Tue Jan 12 08:45:32 EDT 2010
What some, though mostly none, of you know. The PDP-8 was the first successful commercial minicomputer. Inspired by the CDC-600 and released by DEC on March 22nd, 1964. The machine was the first affordable machine that was assembled in assembly line fashion, and is often called the Model-T of the computer industry. It was relatively affordable at $18,000 for universities and companies looking for a machine that preformed well in educational and production environments. It was a 12 bit machine, with 2 registers, and essentially 8 op-codes.
The beauty of this machine and the elegance of it's designed can only truly be experienced first hand. However, such a machine is expensive and hard to come by these days. Because it is such a simple machine by todays standards, it can easily (and quite accurately) be emulated on todays hardware through simulators such as SIMH. One can learn a great deal about the machine using one of these, but a great deal more could be learned on an actual machine. High hopes given the information above.. But heres the thing..
For a limited run, and quite possible the very last. One can once again get a replica of said machine in the form of Bob Armstrong's SBC-6120. Theres way to much information about this beautiful machine. I own one, without a front panel and happily jumped on this chance and placed an order for the complete set when the orders where being taken. There is a vast amount of information about this machine at Bob's site SpareTimeGizmos, and at Steve Gibson's site GRC where the orders are currently being taken. Steve has expressed that he will order a couple extra boards to have on hand, so people who miss this chance and who really want one, can obtain one.
I missed the first run in 2003 and was devastated. But Bob did another run stating he didn't plan on doing another and I was able to get a board then but was to late to get the Front Panel. Thanks to Mr. Gibson's efforts, one final run will be done. If you are interested - don't miss this chance.
Being my longest post yet, I best stop here. I could fill a book with info but honestly everything I know I learned on-line, so as of now there isn't much point. (Maybe in 50 years when everyone else who knows about this is dead..)
Here are some great sources: