The manual supplied is rather sparse. It tells you how to
set up the board and the principles behind how you get it to
work but it leaves you to the
data book to give you a
description of the different commands available and how to use
then. It doesn’t seen quite the right way about doing things but
it does give you all the facts that you need to make the board
work and stare to earn some of it’s worth.
The machine code programmer should find this board very easy
to get along with and easy to use. For those of you who would
want to use it in an applications type environment, Hisoft
in CP/M format is supplied (but not with my review board because
a) the Pascal was not availbale and b) I haven’t got access to
Using the processor from a high-level language will either
require patching in the required routines or tansferring
everything to machine code calls (USR). If the board is
successful, I would imagine that patches for most commonly used
high-level languages will be published. If, however, you need to
use USRs, the speed gain by the processor will probably be lost
in setting up the entry point and parameters.
In conclusion then, the
board is a nice complement
to the Nascom computer. A system comprising of a graphics card
or other) plus the processor board should be capable of
some quite impressive feats. It is a rather expensive board but
if you want the arithmetic capability of the 9511, you are
unlikely to get it much cheaper. Programming the processor is
very straight forward and most people should find it easy to get
to grips with. It does allow parallel processing to an extent
(the HSA-88B can be calculating while the Nascom Z80 is drawing)
but the addition of an interrupt facility would be very welcome.
I think that on the whole, this is the only point missing from a
very nice product.