The Terak 8510 is a complete stand-alone micro-computer based on DEC's LSI-11 chipset (16-bit !), in other words, it si a PDP-11 compatible. It was one of the first high-end microcomputers and among the first desktop personal computers to offer a bitmap graphics display.
It was capable of running a stripped version of UNIX version 6. It was the first personal machine on which the UCSD p-System was widely used. Various universities in the USA used it in the late 1970s through mid-1980s to teach Pascal programming. It provided immediate graphic feedback from simple programs encouraging students to learn.
A complete disk operating system is available including single and multi-user BASIC, FORTRAN IV, APL and PASCAL.
While the 8510 Data Processor is the computer itself, the The 8510/a Graphics Computer System consists of the Model 8510 Data Processor, with FIS/EIS (Hardware floating point option) a 56K Byte memory/ video controller unit and the Model 8532 Keyboard/ Display.
This special configuration provides the user with a flexible disc based digital computer system, programmable through a variety of standard languages, with the added capabilities of producing medium resolution raster scan graphics. User programs can display both characters and graphics, independently or simultaneously in any combination of three zones in the display area. The character dot pattern is alterable through program control of a writeable character generator (192 character set capability) facilitating any special character representation desired including foreign language character sets.
Three entrepreneurs created the company in 1975: Brian Benzar, William Mayberry and Dennis Kodimer. Terak products were manufactured in Scottsdale, Arizona from 1976 thru 1984. Sales reached $10M and Terak was publicly traded in 1983-84. Besides the original frame-buffer-centric 8510/a, other products were developed: color graphics and a Unix workstation. Eventually Terak succumbed to two forces: the sales juggernaughts of Sun, IBM and Apple plus venture capitalists with little expertise in the computer industry.