The Columbia MPC (for Multi Personal Computer) was the first exact copy of the young IBM PC. This desktop clone version will be followed few months later by a portable version designed by the new Compaq company.
Technically, there is nothing to say about this computer which hardware features are exactly the same as those of the IBM 5150. However, for about $1500 less, the MPC offered standard features that were optional on the IBM: 128 KB of RAM, two Serial one parallel ports and 8 ISA slots (versus the IBM-PC's five). The MPC's disk controller was integrated into the motherboard.
As IBM didn't well protect the PC hardware and BIOS software copyrights, this first clone will be followed by many others, desktops and portables version, manufactured in numerous countries by hundreds of independant companies, all over the world.
The Columbia company was sold in 1986 to a company based in Florida which kept the name and still exists.
Very nice machine. Well styled and solidly built. Mine was paired with a Zenith monitor, an Oki printer, and a SuperSoft C compiler that could be run from one disk while the source and executable files were in the second disk. The MPC was reliable and a pleasure to use. The only failures were an 8250 printer interface chip (which fortunately was socketed as I recall) and one disk drive (easily replaced). Many thanks to the pioneers that developed and produced this nice machine, and to Old-Computers for hosting this site. (I purchased mine in 1982 (ish), and used it for a number of years to develop hardware and software for transcription of audio (voice) into a musical score, and for pitch recognition.)
Saturday 1st September 2018
Bill K (USA)
My now deceased husband, Don Rein, worked for Columbia Data Systems in the early 80’s. He was able to do both hardware and software at the time, but mostly worked on the programming associated with the BIOS and ROM, I believe. I was just learning about all of it then. We had the version in our home that had two floppy drives (5 1/4) and no hard drive. I learned to program in Basic on these computers.
Tuesday 30th January 2018
Wife of Don Rein
I was the hardware engineer that designed the MPS. I have my original, hand drawn schematics.
Tuesday 12th December 2017
David Howse (Usa)
Columbia Data Products
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
Full-stroke 86 keys with function keys & numeric keypad
128 KB up to 1 MB
40 or 80 columns x 24 lines (MDA or CGA modes)
320 or 640 x 200 dots (CGA mode)
2 x Serial RS-232, 1 x Parallel Centronics, 8 x ISA slots
BUILT IN MEDIA
Dual 320 KB 5'' floppy disc drives
MS-DOS, CP/M-86, MP/M-86, OASIS, XENIX
Built-in power supply unit
all 8-bit PC expansion boards
$3400 - 128k memory, 2 floppies and color CGA card 5 MB hard drive : $1700