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Digital Equipment Corporation

The following information come from the excellent PDP-8 FAQ :

The VT78 system, also called DECstation or DECstation 78, is based on the Intersil/Harris 6100 microprocessor and is packaged in a VT52 case. The 6100 processor was able to run at 4 MHz, but in the VT78, it was only clocked at 2.2 MHz because of the speed of the DRAM used and the deliberate use of graded out chips.

Using TTL MSI and LSI components, DEC could pack a system into the vacant space in a standard terminal case, allowing PDP-8 systems to compete with personal computers in the small business and office automation market. This was a natural follow-on to the desk-mounted workstation configurations in which the PDP-8/A was already being sold.

Apart from some minor details, it is fully PDP-8/E compatable, even at the level of I/O instructions for the standard periperals; this was the last PDP-8 to offer this level of compatability.

It was not possible to continue from a halt without restarting the machine. In addition, none of the peripherals available on this machine needed DMA (data break) transfers.

The VT78 was sold with 16k words of DRAM with the keyboard and display of the VT52 terminal. An RX01 dual 8" diskette drive was included, packaged in a teacart pedestal under the terminal. The console (device 03/04) and the serial ports (devices 30/31 and 32/33) are compatible with the M8650 KL8E, with the latter extended to allow software controlled baud rate selection. There are two parallel ports; device 66 (compatible with the M8365 printer controller) and device 47, compatible with the nonstandard port on the M8316 DKC8AA. There is also a 100Hz clock compatible with the clock on the M8316 DKC8AA.

The standard ROM boots the system from the RX01 after setting the baud rates to match that selected by the switches on the bottom of the VT52 case.

This was a closed system, with few options. The base configuration was able to support two RX01 drives (later RX02), for a total of 4 transports. Various boot ROM's were available, including a paper-tape RIM loader ROM for loading diagnostics from tape. Another ROM boots the system from a PDP-11 server in the client/server configuration used by WPS-11.

All the above information come from the excellent PDP-8 FAQ...

The V778 came with a FORTRAN, a BASIC compilers, the PAL-8 assembler and various other utilities.

The standard DECstation configuration, which includes the VT78 (video terminal, mainboard, memory, real time clock and floppy drive interface) and a dual floppy disk was priced at $7995.

Please consider donating your old computer / videogame system to or one of our partners from anywhere in the world (Europe, America, Asia, etc.).


We had two of these back in 1979 that were set up for word processing in an architect''s office. They had a large smoked plexiglass cover over the angled face and were the cat''s meow for their day. The program went in one floppy and the other was used to store data. They were great for turning out specs on government jobs $ 350 pages per project. Had a Diablo Daisy Wheel printer.

Sunday 16th September 2012
David (USA)

Jackie, DON''T THROW IT OUT!!! If you don''t want it, list it on EBay so that some collector can grab it.

Saturday 4th August 2012
Joe (Des Moines, IA)

I just found one of these in my parents'' attic while helping them clean it out. Now the question is: what do I do with it? My dad was just going to chuck it out, but it seems like someone would be interested in it! My next step is to see if it powers up and then clean up the outside a bit.

Saturday 14th July 2012
Jackie (USA)
Three Fates Designs


MANUFACTURER  Digital Equipment Corporation
TYPE  Professional Computer
YEAR  1978
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke keyboard with numeric keypad
CPU  Intersil/Harris 6100
SPEED  2.2 Mhz
RAM  16k words of DRAM
ROM  Unknown
COLORS  Built-in monochrom VT52 terminal
SOUND  Unknown
I/O PORTS  Two serial interfaces (from 50 to 19200 bps) - Two parallel interface - FDD interface
BUILT IN MEDIA  dual 8'' FDD (RX-01)
OS  OS/78 (an extended version of the PDP-8's operating system OS/8 version III)
PERIPHERALS  RX01 and RX02 8'' dual drives, boot ROMs
PRICE  $7,995 ($5,436 in lots of 100)

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