Dragon 32/64

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The Dragon 32 and Dragon 64 are home computers that were built in the 1980s. The Dragons are very similar to the TRS-80 Color Computer (CoCo), and were produced for the European market by Dragon Data, Ltd., in Port Talbot, Wales, and for the US market by Tano of New Orleans, Louisiana. The model numbers reflect the primary difference between the two machines, which have 32 and 64 kilobytes of RAM, respectively.

Contents

Product history

In the early 1980s, the British home computer market was booming. New machines were released almost monthly. In August 1982, Dragon Data joined the fray with the Dragon 32; the Dragon 64 followed a year later. The computers sold quite well initially and attracted the interest of several independent software developers, most notably Microdeal. A magazine, Dragon User also began publication shortly after the machine's launch.

In the private home computer market, where games were a significant driver, the Dragon suffered due to its graphical capabilities, which were inferior to contemporary machines such as the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64.[1]

The Dragon was also unable to display lower-case letters easily. Some more sophisticated applications would synthesise them using high-resolution graphics modes (in the same way that user-defined characters would be designed for purely graphical applications such as games). Simpler programs just managed without lower case. This effectively locked it out of the then-blooming educational market.[1]

As a result of these limitations, the Dragon was not a commercial success, and Dragon Data collapsed in June 1984.

Technical notes

Hardware and peripherals

The Dragon is built around the Motorola MC6809E processor running at 0.89 MHz. This was an advanced 8-bit CPU design, having, among other things, limited 16-bit capabilities. In terms of raw computational power, the Dragon beat most of its contemporary rivals based on the older MOS Technology 6502, but this made little difference in a market where graphical capabilities and games were much more important to consumers.

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