Edson deCastro was a former product manager at DEC, creators of the PDP series of computers. He left the company to form Data General and in 1968 they produced the Nova, competing directly with deCastro’s former employers. Although considered crude in comparison, the system was fast for it’s day and offered 16 bits over the PDP-8’s 12. One of it’s biggest innovations was the reduced manufacturing costs by being built on only two printed circuit boards that could be produced without any manual wiring. In contrast the PDP had many boards that had to be wired together. It was popular in industrial and lab settings.
Data General followed up with the SuperNova, then the SuperNova SC, both improving on the performance of the machine. The SC model was the fastest minicomputer of it’s day because of it’s 3.3 Mhz speed. The 1970s saw the Nova 1200, Nova 800, along with a few others. They later followed up with a slew of faster systems including the Eclipse series. The Nova influenced the design of the Xerox Alto, the Apple line from Apple Computer, and the MITS Altair.