A 6502 replacement chip from Zip Technologies for the Apple II series of computers. It boosted the speed of the Apple II from 1 MHz to 4 MHz and also had 16K of cache RAM. From what I understand, it later appeared in 10 MHz and 20 MHz versions.

This is the story of my Zip Chip.

I noticed the advertisments for the Zip Chip appearing on the back cover of Nibble in late 1986 or early 1987. After a good deal of persuasion, I convinced my parents to buy me one. Phone calls were made, VISA numbers were given out, and a Zip Chip was ordered for me.

And I waited.

The VISA was charged. Money had changed hands. Soon the Zip Chip would be mine.

And I waited.

The adds for the Zip Chip on the back of Nibble were still there every month. "Shipping Soon!" they said.

And I waited.

"Did you get it yet?" my mother would ask me weekly. "No", I would say.

And I waited.

And it arrived.

Thanks to the great design of the Apple //e case, I had no trouble popping the top of the case off. I still think velco on cases is a great idea. A quick yank on the 6502 with the supplied chip extractor popped it right out of the socket. After a few seconds to make sure the Zip Chip was properly oriented, I pushed it down into the 6502 socket. I pushed the case back together and powered up the trusty //e.

Speed! Things were really faster. This was great. My crappy attempts at programming ran four times faster. Most of my games were unplayable at high speed. It was possible to set the speed of the Zip Chip back to 1 MHz at boot time, so all was not lost. I was a happy camper.

And then the letter from Zip Technologies arrived.

Turns out that some of the Zip Chips may have defective RAM. Yours may or may not be bad. If it is bad, send us back the chip and we'll send you a new one. Heck, mine was working fine. I won't need to send it back.

And I waited.

There I was, just typing along and the trusty //e up and died. No death throes, no mad beeping, no nothing. Dead. Dead. Dead. Ctrl-Open Apple-Reset. Nothing. Dead. Dead. Dead. Interrupt 120. Nothing. Dead. Dead. Dead.

Great. I've got a bad Zip Chip.

I rummaged through my desk drawer looking for the previously discarded 6502. Ah, found it. A quick yank on the Zip Chip with the supplied chip extractor popped it right out of the socket. I slammed the 6502 back in place and cycled power. Back up and running.

I sent the Zip Chip back to Zip Technologies.

And I waited.

And then the letter from Zip Technologies arrived.

We're engineers, not businessmen they claimed. We know we have supply problems and we're working on them. You can have your money back or wait for a new chip. My Mom elected to get her money back.

And she waited.

Finally, she got a credit for the Zip Chip on her VISA.

By this time, I was off to college and into the world of the IBM AT. My next computer purchase was to be a 286 machine and I never went back to Apple.

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