Gold Computer GD-722

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Myoth

15 Sep 2018, 20:27

It's finally time I showcase and document this keyboard. A little backstory before doing so : I received this keyboard as part of a trade, I knew it had Blue Alps and good keycaps, but I wasn't sure what to expect of the rest. The pictures of this keyboard I was show made it look like it hadn't the best quality we've seen, far from it, the solder points looked suspicious. So yeah, I thought it was going to be a Chicony type of keyboard which would flex and would bend all over the place. Little did I know I was wrong, and here's why :

The first thing I noticed about this keyboard was the stepped bottom row, I love stepped caps and I wish to see them EVERYWHERE. Please, keycap set makers, include as much stepped keycaps as you can, bottom row, shift, ISO enter, caps lock, whatever, just put them. Anyway, when I grabbed the keyboard and was reassembling it (it was shipped with the keycaps taken off of it, which should become a standard :!)

One of the first things I noticed was how much the mods and the numpad had legends reminiscent of Cherry's. I like this because I just simply love OG Cherry.

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It has got quite the regular old keyboard look.

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The back doesn't mention any Model not any company, just ...

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This is one of the things I like the most about this keyboard, I love that detail ! It doesn't change anything about the keyboard, it's just a very subtle quirk.

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Keyboard's foot, one of the two (obviously).

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XT/AT switch

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The keyboard's profile.

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Close up 1

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Close up 2

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Close up 3

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This is something that isn't that common so I wanted to point it out, the lock bank are usually NCS, but on this keyboard, it is CNS.

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Cute puppies, ain't they ?

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You can notice the difference in colour of the sliders Blue Alps are known for.

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Those Blue Alps have got Grey switchplates, I took a picture before anyone asked.

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Onto one VERY interesting aspect of this keyboard.

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This is the good stuff, I don't think I've ever seen such thick keycaps for a "modern" type of switch, the Devlin keycaps might be the closest, but OG Cherry and Alps Electric keycaps are straight out blown out of the water by these bad boys. Too bad these aren't as available. Here is a quickly taken picture comparing it to DCS and Alps Electric keycaps.
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You can clearly see how thick they truely are, they are boulders, how are they not activating the switches by themselves ??? :mrgreen:

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This is quite the profile, it looks quite High-Profile to be honest, and it is kind of rounded, not cylindrical though.

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This is the only information about the manufacture and the model I've found. It doesn't say much as Gold Computer might be the most generic company name ever :lol: I have to note though that this keyboard has NKRO which shoots it at the top of the quality spectrum.

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Brass screw insert :O

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I truly wonder what this is, I would have said it was for a speaker if there was holes for the sound to go out, but there isn't, so what could this be for ?

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14th week of 1985.

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Gold Star-made components.

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This is also something I wonder about, if the controller is the previously shown Nec D8039LC, what is this ? I'm not too knowledgeable on components and on electronics in general, so I might have the wrong idea of a keyboard needing only a single controller, bear with me


And finally, something that everyone should deserve once in their life time, a typing test :

Hak Foo

15 Sep 2018, 20:39

The second IC may be an EPROM, especially if there's a sticker intended to cover the die.

The controller date is surprisingly early for a 101-key layout. It could well have been a ROM-less controller that was older stock at the time, paired with a ROM written later to handle such a design.

User avatar
Myoth

15 Sep 2018, 20:58

Hak Foo wrote: The second IC may be an EPROM, especially if there's a sticker intended to cover the die.

The controller date is surprisingly early for a 101-key layout. It could well have been a ROM-less controller that was older stock at the time, paired with a ROM written later to handle such a design.
Thanks for the info ! it would make sense as a lot of feature are uncommon on such a modern keyboard, the lock bank is a good exemple of this, as well as the stepped bottom row

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Sangdrax

15 Sep 2018, 21:31

Damn, those caps are like looking at old Honeywells or Futabas.

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Hypersphere

15 Sep 2018, 21:44

Thanks for sharing this. Very interesting mix of components.

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//gainsborough
ALPSの日常

15 Sep 2018, 22:03

This board is so cool. Sounds awesome, looks awesome, has badass keycaps - what's not to love here? Congrats, dude!

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Polecat

15 Sep 2018, 22:15

Myoth wrote:
I truly wonder what this is, I would have said it was for a speaker if there was holes for the sound to go out, but there isn't, so what could this be for ?
...

