Acorn Electron

The Acorn Electron Is 40!

Last Updated on August 26, 2023

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of a very important British computer. The Acorn Electron celebrated its 40th birthday on August 25th, ,marking four decades since its release at an astonishing £199, around £700 in modern terms.

(For comparison, a Commodore 64 in 1983 would set you back around £300.)

Personally, I never owned an Acorn Electron, although in my search for an affordable BBC Micro alternative, I did consider one. These days, you can grab a used Acorn Electron on eBay for under £100. Over 200,000 of these devices were sold, all with the same Machine Operating System (MOS) as the BBC Micro series.

Conceived as a competitor to the ZX Spectrum, the Acorn Electron shipped with a cassette player/recorder for data storage, and featured a 2MHz processor with 32 KB RAM and 32 KB ROM.

The legacy of the Acorn isn’t as considerable as the BBC Micro, despite being a very similar system. Ultimately, following various revisions and expansions, it was retired in favour of the Archimedes (a system I have fond memories of). You may know that this system featured RISC OS and was the first 32-bit ARM computer (although BBC Micros had early ARM processors).

So, while the Electron might have been a budget alternative to the BBC Micro, it shares its legacy. Happy birthday, Acorn Electron!

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