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Author Topic: The very first NCR personal computer  (Read 20586 times)
Aleksandrs Guba
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« on: July 11, 2008, 05:28:11 pm »

I would like to know about the very first NCR PC. As far as I know it has been released in 1983.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2008, 05:48:12 pm by Aleksandrs Guba » Logged
uglytuna
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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2008, 11:41:43 pm »

The first NCR PC was the Decision Mate V released in 1984.  It was built in Augsburg Germany, and contained 64k bytes of memory, an 8 bit Zilog Z80 processor that ran the Digital Research CP/M Operating System, and an 16 bit Intel 8088 processor that ran the Microsoft MS-DOS Operating System.  It was an integrated unit with the monitor, and dual 5 1/4 inch floppy drives in a single cabinet, and a keyboard attached via a curly chord.  It was text based with green characters on a black screen with the standard monochrome monitor, and had limited graphics capabilities on an optional color monitor.  A later option replaced one of the floppy drives with a 10 megabyte hard drive.

NCR offered it to employees at a discount and I purchased one as soon as it became available.  It was my second PC, having purchased a NorthStar Advantage PC in 1982 just after IBM released their original PC in 1981.  The DMV came with a reversable flat/phillips blade screw driver that had a red handle with NCR PC written on it.  I still have the screw driver in my home desk drawer, and use it frequently.  It also had hardware modules that you could plug into expansion slots on the back for peripheral connectivity (RS-232 modem, parallel printer, 128K, 256k or 512k byte memory, etc.).

It had a Big Orange on/off toggle Button on the front that was affectionally known as "BOB."  When (not if) MS-DOS crashed, we all knew to hit BOB.  It was a very high tech design for the time, but because it was proprietary, could not compete with the generic IBM PC.  It ran the primary "killer" applications of the day including WordStar for word processing and SuperCalc or Lotus 1-2-3 for spreadsheets.  It also ran MBasic, enabling the user to develop and run custom applications.  NCR also released a proprietary local area network called DecisioNet for linking together several DMVs.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 09:40:36 pm by uglytuna » Logged
Aleksandrs Guba
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2008, 11:28:58 am »

I've got an interesting info regarding the subject. Excerpts follows:

"What I remember is that the first NCR Personal Computer was the "Decision Mate IV". Model V came later, in 1984...
Still, model IV looked externally very much like model V..."

Any comments?
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Aleksandrs Guba
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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2008, 07:10:20 pm »

Here's another source: the Rhodes Island Computer Museum lists in its collection an NCR Decision Mate IV -> http://www.ricomputermuseum.org/col-collect.html.
Does this fact prove the thesis that the very first NCR PC was Decision Mate IV, or this is simply a mistype?
« Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 07:14:27 pm by Aleksandrs Guba » Logged
uglytuna
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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2008, 09:19:24 pm »

I think the reference to an NCR Decision Mate IV is erroneous.  To the best of my knowledge NCR never released a model IV.  There was however a Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 4 that was in some ways similar to the NCR DMV.  NCR also later released the PC4 that was similar to the IBM PC, so that may also be part of the confusion.

The following web page contains a very good description of the DMV:

http://www.atarimagazines.com/creative/v10n7/38_NCR_Decision_Mate_V.php
« Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 09:25:33 pm by uglytuna » Logged
JimT
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2008, 11:31:11 pm »

As I recall we had a DM-IV that was provided for internal use before the DM-V came out.  I'm guessing that was about 1983, but it's been a long time so I might not remember the year correctly.
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Aleksandrs Guba
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2008, 04:11:18 pm »

I think it's possible now to state, that:

1. The very first NCR personal computer model was Decision Mate.
2. The very first NCR personal computer for internal use was NCR Decision Mate IV (1983).
3. The very first NCR personal computer for public was NCR  Decision Mate V (1984).

To be completely satisfied I would like to have an image of the NCR Decision Mate IV.

I thank all of you, who participated in this investigation!

Aleksandrs
« Last Edit: August 23, 2008, 05:47:56 pm by Aleksandrs Guba » Logged
uglytuna
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2008, 11:24:58 pm »

I have done some follow-up research on the first NCR Personal Computer.  Firstly, I contacted Reverend Weasel at the Rico Computer Museum and asked for additional info and pictures of his NCR Decision Mate "IV", which he has done.  It turns out to be a Class 3273, Model 1102-6000, which is indeed a Decision Mate V and NOT a Decision Mate IV.

Also, Chuck Exley announced the first NCR PC at the CP-M '83 Microcomputer Trade Show in San Francisco on January 20, 1983.  It was the Decision Mate V.