This is also something I wonder about, if the controller is the previously shown Nec D8039LC, what is this ? I'm not too knowledgeable on components and on electronics in general, so I might have the wrong idea of a keyboard needing only a single controller, bear with me
Nice find, thanks for sharing!

The round socket was probably for a piezo transducer. Depending on what it was connected to it could have beeped or clicked, either as feedback for a keypress, or as a "bell" (Teletype term) to signal the operator. Yes, I'm dating myself; don't tell my wife! A piezo probably wouldn't have been used on a PC keyboard (although I think some early Zeniths had one). More likely the same case was also used for a terminal application.

The 2763 IC is definitely an EPROM. As keyboards got cheaper and more mass produced the ROM was more likely to be uh, integrated into the controller. The folks who weren't there at the time really have no idea how the computer industry exploded. In just a few years it went from thousands of computers being sold in a year to millions. So the early keyboards are literally thousands of times rarer than what came later. And of course the early stuff was more primitive, (usually) better built, and much more expensive. The separate EPROM was probably used because they didn't build enough of these to justify a dedicated controller.
Attachments
piezo.jpg
Piezo transducer
piezo.jpg (16.68 KiB) Viewed 990 times

User avatar
Myoth

15 Sep 2018, 22:40

Thanks everyone !
Polecat wrote:
Myoth wrote:
I truly wonder what this is, I would have said it was for a speaker if there was holes for the sound to go out, but there isn't, so what could this be for ?
...

This is also something I wonder about, if the controller is the previously shown Nec D8039LC, what is this ? I'm not too knowledgeable on components and on electronics in general, so I might have the wrong idea of a keyboard needing only a single controller, bear with me
Nice find, thanks for sharing!

The round socket was probably for a piezo transducer. Depending on what it was connected to it could have beeped or clicked, either as feedback for a keypress, or as a "bell" (Teletype term) to signal the operator. Yes, I'm dating myself; don't tell my wife! A piezo probably wouldn't have been used on a PC keyboard (although I think some early Zeniths had one). More likely the same case was also used for a terminal application.

The 2763 IC is definitely an EPROM. As keyboards got cheaper and more mass produced the ROM was more likely to be uh, integrated into the controller. The folks who weren't there at the time really have no idea how the computer industry exploded. In just a few years it went from thousands of computers being sold in a year to millions. So the early keyboards are literally thousands of times rarer than what came later. And of course the early stuff was more primitive, (usually) better built, and much more expensive. The separate EPROM was probably used because they didn't build enough of these to justify a dedicated controller.
I see, interesting to see that an EPROM means that they didn't build enough of them to justify a dedicated controller, but that enough were made to be made into a terminal version. There is so little information in this keyboard, I truly wonder where it came from, and what kind if terminal is was used with. I have so many questions about it now hahaha. I really am glad I got to learn that it was an EPROM, I feel like it makes this keyboard special since it's from the PC-era but something that was used earlier. that mix of technology is very intriguing !

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Myoth

15 Sep 2018, 22:51

I think that Gold Computer Co., Ltd is actually Gold Star, which would explain why such components are on that pcb. Now that I may have the brand, I may be able to find more info.

why do you think so you may ask, well searching Gold Computer Co., Ltd only gives results about Gold Star, though there is a huge chance that this is just a coincidence or an algorhythm-related since both company check specific products...

User avatar
Polecat

15 Sep 2018, 22:59

Myoth wrote: Thanks everyone !

I see, interesting to see that an EPROM means that they didn't build enough of them to justify a dedicated controller, but that enough were made to be made into a terminal version. There is so little information in this keyboard, I truly wonder where it came from, and what kind if terminal is was used with. I have so many questions about it now hahaha. I really am glad I got to learn that it was an EPROM, I feel like it makes this keyboard special since it's from the PC-era but something that was used earlier. that mix of technology is very intriguing !
The big arrows suggest Datacomp. It reminds me of a Monterey K103, but it's not quite the same. The terminal thing is just a guess, but that was a more common place to find a beeper or "bell" than a PC keyboard.
Attachments
k103.jpg
Monterey/Mtek K103
k103.jpg (171.25 KiB) Viewed 971 times

User avatar
Myoth

15 Sep 2018, 23:33

This is true, it does look a lot like this Monterey K103, even more so when the profile seems to be the same as Monterey and Zenith keyboards. The lock light sticker is even very similar. Which confuses me even more, I have no idea where to get inofrmation from this keyboard and there are so many hints, it's overwhelming in a sense.

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Half-Saint

20 Sep 2018, 20:22

The space bar is on backwards? :-)

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