As a youngster in 1994, I was the happy recipient of a V-Tech PreComputer ThinkBook.

The device had many built in games and activities, including a version of BASIC programming. It also had an expansion cartridge slot for additional activities - including a 'General Trivia 2' game that I had.

One cartridge I clearly remember seeing advertised for the device, but which I never owned, was a "32Kbyte Memory Expansion Cartridge".

While I can't find much info on the PreComputer ThinkBook directly, it seems incredibly similar to the V-Tech PreComputer 2000, which according to Wikipedia, has a similar Memory Expansion Cartridge.

Super Memory Expander (Stock Code: 80-1531) - 32Kbyte memory upgrade for BASIC programs

So any answer applicable to that device was likely the same for my ThinkBook. So I am wondering - what exactly did the memory upgrade do? How did adding 32k of memory improve upon the BASIC capabilities of the device?

What was the actual advantage to being able to write higher memory programs when the device didn't even have non-volatile storage? Unless perhaps the cartridge was non-volatile?

Did it provide any other functionality for the device?

So far I haven't been able to find an answer online, but I thought someone here perhaps had experience with the device / cartridge or similar.

  • 2
    "32Kbyte memory upgrade for BASIC programs" What it does is right in the name. It adds memory for BASIC programs. This means you can write larger BASIC programs before running out of memory.
    – Tim Locke
    Feb 6 at 0:28
  • 3
    Fair enough. But the device didn't even have any non-volatile storage, and erased programs on power off. I don't see the advantage of being able to write larger programs. Unless the cartridge itself provided some non-volatile storage?
    – Tronman
    Feb 6 at 13:35
  • I don't see the advantage either.
    – Tim Locke
    Feb 6 at 22:44
  • 1
    If the BASIC was interpreted it might helped a lot as interpreters (at least from my ZX experience) used quite a lot of memory for its own purposes , then you need to store code (lower density then compiled stuff) and then variables, heap stack so for example biggest BASIC program I saw was Zednik ma Zizen game around 40995 BYTES of BASIC code tape file on 48K RAM AX and in order to work it needed to use code packing techniques and be very conservative about variables ... normal BASIC programs would usually fail with half of that size
    – Spektre
    Feb 7 at 7:22


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