The Poly-8813 was introduced in 1977, about a year after the cassette-based Poly-88. The 8813 used the same CPU, video, and RAM boards that were sold for the Poly-88, but in a much bigger chassis with a large power supply, card cage, and room for three 5.25 inch floppy drives. The 8813 was originally sold with a SSSD hard sector disk controller, three 5.25 inch drives (about 88K each), a disk operating system, programming languages, and business applications.
The introductory price was $3,250 - about $11,000 today. The operating system was a surprisingly powerful and flexible DOS called "System-88" or "Exec." The supporting macro assembler, BASIC, word processing, and other packages were as good or better than comparable products on the market at that time. System-88 had several key features not available in CP/M, but at the same time, had several shortcomings relative to CP/M. By the early 1980's, the personal computer market had adopted CP/M as a de facto standard, and as such, CP/M had by far the largest available software base. Poly owners clamored for CP/M for their machines, but as noted above (Poly-88 and CP/M), it was not easy to port CP/M to the Poly hardware. Lifeboat, one of the largest distributors of CP/M, promised CP/M for the PolyMorphic computers for about a year before giving up. Eventually, PolyMorphic themselves provided CP/M for their computers, however, this required mods to the CPU board, the video board, and installation of a new RAM board that could be swapped in and out of the lower 8K of address space under program control.
Shown below are pictures of the first Poly-8813 I restored. I am lucky enough to have also found a Poly-8813 with the CP/M hardware modifications. After a good bit of restoration work, I was able to get that system up and running as well. Watch this video
to see the system boot System-88 and then CP/M. Numerous System-88 disk images, disk image transfer utilities, PROM source code, information about the CP/M hardware mods, and more are available in the Resources
section below.For another look at PolyMorphic computers, click to see the archive of Bob Bybee's PolyMorphic website.