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  • Greetings and welcome to and LGR thing!

  • And this thing is a monitor.

  • It's in a series of absolute classics from Amdek.

  • This is the 12-inch video monitor, the video 310A.

  • And this is an amber monochrome PC display.

  • This 300 series was incredibly popular back then costing around $230 in 1983.

  • The 10 here signifying that it's a step up from the

  • normal 300 which is just a composite connection.

  • And the ‘A’ here signifying that it's amber

  • and not a green phosphor monochrome display.

  • And yeah, this is brand new in box.

  • Had to grab it as soon as I saw it because I've always

  • wanted one of these monitors in this range.

  • And I've just always been quite fond of amber displays like this.

  • It got the job done and these Amdek displays were positively ubiquitous in the early to mid 80s.

  • You'd see them on everything from Apple IIs to Atari 8-bit machines, IBM PCs, all sorts of clones.

  • Especially the 300 series and the Amdek Color-1.

  • I have one of those as well and that doesn't actually plug in using CGA or anything like that.

  • It's not a TTL that actually uses composite.

  • So yeah, I am quite excited to open this up and hook it up and play with it and stuff,

  • but before we do that I just want to mention a little bit of about Amdek themselves.

  • Because it turns out the and deck corporation as a company has a fascinating history, albeit

  • a slightly confusing one.

  • There seem to be two competing origin stories, one being that Amdek started as a subsidiary

  • of Roland in Osaka, Japan, making computerized rhythm machines and effects kits.

  • Hence the name AMDEK, which is an acronym actually, standing for

  • Analogue Music Digital Electronics Kits.

  • But another origin story is that Amdek actually started in 1978 in Elk Grove, Illinois, selling

  • the computer industry’s first video monitors for PCs.

  • Amdek definitely existed in both countries but, if you look up Amdek from Roland’s

  • point of view, they stopped selling monitors in 1983,

  • rebranding Amdek as the Roland DG Corporation.

  • But if you look up Amdek from the Illinois company’s point of view, they never stopped

  • selling monitors at all.

  • In fact, newspaper archives show they remained a privately-held company until being acquired

  • by Wyse Technology in 1986, where they continued making computer products into early ‘90s.

  • What gives?

  • Well, it seems the truth lies somewhere in between.

  • Turns out the earliest Amdek company was the one in Illinois.

  • It’s just that they weren’t called Amdek in the late ‘70s, they were the Leedex Corporation,

  • where they sold one of the first video displays designed for PCs, the Video 100.

  • Over in Japan, Roland created their Amdek brand for music equipment in 1981, and being

  • that their intent was to sell computerized music peripherals, they also dabbled in disk

  • drives, printers, and displays.

  • Leedex had already been doing similar things in the USA and they partnered with Roland

  • and took on the Amdek name, with the company being referred to as Leedex/Amdek as early

  • as June of 1981.

  • By 1982 things started to shift a bit for Roland’s Amdek with the DXY-100 pen plotter,

  • intended to help computer users print their own sheet music.

  • And this showed immediate results with Roland’s core demographic so they spun it off into

  • Roland DG, dropping the Amdek name entirely.

  • But then the former Leedex Corporation just kept the Amdek name, remaining a private company

  • and continuing to do business as the Amdek Corporation in North America.

  • Bringing us back around to this Amdek video monitor which I assume was sold through the

  • former Leedex Corporation in Illinois.

  • Go ahead and open it up and find out.

  • [cutting, slicing]

  • Mmm, yeah there we go.

  • Amdek 12 inch video monitor Model 310/310A.

  • We get a warranty card here.

  • Amdek’s the new name for Leedex.”

  • And you can see there Elk Grove Village, Illinois.

  • I wonder if they'll make any mention of Roland in here, probably not.

  • Got some pretty basic stuff right here shows you what it is, what it can do, and how to

  • turn it on and off and you know.

  • Don't put it in a flood.

  • Apparently you needed to use an additional adapter if you needed to plug it in to 220 volts.

  • Okay, let's try to get the rest of this thing out of here.

  • [rustling of packaging]

  • Yeah, that's it.

  • Just a box with a monitor.

