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V > VECTOR GRAPHICS  > Vector 1   

Vector Graphics
Vector 1

The Vector 1 was a clone of the ALTAIR 8800 based on the common S-100 bus structure and the Intel 8080A microprocessor. It was sold under kit or assembled versions.

Vector Graphics said it offered a stronger cabinet and a well-designed power supply. To reduce selling price, front panel didn't offer any switch or control led. In its basic version, the computer could be connected to a tape recorder and a serial terminal and offered a bootstrap ROM monitor.


Additional info about the company by Dennis Ray Wingo:
Vector started in November 1976 when Bob and Lore Harp, along with Carol Ely took Vector's first product, an 8 k static RAM card along with a 256 X 256 line (High Resolution Grraphic HRG) card, to computer swap meets to sell. Bob, who at that time was the director of Hughes Research Laboratories (yes THE Hughes Research Labs), designed the Vector 1 computers that they started selling in 1977. Vector grew fast as a company (although not by today's standards), and by the time that I went to work there in manufacturing in April of 1981 they had just crossed the 3 million dollar per month revenue milestone. Vector went public later that year at $13 dollar per share. Bob and Lore divorced soon after the IPO and Bob left to found Corona Data Systems, one of the very first clone IBM PC companies.

Mike Boyd adds:
The unit was well built, like a prelude to the NorthStar Horizon; unfortunately the push buttons they used for the power and reset were terrible, and would fail - you had to sometimes hit them several times to turn them on.

About the terrible buttons, Lore Harp McGovern specifies:
The buttons were custom dyed and a big pain in the beginning. Designing a switchless front panel was not a cost reduction issue, but a human interface issue. The 1702 PROM board made those activities transparent.
User friendliness became an important design element at Vector Graphic. Simple is better for the average person!

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


I worked there from Apirl 1978 to may 81. It was orange and green. When I began working there we began producing the Mz which was tan and black. There were lots of complaints about the orange and green colors so they (Lore and Carole) decided to go with something more neutral. Some of the comments were that only women with come up with that color scheme.

Wednesday 18th March 2009
Janet (USA)

I have an Orange Vector Graphics 1+ that is still working and controls my Yaesu FT767-GX amateur radio transceiver. It has a 5 1/4" floppy disk drive, and a Z80 processor. I bought it in kit form and assembled it, including all the S-100 boards sometime around 1978-1979. I used a Soroc IQ120 terminal with it then but later switched to a HP 700/41 terminal.

Wednesday 5th January 2011
Bob (USA)

I bought one of these second-hand in 1980 (in LA), but the case was deep green instead of orange. Was orange an earlier model?

Wednesday 26th April 2006
Jack Tumblin (Evanston, IL)


NAME  Vector 1
MANUFACTURER  Vector Graphics
TYPE  Professional Computer
YEAR  August 1976
KEYBOARD  Depends on the video terminal used
CPU  Intel 8080A
SPEED  2 Mhz
RAM  1 Kb. expandable to 64 Kb.
ROM  512 bytes (Bootstrap)
TEXT MODES  Commonly 80 characters x 25 lines
COLORS  Monochrome
SOUND  No built-in speaker
SIZE / WEIGHT  Unknown
I/O PORTS  18 S-100 bus connectors
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in PSU 8 Volts 18 Amp. and 16 Volts 2.5 Amp.
PERIPHERALS  S-100 bus cards
PRICE  Unknown

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