Computer Collection Minicomputers
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Packard Bell PB250

Packard Bell PB250

This was the first machine in the collection. It was built around 1961 and predates true minicomputers, since it was rather slow and at $50,000 for a typical system it was too expensive. Otherwise it is like a mini in that it is small and takes little power. It is a 22-bit serial machine with acoustic delay line memory. The basic IO device was a Friden Flexowriter. More pictures (including the SuperNOVA below, in the same rack): Front Open Right Left-Back more...

DEC PDP-8 Classic

Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8 Classic

Introduced in 1965, this is usually considered the first true minicomputer because it was the first computer for less than $25,000. It was also much faster than earlier machines such as the PB250. Its the key (though not the first) member of Digital's highly successful PDP-8 family. more...

Data General SuperNOVA

Data General SuperNOVA

Data General was an early competitor to DEC. This fast 16-bit mini had some primitive protection features. Although most of the minicomputers in the collection were made by Digital, I do have this DG and an HP 2100A. more...


Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-11/20

The PDP-11 came out in 1970 and gradually displaced the PDP-8 family. It was a 16-bit machine with an elegant instruction set. The collection includes this first model, the PDP-11/20, and the next and more powerful model, the PDP-11/45. Here are pictures of the front panel. more...

Minicomputers pretty much died out when the microprocessor took over. They went upscale to machines like the VAX, which eventually grew to mainframe size. Some minicomputer architectures lived on as microprocessors, the PDP-8 in the Intersil 6100 series chips and the PDP-11 in the LSI-11 processors.

The collection includes a VAX-11/780 as well as a salesman's demo LSI-11/03.

More on minicomputers in the library...

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