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1980s Computers Explanation of terms

The Spectravideo SV 318 & SV 328

SV 318
SV 318
SV 328
SV 328


Spectravideo Ltd (Japan)


SV 318 & SV 328

Date Launched

Early 1984?


SV 318 : £186
SV 328 : £262

Microprocessor type

Zilog Z80A @ 3.6 MHz

ROM size

32 kilobytes
(Expandable to 96 KB)

Standard RAM

SV 318 : 32 kilobytes
SV 328 : 80 kilobytes

Maximum RAM

144 kilobytes

Keyboard type

SV 318 : Rubber keys though with typewriter spacing. A built-in joystick to the right of the keyboard was used for cursor movement.
SV 328 : Typewriter quality with separate numeric pad.

Supplied language

Advanced Microsoft BASIC

Text resolution

Not known

Graphics resolution

256 x 192 pixels

Colours available



3 channels

Cassette load speed

Not known
Required a special cassette recorder costing £40.

Special features

Had 32 graphic sprites.

Good points

Graphics and sound were easy to use from BASIC.
Designed to take expansion cards.
SV 318 could be expanded to CP/M capability, SV 328 could run CP/M as supplied.

Bad points

Spectravideo expansion boxExpansion required a large and quite expensive extra box:

How successful?

Apparently never very popular.
It was not clear whether they were aimed at the games (SV 318) or business (SV 328) markets.


The SV 318 and SV 328 were essentially identical apart from the keyboard and the amount of standard RAM.

The SV 318 was in the same price range as the Commodore 64 and was better on paper than the Commodore model (apart from its rubber keys) but did not have the latter's huge software library.

In theory the SV 328 had much going for it but was probably just too expensive for the home market, and business computers were moving away from CP/M to DOS.

The SV 328 was almost compatible with the Japanese/Microsoft MSX standard. A later model, the SVI 728, was fully MSX compatible.

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