Data General Nova -- PDP-11 Competitor

Recently I’ve posted several PDP-8 related items. I’ve been fascinated with the PDP-8 for some time, mainly because of its minimalist design. DECs follow-on, the PDP-11, was much more ambitious. But the product manager for the PDP-8 left DEC and started a new company, Data General. They quickly produced the NOVA, which has some resemblance to the PDP-8. It is not nearly as minimal, but it is far less complex than the -11. It is probably my favorite of the 16 bit minis. It was cheap and efficient, and popular. Eventually it was reduced to a single chip, the MN601 Micronova.

There is some really good information on Ed Thelen’s web site:


A nice machine! Some links:

Data General Nova Class Instruction Set Description (in which we learn that it’s a word-addressed machine. Hurrah for that!

Nova is 50 (the best small computer in the world)

DG’s own website, about the Nova (not missing from the Internet Archive after all)

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