22

Yes, there was a significant cost saving. For a start, Motorola charged us something like 30-40% less for the 68008 (I forget the exact amount, but it was substantial), because the price was so much lower than they were charging their other 68000 customers. Secondly, the pin count issue was key: for the custom chips, going anything over a 40 pin PDIP ...


14

By the time the QL was first designed (starting as a "ZX83" in early 1983), a full-blown 8MHz 68000 was not a mass-produced, cheap commodity item, but rather a pretty expensive beast to buy. Common computers that had it at the time were the Sage and Sun range of workstations, the most common, "mass-market" computer that featured it was ...


12

TL;DR: It was all about the incredible low price of 400 GBP. Outclassing any other 16 bit system (except for the TI 99/4) by at least a magnitude, on par or undercutting actual 8 bit machines as well. Every fraction of a penny saved was important. I've recently looked into the Sinclair QL [...] yet it is purely 8bit machine I'd say it's an 8 bit system ...


9

The tape was actually the same quality as used for VCR tape - according to the QL Service manual "high-quality video tape" was used. Other than the rotating heads in VCRs, however, Sinclair Microdrives use standard, two-track heads, apparently from some dictaphones. It's unlikely they deeply looked into compact cassette technology, given all these ...


6

As Uncle Bod already pointed out, the QL did not leave out Rubout (as Sinclair called it). It's just not printed at the keycap. CTRL+<-, a combination that seams quite logical to me, will work as expected. Having it as shifted function of on another key isn't as unusual as it seams. Already the ADM-3A did place RUB as SHIFT+-(*1), which in turn took the ...


4

(No definitive answer, just some thoughts) Tape size isn't a major indicator as custom size manufacturing isn't a big deal. Already the Exaton Stringy Floppy of 1978, which can be seen as predecessor, did use a 1.6 mm tape. Similar BSR's wafer drive, used in the Rotronics Wafadrive or the Quick Data Drive for Commodore computers (*1), which used, IIRC, as a ...


4

In complement to the other answers, never forget that in the 1980s memory was expensive. For a 16-bit system, the base memory and every expansion costs twice the price of an 8-bit system - perhaps £100 more at the time. This is a big reason why Intel sold so many 8088s (there were other cost savings in bus buffers and PCB). Motorola tried to follow suit with ...


2

The Sinclair QL has not (at least not very much besides the general cost-savy technical design and the Microdrives) been influenced a lot by ZX Spectrum computers - It's rather the other way round: ZX Spectrum Plus and Toastrack did pick up the Dickinson design of the QL computer. The QL introduced a "Standard line editor" that understands a lot ...


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