North Star was a well-regarded microcomputing pioneer that made a name for itself with its Horizon line of multi-user systems. Originally called Kentucky Fried Computers, the company chose a more businesslike name for itself as it grew (and perhaps to avoid the inevitable trademark lawsuit).
The Horizon was a hobbyist favorite because of its solid, reliable design. In fact, it’s common to find North Star components used in other S-100 systems. Purchasers could choose either a blue metal or finished wood enclosure. The North Star terminal was a relabeld Soroc IQ 120.
North Star labeled systems sold with the 16-bit coprocessing option as Advantage 8/16s.
North Star Horizon (1977, early micro)
Original Retail Price: $1,599 to $1,999 kit, $1,899 to $2,399 assembled
Base Configuration: 4MHz Z80A CPU, North Star DOS, 12 S-100 slots, 16K RAM (64K max), 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, RS-232C and parallel ports, BASIC
Video: 24-line x 80-column text, 480 x 250 graphics
Important Options: CP/M, second 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, terminal, parallel interface, floating-point board
North Star Advantage (1982, desktop)
Original Retail Price: $3,599 to $4,999
Base Configuration: 4MHz Z80A CPU, Graphics CP/M, six S-100 slots, 64K RAM (256K max with 8088 coprocessor), 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, integral 12-inch monochrome CRT, integral keyboard/keypad, RS-232C and parallel ports
Video: 24-line x 80-column text, 640 x 240 graphics
Important Options: 5MHz 8088 coprocessor; GDOS/BASIC, North Star ASP, or MS-DOS; second 5.25-inch floppy disk drive; 5MB hard disk drive; serial or parallel interface; printer