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Manufacturer Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) Identification,ID VAX-11/750, VAX-11/780, many models Date of first manufacture . Number produced - Estimated price or cost - location in museum - donor -
Contents of this page:
- Special Features
- Historical Notes
- This Specimen
- Interesting Web Sites
- Other information
From "Digital at Work" , Digital Press, copyright 1992, page 66
Specification - VAX-11/780 First shipped 1978 Word length 32 bits Speed 1 VAX MIPS Memory 4K MOS RAM chips, originally limited to 1 megabyte total physical memory Original memory cycle time: 1,200 nanoseconds Instruction set 243 different instructions on several basic data types: 8-,16-,and 32-bit integers, 32-and 64-bit floating point, packed decimal, and unpacked numeric strings up to 31 decimal digits, character string (up to 65,535 bytes), variable-length bit fields up to 32 bits aligned on any bit position, and queues Input/Output UNIBUS or MASSBUS disks and tapes typically, l-2tape drives and 2- 6 disks configured RP05,RK07,and TE16 most common Software VAX VMS Version 1, intended as the all-purpose operating system for the VAX family, FORTRAN-77, COBOL, BLISS-32, and VAX-DECnetoptional layered products Architecture Enhanced PDP-11 architecture to increase virtual address space from 16 to 32 bits, doubling general registers from 8 to 16 History VAX-11/780s were sold until 1988 Price $120,000 -$160,000
Enter the VAX
The VAX changed Digital's approach to architecture and became a standard of comparison for a new breed of superminicomputers. At the same time, the PC industry was launched by the Apple II,which could be hooked up to any color television. The first desktop computer from Tandy laid the groundwork for a global PC market.
WordStar and VisiCalc provided popular word-processing and spreadsheet programs that personal computers could run. In 1981 IBM introduced its first PC. Running MS-DOS as its operating system ensured the future of Microsoft. Soon Lows 101 combined VisiCalc's spread sheet capability with graphics and data retrieval.
DECtalk converted text to speech, and Apple's Macintosh made a success of the mouse as interface, which was developed some years earlier for the short-lived Lisa.
Apollo's first workstation gave engineers and designers enormous computing power at a fraction of the cost of powerful processors. Programs such as PageMaker promoted desktop publishing, compact disks economized optical storage, and precautions were on the rise against computer viruses.
VAX Family Timeline 1975 Digital's 32-bit system first proposed 1976 VAX program office established Starlet (VMS) project begins 1978 Digital's first 32-bit computer, the VAX-11/780 1979 Venus,VAX 8600 project begins 1980 VAX-11/750, the industry's first32-bit minicomputer, uses Large Scale Integration (LSI)technology First use of gate arrays in major system 1981 Gemini/Nautilus (VAXBI) project begins VAX-11/782, first dual-processor VAX 1982 VAX-11/730, first single-cabinet VAX 1983 VAXcluster systems, loosely linked multiprocessing concept MicroVAX I, VAX-11/725 1984 VAX-11/785, most powerful VAX to date 25,000 VAX computers shipped VAX 8600, first new-generation VAX, Digital's highest-performance system to date VAXstationI 1985 MicroVAX H, industry's most powerful superminicomputer, and VAXstation II extend VAX power to single-chip personal-size systems. VAX 8650 VAXstation 500 1986 VAXBI-based systems: 8200, 8300,8800 VAX 8800, most powerful Digital system to date Digital's first ECL multiprocessor VAXmate VAXstation II/GPX VAX 8500, VAX 8550, VAX 8700 1987 VAX 8978, with up to 50 times the power of VAX-11/780 VAX 8974 100,000 VAX computers shipped VAXstation2000 MicroVAX 2000 VAX 8250 VAX 8350 VAX 8530 MicroVAX 3500/3600 VAXstation 3200/3500 1988 VAX 8840,first4-processor VAX runs symmetric multiprocessing (SMP). VAX 6200 series: VAX 6210, VAX 6220, VAX 6230, VAX 6240-first small system to run SMP. 1989 VAXstation 3100 MicroVAX 3800/3900 MicroVAX 3100 VAX 6000,-200,-300,-400 series VAX 9000 series 1990 MicroVAX 3100e VAXstation 3100-76 VAX 4000-300 VAX 6000,-400 and-500 series VAXft Model 310,fault-tolerant VAX VAX 9000 series expands by 10 servers 1991 Four new VAXft models extend high availability. VAX 4000 triples previous model's performance. VAX 6000 Model 600 doubles previous model's performance. 15,000 VAX 6000 systerns sold.
- First DEC processor with Virtual Memory support. Parts of programs or data did not have to be physically present in memory - they could be on disk, and swapped in when necessary. (A reference to a memory address that was not present in memory would generate a hardware "page fault" and the operating system could load the required block of program or data from disk. To make room in memory for this block, a block of memory could be "swapped out" to disk.
Keith wrote (February 2004)
Note that this was the machine the Russians seemed to absolutely love to clone. The Russians, until recently, had a great deal of difficulty simply buying US computer equipment. So they would get their hands on a few, and tear them to bits to copy them. As such, DEC embedded a little message, in Russian, about stealing intellectual property. (If you really want the exact text of the message, I should have it buried around here, somewhere. I've seen a photograph of a microscopic view of the lettering, though.)
Interesting Web Sites
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Updated August, 2005