Hardware Feature #28
Name Manufacturer Price
Beta+ Disk Interface Technology Research 109.25 (+drive)

Beta+ Disk Interface

The following advert was taken from Sinclair User January 1985

betadisk.jpg (78742 bytes)

Spectrum Disk Interface. . . The Ultimate For The Spectrum Owner.

Spectrum owners ! Now you can upgrade your machine to take full advantage of the sheer speed and convenience of floppy disk operating.
Greater storage ! Faster access ! More operating flexibility !
Disk drives were specificaly designed for use with computers so programs and adata can be stored and accessed quickly and safely. Also a disk drive uses random access to get programs and data from any part
of the disk. The speed ? only a few seconds...

Upgrade now with this low cost Beta disk interface from Technology Research that uses only 128 bytes of Spectrum memory and gives you instant operating cabability with any disk drive that the BBC micro uses.

Each interface comes complete with a 5.25inch disk with utility programs already loaded. From the word go you can transfer the contents of one disk to another or make copies of individual programs or data to any other disk. There will be no problems with your upgrade to disk operation as the LOAD and SAVE commands work equally well with cassette or microdrive.

FEATURES:

EPROM disk operating system for ease of operation.
Available in single and double density.
Uses only 128 bytes of Spectrum Memory.
Compatible with 40 or 80 tracks, single or double sided disk drives.
Works equally well on 5.25, 3.5 or 3 inch disks.
Supports up to four drives.
BASIC program merge facility.
Duplicate Spectrum connector.
Uses Spectrum keywords.
Random access of data for fast operation.

 

The following review was taken from Sinclair User January 1985

Since we last reviewed the Beta disk system, it has undergone a number of improvements and is now the best selling interface on the market. It will accept 5.25 and 3inch drives in both 40 or 80 track format. Up to four drives can be attached, but each must have its own power supply that can cost around 30.00. The most popular 5.25 disks cost between 1.75 and 3.00 each. The amount of information they can hold will vary according to the drive used. The Beat divides each track into 16 sectors of 256 bytes per sector, so a 40 track disk gives 156k of storage. (alowing 1 track for the directoy) The speed again will vary, all drives spin at 300 rpm, five revolutions per second - but the time it takes to move from track to track will vary. The Beta takes between 6 and 48ms, this can be slower, as the interface allows a second delay for older belt-driven drives to spin up.
When connected, it lies flat from the back of the Spectrum and so is compatible with all full-sized keyboards, should you wish to upgrade. It has a pass through port that works with both the Kempston E printer interface and the Sinclair Interface 1.
On power up, you are greeted with a copyright message and then promtped to enter a password. This can be tricky if you forget your passwords, the best thing would be to set all yours to a simple enter key, so pressing enter will continue and allow access to your disks. You are now in DOS - Disk Operating System - and are presented with: A> to remind you that you are in the DOS and that the default drive which all commands will relate is the A, or number 1 drive. You can now enter any of the DOS commands directly, or press Y to exit back to BASIC. You can return to DOS at any time by simply entering RAND USR 15360.
The disk supplied comes with it own FORMAT and COPY utilities, each does what the name impplies. If you want to put all your favorite commercial programs on disc, then the Beta system is the one for you. The system occupies just 112 bytes of memory below the Basic program code; it also uses the printer buffer when loading code but when doing so it saves the buffer to disc, carries out the command, and then reloads the buffer.
The Beta system allows you to have 128 directory entries, giving more disk space than other systems such as the SPDOS from Watford Electronics

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