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punchy71
October 2nd, 2013, 05:40 PM
Considering all the vast number of makers of IBM clones from the early days of the various IBM personal computers from the 1980's and 1990's, which of all the variouse different makers designed, engineered, manufactured and built their IBM compatibles to a level of quality and standard that either met or exceeded even IBM itself? Actual, real IBM's were already of a very high-level of quality and standard in every aspect imaginable.

Thank you

NeXT
October 2nd, 2013, 05:44 PM
Olivetti's M24 is a very nice clone. Full PC compatibility, integrated serial, parallel and color video. Also supported a Mouse and ran faster than the 5150.

krebizfan
October 2nd, 2013, 06:21 PM
Compaq made many good machines up until the mid-90s when they cut quality to boost profits.

ALR made very solid servers.

Chuck(G)
October 2nd, 2013, 06:27 PM
1980's would probably go to HP and Compaq. HP used some very innovative designs in their early stuff. Of course, this was all pre-Carly.

Compgeke
October 2nd, 2013, 06:53 PM
The M24\PC-6300 is a nice system, except for the keyboard. They're fairly quiet, have a far better graphics mode for color, 16-bit expansion, 8086, etc.

My personal favorite goes to Compaq though. The Portable is a nice system, with the almost entire IBM compatibility as well as MDA and CGA together. Once again it suffers from a bad keyboard though.

Chuck(G)
October 2nd, 2013, 07:38 PM
Some boutique makers, such as MAD Intelligent Systems had some very sturdy designs. I've still got a MAD box with an XT clone motherboard installed.

Caluser2000
October 2nd, 2013, 08:03 PM
I'd go with Compaq as well.

cr1901
October 2nd, 2013, 09:33 PM
I heard Juko was pretty good back in the day (waits for the angry mob). And of course, COMPAQ as well :P.

Beerhunter
October 3rd, 2013, 12:51 AM
I was in the business (IBM) back then and our biggest competitor was Compaq. Their boxes were often marginally faster than ours.

In the UK, the first criterion for becoming a Compaq dealer was that one had to be an IBM Authorised Dealer, so they were able to piggy-back on our selection procedure - for free! One of our best features at the time was the IBM keyboard and so many Compaq dealers fitted them.

IBM Portable PC
October 3rd, 2013, 01:01 AM
Back then I went for an original Tandy 1000. Nice price, size and support around the corner at Radio Shack.

However I was biased, having owned a few TRS-80's, RS sold a lot of 1000's though...........

Unknown_K
October 3rd, 2013, 02:33 AM
AST, ZEOS and Gateway were also well built in the late 80's early 90's.

vwestlife
October 3rd, 2013, 04:21 AM
Zenith made some very ruggedly built PC desktops and laptops in the '80s -- no doubt because they were used by the U.S. government and military.

geoffm3
October 3rd, 2013, 05:36 AM
My only beef with Compaq was that they didn't provide you with extra rails for the unused drive bays. This was exceedingly annoying if you had to add another drive to the machine. I also disliked that the BIOS didn't have a user-defineable drive type, but other than that they were pretty nice machines.

Zack
October 3rd, 2013, 05:59 AM
Considering all the vast number of makers of IBM clones from the early days of the various IBM personal computers from the 1980's and 1990's, which of all the variouse different makers designed, engineered, manufactured and built their IBM compatibles to a level of quality and standard that either met or exceeded even IBM itself? Actual, real IBM's were already of a very high-level of quality and standard in every aspect imaginable.

Thank you

The original IBM PC pretty much used the worst possible CPU (8088 semi 16bit with 8 bit bus) possible and had no graphics as standard.

Many of the competitors improved on this by using the 8086 CPU (16 bit bus) and/or including graphics.

However, a couple of years later IBM came up with the the PC-AT 339 with a 80286 CPU (true 16 bits).

It was groundbreaking at the time and probably the true ancestral PC to modern times.

I would say it was the finest clone and was cloned itself many times!

Al Hartman
October 3rd, 2013, 06:48 AM
Back in the early 80's I woked for a computer consulting company that specialized in Corvus Hard Drives and networks. We carried computers from many companies over the years.

Columbia Computer Products
Cordata
Televideo
Zenith
Corvus (Made under contract by Tandon, who also made Tandy's machines)

And, for awhile I worked for a guy that sold clones. Either cheapo Taiwanese clones, or American PCs. The American PCs were nice units, and if you popped in a set of IBM ROMs, were 100% compatible.

I had a no-name Turbo-XT which was 8mhz with a V-20 chip, flip-top case, 2-360k drives, two ST-213 drives, CGA card, 2400 baud modem. I ran my BBS from it.

Stone
October 3rd, 2013, 07:14 AM
However, a couple of years later IBM came up with the the PC-AT 339 with a 80286 CPU (true 16 bits).

It was groundbreaking at the time and probably the true ancestral PC to modern times.

