Kaypro II
Released:1982
Price:US $1595.
Weight:26 lbs
CPU:Zilog Z80, 2.5 MHz
RAM:64K
Display:9" green phosphor screen.
24 X 80 text only
Ports:Serial port
Parallel port
Storage:Two internal 5-1/4"
SS-DD 195K drives
OS:CP/M, SBASIC




The Kaypro II was the first computer released by Non-Linear Systems, in 1982. Non-Linear Systems was founded by Andy Kay in 1952. But they didn't make computers back then, they made digital multimeters. You see, Andy Kay is the inventor of the digital multimeter.




The Kaypro II is unusual because the entire case is made out of metal. Kaypro's computers were an extension of their test instrument design philosophy: rugged, reliable, reasonably priced, looking more like instruments than the creative, communications (and business) tools that they really are.

The Kaypro II is not the first portable full-size computer, that would be the Osborne 1, with its all-plastic case.

With the entire case of the Kaypro II being metal, it is probably heavier than it has to be, and the sharp metal corners are hard on the knees, if you actually decide to carry it anyplace.

On the plus side, the 9" screen on the Kaypro is a distinct advantage over the Osborne's tiny 5" screen.

In 1983, they split-off the computer division, naming it Kaypro Computers. They were soon shipping 10,000 Kaypro II computers a month.

Over the next four years, they released the Kaypro 10, IV, 4, 2, 2X, Robie, 4X, 12X, 16, 2000, and Kaypro 1, in pretty much that order.

Most of their computers were based on the Z-80 microprocessor and ran the CP/M operating system up until 1986 or so. By that time, MS-DOS was taking over the world. Kaypro Computers made a few more systems, but couldn't compete. They filed for bankruptcy in 1990.


Soon after the Kaypro II was released, BYTE magazine published a review of the system, on September 1983.

Arthur C. Clarke lived in Sri Lanka while working on the movie version of his science-fiction novel "2010". He used his Kaypro II and a modem to keep in touch with Peter Hyams (the director) in Los Angeles. Read more about it at The Arthur C. Clarke Chapter of The Silicon Jungle.

Related Links

  • Kaypro 2 at PC Museum
  • Kaypro II at Obsolete Computer Museum


  • History of Kaypro Computers

    • 1952: Andrew Kay founds Non-Linear systems, the first manufacturer of digital voltmeters.
    • 1982: March - Non-Linear Systems introduces the Kaypro II for US$1795.
    • 1982: Non-Linear Systems shows the prototype Kaypro 5, with 5 MB hard drive.
    • 1982: Computer sales quickly $120 million.
    • 1983: June - Non-Linear Systems introduces the Kaypro 4, like the Kaypro II but with 380KB double-sided disk drives. Price is US$1995.
    • 1983: June - Non-Linear Systems introduces the Kaypro 10, like the Kaypro 4 but with one 380KB double-sided disk drive and a 10-MB internal hard drive. Price is US$2795. Weight is 31 pounds.
    • 1983: July - Non-Linear Systems changes its company name to Kaypro Corporation.
    • 1983: Kaypro was rated the 5th largest personal computer manufacturer in the world.
    • 1990: March - Kaypro Corporation files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
    • 1992: June - Kaypro Corporation files for Chapter 7 liquidation to satisfy some $20 million in claims.
    • 1995: Kaypro property sold for $2.7 million.
      Source: Chronology of Events in the History of Microcomputers





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