Master Compact

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The Master Compact was added to the Master Series in 1986, not long after the release of the Master 128. Essentially it aimed to redress the impression of many home users of the BBC Micro as a prohibitively professional (and prohibitively expensive) computer by targeting the home market. The Compact was supplied complete with 3½" disc drive and monitor so as to make a ready-to-go home computer package.

MasterCompact.jpg BBC Master with Microvitec Cub monitor

Many features were removed or changed in order to shrink the case to compact proportions and lower the cost. The ROM cartridge slots, Tube, 1Mhz bus, user port, RF output and cassette interface were removed, with the serial port relegated to an optional upgrade. Meanwhile the joystick, printer and disc connectors were changed to sockets incompatible with other BBC Micro peripherals. By default, the only supported filing system was ADFS.

Ultimately these changes were the Master Compact's undoing as the removal of the cassette and 5¼" floppy interfaces severely restricted the amount of existing software that could be used with the Compact, since 3½" floppies were still relatively new, more expensive and less common than the 5¼" discs associated with the rest of the Master Series. Consequently the Master Compact was not as popular as the rest of the BBC Micro range and was not the success that Acorn had hoped.