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!