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N > NCR  > Decision Mate V


This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the NCR  Decision Mate V computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Thursday 4th March 2021
David Gibson (USA)

In the early 1980’s, I was an administrator at SOITA at Miami University in Ohio. SOITA was a non-profit, technology service agency to 200 school districts in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. We started offering computer hardware and software discount purchasing to our member schools. We sold an average of about 3 million dollars worth of computer hardware (mostly Apple) annually in the 1980s. NCR, headquartered in Dayton, wanted to explore the school computer market. They contacted us and donated 10 Decision Mate 5 units so we could try them out. They also donated several machines to schools around Dayton. I remember doing a few activities on the machine (I took one home) but found it difficult to operate for someone that had no computer background. In the meantime, we purchased several Apple IIe’s and were able to utilize inexpensive but high quality educational software from the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC) and AppleWorks. All of this software was on 5.25 floppy disks. AppleWorks was an easy to learn utility program that gave us word processing, database and spread sheet capabilities. So the easy to use Apple IIe became the machine of choice for our schools driven by high quality and easy to use software. MECC was also a non-profit like SOITA and gave SOITA generous duplication rights to their educational software under a licensing agreement. SOITA duplicated $ distributed tens of thousands of MECC 5.25 disks to our member schools. MECC developed new educational programs every year that kept their products (like Oregon Trail and Number Munchers) very popular. Unfortunately for NCR, they were late to the school computer marketplace. There was no easy way to use high quality educational software for their DM 5. Eventually for schools, NCR ran into the classic situation for their DM 5 “they couldn’t give them away.” IBM, Commodore, Radio Shack and Atari had small footprints in the educational computing marketplace at this time. Their platforms were mostly easy to use and some software did exist (some through MECC). Eventually, after a decade, IBM $ Microsoft became strong rivals to Apple (and the Macintosh Computer) in the school market. MECC dissolved as a state supported non-profit and became a private company. NCR ceased to show interest in the educational marketplace after this failed experience. Their manufacturing and headquarters in Dayton eventually shut down with the HQ moving to Atlanta. SOITA eventually was no longer able to sell discounted hardware or software through group purchasing (Apple and MECC eliminated their volume purchasing structures) and concentrated their activities on teacher training. I was disappointed after reviewing Steve Jobs’s autobiography that he did not give much (if any) credit to the educational community for the early success of Apple. Once children started learning computer skills on an Apple II or Mac computer at school, they took that knowledge home and drove home purchases to Apple. I am guessing our early computer experiences in Ohio were similar to others throughout the country. So, in my opinion, the education marketplace was primarily responsible for Apple’s success. The software drove the hardware purchasing. This story could have been rewritten for any computer platform (including NCR) had high quality, easy to use software been available.

Friday 26th July 2019
Rich Medlar (Cleveland, OH, USA)

My father Cleveland District Administration Manager of NCR and purchased one in 1982. I have it in my basement. I turn it on sometimes to allow "Children" under 30 to see how spoiled they are. Rare anybody has known how to activate anything.

Tuesday 26th September 2017
Fernando Baldellou (Madrid/España)

Yo trabaj de analista-programador en NCR durante varios aos (1981-1986) y poseo desde entonces un NCR-DM-V que costaba 1.500.000 Pesetas (RAM 256MB, HD 10MB y disquetera 3 1/2). En Espaa ese era su precio, por otro lado, ms o menos lo que costaba un PC-IBM pero el NCR-DM-V era un producto de mejor calidad y mejores prestaciones.
Lo tengo bien guardado, con sus disquetes de RM-COBOL, CP/M y MS-DOS y funcionando todo correctamente.

I worked as an analyst-programmer at NCR for several years (1981-1986) and since then I had a NCR-DM-V costing 1,500,000 pesetas (256MB RAM, 10MB HD and 3 1/2 floppy disk). In Spain that was its price, on the other hand, more or less what cost an IBM PC but the NCR-DM-V was a product of better quality and better performance.
I have it well saved, with its RM-COBOL, CP / M and MS-DOS floppy disks and running everything correctly.