  • Oh man this thing looks awesome already.

  • I just love the aesthetic.

  • More so than the Color-1, I have a couple of those.

  • And it’s still a classic display, but those look more like TVs.

  • This looks more like a monitor.

  • Definitely the oldest display that I've ever unboxed.

  • Oh, yeah.

  • That looks awesome!

  • It's got one of those anti-glare coatings.

  • [rubs against textured coating]

  • Got a "pull on/bright" [clicks]

  • Augh.

  • That's a satisfying feel and sound.

  • Oh brand new cables [sniff!]

  • Mmm, smells like rubbery plastic stuff.

  • Ah, look at that.

  • Plugs straight into different monochrome boards that I have.

  • Yeah, I definitely think I want to try this with a Hercules card.

  • I dig everything about this design even just the name itself of the company, “Amdek Corporation.”

  • Look at that logo.

  • Check it out, this was made in May of 1988.

  • Quite a high serial number there.

  • Yeah, these things, they just made so many of them and obviously you can still find them.

  • No doubt there were just warehouses full of them that either didn't get sold or were ordered

  • by companies in bulk and then they ended up not using them, who knows.

  • And we do have some adjustments here, looks like vertical hold is the only one we can adjust this way.

  • Otherwise, you have to use some screwdrivers for the alignment and size and the horizontal

  • centering and stuff like that.

  • Good times.

  • Well I am ready to plug this thing in to an IBM PC and see what we get.

  • Which, ah man.

  • There's nothing like a piece of new old stock ‘80s hardware like this.

  • Especially monitors.

  • I don't know what it is, to me they're almost more special

  • in some ways than like, the computers themselves.

  • So often the displays were tossed or upgraded or whatever and then the computers hung around

  • for a little bit longer, and those have become a little more collectible.

  • But like getting a proper monitor, even a monochrome like this, which I know were they

  • were sold in massive numbers, and there's nothing special about it at all, but... it's

  • special to me [chuckles] Anyway, let's go ahead and try this thing out.

  • Okay, I've got that Hercules card installed, swapped out the EGA one that was in here.

  • Got the monitor plugged into both the back of the

  • computer's power supply and the Hercules card itself.

  • And yeah, when you turn on the computer the monitor will turn on as well, you don't necessarily

  • need to do this every time.

  • so yeah, let's just go ahead and do that!

  • [IBM PC AT fans and hard drive whir to life]

  • Ooh.

  • I see orange, hehe.

  • Got the RAM check going on right there and the display slowly expanding outward as it warms up.

  • So let's go ahead and try out some software.

  • [chuckles excitedly] This is...

  • I love this already.

  • There's something instantly amusing to me about running DOS in amber monochrome.

  • I don't know.

  • It's nostalgic. It feels correct.

  • I mean, I like green as well, that is obviously why I have a green phosphor monochrome introduction

  • for Lazy Game Reviews.

  • That is what that is by the way, it's from my IBM 5151 video.

  • Been using it ever since.

  • And I showed some MDA compatible stuff and Hercules things in that as well, but may as

  • well go over it again because it's going to look a little bit different than it did back then.

  • So yeah.

  • Of course, we're just going to be in text mode right now and this does support 80 columns,

  • so we're gonna be able to run 80-column text mode things.

  • [typing] So this makes sense for text like this.

  • Any kind of editor that uses text.

  • So just the basic EDIT program, Lotus 1-2-3, or you know anything that's in this mode is good.

  • So it's ideal for that, It's really made for things running in text/ASCII/ANSI mode.

  • It's not meant for games.

  • But of course you can play games, such as Kingdom of Kroz II here.

  • Is your screen color or monochrome?”

  • It is monochrome.

  • It's a fast PC, because we have a PC AT.

  • That's fast.

  • Ah, yes.

  • [beeping, buzzing PC speaker noises]

  • [clicking of keys, chirping of speaker]

  • [chuckling] So right, it's an incredibly simple

  • kind of experience, but... it is what it is.

  • But this does have a Hercules card built-in as well.

  • I mean it does now that I've installed it.

  • It’s not built-in, I added it's just a few minutes ago.

  • So let's go ahead and do something in Hercules mode.

