How were 32-bit minis built in the 70s/80?

Tony Aiuto tony.aiuto at
Sun May 12 10:34:45 CDT 2019

On Sat, May 11, 2019 at 10:17 PM Charles Dickman via cctalk <
cctalk at> wrote:

> On Sat, May 11, 2019 at 8:50 PM Steve Malikoff via cctalk <
> cctalk at> wrote:
> > I could be remembering incorrectly but I think the Gould PN6080 mini we
> > had exclusively for third year
> > comp sci at Macquarie Uni in the mid/late 80s was 32-bit made up of
> > AMD2900 family logic (2901 ALU's).
> >

The SEL (later Gould, later Encore) line was designated in two ways
27/nn, 57/nn, 87/nn for their machines which ran their real time OS, MPX
30nn, 60nn, 90nn for their machines which ran their Unix variant, UTX.
IIRC, the nn was 20, 50, or 80. Larger numbers designating increasing

The 3000, 6000, 9000 series were virtually identical to the real time
They just upped the first digit and took out the "/".

All were true 32 bit. ISTR you could update a 20 to a 50 with a board swap,
since the backplane bus was the same. The 80s were dual cabinet machines,
more boards for the CPU and more space for memory.

The 87/9000 series were ECL based. I can't remember what technology
was in the 2x and 5x series.

> Purdue EE had I think 2 Gould PowerNode 9080s. I don't know anything about
> the internals, but Purdue EE was doing development or testing for them. It
> might have been a port of 4.3 BSD. As an undergraduate you could get an
> account on for the asking and it was significantly
> faster
> than the overloaded Dual VAXen. It also crashed from time to time.

Perdue also had Gorge Goble.,
who was a character.

> -chuck

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