Monday 21st November 2016
Neil Jarvis (United States)

I too was a proud owner of a DM-V$ I was working for NCR in Dayton when it was released but purchased it through the NCR Credit Union after transferring back to the field in Boise, Idaho in 1981. Great machine, but a little before its time. It had a unique boot system which made in incompatible with the IBM machines. It had fantastic graphics (from NEC) with 8 colors instead of the 4 colors that IBM had. I relocated the BIOS code in mine and tweaked it to use the 8 color display. I was able to run any PC app that used standard BIOS calls and did not rely on direct memory addressing. I demoed the machine at several Food $ Drug trade shows in Boise, Seattle, and San Francisco and could have sold several except it wasn''t supported by NCR. It really blew away the IBM in direct competition running the same software

Friday 12th August 2016
Lyall D (New Zealand)

I bought a second hand DM-V in about 1985, it was my first "Real" computer. It had the 10MB hard disk with two 5MB partitions, It would boot into CPM on the first partition but, if you used a DOS boot disk, you could access the second partition. I chose this computer becauser included in the bundle was a COBOL compiler and I wanted to teach myself COBOL.
I only had it for a year, trading it in for a ''286 clone.

Saturday 13rd June 2015
Paul C Daily (United States)

I was an NCR employee for 33 years and served under Don Coleman in Millsboro, De, having transferred from NCR WHQ, Dayton. After Deleware, I transferred to Liberty, SC, and was one of 8 that transferred U.S. production of the DM-V fron Augsburg to Liberty, (E$M-Clemson), SC. Coleman was one of the best NCR people I ever worked under.

Saturday 7th February 2015
Martin W (UK)

I too used to work for NCR (marylebone road,uk) back in the 1970s and I remember using one of these machines as well as NCR315s and Centurys. The DMV if I remember correctly ran a word-processing package called from Wordstar using a sort of HTML-like command language for formatting.

Happy days! What a pity that NCR never had the success it deserved in the mainframe and mini-computer market.

Monday 7th July 2014
rfka01 (Germany)

Hi everybody, the DMV is one of the drivers within the MESS Emulation framework. The DMV driver now boots CP/M-80, but a lot of other aspects are still not emulated.

What with a lot of the old machines failing, I consider emulation an excellent way of preservation.

You can find the relevant thread on the MESS Forum here:$showflat$Number$75773$page$20

It would be great if somebody with knowledge of the DMV and C++ programming could chime in and help to advance the emulation, e.g. move the DMV driver to use slots, get the graphics mode of the display controller going, ...

I''m also looking for a scan of the "System Technical Manual MS-DOS".


Monday 23rd June 2014
Stefano (Italy)

I could experiment a bit on this computer a lot of time ago, the one I could test had both the z80 and the 8086 CPUs but only 64Kb of memory which limited a lot the MSDOS possibilities. It required its special MSDOS boot disk: probably the primary CPU was the Z80 having to do some kind of trick. This disk coudn''t boot on standard PC.

Monday 23rd June 2014
Stefano (Italy)

I could experiment a bit on this computer a lot of time ago, the one I could test had both the z80 and the 8086 CPUs but only 64Kb of memory which limited a lot the MSDOS possibilities. It required its special MSDOS boot disk: probably the primary CPU was the Z80 having to do some kind of trick. This disk coudn''t boot on standard PC.

Monday 21st April 2014
Justin O (Dallas / Texas / USA)

I just got a hold of one of these if anyone is interested. Email me. thehinac at gmail dot com

Tuesday 8th April 2014
Tom (Belgium)

I still have one for sale. Including winchester + RS232 slot + communication slot + extra memory slot
Perfect condition, still working

Friday 8th February 2013

We had one, my dad worked at NCR then and could by one "cheap", I think around 2k DM at the time... *g*
Awesome computer, somehow. ^^

Friday 10th August 2012
Luca (Italy)

I had one of that when i was a child. I learned gwdos and played a lot with ladder.exe !!! Too beautiful!

Wednesday 6th June 2012
EdwardNEO (Colombia)

Si ... cuando vi por primera vez uno de estos, me pareci ver uno de los grandes logros en la evolucin del hombre .... era verdaderamente sorprendente.... ahora lo recuerdo definitivamente hermoso...

Tuesday 17th April 2012
Glen Carruthers (Canada)

I remember the DM5 and DM6 units. They had the best resolution display at the time. I remember the demo video of the Nasa Space Vehicle launch. I also traveled to shows with this unit connected to a "scent" machine that would atomize different scents into the air when the customer $ed a particular scent from the DM5 program.

Monday 19th March 2012
Jacques van Zyl (South Africa)

This was my first computer. My father worked for NCR based in Cape Town. I purchased this machine from one of his co-workers.

