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angrypixel
July 18th, 2012, 04:03 AM
I'm doing a college project where i have to select the best personal computer between 1982-1986. From what I've read on google is that IBM XT286 was the best.(correct me if I'm wrong). I've to collect the detailed technical specifications of all the parts, manufacturing company and their prices individually and then I need to give a presentation on that. I''m well versed in the dialect of modern computers but 80's are out of my depth as I was born in early 90's. Thus kindly assist me in this project. I'll give the credit to all of you guys in my presentation ;)

Here is what I've collected so far.(update whatever information you have and past it in the thread).


IBM XT 286(IBM 5162) $3995

Processor: Intel 80286 6 MHz
Processor Cache 64 KB
System Memory 1 MB

Motherboard:
HDD: 20mb+ seagate
GPU:
Monitor:
Keyboard:
Mouse:
RAM: 640 kilobytes 0 wait state memory upgradable up to 12.6 megabytes
Floppy Drive: 1.2megabyte floppy disk drive (don't know the company name or price :( )
CD-ROM:
Pen Drive:
Speaker:
Printer:
Scanner:
Camera:
UPS:
Card Reader:
Modem:

pearce_jj
July 18th, 2012, 04:19 AM
Hello and welcome :)

Perhaps 'best' needs to be defined? The AT was probably one of the fastest at the time - and had the price tag to match. But that didn't make it best in all cases - for example it obviously wasn't portable (5155), it didn't have 12V outputs on its PSU for electronics development/school use (RM-1), and Tandy's TRS-80 range would run Visicalc and SuperScripsit (then both killer apps) for half the price.

But anyway, there was no cache on any 286, as far as I know.

krebizfan
July 18th, 2012, 04:59 AM
The XT-286 had the lower profile case of the XT and some 16-bit cards were too tall to fit in the case. Zero wait states versus running the cards one desires; interesting quandry.

For a lot of information of those years, I would suggest browsing through issues of Infoworld. They are online, free, and more reliable than memories of 25-30 years ago.

I don't remember any 80286 variant having processor cache; you may want to double check the source for that.

Graphics card tended to be EGA but a number of very expensive cards existed that gave 640x480 or better resolution, basically what VGA offered in 1987.

Keyboard: IBM Model M. Nothing is as good.

Mouse: Not very many had one but then as now the major companies were Logitech and Microsoft with either serial or bus connections. PS/2 starts in 1987; USB is ~1995. There was also Mouse Systems.

RAM: In theory, one could have 24 MB of RAM with multiple third party expansion cards: the base 1MB including motherboard RAM plus 15 MB extended and 8MB expanded. At several hundred dollars per megabyte plus the costs of the cards, it was unlikely to see that much RAM in any system.

Floppy: TEAC was often used by IBM but so were other manufacturers. $100 or so.

CD-ROM: Well, you might be able to get a limited production prototype for about $5000 in 1986.

Pen Drive: USB and flash memory were about 10 years after your time period. There were several technoologies available but the floppy handled most of the normal data transfer.

Speaker: Basically no. Sound was for game machines not business machines.

Printer: Early laser printers and mainly dot matrix

Scanner: Early and very expensive and low resolution. I think Logitech's ScanMan was the first one to be aimed at normal users but that was about 1988.

Camera: film or Polaroid or video still. Cameras that easily import to computers are in the future.

Card reader: Again, in the future. Well, unless you mean a punch card reader, and those mainly existed for big old iron. My father was about the only person I know of that hooked up a card reader to a PC and that was to recover his college thesis software.

Modem: Basically the same as dial up modems still sold today but slower. 2400 bps was the typical fast modem commonly available and affordable. Slow DSL is about 1000 times faster.

Chromedome45
July 18th, 2012, 05:02 AM
The IBM Part number for the XT-286 motherboard is 62x1025 and this company has one for a decent price. http://www.cheappcupgrade.com/62x1025.html
If your looking to buy one.

angrypixel
July 18th, 2012, 06:49 AM
Thanks a million guys. I knew i came to the right place in search of answers. Any approximate price is better than none at all. Is there any online database where i can digg for more information on this machine? I'm basically supposed to build a machine from 1982-1986 on paper and mention price and specifications of everything. If there is any machine better than IBM XT 286 then I'm all ears.
I envy the buggers who got the 2008-2012 era for their project in our class. I would have written a book on that without even googling anything :p

Chuck(G)
July 18th, 2012, 07:48 AM
In 1986? Golly, there were lots of better computers (in the sense of being more revolutionary) than the XT286 (which was sort of an odd duck anyway). How about the Mac Plus (January, 1986)? In September, ALR brought out an 80386 system that was light-years ahead of the XT286. Compaq, at the time, was eating IBM's lunch in the portable area.

Maybe you need to refine your timeline or criteria?

DOS lives on!!
July 18th, 2012, 07:54 AM
It had six 16-bit ISA slots and two 8-bit slots. For more depths info. :)

angrypixel
July 18th, 2012, 09:28 AM
Our Professor has just given us time period. 1982-1986. Thats it. He left everything else on us. He told us to build best system in that time period and get the prices in that time.

