Agate 9 is Apple's Soviet answer. Part one

    Today I would like to talk about another computer in my home collection, namely the AGAT-9 personal computer.

    This 8-bit personal computer was developed at the Scientific Research Institute of Computing Complexes of the USSR (NIIVK). Development was conducted in 1981-1983 under the leadership of the chief designer Anatoly Fedorovich Ioffe. And as always, the foreign-made computer was taken as the basis - the American school computer Apple II.
    The AGAT PC has been mass-produced since 1984 and was first presented at the CeBit 84 exhibition. The last AGAT computer series was released in 1993, and, according to information from various sources, in some schools the use of Agates in the educational process continued until at least 2001.

    The AGAT PC was produced in several modifications. Depending on the configuration and design solutions, several modifications are provided: AGAT-4, AGAT-7, AGAT-8, AGAT-9.

    AGAT-4 was released as a small experimental batch and quickly went out of use. AGAT-7 lasted a little longer, which differed from its progenitor by a large amount of memory, the presence of HMD and other minor improvements. The crown of the creation of domestic manufacturers was AGAT-9, which had an improved memory management system, additional graphics display modes, and, most importantly, had quite satisfactory compatibility with the computer software Apple II + 64 K.

    The core of the AGATA software was the BASIC programming system based on Apple DOS 3.3 and the Applesoft BASIC interpreter. The first software packages for the Agat PC were the Agat-Author text preparation system and the Numerical modeling system, which is an adaptation and extension of the VisiCalc program. And one of the first gaming programs was a program for playing chess ("Anacephal 1") and checkers. Subsequently, the amount of software for AGAT computers has reached enormous proportions - database management systems, graphic editors for different graphic modes, new text preparation systems, and, of course, training programs have been developed. In addition to its own developments, programs and games running on the Apple II computer were adapted for the AGAT computer.

    AGAT computers were equipped with school classrooms. For the training of schoolchildren, the Shkolnitsa software package was used, as well as a fully functional operating system based on the RAPIRA language interpreter. The cost of a class of educational computing equipment (KUVT) of 12 or 16 AGAT computers, including one teacher’s computer (which was usually equipped with a printer, and sometimes with an increased memory), amounted to 50–65 thousand rubles. image
    Image source:

    Technical characteristics of the AGAT-9 PC.

    • CPU: 6502
    • Bit: 8 bit
    • Clock frequency: 1 MHz
    • Productivity: 500 thousand operations / s
    • RAM capacity: 128 Kb (expandable up to 640 Kb)
    • External memory: 840 Kb - HDD, 140 Kb - HDD, NML (household tape recorder) - MK-60 cassette
    • Monitor: MS6105 color "Electronics 32ВТЦ 201"
    • Information display modes:
      - text: 32x32, 8 colors, 64x32, 40x24 (monochrome)
      - graphic: 512x256, 256x256 (monochrome), 256x256, 4 colors out of 16 possible (4 palettes), 128x128, 16 colors, 280x192, 6 colors
    • Keyboard: external, 74 keys
    • Printer: D100 (Poland); CTI CPA-80, CPF-H80 (Japan); Epson FX-85, FX-800, LX-800 (Japan); SM6337, MS6313 (USSR)
    • The package included two gaming consoles
    • There are 6 connectors for installing expansion modules
    • Dimensions (without external devices): 500x351x195 mm
    • Weight (without external devices): 9 kg
    • Power Consumption (without external devices): 60 W

    The AGAT computer uses a 6502 processor, which was also used (in addition to Apple II) in Pravets 8 computers , 8-bit Atari game consoles , and Dendy . Also, under the control of the 6502 processor, the Bender robot works - the character of the animated series Futurama ( proof ).

    Peripherals and expansion cards.