My DMv had two floppy drives and a 512kb memory upgrade. If I remember correctly, I hade to upgrade with a 16bit card to be able to run DOS. All I really did on the machine was learn and play around with GW Basic. It was great.

Sunday 19th February 2012
Matias Rajkay (Augsburg, Germany)

I worked at the NCR E$M Facility in Augsburg in the tech documentation dept., later on in tech support and Product Management.

The DM V came as a base model with a Z80, optional additional (!) processors available were Intel 8086, 80186 and a Motorola 68008. A wide variety of operating systems (CP/M, MP/M, CP/M 68k, Xenix, USCD p-Code) were supported. The unique thing about the graphics was the standard NEC 7220 graphic processor: Unlike most other designs (including the IBM PC), the DM V used a real vector graphic processor. It could display 16 simultaneous colors on its 640x400 screen. The expansion modules were stuck in the back of the system (no tools required), the connection was through a proprietary bus system (very much more advanced than all other systems, IBM''s later announced "micro channel" architecture had a few similarities.
Lotus 1-2-3 could be run with the help of a special driver diskette, providing the interface to the NEC 7220. Unfortunately political reasons prevented the commercial success, as IBM and Lotus prohibited trunning 1-2-3 on anything but an original IBM.

Wednesday 26th October 2011
Bill Bell (Ohio, US)

BTW, if any of you ex-NCR folks recall my dad please let me know. I realize it was a BIG company, but I remember him having to go all over the world to do work for them. Especially when he became part of the Teradata crew.

Wednesday 26th October 2011
Bill Bell (Ohio, US)

My father (of the same name) worked for NCR for 40+ years. Started in NJ, then came to Ohio. My pops brought home about 12 of these machines at one time, filling the garage. We would take the best of all of them and put together a few good systems. I remember using one all the time to log onto my favorite BBS''s. With having all those systems, I had the "beast" w/all the fixens.

The office closet was FULL of DM-V software suich as Peachtree accounting, etc.

I miss those tinkering days w/my pops.

Tuesday 19th July 2011
Bob Tay (UK)

This brings back memories! In about 1982 I worked for NCR London, for the product marketing group responsible for recruiting dealers to sell the Decision Mate V.
The original spec included two processors, a Z80 running CP-M and a 8086 (I think) running MS-DOS. You just $ed the appropriate 8" floppy disk to boot from. All the screens were colour with a resolution of 800x600 (I think) - way better than anything else available.
The design was "all-in-one" looking much like a large vdu, of the kind that featured in films of that era to show how up to date their computer scenes were.
Around the back was a long, open slot which accessed the expansion ports (think of a row of PCI connectors). Every expansion module had to use a special metal case that provided uniformity. Some modules contained extra memory etc, some just provided a connector for say a serial printer cable. It was too easy to steal any expansion units and some commercial customers fitted a security bar across the back.
The keyboard was a very nice unit rather in the style of an Apple one today. No mouse at that time.
The first units available were in black plastic, but when the dealers saw the smart new beige plastic they went mad and made us replace all their black plastic with beige!
At that time the IBM PC was in it''s infancy and there was no uniformity about how a PC should look, I think the NCR DM V was ahead of the competition, the bonus points being the excellent colour screen and the keyboard, primitive games looked very good. However as we now know things advanced very quickly, especially memory hungry software, and it was inconvenient and expensive to upgrade a standard DM V. The killer app for PC''s was the arrival of Lotus 123, but only available on PC-DOS. Eventually I saw a demonstration of some kind of emulation that allowed MS-DOS to run Lotus 123 but by then it was too late.

Thursday 30th June 2011
Jørn-Morten (Norway)

Ah - Ladder! :) Remember playing it for more hours than I have ever played any game since then. I think I got as far as to a level with a seemingly impossible gap to jump past - anyone know if this was the sadistic way of the developers to end the game, rather than display a proper ending?

