Picture taken from Personal Computer World August 1984.
The summer of 2002, in the 20th Anniversary of Dragon Data, the Dragon Data Archive gets to meet the 'Dragon Professional' (aka. 'Alpha 64') in the flesh. This machine for the last 18 years has been one of the most fabled of Dragon Data production and until this year not one was know to survive the Eurohard take over. I am also pleased to report that I know of 2 Professionals that still exist into the new millennium.
My first impressions was WOW, what an opportunity to see the machine first hand. The next thing that stuck me was how much darker than the Dragon 64 it was. In two of the only know pictures from the 80's (Dragon User and PCW) the machine looked just like the Dragon 64, it may just be that this prototype was a different colour. Then I get to pick this machine up and it is HEAVY, imagine a Dragon 64 + double disk drive and you've got the weight just about right, the internal power supply and twin (full height 3 1/2 disk drives make a great difference). But you'll be reassured that the feel of the machine and keyboard hasn't been lost, it still feels like a Dragon.
The next great opportunity was to open the machine it's self, the 4 corner screws opens the case as normal. Inside we find a much larger main board extending well under the keyboard, internal PSU (ASTEC AA12750), twin Sony 3 1/2" (Model OA-D33V) disk drives and a standard Dragon 64 keyboard. Upon closer inspection of the case the true nature of prototype real comes to mind. It can be clearly seen where a Dragon 64 case has been modified to take the Disk drives and power supply, it looks *all* hand built. To the point that the rear air vents look they where made one by one, a credit to the plastic skills of Mettoy.
The only disappointment (with a little 'd'), was the fact that there is never enough time and the opportunity never came to power the machine up.
All in all a great day out and many, many, *many* thanks to the owner of the 'Alpha'.
Also thanks to my son Michael (8 yrs) for behaving himself and helping out on a few of the Dragon Alpha shots.