VAXen and minimal memory (was Re: The PDP11/04 has landed..)
elson at pico-systems.com
Thu Feb 11 20:14:51 CST 2016
On 02/11/2016 10:56 AM, Jerome H. Fine wrote:
> >Jon Elson wrote:
>> >On 02/11/2016 08:56 AM, Mark Wickens wrote:
>>> It's good to hear that the VAX was a cost-effective
>>> solution - there are
>>> too many stories about how expensive DEC gear was, but I
>>> imagine they
>>> primarily came after PCs started dropping in price.
>> We paid somewhere between 200 and 250K for our first
>> 11/780. We had an RM05 and a TU77, and 256 KB of
>> memory. It was a pretty basic system, but ran rings
>> around the campus 360/65 system. We also had a pair of
>> 370/145's that were an expensive joke. (The 360/65 ran
>> rings around BOTH of them. They ran time sharing on
>> them, limited to 4 users/machine. We often had 8+ users
>> plus batch jobs running on our 780.)
> Any idea about the date of when VMS could do that with a VAX?
Well, the first VAX VMS should have been quite capable of
doing good timesharing. We may have had VMS 3.0 or 3.1 and
then a number of updates. I did not keep real good records,
but I think we got the machine about 1980. There was an
earlier 11/780 at our Med School that also had a bunch of
terminals on it. I'm pretty sure they had more disks and
memory on it than ours. They got theirs in 1979, I think.
The VAX was first announced in late 1977.
> I don't remember how expensive a Cyber 3300 was back in
> 1967, but I
> worked at Northern Electric in Ottawa at the time.
OK, well, now that was a whole DECADE before the VAX. The
3300 was a discrete transistor machine, more than a full
generation earlier than the VAX.
> The reason for this reply is to document that there were
> already such
> systems available with very innovative software solutions
> as far back
> as the 1970s.
Certainly, DEC had the PDP-10 and other companies had quite
good timesharing systems. I'm certainly not implying that
nobody did timesharing before the VAX. What I was
contrasting is how expensive IBM 360's were, and how poorly
they did at timesharing, than our VAX system.
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