<microprocessor>

<computer hardware> A minicomputer(?) introduced by Data General in 1969, with four 16-bit accumulators, AC0 to AC3, and a 15-bit program counter. A later model also had a 15-bit stack pointer and frame pointer. AC2 and AC3 could be used for indexed addressing and AC3 was used to store the return address on a subroutine call. Apart from the small register set, the NOVA was an ordinary CPU design.

Memory could be accessed indirectly through addresses stored in other memory locations. If locations 0 to 3 were used for this purpose, they were auto-incremented after being used. If locations 4 to 7 were used, they were auto-decremented. Memory could be addressed in 16-bit words up to a maximum of 32K words (64K bytes). The instruction cycle time was 500 nanoseconds(?). The Nova originally used core memory, then later dynamic RAM.

Like the PDP-8, the Data General Nova was also copied, not just in one, but two implementations - the Data General MN601 and Fairchild 9440. Luckily, the NOVA was a more mature design than the PDP-8.

Another CPU, the PACE, was based on the NOVA design, but featured 16-bit addresses (instead of the Nova's 15), more addressing modes, and a 10-level stack (like the Intel 8008).

[Speed, mini?]

(01 Aug 2003)

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