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 devised 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-5400 Compact
ND-5500 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

The ND-5000 Compact series

The ND-5000 Compact series is equipped with:

  • ND-110/CX I/O Processor (ND-110 in ND-5200 Compact system)
  • Internal disks or a controller for external disks
  • One Streamer, 125 MB (Option on systems with external disks)
  • One floppy-disk drive (1.2 MB capacity)
  • 4 to 6 MB memory
  • SINTRAN and utilities

All ND-5000 Compact systems are available in two models: A model with internal disks and B model with external disk option. A models include from one to four internal disks of 125 MB capacity each (called models A1 to A4). ND-5200 Compact system includes an extra model with one 60 MB internal disk (called model A0). Model B versions are delivered with a controller for external disks and can be configured with external disks and magtape.

Hardware Upgrades

The following upgrades are possible

ND-5200 to ND-5400 system

  • Exchange the ND-5000 CPU from CPU type 1 to CPU type 2.
  • Exchange the ND-110 CPU with ND-120 CPU with 4Mb memory.
  • Use the updating tool to set the CPU model to 4.
  • Exchange the ND-5000 microprogram with version 144xx. (Remember to change switch settings for MPM port and local 100 memory)

ND-5400 to ND-5500 system

  • Use the updating tool to set the CPU model to 5.
  • Exchange the ND-5000 microprogram with version 145xx.

ND-5500 to ND-5700 system

  • Use the updating tool to set the CPU model to 7.
  • Exchange the ND-5000 microprogram with version 147xx.
  • Exchange the ND-110/CX CPU with ND-120/CX-4MB. (Remember to change switch settings for memory 1imits for MPM port and loca1 100 memory).

ND-5700 to ND-5800 system

  • Exchange the ND-5000 CPU from CPU type 2 to CPU type 3.
  • Exchange the ND-120/CX-2MB CPU with ND-120/CX-4MB CPU. (Remember to change switch settings for memory 1imits for MPM port and 1oca1 100 memory)
  • Use the updating tool to set the CPU model to 8.
  • Exchange the ND-5000 microprogram with version 148xx.

ND-5800 to ND-5900 system

  • Insert extra ND-5000 CPU type 3 [1,2 or 3 extra CPU's).
  • Insert "Samson console print" behind each extra ND-5000 CPU.
  • Use the updating tool (*) to configurate and set the CPU model to 8 for the extra ND-5000 CPU's:
    • ND-5000 CPU 1, octobus station no. 708
    • ND-5000 CPU 2, octobus station no. 718
    • ND-5000 CPU 3, octobus station no. 728
    • ND-5000 CPU 4, octobus station no. 738

Updating tool to be used on ND-5000 Compact systems: Part no: 350156 Double Bus Contr. updating tool.

Updating tool to be used on ND-5000, large cabinet version: Part no: 350157 MF Bus Controller updating tool.

Note: The updating tool will be available in limited volume and will normally only be needed when upgrading the ND-5000 CPU.

Setting of the ND-5000 CPU model

Setting of the CPU model has to be done when the ND-5000 CPU has to be upgraded or when the content of the EEPROM in the MF backplane is cleared or lost.

Updating tool for ND-5000 Compact Series

Part no: 350156 Double Bus Contr. updating tool.

In this kit only the special PROM are available.

To be able to set the CPU model, exchange these PROMs with the one on the Double bus controller.

PROM version 27/11 -87

                         pos 16J, 18J, 16K and 18K

Comment: The MF bus will not be available when these PROMs are used. These PROMs are only to be used during initializion of the MF bus or setting the CPU model on ND-5000 CPU's. To set the CPU model, the command shown below must be used.


=               MF bus - TEST AND MAINTENANCE PROGRAM - =
=               INTERNAL VERSION for 5465 (5454)        =
=               November 11, 1987                       =





SLOTNO:6          % Slot position of the ND-5000 CPU
CPU:7             % ND-SOOO CPU model ref. list abowe.
                  % Values 2,4,5,7 or 8.


To verify that the CPU model is correct the following command can be used:

SLOT 06   : ND 5000 MODEL: 00B
STATION NO: 0000708
CPU MODEL: 000007B


When the correct ND-5000 CPU mode] setting has been set, the normal PROMS has to be inserted again on the MF bus controller to be able to run the system.


  • The MF-bus will not be set available when using the upgrading tool. When setting of the CPU model is finished, exchange from the upgrading tool, back to the old MF controller with correct version of the MF PROM's.
  • Check what kind of AAP module (Checkpoint 3) is installed and use the correct microprogram according to CPU model. Ref. overview of the ND-5000 microprograms.


  • If the updating tool is not available, the following commands in the MF maintenance program must be avoided:
>INITIATE-EEPROM with slot number equal to the MF controller.
>CONFIGURATE-SLOT with slot number equaI to the ND-5000 CPU and the configuration is saved.

These two commands will destroy the CPU model setting for the ND-5000 CPU.

Updating tool for ND-5000 Large Cabinet version

Part no: 350157 MF Bus Controller updating tool.

In this kit onIy the special PROM are available. To be able to set the CPU model, exchange these PROMs with the one on the MF bus controller.

PROM version 11/11 -87

                         pos 18C, 20C, 22C and 23C

Use the command SET-CPU-MODEL to set the correct model.

Remaining systems

This is a list of some of the known surviving machines. Know about a machine not in this list? Let us know!


  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
  • Norsk Data Document ND–05.017.01 ND-5000 Hardware Maintenance
  • NEWS March 1987, pg. 52-53, "The ND-5000 Series: Removing Hardware Limitations".
  • Norsk Data Document ND–20.060.1 [[Documentation list#Unknown|]]