Saturday 1st January 2011
tom (belgium)

I have a DM V (256k) + winchester disk (2x5mb) + extension slots, and even the original cardboard box in which it was delivered in 1983.
(extension slot-printer $ communication)

want to trade it for Ipad Apple 3G/64gb
still working !
+ software microsoft basic convertor

i''m from belgium

Thursday 30th September 2010
Paco Landaveri (Lima, Peru)

I worked in NCR Peru and have 3 DM-V monochrome with dual diskette, keyboard a couple of expansion memories, one mouse (cable needs replacement) and a copy of the technical manual plus some software. I used to work with these units for several years, some of the units I used even had a CD player (pioneer 1000) and up to 3 external winchester disks (daisy chained)

Saturday 24th April 2010
Mark Chafe

My dad work as a tech at NCR in Canada. They had one at the office connected to an ISDN line for their parts database up until the late 1990s. Their model was slightly different however. It was monocrhome (green/black) but both the keyboard and the cabinet were darker shade of gray around the monitor and floppy drives. I actually liked the feel of the keyboard. Used to like typing on it when i was younger. When they closed up office here, we took the machine home, but later through it out. I do remember some kind of external memory port that would plug in the back of it like an game cardridge of sorts.

Also, anyone seen any pictures of the NCR 710 modular pc. It was a 286 and was in a few various configurations. It could either be staked in 3 small pieces, or connected together as one long slender unit. I always cursed on it growing up, cause it wasnt as upgradable as others my friends had, but never seen a machine like it since. ohh if only i had it back hehe.

we then had some 3421 386 machines. now they were awesome.

Thursday 17th December 2009
Don Coleman (USA)

I have a DMV with software and documentation. It was given to me by the division staff. My e-mail address is

Friday 13rd March 2009
Webmaster (France)

Sounds very interesting, but how can we contact you ? Can you contact me (contact us link at bottom of this page, choose Olivier). Thanks

Thursday 12th March 2009
Donald Coleman (usa)

I was a Division President when I assigned the developement of (later named) the Decision Mate product development and manufacturing to the Augsberg, Germany facility within NCR.

This development first turned out a CPM based machine and then a DOS version. The DOS version was callled the Decision Mate V or DM-V.

Walter Koenig was the Director of R $ D and Hans Keilworth was the General Manager of the facility. Both still residents of Augsberg.

Contact me for additional information

Monday 21st May 2007
catherine (United Kingdom)

hello im trying to find out two games i used to play as a kid. i used to, still do, own an Ambra Sprinta computer, and it had Windows 3.1 on it. and i had two, well more than two games on it but these two are what im hunting for in particual. one game i remember as being called "Eric" where you have a little man going around different levels, i think you collect other items but the main thing i remember is you have to collect and item called "the heart" to go onto the next level. they didnt pan when your character moves about, and that your view of the level is like looking down, not looking at the characters side. black background with red outline walls i think. and i also rememebr one of the later levels being called "Pandora's Box" and to get into that part you have to hit "insert" or "home" one of those buttons to go diagonally.

the other game i rememebr being called "INMAN" you control a little stick man and collect bits of ladder and build the ladder to collect items, not sure what the items were. the levels were the same as so called "eric" non panning/sidescrolling level. its a fixed space, e.g 5x5 sort of space i think. thats not its space but just an example. i remember the level outline being blue and the ladders being yellow.

sorry about the lengthy description, if anyone can help in anyway i will be grateful.

(concerning the Eric game i know for a fact it is not "Eric the Unready".

Wednesday 1st November 2006
Chris (New Jersey)
Tandy 2000

Maybe someone can help me. I saw an odd looking "pc" in a thrift store in Long Island years ago. It looked alot like the DM/PC4 but different (as I recall). It had an "a>" prompt, which led me to believe it was 8088 based. But it looked different from the othe 2. I met a lady recently who used to work for NCR and she said that an "addendum" to the DM was made (about 2500) called the Data Mate or something. Can anyone confirm or deny? I'm thinking that was what I saw in the thrift store.

Friday 1st September 2006
Rainer Fredrich (Germany)
Interesting group with links and information about the NCR DMV

This Yahoo group is also good starting point for people who are looking for information about the NCR Decision Mate V.

Tuesday 8th August 2006
Rebecca (Wichita, Kansas; USA)

My father worked for NCR for many, many years and somehow or another, we ended up with a DMV. It was the first computer I remember using and I spent hours and hours playing ladder (sort of a stone aged donkey kong but with letters for the board and characters).To my knowledge, it had a word processor, ladders, and I think it also had a few MIDI's.
Then when we got our first IBM clone, I got to have the DMV in my room. At the time, I was the only kid I knew who had a computer in their room and I spent many more hours writing tons of very long, very bad stories. I've sent an email to my dad to see what ever happened to the DMV or the Commodor 64 we had. I know I ended up throwing away all the floppies when some of them melted in storage, which would have included the boot disks for the DMV. Don't ask me what the DMV had on it - before my time of interest -- I was only 7 or 8. Boy was it a clunky thing though. I think dad nearly dropped it once carrying it down the stairs. LOL

Wednesday 29th March 2006
John Dowd (New Jersey)

Correction to my previous message. The winchester disk was a 10 MB unit. I had it partitioned into a 5MB cp/m partition and a 5 MB DOS partition. I later added the second 10 MB drive.

