Origin of the term minicomputer (was Re: PDP-1 as minicomputer
ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Sat Aug 21 15:36:13 CDT 2010
> Heh! After looking at hp9830.com for just a bit, I think I see your
> problem. There are some really interesting turns of phrase on that page
The HP9830 was marketted as a 'calculator', but IMHO it was full-blwon
computer. It has a QWERTY keybaord, an alphanumeric display (albeit one
line of 32 characters, which is a 'window' onto a 96 character logical
line IIRC), and programs in BASIC.
I find it to be an interesting machine. It's certainly a candidate for
the title 'first personal computer' in that it is an all-in-one desktop
machine with ROM BASIC. Put it on a desk, plug it into the mains, turn it
on and start typing BASIC. Pretty amazing for 1973.
As I mentioned earlier, the processor is mostly simple logic chips with a
few ROMs (micorocede and ALU tables). The rest of the machins is also
mostly stnadard chips, the only custom parts are ROMs -- those are very
custom, not just in the programming, but also the decices themeselves
which are HP 512 byte parts (IIRC the chip is 2 256 byte halves, which
can be donded out as either a 512*8 or a 256*16 device -- the 256*16
state machine ROM in, e.g. the 59309 digital clock is one of those).
Anyway, the ROMs are sufficiently odd that replacing them with more
modern parts is non-trivial. The RAMs are standard -- Intel 1103s -- but
now very hard to find. But the machine is otherwise very repairable.
Of course being HP of that period it's very well made and pleasant to
Bit serial machines are not common anyway, which makes this one
> using forms of the words "calculate" and "compute" in the same sentence.
> Gotta go read that site in more detail when I have a chance. You'd
> mentioned it enough times I just had to google and see what it was.
> Looks like a quite fascinating machine! I'd love to try lunar lander on
I don't rememebr a lunar lander for it (there's a very famous one for the
DEC GT40 terminal...), but anyway.
There is some information on the 9830 on http://www.hpmuseum.org/ and
rather more (including downloadable user and service manuals, scheamtics,
etc) on http://www.hpmuseum.net/
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