Some CDC System 17 computer hardware characteristics

Here is some of the Control Data Corporation (CDC) computer equipment and its specifications listed that was in use at the TNO Physics Laboratory between the seventies and eighties.

Type/Model Description
Single direct memory access channel connection. Controller has absolute cylinder addressing and a daisy chain capability to control up to four cartridge disk drives with seek-overlap capability in any combination. Occupies five pre-assigned positions in CPU enclosure.
Cartridge disk drive with voice coil positioning. Stores 2.2 million words on a fixed disk plus 2.2 words on a removable disk. Each disk has two surfaces, 400 tracks per surface, 29 sectors per track, and 96 words per sector. Average positioning time is 35 milliseconds. Rotational speed is 2400 rpm. Transfer rate is 156.000 words per second. Includes floor mount cabinet. Requires 848-29 disk cartridge (not included).
CDC 1732-2/615 7- and 9-track tape drive. 37.5 ips, 556/800 bpi NRZI and 1600 bpi Phased encoded (PE).
Paper tape station 400 characters per second, paper tape reader capable of reading 5, 7 or 8 level tape, 150 characters per second paper tape punch, includes common control cabinet and power supply.
Digigraphics workstation Digigraphics Vector-oriented 22 inch flat face CRT console, screen capacity up to 2000 inches of curves or up to 1800 characters of any size or font, includes character generator and light pen.
It required a controller that controls a single 274 graphics console for light pen based computer-aided design, research and control application, contains 4096 words memory buffer, operates from one 1700 data channel. Cycle time was 1.67 microseconds; the refresh cycle was 25 ms.
TNO's version had 8Kwords.
CDC 1784-2 COMPUTER Basic processor with 4096 words of 18-bit (16 data or instruction bits, memory protect bit and parity bit) dynamic volatile MOS memory, 600 nanosecond cycle time, hardware multiply/divide, one internal, 15 external interrupts, two hardware index registers and breakpoint switch. Contains prewired positions for up to 32k memory and 1 magnetic tape controller, 1 disk controller plus four aq positions and 3 dsa positions for connection of peripherals and channels. Memory expandable to 65k expansion over 32k requires expansion options. Computer includes console, cabinet, power supply and controller for tty or crt. Rack mountable in optional cabinet or free standing.
TNO's system was expanded to 32K words and had a interface to connect to the CDC 3200 and later the CDC 6400.


(with special thanks to Mark Riordan who provided the basis for this page)

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