos

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