Eagle Business Computer

1982 Eagle E II

Eagle Computer, Inc., was an early American computer company based in Los Gatos, California. Spun off from Audio-Visual Laboratories (AVL), it first sold a line of popular CP/M computers which were highly praised in the computer magazines of the day. After the IBM PC was launched, Eagle produced the Eagle 1600 series, which ran MS-DOS but were not true clones. When it became evident that the buying public wanted actual clones of the IBM PC, even if a non-clone had better features, Eagle responded with a line of clones, including a portable. The Eagle PCs were always rated highly in computer magazines.

All CP/M Eagles had the same basic design, except for the storage devices. The exception was a portable model, in which the keyboard formed a removable lid that could be snapped to the main unit for traveling. An attractive off-white case held the entire computer. The top section had a green monochrome monitor on the left and one or two full-height storage devices stacked above the other on the right. An anti-glare screen was held in place against the front of the monitor, and the front of the top section was shut by a black plastic bezel. This bezel snapped into place. The back of this section held a fan behind the drive enclosure and a silver label behind the monitor with the company logo, address, model number, serial number, voltage, frequency, and current.

The bottom section projected forward and had the keyboard and the system logo on its top. Inside this "clamshell" was the main circuit board, connected to the monitor, drives, keyboard, and ports by cables. A Xebec hard-disk controller card was underneath the main board and connected to it by cables. On the back of the clamshell was the reset button, two RS-232 serial ports labeled "Serial A" and "Serial B", a Centronics parallel port labeled "Parallel A", a SASI port labeled "Parallel B", the brightness knob for the monitor, and the on/off switch.

The keyboard was well-designed. The keys were black with white lettering. Besides a full typewriter keyboard, there was a complete ten-key number pad on the right, uncommon at that time. Labels on the front of the number keys of the typewriter keyboard, and all the keys of the number pad, denoted what function those keys performed in the command mode of the bundled Spellbinder software.

The CPU of the whole line was a 4 MHz Zilog Z80A, the standard microprocessor of the day. Memory was 64K, which was all the RAM that the standard CP/M 2.2 operating system could address with an 8-bit chip.