I would say it was the finest clone and was cloned itself many times!DUH, by definition, since it's an IBM, it is not a clone! :-) :-) :-)

Chuck(G)
October 3rd, 2013, 07:58 AM
It was groundbreaking at the time and probably the true ancestral PC to modern times.

I would say it was the finest clone and was cloned itself many times!

The 80286 was developed at almost the same time as the 80186 and there were several small companies who beat IBM to the punch. It was such a kludge to get memory protection and any sort of virtual memory going that I believe it's safe to say that the bulk of software run at the time of the PC/AT years was real-mode DOS.

I suspect it was also one of the reasons that Apple's Mac looked so good in comparison. It really wasn't until the 80386 with its much superior protected memory modes that PC software really got enough hardware advantage to compete with the Mac. Sadly, the world was largely clones by then, mostly due to IBM's stumbling with MCA being utterly incompatible with existing hardware.

Really, if you compare the architecture of the 68000 and the 68010 to the 80286, there's no real question about who had the edge. Had Apple allowed clones, I think there is little doubt which platform would have won out.

Caluser2000
October 3rd, 2013, 09:42 AM
I had a no-name Turbo-XT which was 8mhz with a V-20 chip, flip-top case, 2-360k drives, two ST-213 drives, CGA card, 2400 baud modem. I ran my BBS from it.Systems like this did the job quite admirably without paying a premium for "IBM" on the front panel I'd imagine. All the same, as Chuck mentions clones were well behind other platforms for all that in many respects. It's all academic now looking back I guess.

Earlier on in the year picked up a "Redstone Computers" Turbo-XT clone system with EGA that has one of those flip up lids. It's quite a well made (well I should say assembled) and robust unit. Any system that has made it this far and is still functioning has to be no matter who made it.

Al Hartman
October 3rd, 2013, 09:59 AM
I traded my XT clone away. I wish I hadn't. I DID however, replace it with a nice 286 system which my friend Tom still has the case to.

The system after that, I still have the case to. It's sitting in my storage shed. It was a full height tower that started off as a 386-20 (Acer 1100 Motherboard), and has been a 486-33, 5x86-133, Pentium, and is currently a Celeron 700 I think. That was the end of BABY-AT motherboards that would fit the case and accept better processors.

paul
October 3rd, 2013, 10:26 AM
One of our best features at the time was the IBM keyboard and so many Compaq dealers fitted them.Yes, the Compaq Deskpro keyboard was awful.

Even the case, though solid, was crudely designed.

Agent Orange
October 3rd, 2013, 12:12 PM
Lets hear it for the Tandy 1000's! Yea - whoop-de-do! Great clones with a slight DNA problem. Lest ye forget - they ran just about everything that IBM had in their stable.:inlove:

vwestlife
October 3rd, 2013, 02:45 PM
As much as I love the Tandy 1000 series, they definitely were not the best-built machines. Signs of cost-cutting were obvious, such as the plastic case on the older models, the tiny power supply, thin-gauge expansion slot brackets with tiny screws, and the disk drive and power cables that were just barely long enough to reach the connectors.

Chuck(G)
October 3rd, 2013, 02:58 PM
Back in the day, I worked with a couple of Multitech (swallowed by Acer) XT clones. Generally very-well built systems, but far from physical clones. The PSU used a different form factor, as did the motherboard. Definitely a notch above the usual Taiwanese no-name clone.

A US-made brand was Stearns. that was "almost" PC compatible and used an 8086 CPU. Only one real ISA slot, IIRC--the remainder were 16-bit Stearns-unique slots. Made in Minneapolis. I don't think they ever made it as far as the 80286.

Sometime, we should compile a list of PC clone brands that nobody remembers.

wesleyfurr
October 3rd, 2013, 03:53 PM
I would have to throw in a vote for Tandy too...not sure I totally agree with vwestlife's assessment either. At least some of the models had a full internal metal covering...if you take off the plastic top shell, you don't see anything until you remove a metal covering. I hadn't noticed the slot covers/brackets to be any thinner than any other brand...but maybe I just haven't looked closely enough! As for the short cords, if you were only doing Tandy things, the exact length made for a very tidy interior. Though if you weren't...yeah...potentially a pain.

Also keep in mind some of their innovations...though some admittedly stolen from the PCjr. 16-color CGA, sound, etc. Then the audio recording and playback capabilities in the SL/TL era. Also DOS and the base part of Deskmate in ROM. The old 1000SL (first computer I had) would power on and boot to deskmate in just a few seconds.

The early 2000 was a goofball machine, but if you were running compatible software, sounds like it was a screamer. I understand the 1200 was made by Tandon, and definitely an XT clone, and definitely a tank. The 3000/4000 series are really beefy machines, obviously targeted towards business and upper-end applications rather than home users as the 1000's were.