    A number of expansion cards and options have been developed for Agate. The developments were carried out both by the NIIIVK engineers and other enterprises, as well as by private individuals. Below is a list of some products:

    • Local Area Network Module (NIIIVK). Designed to create local networks based on PC Agat-7 and Agat-9. A peer-to-peer network is provided for up to 127 subscribers (Agat-7 and Agat-9 personal computers) at a distance of up to 1000 m, with a transmission speed of up to 62 kbaud.
    • Module “Joint-2” (NIIVK). Software and hardware for inter-machine communication via RS-232 interface (“JOINT C2”).
    • NGMD controller board Card-93 (NTK Sprite). Built on the basis of the IS 1818VG93 (WD1793), it allowed reading floppy disks recorded on the computers DVK, PC, Spectrum.
    • Hard disk controller (NTK "Sprite"). Built on the basis of the IS 1809VG7 (i82062), designed to work with MFM type hard drives. Work with the HDD was supported by: “Sprite-OS”, OS of the local area network (IKP-1), KPON (“Schoolgirl”, “Agat-author”, BASIC).
    • Payment "Nippel Clock Card" ("Nipple"). Built on the basis of the IP 512VI1 (MC146818), it includes a lithium battery. Provides a continuous countdown and non-volatile storage of parameters (analogue "CMOS" IBM PC);
    • Manipulators "mouse". The manipulators UVK-01 “Martian” and MM8031 were connected from the “Corvette” personal computer. Using a board based on the 1816BE35 microcontroller, PC mice (NTK Sprite) could be connected. Mouse control was supported by a number of software products, including graphic editors: “Markis”, “MouseGraf”;
    • Modem AM1200. A telephone modem that provides communication between a PC Agate or PC. The exchange rate is 1200 baud. The modem’s package includes a program for exchanging messages between users of Agates in the “Chat” mode;
    • Light pen "Agate pointer." Designed to provide a pointing function when equipping an Agat PC with a large demonstration monitor.

    Photos of various expansion boards, drives and blocks of the AGAT PC (including motherboards of various modifications and external interface modules) can be found on the website

    Appearance and internal structure.

    The computer case AGAT-9 is made of plastic. On the front panel there are compartments for two drives: the upper compartment is designed to install a regular hard drive on 840Kb, and the bottom - for a wide drive 140Kb. The 140Kb drive is not installed on this computer.

    On the back wall there are connectors for connecting a keyboard, a black-and-white and color monitor, a tape connector and a remote control connector. Six slots for expansion cards and a power button are located there. Expansion cards are fixed with a special plastic plate screwed with four screws to the metal frame of the case.

    A dynamic head is attached to the upper case cover.

    Remove the plastic pad and take out the controllers.

    This is how the HDD controller looks like.

    And this is the printer port controller.

    We remove the basket for drives. At the same time, you can remove all the plastic parts of the case, leaving only one metal frame.

    HMD basket with installed 840Kb drive.

    Power Supply.


    Bender's Brains Processor SCL 6502. Made in India!

    The memory is typed by KR565RU5 microcircuits.

    Unpresentable kind of keyboard. But it works.

    We will also disassemble the keyboard. Inside there is little logic and enough dust.


    Now we collect everything to its original state and turn on the computer.

    Floppy disk images with OS and software.

    Unfortunately, I got AGAT-9 without floppy disks with the operating system. Since there is no hard disk, Agatha simply has nothing to boot from, so all that can be observed on my machine is the inscription AGAT-9 at the top of the monitor.

    Despite the fact that the Internet is full of floppy disk images for AGATA with all kinds of software, it is not possible to record them using a drive on a regular PC, due to technical features. However, there are two possible ways to record an image of a floppy disk on the AGAT itself by connecting it to a personal computer.

    The first method is described here., but it didn’t suit me, because for its work you need a loaded OS with BASIC on the AGAT computer, or at least “Assembler” from the IKP.

    The second method, called by the author the HDD-PC Bridge or Link N 2 , allows you to read and write Agate diskettes to a PC without a live "Agate", using only its standard 800kb controller and drive.

    The HMMD-PC bridge is a hardware-software device connected to the parallel port of a personal computer and allows transferring data between the PC and the Agate drive controller at a speed of about 140 kb / s. HMD-PC BridgeIt is built on the basis of the ATmega16 controller operating at a frequency of 14.3 MHz, in addition to it there are several TTL circuits on the board that form a clock generator close to the original Agate generator.

    Unfortunately, I was not able to repeat this device, so I will be very grateful to those people who can write floppy disks with the AGAT-9 operating system for me.

    If a miracle happens, and the OS floppy disks are in my hands, the second part of the post about the Soviet AGAT-9 personal computer will follow, including an overview of the system and application software, as well as computer games running on this machine.

    Thanks for attention!

    Literature on the topic.

    Also popular now: