NABU 1600 Desktop Computer

Dublin Core


NABU 1600 Desktop Computer


hardware: desktop computer


Historical Context
NABU Manufacturing (incorporated in June 1981 in Ottawa) was created through the amalgamation of three companies: Bruce Instruments Ltd. (manufacturer of cable TV converters based in Almonte), MFC Microsystems International Inc. (a distributor of computer hardware and software for small business systems), and Computer Innovations Ltd. (which operated computer retail stores across Canada). Soon after, the company acquired Andicom Technical Products Ltd. (a manufacturer of small business computers based in Toronto), Consolidated Computer Inc. (a manufacturer and distributor of key-edit systems), Mobius Software Ltd. (an Ottawa-based software consulting company), and Volker-Craig (a Kitchener-based manufacturer of video-display terminals).

NABU's business plan was to capture a sizable share of the microcomputer market by offering the world's first cable-ready computers and by implementing a novel system for electronic delivery of software and information to home computer users -- the NABU Network. The company announced its network during the 1982 National Cable & Telecommunications Association conference in Las Vegas. In May 1983, the company transmitted its programming via satellite from Ottawa to terminals installed at the 26th Annual Convention of the Canadian Cable Television Association in Calgary. The NABU Network was officially launched on 15 October 1983 on Ottawa Cablevision, an 85,000-subscriber company where much of NABU's testing was performed. Soon thereafter, the network made its US debut in Alexandria, Virginia, on Tribune Cable, a 5,000 subscriber service. The launch marked the creation of the first commercial computer network to provide high-speed access to information, software, and digital entertainment directly to homes of personal computer users.

While NABU's focus was on cable TV-based delivery of software and data, the company also designed and sold desktop and workstation computers.
One of such computers was the NABU 1600 designed by NABU's Andicom brunch. It was a 16-bit multi-user, multi-tasking desktop business computer supporting up to three user terminals. It was released by NABU Manufacturing in 1982. The system consisted of the CPU unit, the mass storage unit, and up to four terminals (e.g. the NABU 4404 terminals).

The NABU 1600 technical specifications:
  • CPU: Intel 8086 at 4.916 MHz,
  •  floating-point co-processor: Intel 8087,
  • RAM: 256 Kbytes expandable to 512 Kbytes,
  • ROM: 8 Kbytes,
  • mass storage unit: two diskette or hard drives in a separate unit,
  • hard drive: Seagate ST412, 10 Mbytes (formatted) with Western Digital WD 1001 disk controller,
  • diskette drive: Tandon TM 100-4,
  • diskettes: 5.25 inch, double-sided, double-density, 800 Kbytes,
  • communications: synchronous, aynchronous, 4 RS 323C ports.

  • operating systems: MS-DOS, Xenix, and CP/M-86,
  • programming languages: C, FORTRAN, BASIC, Pasal, COBOL,
  • applications: DOC text editor, Q-Mail (mail software), Q-Spell (spell checker), electronic spreadsheet, accounting, database management.


NABU Manufacturing Corp., NABU Network Corp.







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NABU Manufacturing Corp., NABU Network Corp., “NABU 1600 Desktop Computer,” York University Computer Museum Canada, accessed May 28, 2023,

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