MCM Power computer

Dublin Core


MCM Power computer


computer hardware: desktop computer


Historical context (by Z. Stachniak)
In April, 1972, Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, California, announced its first 8-bit microprocessor — the 8008. In just a few months, the prototypes of the first general purpose computers powered by the 8008 chip were already working on site at the French company Réalisations et Études Électroniques located in the suburbs of Paris and at Micro Computer Machines (MCM) with headquarters situated on the outskirts of Toronto. These firms fully recognized, articulated, and acted upon the immense potential of the budding microprocessor technology for the development of a new generation of cost effective computing systems. MCM announced its first computer—the MCM/70—in September 1973. The computer—arguably the first microprocessor-powered computer designed specifically for personal use—was followed by three more generations of MCM desktops: the MCM/800 was unveiled in 1976, the MCM/900 in 1978, and the MCM Power in 1980.

In early 1980, MCM made a decision to evolved its best selling MCM/900 system into a multi-user, distributed data processing network that shared peripherals and a common file system. The new system—the MCM Power—was to "bridge the gap between the small business systems and the large, complex computers which are beyond the reach of most businesses." As its MCM predecessors—the MCM/70, /800, and /900—the Power offered an APL environment and virtual memory that significantly extended the amount of memory available to users. To achieve a multi-user, distributed data processing network, MCM supported its new computer with a software package consisting of Powerlink, Powernet, and Powercomm programs. Powerlink provided a universal interface between a Power system and a wide selection of peripherals. Up to 200 uniquely addressable devices could be interfaced including printer/plotters, analog/digital converters, etc. The MCM Powernet software allowed to share data storage and output media by several Power computers. Finally, the MCM Powercomm facilitated serial data transmission as well as interactive communications with large-scale computer systems.

The computer was announced in mid-1980. It's single-user stripped-down version—the MicroPower—was offered the same year.

The MCM/900 hardware specification:
  • CPU - bitslice technology using AMD-2901 bitslice processors,  Z80 co-processor for data handling
  • RAM - 8KB to 24KB,
  • ROM - 96KB(?) (contained the MCM/APL and OS)
  • external storage - DDS-500 and DDS-1000 dual diskette systems (5124KB per disk storage capacity), HDS-10 hard drive (10MB storage capacity),
  • display - 12 inch monochrome, 21 lines of 96 characters, built-in, APL as well as alternate user-programmable character sets,
  • keyboard - IBM 2741-style, 48 APL keys, 19-key numeric keypad,
  • peripherals: DDS-500 and DDS-1000 dual diskette systems, HDS-10 hard drive, printers/plotters (MCM MCP-132, MCP-300, MCP-709, MCP-712, MCP-713),
  • Communications Subsystem (up to 2400 baud),
  • ports - Omniport IO interface (8-bit parallel), RS-232C serial port,
  • power supply - with power-fail protection.

  • operating system - EASY (External Allocation System) and AVS (A Virtual System) in ROM,
  • MCM/APL - APL interpreter in ROM,
  • Decision Support APL Functions Library,
  • MCM Text word processing system,
  • Distribution Management and Financial Accounting,
  • Travel Agency System,
  • Client Accounting System,
  • Dental Practice System,
  • Property Management System,
  • Pharmacy Control System,
  • Construction Management System.
Museum holdings:

MCM Power Model 524, serial number 1071122c
MCP-132 printer/plotter,
DDS-1000 and MPD-1000 diskette systems.

Recommended readings:
  • Z. Stachniak. Inventing the PC: the MCM/70 Story , McGill-Queen's University Press (2011).


Micro Computer Machines




Canada, 1980-




Micro Computer Machines, “MCM Power computer,” York University Computer Museum Canada, accessed May 27, 2023,

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