FishFinger
July 18th, 2012, 10:06 AM
The Amiga 1000 was released in 1985, which ran at a higher clock speed, and had far better graphics and sound than contemporary PCs.

Chuck(G)
July 18th, 2012, 10:16 AM
How about the AT&T Unix PC (1985)? (68010 10Mhz CPU).

The problem is that "best" is such a slippery term. Best for what?

strollin
July 18th, 2012, 11:52 AM
Performance wise, the XT286 wasn't even IBM's fastest machine. It was purposely positioned to be right in the middle between the 6Mhz Model of the AT and the 8Mhz AT. The AT also shipped with a 30M HDD whereas the XT286 shipped with a 20M.

sergey
July 18th, 2012, 01:40 PM
How about Compaq Deskpro 386? It looks like it was released in 1986, so it fits in the specified time frame. It was the first PC-compatible computer to use Intel 80386 processor. I am sure it's performance and capabilities will beat any 8088, NEC V-something, or 80286 computer :-)

http://www.pcworld.com/article/126692-9/the_25_greatest_pcs_of_all_time.html (Here it's rated as #2 greatest PC of all time... #1 goes to Apple II, oh these Apple fanboys :-))

Chuck(G)
July 18th, 2012, 02:03 PM
ISTR that the Compaq Deskpro 386 and the ALR Access 386 were released at the same time (September, 1986). Months before that, Intel was selling 386 motherboards, just not complete systems. NEC was sampling the V60 in 1986, so it's barely nudged out on the timeline.

tipc
July 19th, 2012, 06:46 PM
The Amiga 1000 was released in 1985, which ran at a higher clock speed, and had far better graphics and sound than contemporary PCs.

You could get a 10mhz PC I think by 1985. No reason you just couldn't stick a 10mhz 8088 in a pc, as long as your ram was fast enough.

Interlaced graphics better then non-interlaced??? Pardon moi??? The Amiga was great for animation and whatnot, but that screen was awful to look at for average tasks. That flicker! The EGA was far more desirable for general business tasks.

tipc
July 19th, 2012, 06:48 PM
How about the AT&T Unix PC (1985)? (68010 10Mhz CPU).

Problem is the documentation will fill the better part of an Astro van. Believe you me I know. I just shipped a set out.

Chuck(G)
July 19th, 2012, 07:03 PM
Interlaced graphics better then non-interlaced??? Pardon moi??? The Amiga was great for animation and whatnot, but that screen was awful to look at for average tasks. That flicker! The EGA was far more desirable for general business tasks.

I recall paying premium dollars for a monitor and adapter that could do 1024x768 non-interlaced. I couldn't stand staring at the jittery screen.

strollin
July 20th, 2012, 04:24 AM
You could get a 10mhz PC I think by 1985. No reason you just couldn't stick a 10mhz 8088 in a pc, as long as your ram was fast enough.

Interlaced graphics better then non-interlaced??? Pardon moi??? The Amiga was great for animation and whatnot, but that screen was awful to look at for average tasks. That flicker! The EGA was far more desirable for general business tasks.
Yeah, I had an Amiga 2000HD and was always sorely disappointed by the graphics, especially after I upgraded my XT286 to VGA!

monzamess
July 22nd, 2012, 04:11 PM
I'm doing a college project where i have to select the best personal computer between 1982-1986.

Best Intel / IBM / DOS-based computer or best "any" personal computer? As others have mentioned you have plenty to choose from, including most Commodore, Atari, and Apple 8-bit and 16-bit computers, the various IBMs and compatibles, and many others.

Best in terms of power, sales, fitness for tasks, user satisfaction, etc? The door is wide open here.

It will be interesting to see what you come up with, not being around "back in the day" when the "best" computer was often the subject of religious debates, and having the advantage of seeing at how things have fallen out over the years since those computers were popular.

Crypticalcode0
July 30th, 2012, 02:57 PM
I'm doing a college project where i have to select the best personal computer between 1982-1986. From what I've read on google is that IBM XT286 was the best.(correct me if I'm wrong).


Personal Computer at that time still was a Broad term not like it is no.
A PC is a IBM compatible.

But in the 80's the Amiga for instance also was a Personal Computer.(Apple ][. Atari ST, ETC)

So be careful of how you wording in that era thread lightly.
And to be honest the IBM XT286 certainly was not the best the were some really powerful clones on the market.
Tulip and Highscreen to name some European brands.

If you want to do a Visual presentation i would advice a A1000 because this at the time was one of the most powerful systems which requires very little expansions to be useful perhaps a hard drive but that is the only expansion that has a added value at that time.

the XT286 was a kludge because all the extra power the 80286 had went to wast because of the XT bus design, Planar memory access was faster.
This is even mentioned in the indispensable PC hardware book 2nd edition.
I would advice to go for a AT clone, In the Netherlands Tulip made the fastest systems I suppose there were others who did this too.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_System-1)

So there is more then enough choice, questions is more if you could find a system that is still alive for a reasonable price.

Chuck(G)
July 30th, 2012, 03:41 PM
I don't think that the OP has been back since the day of his question. Doubtless, he's already handled his assignment.