NCR Mainframe Computers - Century 100 and Century 200
During the early 1970's, NCR had staked a claim for a substantial share of the computer market with the Century family of mainframe systems. The Century program represented an investment of $154 million in research, engineering, software, new production facilities and equipment, and in training of marketing and service personnel.
The members of the Century family had been oriented toward the "mass computer market", including first-time computer users. In addition to high-performance equipment at relatively low cost, this market also required ready-to-use supporting software, beamed at the specific requirements of different lines of business.
To this end NCR conducted in-depth systems studies in financial institutions, the retailing industry, industrial companies, insurance companies, government offices, hospitals, hotels, motels, schools, law enforcement agencies and other fields. These studies provided guidelines for developing a wide range of standard application "packages" designed to simplify moving up to a computer system from punched card or other mechanical business equipment.
The first models of the Century Series had been available for internal use for over a year before entering market. As a result, the compiler and the operating software systems had already been checked out. The Company itself was using 64 of the Century systems, prior to customer deliveries, for training of service and support personnel, further software checkout, and customer use at regional checkout centers.
A comprehensive educational service had been provided for all Century users, including their systems personnel, programmers and operators. NCR also established regional center facilities for checkout customer programs and for providing other ongoing assistance.
A 300,000-square-foot manufacturing plant was built at San Diego, California, to augment NCR's electronics production facilities at Hawthorne, California and Dayton, Ohio. Manufacturing of the Century family was also carried out at NCR factories in Dundee, Scotland, and Augsburg, Germany.
The versatile Century computers were based on significant design advances in ultra-high-speed thin-film memories, monolithic integrated circuitry, disc memory innovations, and automated production techniques. These features provided users with greater performance than ever before available in computer systems in their price range.
The Century Series was a full family of compatible systems designed to meet the data processing needs of a wide range of users. This includes the first-time computer users as well as the highly advanced users, employing real-time and multiprogramming concepts. The systems' capabilities cover all types of business data processing and also special scientific applications. This was by far the largest product development effort ever undertaken in NCR's history.
Initially, NCR released two lines of the new computer family - the Century 100 and the larger Century 200. This computer family also included powerful multiprocessing and time-sharing models scheduled for future release. These put NCR in the sector of the computer market it was not active before. All models in the entire Century Series had on-line, real-time capabilities. A full line of peripheral equipment including disc units, card readers, printers, magnetic tape handlers, and a high-capacity CRAM (Card Random Access Memory) was also introduced by the Company.
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