View Full Version : What 1980 computer might this be?

October 9th, 2008, 03:54 AM
In 1980 I worked that year at one of the Max Planck Institutes in Germany. I knew nothing about computers at that time, being a freshly-graduated mechanical engineer from New Zealand.

One day, one of the Canadian foreign guest workers who was a computer science guy showed me a brand new computer he had just received. He said it was a pre-production model on-loan to him and he was clearly very excited by it. He told me he was designing a ground test system for a research satellite. The cover was off of it and it was running with lots of fan noise.

Well, all I remember about this machine is that it was a 19" rack mount in width, about 7" or 10.5" in height (standard rack heights,) and the many plug-in cards were arranged vertically in a distinct "V" or chevron formation with two fans - probably at the back, or, in a push-pull configuration. The cooling was the only feature I could understand at the time.

I have always wondered what on Earth this was. Could this have been one of the earlier (or earliest) DEC Vax designs? I looked at a bunch of photos on the web of Vaxen but the distinctive chevron PCB pattern was not present.

What other machines were out at that time? It would have been a cutting-edge and expensive computer considering what it would be used for.