My new picaxe is faster than my first computer...


New Member
I was just chatting about "the old days" of computing with the wife, and realized my new 40X can be run faster than my first computer. (and can probably be made just as functional!)

Just a musing really. This post honestly has no purpose.

The good ole Tandy SXsomethinorother was "turbo-able" between 4 and 8 mhz. The 40X can be run at 16mhz.

With a total of 2 or 3 chips (the picaxe and a 24lc512 or two) it has more memory. The tandy had like 50+ chips in it.

Built in serial, and enough I/O for a parallel port. Tandy had neither, but had an I/O "card" I think. (or it may have been built in, dont remember).

The tandy was text only. Some graphics, but not by a whole heck of alot (ascii art and all). The picaxe isn't too far off what using a terminal or an LCD, and the LCD's can be colored...the tandy was not.

The tandy had a disk drive though. 5.25". So I guess that's a point for the tandy.

The Tandy was like ~30 pounds and took up 3 square feet or so. The picaxe with periferals could fit on a 3"x5" board, and weigh about a pound.

All in all, keeping score, it seems the picaxe is better than the tandy, and cost $1983 dollars less!

Ok, I'm done. sorry ;)

--Andy P


Technical Support
Staff member
It's an interesting comparison, as is going back to comparing with what was used to get a man to the moon. And no reflection on what we have now can pass without noting the prediction of Thomas Watson, head of IBM in 1943, that, "I think there is a world market for as many as 5 computers", and Ken Olsen's view that, "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home", and that was a recent as 1977.

The "PICAXE is faster than a Tandy" claim deserves a little scrutiny. A PICAXE interpreting a Basic program is probably as quick or quicker than a Tandy interpreting the same, but the Tandy probably has alternative programming methods ( compilation / using assembler code ) which would allow it to execute programs maybe 100 times quicker, and with its extra resources, many things the Tandy Basic interpreter supported would take longer to do on the PICAXE.

I am however just being a little picky; your comparison does demonstrate the wonderful, cheap and powerful devices we have access to now.


Senior Member
Dont forget that a 16Mhz crystal only produces a 4MIPS instruction speed. It takes 4 'oscillations' of the crystal to do each instruction, and in a picaxe it takes many instruction cycles to complete one 'command'. But a comparison to a high end PIC would be 'correct' ;) hehe