ND-5000 family

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The ND-5000 family is the third generations system based on the ND-500 architecture. It is a totally new construction both in hardware and physical layout. The ND-5000 CPU uses the same instructions as the ND-500 CPU but adds 25 new instructions[1] called '87 extensions', also found in the ND-500/1 and ND-500/2 CPUs.

The new ND-5000 CPU replaces 24 cards in the old ND-500 arcitecture. The single processor ND-5700 system have the same computational power as a ND-570 system.

The ND-5000 series of computers is able to run both SINTRAN III and NDIX, Norsk Data's version of UNIX.

Hardware implementation

The ND-5000 family systems uses a ND-100/ND-110/ND-120 CPU as I/O processor.


Sold as the ND-5200, ND-5400, ND-5500, ND-5700, and ND-5800. The ND-120 CPU line, which constituted the ND-100 side of most ND-5000 computers, was named Delilah. As the 5000 line progressed in speed, the dual-arch ND-100/500 configuration increasingly became bottlenecked by all I/O having to go through the ND-100.


Sold as the ND-5830 and ND-5850. The Rallar processor consisted of two main VLSI gate arrays, KUSK and GAMP - meaning "Jockey" and "Horse", respectively.

CPU types

The ND-5000 CPUs came in 3 types. Type 1 had two layers of cards, type 2 had three layers of cards, and type 3 had four layers of cards. Type 1 and type 2 used similar mother boards/baby modules, the difference was that a layer with instruction/data cache and the AAP (Additional Arithmetic Processor) was missing in the type 1 CPUs. The missing AAP meant that on type 1 CPUs floating point operations were performed by the microprogram[2].

System performance

The difference in performance between models was mainly done by 3 methods:

  • Select a CPU (Type 1 / Type 2 / Type 3).
  • Jumper the master clock speed to Slow (156 ns) or Normal (70 ns).
  • Disable or enable a number or performance enhancing caching features.

Different combinations of the above resulted in the different ND-5000 models. The table below illustrates this[3].

ND-5000 model differences and list of enabled functions
System CPU type Instruction cache Data cache Address cache Smart IfGo cache WICO (Write in Cache only) Master clock speed
ND-5200 1 - - - - - 70 ns
ND-5400 2 Yes - - Yes - 156 ns
ND-5500 2 Yes Yes - Yes - 156 ns
ND-5700 2 Yes Yes Yes Yes - 70 ns
ND-5800 3 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 70 ns


The original series of ND-5000 computers came in three different models, ND-5700, ND-5800 and ND-5900. The ND-5900 models are the same as the ND-5800, but with multiple CPUs (2, 3 or 4). Later additions to the family were Compact models, ND-5200 Compact and ND-5700 Compact[4].

ND-5000 system comparision chart
System Relative CPU performance Memory shared (MB) Memory local (MB) Data cache (KB) Instruction cache (KB) Max disk capacity (GB)
ND-5200 Compact
ND-5700 8 - 512 2 64 320 29
ND-5700 Compact
ND-5800 2 16 - 512 4 64 320 29
ND-5900 model 2 4 16 - 512 4 2x64 2x320 29
ND-5900 model 3 6 16 - 512 4 3x64 3x320 29
ND-5900 model 4 8 16 - 512 4 4x64 4x320 29

Remaining systems


  1. Norsk Data Document ND–05.009.3 NORD-500 REFERENCE MANUAL
  2. ND-5000 Hardware Description ND-05.020.1
  3. ND-5000 Hardware Description ND-05.020.1
  4. PRODUCT NEWS November 1987
  • NEWS March 1987, pg. 52-53, "The ND-5000 Series: Removing Hardware Limitations".
  • Norsk Data Document ND–05.009.3 NORD-500 REFERENCE MANUAL