Image Map Image Map
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: Victory Computer Systems FACTOR - Circa 1982

  1. #1

    Default Victory Computer Systems FACTOR - Circa 1982

    While browsing some old issues of BYTE, I came across this fascinating piece of hardware that came out around November 1982.

    There's very little to be found online about it.

    Wondering if anyone has seen/used one of these before and if there's a remote chance someone might have one to part with

    Latest Acquisitions: ADDS Envoy, Sun 3/50, Teletype BLIT, DECMate II
    Still Wanted: Ithaca Intersystems DPS-1, SSB Chieftain, Altos 2086, TRS-80 Model 16, Victory FACTOR
    Always looking for: AT&T 3B2's and UnixPC/3B1's.
    http://www.securix.net/retrotekvintagecomputers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    pennington gap, va
    Posts
    127

    Default

    I don't recognize it myself. Early 80s I was limited to Popular Mechanics, Popular Science and National Geographic. Popular Mechanics had some great computer articles back then.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    pennington gap, va
    Posts
    127

    Default

    Found this little tidbit on InfoWorld.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    30,323
    Blog Entries
    20

    Default

    A tidbit from September 1983 DTACK Grounded:

    A company called Victory Computer Systems (not Victor) had a board all ready to go for the 186 last November. When they could not get the 186, they redesigned the board for the 68000 and are now profitably selling the resulting 68000-based computer. Roger Vass, Victory honcho, says "...it is ironical that our success with the 68000-based machine should be a result of Intel's misfortune."
    That's funny--we got all of the 80186s that we could use right about then. So there apparently was no Spirit.

    The FACTOR apparently enjoyed two models - a 512K and a 1M model. I vividly remember that it seemed like everyone and his brother was coming out with a 68K system--even IBM. About half were running Unix of some flavor and claiming to be minicomputer replacements. Most went out of business; even the ones that were well-funded. Unix was a comparatively easy port to a 68K; it was hell on wheels for a 80286.

    I think Victory Computer probably quit the business around 1986. A short run.

  5. #5

    Default

    Hmmm, seems Dr. Roger Vass was the marketing VP and a co-founder of Altos prior to starting Victory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    A tidbit from September 1983 DTACK Grounded:

    That's funny--we got all of the 80186s that we could use right about then. So there apparently was no Spirit.

    The FACTOR apparently enjoyed two models - a 512K and a 1M model.
    And the ad shows they had a 256K model too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    I vividly remember that it seemed like everyone and his brother was coming out with a 68K system--even IBM. About half were running Unix of some flavor and claiming to be minicomputer replacements. Most went out of business; even the ones that were well-funded. Unix was a comparatively easy port to a 68K; it was hell on wheels for a 80286.

    I think Victory Computer probably quit the business around 1986. A short run.
    I'm really interested in *ix systems that came out in the mid 80's - one of my favorite "genres" of vintage machines.
    Latest Acquisitions: ADDS Envoy, Sun 3/50, Teletype BLIT, DECMate II
    Still Wanted: Ithaca Intersystems DPS-1, SSB Chieftain, Altos 2086, TRS-80 Model 16, Victory FACTOR
    Always looking for: AT&T 3B2's and UnixPC/3B1's.
    http://www.securix.net/retrotekvintagecomputers

  6. #6

    Default

    Very interesting...be fun to find one of these laying around

    I wonder if there were any other UNIX-oriented micros that included CP/M boards as an option?
    Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
    Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Moog Satellite, Oberheim SEM
    "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    30,323
    Blog Entries
    20

    Default

    I recall that when we were running a VAX 11/750 (running BSD) in the mid-80's, we needed to expand our processing to accommodate a few more programmers. We didn't quite need another whole 750; so we were looking at a 730. One of the guys had ties to an outfit called Plexus who was flogging their 68K multi-user box as legitimate competition to the VAX. I opposed it, warning that MIPs was one thing, but I/O was completely another. I was overruled and the Plexus was installed and was a horrible failure.

    The programmers had their own acronym for PLEXUS--ending in "unbelievably slow".

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Ohio/USA
    Posts
    7,339
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    There were quite a few interesting oddball machines out in the early 80's that died out when the Mac and PC took over the market. Seems UNIX was popular in that time period and extremely expensive.
    What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
    Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
    Boxed apps and games for the above systems
    Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    30,323
    Blog Entries
    20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Unknown_K View Post
    There were quite a few interesting oddball machines out in the early 80's that died out when the Mac and PC took over the market. Seems UNIX was popular in that time period and extremely expensive.
    The early 80's was when AT&T was broken up (curse you, Judge Green!) because it wanted to get into the computer business (big mistake--they were out of it by 1993). Up until then, you could have a copy of Unix from AT&T pretty much for the asking, as long as you had the necessary bonafides (education institution or commercial organization)--they were prohibited by law from selling it for profit.

    That changed after the breakup. Initially, AT&T considered licensing Unix on a per-seat basis, which its customers really objected to. They eventually settled on a one-time $50K fee for the source and unlimited license. What you got was a couple of reels of 1/2" 9 track tape that would boot on a PDP 11/70 (not sure about other systems). That was the biggest outlay for many garage startups.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Sunnyvale, CA
    Posts
    1

    Default

    I was the chief software engineer for Victory Computer Systems at the time. Allow me to clarify

    - Roger Vass was CEO and founder of VCS, having been a cofounder and marketing VP of Altos Computer Systems.
    - The Victory Spirit never came about because, at that time, the 186 chips were on allocation and Intel wouldn't give them out unless you also took in their DRAM chips.

    - Although brochures may have listed smaller RAM configurations, all units shipped with at least 1MB of RAM.
    - Victory had a short lived desktop chassis (think early PC type chassis with a monitor on top).
    - Not shown, Victory also had a "Micro Factor" tower chassis. Slimmer and taller than the Factor, it was about the same size as a typical tall desktop design today.

    The Factor/MicroFactor hardware:
    - Central bus was VME and all Victory cards were the double height (400 mm?) sizes
    - MMU was a segmented architecture with 4K pages (similar to early Sun 68k designs)
    - From 1MB to 4MB of DRAM
    - an intelligent/smart disk controller based on a Z8000 cpu that supported up to four hard drives (from 40MB to 200MB each), a 25MB streaming tape backup (in lieu, of the 5MB cartridge disk backup shown above), and 8" and/or 5-1/4" floppies. The hard drives were originally 40MB 8" drives and later became 5-1/4". The 8" drives were "overclocked" to 5Mhz to provide extra capacity and faster throughput.
    - 8 port intelligent serial multiplexor based on a z80. This allowed the Factor to run all 8 ports at a full 19200 baud, bidirectionally, which many competing 68k machines could not.
    - A floating point array processor from Sky Computers (e.g. hardware assisted floating point FFT's anyone?)
    - 10BASET Ethernet support
    - CP/M hardware acceleration/emulation card that had 4 z80 cpus, allowing for CP/M OS/software to run as a guest environment.

    Victory Software:
    - Unix System III / System V from Unisoft
    - Informix database
    - COBOL and Fortran compilers
    - The first commercial port of Wind River's VxWorks was to a Victory Factor system.

    Company internals/management aside, one of the biggest success/fail points was choice of Unix variant. Many competitors also used the Unisoft System III/V, but some others chose to port Berkeley BSD. Those that chose to port BSD fared better because of features and the popularity stemming from BSD on a VAX.

    BTW, I have the User and OEM manuals in online troff format as well as some other goodies such as S-record files for the boot roms, etc.
    Last edited by caevcs; December 17th, 2011 at 06:16 PM. Reason: additional info

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •