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E > EXXON > 500 Series   


EXXON
500 Series

Exxon Computer Division, a branch of the Exxon Oil Company, sold this computer in the U.S.A and Europe.

This computer was built in 1982. The system is composed of CPU box, monitor, dual disk drives and a keyboard. It was delivered withe software on 5.2 disks, manuals, training materials.

This office computer was primarily a word processor with calenders, ticklers and file sharing capabilities. It ran on the Z-80 chipset with a 64 KB architecture running a CPM like OS. In some regards it is a monument to the arrogance of Senior Exxon management who felt that they were so good at managing an oil company, that surely they could manage a successful computer company.

Exxon owned Zilog, the creators of the Z80, which they purchased in 1980. The Z80 based Exxon 510 was the first system to grow out of that purchase. It has been argued by some the if Exxon had not purchased Zilog, that Zilog left alone would have rivaled Intel today. Exxon Office Systems was based on the purchase of Vydec and Zilog with the machines being developed by Compucorp and the printers being built by Qume.

Unfortunately, Exxon really mismanaged the companies and they sold off the business in 1985.

The 510 version was the basic 64 KB system.
The 520 version offered 128 KB of RAM expandable up to 256 KB.
The 530 version featured a 5 MB or 10 MB HDD.

_____

Contributors: David Gallaher

We need more info about this computer ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system, please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.

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I too have an 50 or 510 system. These are likely the last 2 in existence. I have received offers from collectors but I would rather see this unit in a museum.

          
Saturday 24th December 2016
David gallaher

I worked for Exxon Office Systems as the Branch Operations Manager in Chicago. I remember my staff dressing up as the Exxon 500 components for our annual Halloween party. EOS tried to market the 500 as a PC, but by then, the "real" PC had hit the market and made this "computer" instantly extinct. EOS also sold the first fax machine, Qwip Systems (my original employer), Vydec (the giant text editor that had a built-in desk - weighed a few hundred pounds!), and the Qyx Memory typewriter (which could retain about two sentences in its memory). I was the last person to leave the Chicago branch offices, after terminating the entire staff of over 100 employees, boxing up all the files and shipping them to Exxon corporate, and selling all of the furniture and artwork. I locked the door behind me and cried all the way home. We lost about 150 million dollars for Exxon, and they never did anything to stop it. One day, we received a fax saying the party was over. It was a great company, great people, but not the greatest products or business model.

          
Wednesday 26th August 2015
Terry Tellone (USA)

I started at Vydec in November 1978$ by that time Zilog was already a division of Exxon Information Systems, as was Vydec. Vydec was eventually renamed (or "evolved into") Exxon Office Systems, which produced the systems you are displaying.

The core hardware and software for the Exxon 500 series was purchased from a company called "Compucorp". To the best of my recollection, the hardware was retained essentially unchanged but repackaged, and the software was more substantially rewritten. (The system could boot CP/M but the primary OS Exxon sold it with was proprietary to Compucorp.)

However, prior to the 500 series release, Vydec produced and sold a series of digital hardware-based "text editors" from roughly 1976 until about the 1982 release of the first 500. These "text editors" were the 1137(?), 1146(?), 1200, 1400, and 1800.

The base version of all of the Vydec "text editors" except the 1800 had NO microprocessor$ all of the input, display, editing, and printing features were implemented in (mostly) 7400-series digital logic.

Added features for some of the "text editors" involved additional hardware which used the Intel 8008(!) microprocessor and later, the Zilog Z80.

I believe that the Vydec 1800 was the only one of the series that actually required the additional hardware containing the Z80, being the last of the series.

Photos and info. about the "Vydec 1800" can be found in various places on the web.

$$-Kevin H.

          
Wednesday 9th October 2013
KevinH (New Jersey/USA)

 

NAME  500 Series
MANUFACTURER  Exxon
TYPE  Professional Computer
ORIGIN  U.S.A.
YEAR  1982
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  None
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke 97 keys with 12 function keys and arrow keys
CPU  Z80-A
SPEED  4 Mhz
CO-PROCESSOR  None
RAM  64 KB (510 version) or 128 to 256 KB (520-530 versions)
VRAM  Unknown
ROM  1 KB (Boot loader)
TEXT MODES  80 columns x 25 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  None
COLORS  Monochrome
SOUND  Beeper
SIZE / WEIGHT  Unknown
I/O PORTS  Parallel printer, FDD unit, serial (option)
BUILT IN MEDIA  External dual 5.25'' 600 KB FDD unit (510 - 520 versions)
5 or 10 MB HDD (530 version)
OS  CP/M 2.2
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply unit
PRICE  $9200 (510 version)


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