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V > VECTOR GRAPHICS  > Vector 4   


Vector Graphics
Vector 4

Thanks to Dennis Wingo, Vector former employee from engineering, for this information:

Historically, the Vector 4 can be seen as a transitional system, especially for Vector in the quandary in 1982 concerning whether or not to compete directly with the IBM PC.
The system shown below had a 6 Mhz Z-80 CPU and an 8088 "I think" also running at 6 Mhz so it would have been faster in processing than a standard 4.77 MHz IBM PC.

The I/O for the system was the S-100 bus but with a reduced functionality so that it was only used for the FD/HD card and other I/O mapped boards. The original memory was 128 kilobytes with the ability to add a daughter card that would extend this to 256 kilobytes.
The Vector 4 had a much better graphics capability than the Vector III although I can't recall the resolution. The Vector 4 originally booted CP/M and also had the LinkNet 750 kilobit/sec token passing network card as an option.

Interestingly enough by the time of Comdex in November of 1982 we had the LinkNet integrated to the extent that we could have 32 computers all linked together AND you could map ALL of the disk drives from the entire network onto whichever system you were working on.
In March of 1983 I did an install at Digital Research (inventors of CP/M) of a networked system and between Vector and DRI we implemented CP/M 86 that used the much faster 8088 CPU and had all of the same networking features that we had in CP/M-80 as it became to be called. If it had not been for some collusion between IBM and other parties, we would have had commonplace networking a decade before this actually happened....but that is another story!

Anthony Lefco reports:
This computer had a hard sectored floppy. Later a soft sectored model became available so that it was more compatible with prevailing standards. It also had an option to convert to an 8086 chip through an installation by TRW. It came with a full suite of proprietary applications.

This was my first computer. I remember it well. It was murder to figure out how to get the data out when it was time to convert to a new computer as the company quickly went bankrupt, but it did force me to learn about computers in more detail.


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Hey Jeff, this is Dennis Wingo, used to work in Engineering. If any of you guys want to get rid of your Vector 4 let me know.

Dennis

          
Friday 28th December 2007
Dennis Wingo (Huntsville, Alabama)

I still have an new Vector 4 in storage. I should since I was one of the key Operation Systems developers at Vector Graphics.

Amazing that there are still a few of these in operation. All-in-all they were a great machine for a specific niche market (Word processing, spreadhseet, and simple accounting through Peachtree).

          
Wednesday 9th November 2005
Jeff Grossman (Los Angeles, CA)

I was given this computer as a second-hand gift when I was thirteen years old in 1985. I had no idea what to do with it or how to operate it, but one day I was messing around with it, thinking of the movie Wargames, and typed in "PRESIDENTIAL SECURITY SYSTEM" for no other reason than being thirteen. I was met with an "illegal operation" error message. I stared in horror at the screen, thinking$despite having no modem$that I had been caught by the Secret Service! I pulled the power plug out of the wall and spent the next few days waiting for a knock on the door. I refused to turn it back on for weeks after that!

          
Tuesday 1st May 2012
Michael Swanson (Portland, OR, USA)

 

NAME  Vector 4
MANUFACTURER  Vector Graphics
TYPE  Professional Computer
ORIGIN  U.S.A.
YEAR  1983
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke keyboard with function keys and separate numeric keypad
CPU  Zilog Z80C + Intel 8088
SPEED  6 MHz
RAM  128 KB (up to 256 KB)
ROM  Unknown
TEXT MODES  80 x 24
GRAPHIC MODES  640 x 312 (B/W) / 320 x 312 (four intensities) / 160 x 312 (16 intensities)
COLORS  Optional
I/O PORTS  Centronics, Parallel (for Nec Qume Printer), RS232 (two : printer and communication)
BUILT IN MEDIA  Two 5.25'' floppy disk drives
OS  CP/M and MS-DOS
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in PSU
PRICE  Unknown


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