ROMBO ROMboard (Popular Computing Weekly)La ROMboard
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High standards

Ask BBC owners about ROM software and they will doubtless wax lyrical. Similarly flick through any BBC specific magazine and you will find page after page of ROM software adverts - there must be something in it.

Amstrad recognised that potential of Roms when it designed the CPC range but felt it would probably only control peripherals, disc drives. RS232 boards, etc. so no internal sockets were provided. This also had the benefit of stopping people trying to open up the works.

As a result publishers of ROM software had an uphill struggle - people had to buy an expansion board before they could think about software and early models cost as much as £50! To see this new, colourfully named, Rombo board on sale at a much more reasonable £29.95 is an extremely welcome development.

I must confess I am a committed zealot -Rom software is invaluable. Obvious advantages are that the software is instantly available and that the whole of Ram is left free for data. An added benefit is that nobody goes to the effort of Romming a piece of duff software and standards are high.

The Rombo board is not only cheap, it's very well designed. In order to fit every CPC (with its notorious moving expansion bus), the board connects to the computer by a ribbon connector This also means that the board, in its sturdy box, can be placed to the side out of the way on either side of the monitor.

Without naming names some other boards that have tried the same thing have had teething troubles (they haven't worked) because for some totally incomprehensible technical reason, the CPC's can't handle long cable distances.

The biggest problem seems to occur with the DDI disc drive and Rombo gets round this by having a through bus next to the computer where the ribbon leaves. However, as an added luxury, there is a second expansion bus on the ROM board itself for less fussy add-ons. Regular readers may remember me gnashing my teeth at some light pens that provided no through bus for disc owners, the Rombo board has provided the perfect solution.

A second non-standard bus comes off the box which the company have used for developing and testing ROM software in a sideways Ram chip. A blurry circuit diagram for this is supplied or it will be sold tor £19.99. It can also be used for a ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) socket, invaluable if for some reason you have more than eight Roms and need to change some around frequently.

The Amstrad 464 only supports ROM numbers 0-7, with 0 being used for Basic and 7 for the disc interface. Other peripherals may use some of the intermediates limiting your options. The 664 and 6128 machines can support hundreds of the things so the Rombo board can be switched to act as numbers 8-15 if you wish .

Each individual ROM can be turned on or off by a series of small switches - a vast improvement over some boards that use little plastic links: not always supplied with the Roms and very easy to lose Unfortunately they are numbered 1 to 8. but confusingly correspond to either 0 to 7 or 8 to 15. The manual does warn you but it is easy to overlook. With that one exception the documentation is brief but a model of clarity. Essential information is large, and presented more than once.

The developer of this ROM board. Marcus Sharp, has made the claim that this is a "well made functional board at a reasonable price" and there is nothing I could say that would argue with that. A Midi interface and video digitiser are promised soon If they are of the same standard they will be very welcome.

Tony Kendle , PopularComputingWeekly860612

★ YEAR: 1986
★ PRICE: £29.95 + £1 p&p


» Rombo-8  Socket  Rom  Box    ENGLISHDATE: 2015-01-08
DL: 48 fois
TYPE: image
SIZE: 35Ko
NOTE: w427*h318

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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.