General Computer

General Computer

General Computer (also see General Computer Corporation) was a computer peripheral company whose main product was the HyperDrive, the first internal hard disk for the original Apple Macintosh computer. The product was unusual because the Macintosh did not have any internal interface for hard disks. It was attached directly to the CPU, and ran about seven times faster than Apple's "Hard Disk 20", an external hard disk that attached to the floppy disk port.

The HyperDrive was considered an elite upgrade at the time, though it was hobbled by Apple's Macintosh File System, which had been designed to manage 400K floppy disks; as with other early Macintosh hard disks, the user had to segment the drive such that it appeared to be dozens of floppy disks.

The second issue of MacTech Magazine, in January 1985, included a letter that summed up the excitement:

:The BIG news is from a company called General Computer. They announced a Mac mod called HyperDrive, which is a RAM expansion to 512K, and the installation of a 10 meg hard disk with the controller INSIDE THE MACINTOSH. This allows direct booting from the hard disk, free modem port, no serial I/O to slow things down, and no external box to carry around. Price is $2,795 on a 128K machine or $2195 on a 512K machine. They do the installation or you can buy a kit from your dealer.

In 1986 the company shipped the "HyperDrive 2000", a 20MB internal hard disk that also included a Motorola 68881 floating-point unit, but the speed advantage of the HyperDrive had been negated on the new Macintosh Plus computers by Apple's inclusion of an external SCSI port. General Computer responded with the "HyperDrive FX-20" external SCSI hard disk, but drowned in a sea of competitors that offered fast, large hard disks.

Before the video game crash of 1983, General Computer was involved in video games, both arcade games and cartridge games for the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200. GCC engineers also designed a custom graphics chip for the next Atari game player, the 7800. GCC's most successful foray into video games was the arcade game Ms. Pac-Man.

Today, General Computer, currently located in Burlington, Massachusetts, sells laser printers.


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