Computer Systems

260 with 9133 and 2392

250/260/300 Selection:

Name: 260
Product Number: 45261D
Introduced: 1985
Division: Boeblingen General Systems
Original Price: $8770
Catalog Reference: 1986, page 61
Donated by: Kassulke Transport, South Australia. Jim Townley, Colorado.


The HP 260 replaced the 250 in 1985. The original 260 used cards with the same form factor as those found in the 250. The HP-IB, CPU and memory cards were interchangeable. The original 260 looked like a 7936/7 disc drive. Like the 250, it used a key to power up. The 260 came with interface cards that allowed 35721 monitors to be used as "video" terminals. The 260 was software compatible with the 250.

The 260 was successful from the beginning. HP sold 227 units in the month of introduction (March).

The 260/30 and 260/40 replaced the original 260 in 1986. The new 260 models had no hardware compatibility with the original 260 (or 250), but maintained software compatibility. The system unit of the 260/30-40 sported the same industrial design of the 300 Series computers. The 260/30-40 was a complete re-design of the original 260; no cards were interchangeable. The 260 could support up to 15 concurrent users. The base unit (model 30, P/N 45070A) came with 512KB RAM, expandable to 1.3 MB. It also included two RS-232C ports. The model 40 (45072A) came standard with 1 MB RAM, expandable to 2 MB.

Sales of 260 computers never matched those of the 250 computers. The business declined steadily in the latter half of the 1980s with 85 percent of it coming from international sales. The 260 was discontinued in 1989.

Collector's Notes:

Both the original 260 and the 260/30-40 will look to video port 1 for the console terminal if the computer has any video cards installed. You can not access the computer with a console terminal through a serial port unless all video cards are removed.

The museum's original 260s as well as 260/30-40 will happily boot with output through video port 1. By removing the video cards, the museum's 260/30-40 will also happily boot to any terminal through serial port 1. The original 260 however will only boot to a 2622D or 2649D through serial port 1.

The 260/30-40 computers are very reliable. Other than the power supply, the dozen or so 260s that we have seen have all worked. As of 2013, about twenty percent of power supplies appear to have expired.

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