A 42-year-old Computer by PolyMorphic Systems

Emulated in MAME !

Information for the following ROM(s): poly88


Poly-88 © 1976 PolyMorphic Systems.


Poly-88 the Computer
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The Poly-88 board set consisted of the following:

CPU with an Intel 8080 chip, and an 8251 USART for serial communication to a modem, printer, or cassette tape interface. The cassette tape interface supported program storage and loading from consumer-grade cassette tape recorders, using either Kansas City standard or higher speed Manchester encoded signals. The board contained 512 bytes of RAM and one 1024-byte ROM.

Video Terminal Interface which produced a 16-line display of 64 characters per line. The VTI was intended to drive a television using an RF modulator, or to be connected directly to a TV monitor's composite video input (not commonly available in the 1970s). The VTI also displayed low-resolution graphics (today called text semigraphics). Each character position was divided into a grid 2 dots wide and 3 high, giving a graphics resolution of 128 horizontal and 48 vertical pixels, the same as the original TRS-80. A TTL-level, parallel keyboard interface was also included on the VTI. Several keyboards were available, including the Keyboard III which included a numeric keypad.

RAM cards were also available, with capacities ranging from 8,192 (8K) bytes up to 56K (the maximum supported in their system architecture). Since the systems were based on the S-100 bus, other manufacturers' memory card could be used in Poly systems as well.


With the release of their CPU card, PolyMorphic began selling complete systems. Their first was the Poly-88, housed in a 5-slot S100 chassis, with additional side-mounted S-100 connectors for the purpose of joining chassis together.

The Poly-88 was available in kit form, or assembled. It was originally called the Micro-Altair, but after objections from MITS, manufacturers of the Altair, the name was changed.

This unit earned the nickname 'orange toaster' due to its orange metal cover, and the fact that the S-100 cards generated noticeable heat.

Machine's bios.
Machine's picture.