And finally, the Decision Mate V was first available for sale to the public in May of 1983.

I have not been able to find any evidence of any PC manufactured by NCR either for use internally, or released for sale to the public, before the DMV.  There were indeed many PCs used internally by NCR before the DMV, but from what I can determine, they were not manufactured by NCR.  In fact, it turns out that the Ithaca InterSystems DPS-1 was used extensively by our R&D organizations, and because of that, its Z-80 processor and S-100 bus internal design architecture was used as a model for our DMV architecture.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2008, 06:58:27 pm by uglytuna » Logged
Zedy
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« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2009, 05:51:11 am »

You are all wrong.
I had a 7200 running Microsoft Basic.
I discovered that Head Office in Sydney, Australia had once imported a 7200 with the dual floppy drives, mag tape drive and printer to evaluate.
They decided that there would never be a market for a Personal Computer in Australia and shelved it.
I was able to obtain a copy of the Basic that came with it and spent a whole Sunday cutting tracks and adding jumpers to the memory card I had so it was identical to the 64k memory board in a 7500.
I populated that board using chips I had to support my 8200 customers.
I eventually obtained a Criterion Console and converted that to a full blown 7500.
It looked much better with the 12" screen than it did with the vertical 9" one.
Best little Basic Computer I ever had.
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wally
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« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2009, 08:27:34 am »

Hi Zedy,
Quote
You are all wrong.

That is not quite right. The NCR 7200 was not put on the market as a personal computer (PC) by the terms of NCR, it was introduced as a Datacapture-Terminal. The model I was used offline and the model IV could be used online to mainframes. It was marketet by NCR as "Punched-Card-Killer". Smiley

More on "What was the first personal computer?" in general you will find at the following Link. Smiley

http://www.blinkenlights.com/pc.shtml

Regards Wally.
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modus
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2009, 09:38:13 pm »

I seem to remember a NCR PC before the DMV.

It was an NCR/Adds Multivision PC with MUON Operating System.  ADDS was our terminal supplier at the time. The PC was based 796 series terminal case with orange specialty keys and dual floppies.

I think the MUON might have been a form of CP/M OS only because I remember using the famous "PIP" command for moving files.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2009, 10:53:12 pm by modus » Logged
wally
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2009, 11:44:16 pm »

Hi,
MUON was modular and re-locatable so the OS could be constructed
or reconstructed to fit onto the two system tracks of a 360k floppy. 
MUON was functionally a super set of MP/M and CP/M that runs all 2.2 software.
It was multitasking and multiuser.
The command set available from the prompt was notably larger than CP/M.
Regards Wally.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2009, 09:13:48 am by wally » Logged
Zedy
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« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2010, 09:54:45 pm »

Sorry again.

One of my customers, Butler's Fuel Merchants in Port Augusta, South Australia, had an NCR 7500 with the dual floppies and an 6440 printer running Microsoft's Basic.

I do believe the 7500 was available before the Decisionmate.

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wally
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« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2010, 11:09:49 pm »

Hi Zedy,

Quote
Sorry again.

The NCR 7500 was not a PC and it wasn't marketet as a PC.
The NCR 7500 was classified as an intelligent Datacapture-System and wasn't classified by NCR as a personel computer. NCR never used the term PC for the 7200 or 7500. The 7500 with Basic+6 was introduced in October 1978. You could classify the 7500 as a microcomputer but not as a PC.

The Question by  Aleksandrs was:
Quote
I would like to know about the very first NCR PC.

Regards Wally.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 08:12:03 pm by wally » Logged
uglytuna
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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2010, 07:18:41 pm »

We also used the 7200 as an off-line data input terminal.  Didn’t it have cassette drives?  I thought we used it to create input files for the 8200.  I don’t remember it having floppy drives.  Does anybody know when it was released for marketing?  I know, at the time, we didn't call it a PC like we did with the DMV.  In fact, to my memory, we didn't use the term "PC” or “Personal Computer" until IBM released their "PC."  Marketing might have wanted it to be a “Punched-Card-Killer”, but to my memory that title should go to the 735, and later the 736 key-to-tape units.  As I recall, we sold a whole bunch of them to replace the IBM 026 (and our own 029) card keypunch.

I’m curious about the NCR/Adds Multivision PC.  If it was marketed with ‘PC” as part of it’s name and ran off the self CP/M “killer app” programs (e.g. WordStar, etc.), it would indeed be our first PC.  Does anybody know if this is the case?  When was it released to Marketing?
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