In 1972, researchers at California State University, Sacramento put together a microcomputer using Intel's 8008 microprocessor. In a project led by Bill Pentz, the machine they built had all the trappings of a complete computer: a processor, an operating system, an assembly language, a hard disk drive, a color display, and a printer output.
Because the parts were very expensive, the machine--which was used at the university for compiling medical records--never went anywhere. But its promise was huge: had the parts not been so expensive, and had the project been done privately instead of at a university, there's a real chance that it could have become the microcomputer hobbyists first went crazy over, rather than the MITS Altair 8080.
Here, we see the front panel of the "Sacramento State '08" computer at the DigiBarn Computer Museum in Boulder Creek, Calif. The components of the machine were recently uncovered after being presumed lost since the 1970s.