  • One we've seen before in the past on my 5151 video was Arkanoid II Revenge of Doh.

  • And this actually allows us to get some graphics through monochrome.

  • [PC speaker music plays]

  • And that was one of the lovely things that Hercules mode allowed

  • for: all sorts of extra custom sets--yeah I've talked about it in the past, I’ll probably

  • talk about it again.

  • I really want to do a dedicated video on the whole Hercules story because it's wonderful.

  • Neat things can happen with dithering and a graphics card that actually allows for--how

  • did I miss every single one of those?

  • It's kind of impressive actually, but you know.

  • Talking and playing Arkanoid II at the same time and trying not to say something stupid.

  • Apparently means I can't catch all the balls, I can't catch any of them.

  • Oh my goodness that's just the worst.

  • Let's try something else here.

  • I believe we have King's Quest II on here, which should

  • also have a monochrome Hercules compatible mode.

  • Yes, we do.

  • [PC speaker music once again]

  • This would have blown my mind as a kid because what I was

  • used to seeing was just--oh man, that's really slow.

  • There we go, that’s a little better.

  • Anyway, I was just used to seeing text mode only, whether it be at my mom's workplace

  • on the hotel computers they used to take all sorts of reservations and stuff, hooked up

  • to it was a terminal kind of situation.

  • Ah and another terminal situation that had amber that I had quite a bit of experience

  • with as a kid was the local library.

  • And there was, I believe they were Wang terminals.

  • But yeah, so those only did text and I had no idea that this kind of thing was possible.

  • I knew that Hercules existed because I always saw it in the setup menus of my games and

  • stuff growing up.

  • I'm like, “whoa what does that mean?

  • Like, that’s a weird name: Hercules?” Like yeah.

  • Now if you were to get some of the other Amdek monitors that just had composite in that were

  • monochrome or you know--oh ooh.

  • Composite in, of course, you could just plug into any composite signal in there and it's

  • gonna come through and it's gonna turn into monochrome.

  • This on the other hand is actually rendering directly through its, you know, TTL and everything

  • and it's going through that.

  • So you are more limited as to what it’s gonna output just due to the way that this

  • kind of video chipset works.

  • [typing]

  • What, nothing special?

  • Another one here I have is Test Drive II: The Duel.

  • Or The Duel: Test Drive II, I always mix those up.

  • And it has a Hercules graphics adapter mode as well.

  • [PC speaker rocks out]

  • This in particular I always found quite impressive considering

  • what's going on.

  • Let’s just race against the clock.

  • I'm a rookie!

  • That is a very loud speaker on this computer.

  • Always is but this song in particular is really loud!

  • All right, here we go.

  • Yeah, I think that's in focus. Anyway.

  • [loud PC speaker noises continue]

  • Driving in monochrome.

  • Amber monochrome no less.

  • Ah

  • Again, not necessarily impressive on its own.

  • It's just amusing to me personally because the only thing I ever saw monochrome in amber

  • doing was text mode so this is like neat and stuff.

  • LGR: a continual excuse to whip out IBM computers and do stuff that is objectively underwhelming,

  • but subjectively amazing.

  • Something else I've noticed by the fact that it's really not there is the lack of any phosphor

  • persistence, ghosting effect or anything like that.

  • Like there's all this here and then, it's gone.

  • Like, it's very fast in terms of how quick it

  • refreshes what's on the screen and then it just goes away.

  • There's not a bunch of ghosting garbage like I've seen on, say, my IBM 5151 and it's quite nice.

  • And so is this anti-glare filter on here.

  • Just only a couple little spots where it looks like it might have slowly come loose or something,

  • but certainly looks better than a couple of the monitors I've had where a third-party

  • filter has been slapped on top of it.

  • It doesn't get rid of the glare completely, as you can see there's my lighting behind

  • there that is being picked up a bit.

  • But it’s minimized a massive amount.

  • I mean overall this is just a nice monochrome display.

  • I quite enjoy this so I'm going to continue to enjoy it because it's enjoyable.

  • And I don't know, I feel like playing some Arkanoid.

  • Anyway, that's it for this video on this Amdek monitor, the Video 310A.