Processor Technology

Processor Technology
Founding Date Apr 1975 (46 years ago)
Number of Employees 100

Processor Technology Corporation was a personal computer company founded in April 1975 by Gary Ingram and Bob Marsh in Berkeley, California. Their first product was a 4K byte RAM board that was compatible with the MITS Altair 8800 computer but more reliable than the MITS board. This was followed by a series of memory and I/O boards including a video display module. A Processor Technology advertisement showing a motherboard with eight add-in boards. Popular Electronics magazine wanted a feature article on an intelligent computer terminal and Technical Editor Les Solomon asked Marsh and Lee Felsenstein to design one. It was featured on the July 1976 cover and became the Sol-20 Personal Computer.The first units were shipped in December 1976 and the Sol-20 was a very successful product. The company failed to develop next generation products and ceased operations in May 1979.

Bob Marsh, Lee Felsenstein and Gordon French started designing the Sol-20 between April and July 1975. The Sol-20 utilized the Intel 8080 8-bit microprocessor chip, running at 2 MHz. A major difference between the Sol-20 and most other machines of the era was its built-in video driver, which allowed it to be attached to a composite monitor for display. The Sol-20 consisted of a main motherboard (PCB) mounted at the bottom of the case, and a five slot S-100 bus card cage. The main PCB consisted of the CPU, memory, video display, I/O circuits. Inside the case included power supply, fan, and keyboard. The case was painted 'IBM blue' and the sides of case were made of solid oiled walnut originally salvaged from a gun stock manufacturer.

Processor Technology manufactured approximately 10,000 Sol-20 personal computers between 1977 and 1979. All Processor Technology products were available either fully assembled, or as electronic kits. Processor Technology also sold software on cassette tape. One side of the tape was recorded in CUTS format, and the other side was Kansas City standard format. Gary Ingram and Steven Dompier wrote the original software utilities. Lee Felsenstein wrote the original user manuals as a contractor.