Thinking about acquiring PDP stuff

allison ajp166 at
Fri Dec 2 16:23:03 CST 2016

On 12/02/2016 12:33 PM, Brad H wrote:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: cctalk [mailto:cctalk-bounces at] On Behalf Of Rich Alderson
> Sent: Thursday, December 1, 2016 1:34 PM
> To: 'General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts' <cctalk at>
> Subject: RE: Thinking about acquiring PDP stuff
> From: Brad H
> Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2016 8:18 AM
>> My Intellec 230 though might give a PDP a run for its money.
> See, I'm trying to get you to stop saying "a PDP".  There's no such thing.
> There are families of PDP-n things, but there are wide differences in size, weight, and capabilities.
> Your Intellec 230 would fit inside one memory cabinet of a PDP-10 with room to spare.  The entire PDP-10 system weighs tons.
>                                                                 Rich
> Rich Alderson
> Sr. Systems Engineer
> Living Computers: Museum + Labs
> 2245 1st Ave S
>> Seattle, WA 98134
> Sorry.. I was being lazy.. I should have said 'a PDP 8/E'.  Obviously there are some pretty large PDP-# systems.
That's more than lazy!  Just don't!

The PDP-8 and the PDP11 and PDP10 were beating the pants off of Intellec
2xx systems
for years before the first one was made.  Remember Billy Gates used a
PDP10 cross
assembler and simulator to create BASIC.  The market those DEC system
were in
demanded far more performance than the 8080 from 1974 could deliver.

An 8e running WPS was typically a multi-user system.
A PDP-8E running TSS could service 8-16 users in what appeared to them
as real time.
That was the original Boces Lirics system of 1969 a whopping three racks
of PDP-8i
The PDP-8e was a tad faster.  Fast forward to the early 90s and my
Decmate-III with APU
and running OS278 likely make the I230 look poor and it was much
smaller.  FYI the DMIII
is a PDP-8 on a chip (cmos 6120 cpu).  The APU was a z80 at 4mhz with 64K
ram and could
still easily outrun the I230 and gave me the choice to use 0S278 (a
version of OS8),
WPS (word and list processing), and CP/M-80.

A PDP-10 (BOCES LIRICS system 1970!) serviced over 300 users.  A 36bit
The CPU and the memory was eight 6ft racks long by two rows big not
including the four RP06s.
That system used the old PDP8i to keep it fed (data concentrator).

A PDP-11/23 with a 10MB disk in a single 50inch short cab running TSX or
other time sharing
system usually  supported 4-8 users. It was a 16bit system at that. 
They usually fit in the corner.

A Intellect 230 was handily beat by my NS*Horizon system in 1980. 
That's allowing for
the fact that the I230 was 8080 powered and ran at 2mhz (2:1 handicap). 
I know the
system well as I used it to develop programs for 8048/9, 8085, 8088, and
other micros
of the day till we retired it for a faster box (multibus 8086 at 8mhz in

So a knowledge of computer history and performance is is something to


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