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1980s Computers Explanation of terms

The Enterprise



Enterprise Computers (UK)


(Previously known as the Elan or Flan)

Date Launched

January 1985 but not fully available until May



Microprocessor type

Zilog Z80A @ 4 MHz

ROM size

32 kilobytes

Standard RAM

64 kilobytes

Maximum RAM

3.9 Megabytes claimed (using external expansion box)

Keyboard type

Typewriter style though with poor feel.
Featured an integral joystick for cursor control.

Supplied language

Structured BASIC (on cartridge)

Text resolution

40 x 24 characters on TV
80 x 24 when using a monitor

Graphics resolution

Up to 672 x 512 pixels

Colours available

2, 4, 16 or 256
The display could be divided into separate 'windows' with different resolutions and numbers of colours. This meant all 256 colours were available even at maximum resolution but only in a small area of the screen due to memory limitations.


3 channels in stereo through internal speaker

Cassette load speed

Not known
Connections for two cassette recorders

Dimensions (mm)
Weight (grams)

395 x 250 x 38

Special features

Had a word processor built into the ROM and booted into this if no BASIC cartridge was inserted.

Good points

Very high resolution graphics using custom controller chip.
Dynamic paged memory allowed much more than the Z80A's normal limit of 64KB of RAM to be used.
Expansion ports for 2 more joysticks, parallel printer, RS423 and network.

Bad points

Keyboard was only adequate.
Appearance was rather toy-like.
Never attracted a great deal of software.

How successful?

Despite the impressive specification the Enterprise failed to sell in large numbers against the established competition.
About 80,000 were made.


The Enterprise was a very desirable machine when it was first announced in September 1983; it still outshone most of the competition when it finally arrived in May 1985.
Unfortunately the 8-bit home computer market was pretty much closed to new designs by this time. Customers wanted either existing designs with a wide software base, or the new and more powerful 16-bit computers (Sinclair QL, Atari ST).
Had the Enterprise been launched when first announced it would have been a real rival to the BBC B and Commodore 64 but in the event it largely missed the home computer boom.
Read more in this review.

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