Price:US$275 (in kit form)
CPU:RCA CDP1802 @ 1.76MHz
Memory:2048 byte RAM, 512 byte ROM
Interface:16-key "hex" keypad
Display:composite video, 64x32 pixels
Ports:audio, video, cassette, parallel
Storage:optional external cassette
OS:RCA "CHIP-8" language

The COSMAC VIP is an elegant computer. Compact. Clean. Uncluttered.

RCA felt that a hobbyist computer should be low cost, easy to use, versatile, expandable, and, as soon as it is assembled, something the whole family could enjoy -- from the most serious hobbyist to the younger school-aged members of the family. The COSMAC VIP is that kind of a computer.

The VP-111 (COSMAC VIP) offers the major elements of a full microcomputer on a single PC board. Just add power and make connections to your video monitor or rf modulator and home TV, and you're ready to go. The ROM resident operating system and simple instructions enable you to start programming immediately.

You can use CDP1802 microprocessor machine language, or enter the interpreter program to use the simple CHIP-8 programming language provided. CHIP-8 contains 31 easy-to-understand instructions which are ideally suited for use with video displays.

An on-board interface for all CDP1802 microprocessor lines, on-board provisions for an I/O interface, or the many expansion options available enable the serious hobbyist to go on to color displays, music, system prototyping, control functions, and other applications.

Expansion options include:
VP-114 - on-board 4096 byte RAM expansion
VP-550 - super sound board
VP-560 - EPROM board
VP-565 - EPROM programmer board
VP-570 - 4K RAM expansion board
VP-580 - expansion keyboard
VP-590 - color board
VP-595 - simple sound board
VP-700 - Tiny BASIC ROM board
VP-711 - the VP-111 (VIP) with a nice blue plastic shell

There were a number of other early, simple, computers based on the popular RCA 1802 "COSMAC" (COmplementary-Symmetry Monolithic-Array Computer) central processor chip.
These include the RCA COSMAC ELF (an earlier kit), COSMAC VIP, Netronics ELF, and Quest SuperELF. But that's not all - the processor was also utilized by NASA on it's Galileo space probes, as the 1802 was fabricated in "Silicon on Sapphire" (SOS), giving it radiation and static resistance, required for space operation.

Related Links

  • cosmacelf.com
  • RCA-1802 CPU from The Antique Chip Collector's Page
  • First Philadelphia Computer Music Festival
  • VIP manual

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