The computer hardware hall of fame

From mainframes and minis to PCs and PDAs, our picks for the greatest, most enduring computer hardware of all time.

Digital Equipment Corp. VAX (1977)

The 32-bit successor to the DEC's PDP-11, the VAX line helped solidify DEC's position as the top minicomputer vendor. The name derived from Virtual Address Extension, in part because VAX was one of the first minicomputer architectures to use virtual memory. The VAX 11/780 introduced in 1977 was a 1-MIPS unit; dozens of iterations followed until VAX gave way to its DEC AlphaServer successors in the 1990s. In 1998 DEC was bought by Compaq, which in turn was bought by HP in 2001. The HP website says the company will "continue to offer OpenVMS VAX support at least through the year 2010."

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