Wednesday 29th March 2006
John Dowd (New Jersey)

I worked for NCR for 37 years. I bought a DMV with the external 5 MB Winchester and later added the second Winchester to it. I used the DMV until about 2000. I ran a payroll program that I had written back in 1977 for my SOL-20. The DMV still works, but when my last dot-matrix printer quit I decided to stop using the DMV rather than spend $300 for a new one. All the new ink-jet and laser printers require Windows and won't run on DOS or CP/M based machines. I have the full set of manuals for this machine. I have Turbo Pascal for it. I also have the hardware floating point chip in it.
Incidentally, without looking at the documentation, I don't think it used the Z-80 processor. I think it was the 8085. Believe it or not I think I paid over $3000 for this thing at employee discount price.

Monday 19th September 2005
Franck (France)

I received a NCR Decision Mate V. I would use it but if I swith it on, nothing happends.
I think he is working because the red light is working, but I can not see anything on the screen.
Has someone as solution ?
Sorry for my english but I'm French.

Wednesday 17th August 2005
JoeJoe (Work)

Are these made by intel. corp for Nec
I have one of these in excellent condition abd keyboard.
Are these valuable or Junk.

Sunday 5th June 2005
James Simmons (New Jersey, USA)
The Personal Computer User Group, International

I worked in West Columbia, SC at NCR for 12 1/2 years. I was the founder and original President of the NCR Decision Mate V User Group at NCR Columbia. This group has metamorphed into the current PCUG, over the years.

NCR Headquarters in Dayton Ohio gave me the duplication/publishing rights to all the DMV software produced and sold by NCR. This was pre-AT&T, as they were ending support for the DMV.

I have one of the original first-run DMVs, the C-Itoh printer, serial and parallell modules, etc. but never got a Winchester drive. I also have all the tech manuals and updates from Clemson packed away in boxes.

Of course, Dayton never followed through with sending all the software packages they were licensing to me! They destroyed them, instead. However, I have the packages that I received when I originally bought the unit, plus some that I worked on, and a unique one developed by a guy at Fujitsu Ltd. which allows some IBM-PC software to run on the DMV. (I don't own the rights for that one.)

That said, I had a 512KB bread-boarded hand-made memory module, which my wife broke while cleaning my computer room last year. I desperately need the memory modules for this unit (64-256 and 245 to 512).

Anyone who happens to have parts packed away in the attic or basement, please contact me.

I am impressed that anyone even has a DMV in anything other than a museum.

I am looking forward to hearing from DMV officianados.

James Simmons, Founder and President PCUG

Friday 14th January 2005
Luis C. Arocha (Caracas, Venezuela)

The family owned one back in the early 80's that was used to start a small computing business. The HDD was a Winchester 10 Mb drive, with the optional 256K module and the printer interface wich was a cartridge with the cable attached to it (just like in the pic) that plugged in the back of the CPU, it had this really noise C-Itoh printer (dot matrix, 132 columns) wich must be stored somewhere in the attic.

Friday 14th January 2005
Georg Meier (Eichstetten)

Our company has 3 original NCR DMV
but we are looking for software
ms-dos and cp/m
we have some software, and one floppy boots ms-dos
we ar elooking for people who have a ncr dmv
best regards

Tuesday 20th July 2004
Gabriel (Barcelona (Spain))

I've got one ! Was the first computer of my company. I remember about 4800 euro. I was 11 years old, so it was on 1.982-1.983. I don't now if it works. About 10 years without working. Who remembers the game 'ladder' ? "PIP LPT: (...)" :)

Saturday 20th March 2004
Mr.Roche (France)

According to a photocopie I got with my NCR Decision Mate V, NCR made 4 documentations
(all under the name "System Technical Manual"
series): 1) Hardware, 2) CP/M-80, 3) MS-DOS,
4) CP/M-86. I need Volume 1: Hardware. I am also interested in any option cards made for this system.

Yours Sincerely,
Mr Roche

Thursday 31st January 2002
Primoduke (Argentina)

I'm looking for software and/or documantation about the NCR DMV
Please, if you know where or if you have some, just contact me.

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