System Design Kit

General description

The 8080 System Design Kit (SDK-80) is a complete microcomputer system in kit form. It is simple to assemble and provides an excellent training/prototype vehicle for evaluation of the 8080 microcomputer system (MCS-80″™).

The SDK-80 is an extremely flexible design and allows easy interface to an existing application or custom interface development.
An extensive system monitor is included in a pre-programmed ROM for general software utilities and system diagnostics.

The 8080 Microcomputer Systems would be extremely beneficial to the user that he read and understand the operation of the 8080A and associated peripheral components prior to beginning the assembly of the SDK-80.
Every effort has been made to allow the SDK-80 to interface directly with most common terminals, but with the wide array of display terminals available it is not possible to perfectly interface each one with the SDK-80 hardware and software.
The user should carefully examine the requirements of his particular terminal interface and adapt the SDK-80 accordingly.


The SDK-80 is shipped with a complement of parts that allows the user to construct an operating small system with the following features:

  • CPU: 8080A (see 8080 User’s Manual for details)
    1.95 pis Instruction Cycle
  • RAM: 8111 (static 256 x 4) 2 included for 256 byte storage
  • ROM: 8708/8308 (1K x 8)
    1 Pre-programmed system monitor
    1 User-programmed (erasable 8708)
  • I/O: 8251 (Programmable Communication Interface)
    1 Serial communication with terminal 8255 (Programmable Peripheral Interface)
    1 General user I/O, 24 lines
  • Serial TTL
    Interface: 20mA current loop (TTY)
    RS-232 (EIA)
  • Baud User-selected by jumper or switch
    Rate: 75,110,300, 600, 1200, 2400, 4800
  • Interrupt: Single level, vectored (RST-7)


The SDK-80 has many designed-in features for expandability without the necessity of cutting PC runs or adding extra logic. The maximum configuration of the SDK-80 is as follows:

  • RAM: 8111 (static 256 x 4)
    Up to 8 for 1k x 8 storage
  • ROM: 8708/8308 (1K x 8)
    Up to 4 for 4K x 8 storage
  • I/O: 8255 (Programmable Peripheral Interface)
    2 General user I/O, 48 lines

Expanding the SDK-80 to the maximum configuration is a simple matter of purchasing the extra memory and I/O components and installing them on the board.

Electronics diagrams


The Intel SDK-80, also known as the Intel MCS-80 System Design Kit, was introduced by Intel in the 1970s. It served as a development kit for engineers and hobbyists working with Intel’s 8-bit microprocessor, the Intel 8080. The kit included components such as memory chips, input/output interfaces, and display units, providing a comprehensive package for learning and experimenting with microprocessor-based systems.

Primarily designed for educational purposes, the SDK-80 encouraged individuals to explore microprocessor architecture, assembly language programming, and digital electronics. It featured expansion capabilities, allowing users to customize and expand their systems with additional components or peripherals.

The kit came with extensive documentation, including manuals, schematics, and technical information, to assist users in understanding and utilizing the platform effectively. The SDK-80 played a role in the early days of personal computing and microprocessor development, contributing to the foundation of the technology that would later evolve into modern computers.

Due to its historical significance and limited availability, the Intel SDK-80 has become a collectors’ item among vintage computer enthusiasts. Its open architecture and compatibility with various components made it a versatile platform for experimentation and learning in the field. Specific details may vary depending on the model or version of the SDK-80, as there might have been different releases or revisions over time.

Some time ago, I undertook an attempt to restore and activate my SDK-80. The description of my efforts can be found here, in the ’works’ category of the website.