Data General Corporation
Nova 2

[JPEG image of Nova 2]

    This machine came to my collection through the good graces of Mr. Gordon Hlavenka, who informs me that it was previously employed in a metal fabrication shop creating paper- tapes for CNC machines. It's in pristine condition and operates perfectly.

    Like my Nova 1210 , this system has a four- slot backplane and 8 kW of core memory. The CPU resides on a single 15-inch square printed circuit board installed in the bottom slot of the chassis. The Nova 2 CPU is a full 16 bits wide unlike the Nova 1200 class (which uses a 4- bit ALU and operates serially upon "nibbles" to complete a 16- bit word). The entire computer is housed in a table- top enclosure.

    This was DG's first processor to use small ROMs (Read Only Memories) to control the machine. The machine is not microcoded, but rather the ROMs are used as function generators and take the place of large chunks of combinational logic. This construction technique was also used in the later Nova 3 . The use of ROMs in such a manner was very common throughout the 1970s as a way to get the package count down in a machine.

    The front panel, aside from graphical features like a mustard- tone colour scheme, is electrically identical to the 12xx and 8xx consoles.

    The Nova 2 acquits itself well on speed, too. In my timing tests the machine came in at 27 seconds - just about the middle of the pack.

    Whilst in use at its original task, the machine was configured with just the 8 kW memory, CPU board, and a Teletype ASR-33 as the I/O device, making it an excellent example of a minimally- configured machine capable of performing important tasks. It ran a software package called "Dataprep" which was loaded from the Teletype's reader into the core memory. Core being what it is, the program didn't need to be reloaded each time the machine was powered off, but merely had to be restarted.

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Last Modified: Sun Aug 29 08:52:00 EDT 1999