Wesley

NeXT
October 3rd, 2013, 04:07 PM
Sometime, we should compile a list of PC clone brands that nobody remembers.

You underestimate how much crap Taiwan cranked out.

Flamin Joe
October 3rd, 2013, 04:48 PM
I'm a little biased (because it was my very first PC) but I think the Atari PC3 8088 was a great little machine. Was one of the first PC's as far as I'm aware to place both the Mouse and Keyboard connectors together and on the side of the case no less for easy access. Nice styling for the day with the model name molded into the plastic trim (not stuck on) and they even went to the trouble of putting the classic Atari logo into the PSU fan grill as a nice little touch. Very well built and designed in my opinion, certainly not a cheap XT clone.

mikey99
October 3rd, 2013, 05:59 PM
I still think that Northgate was one of the higher quality clone companies.
However...... I don't know if they were ever in the 8088 XT market.....I do recall seeing
many of their 286/386/486 systems around. They were very well known for their Omnikey
keyboards which were rated as good or better than the IBM keyboards. I still have an
old Omnikey I bought back in the late 80's.

Does anyone recall if they ever made XT based machines ?

krebizfan
October 3rd, 2013, 06:43 PM
Does anyone recall if they ever made XT based machines ?

InfoWorld shows a NorthGate XTurbo V20 8MHz system advertised in 1987.

Chuck(G)
October 3rd, 2013, 07:00 PM
You underestimate how much crap Taiwan cranked out.

No, I was talking about restricting the list to PC XT class systems with a real brand name on them. (I've got boxes labeled "Spartan" and "Pantex" and they're clearly assembled in the US from Taiwanese parts. Not real brands. )

Agent Orange
October 3rd, 2013, 07:26 PM
As much as I love the Tandy 1000 series, they definitely were not the best-built machines. Signs of cost-cutting were obvious, such as the plastic case on the older models, the tiny power supply, thin-gauge expansion slot brackets with tiny screws, and the disk drive and power cables that were just barely long enough to reach the connectors.

Never claimed to be the Rolls Royce of clones. For my money they were just as good as most of the crapola that came from the Pacific Rim. You got what you paid for. I bought my first 1000SX in 1986 and it still runs and looks pretty good - plastic and all.

mikey99
October 3rd, 2013, 07:44 PM
InfoWorld shows a NorthGate XTurbo V20 8MHz system advertised in 1987.

Did you see that ad on the InfoWorld archive on books.google.com ? Can you post the link ?

krebizfan
October 3rd, 2013, 08:51 PM
Did you see that ad on the InfoWorld archive on books.google.com ? Can you post the link ?

Yes. The link should point to Dec 7, 1987 page 92 so look there if the link breaks.
http://books.google.com/books?id=Az8EAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA92&dq=infoworld+northgate+1987&hl=en&sa=X&ei=a0hOUu7NENew4APw_oGYAg&ved=0CEcQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=infoworld%20northgate%201987&f=false

eeguru
October 3rd, 2013, 09:11 PM
I bought a Northgate 386/20 in '89. While I have no complaints, the actual MB and case was ultimately a Taiwanese clone with a nicer front plate. A lot of people liked the keyboards but there is clearly a religious element there based on which church you were baptized in as a young'n - Omnikey, Model M, or Davorak.

I consider Tandy's fairly well made, very innovative, and of course wildly popular in the home thanks to Radio Shack stores. I have several of just about every gen 1 (1000/A, SX, TX, EX, HX, 1.2K, 1.4K, 2K, 3K, 4K, and 5K).

The large Everex Step machines always gave me wood. Some of the early Dells were OK too. Never was all that impressed with the rest of the follow the leader discount clone makers (Zeos, Austin, Gateway, CompuAdd, PB, etc).

wesleyfurr
October 4th, 2013, 05:08 AM
eeguru - you have a Tandy 5000MC? That is on my dream wish list... Glad to see another Tandy collector around too! I've got most of what is on your list, along with some you don't list. I think the most interesting from a collector's standpoint are the 1000AX (same as SX) and "PC 1000" (no-name SL with a different case front). Photos at http://www.megley.com/photos/tandy/ if anyone is interested...though no photos yet of the non-1000's I have.

Wesley

geoffm3
October 4th, 2013, 05:31 AM
Never claimed to be the Rolls Royce of clones. For my money they were just as good as most of the crapola that came from the Pacific Rim. You got what you paid for. I bought my first 1000SX in 1986 and it still runs and looks pretty good - plastic and all.

I don't think that plastic is necessarily a knock against them. The plastic on all the 1000 models I've seen is fairly sturdy. The EX and HX in particular feel pretty robust.

Tor
October 4th, 2013, 09:31 AM
Olivetti's M24 is a very nice clone. Full PC compatibility, integrated serial, parallel and color video. Also supported a Mouse and ran faster than the 5150.
That would be my choice as well.

-Tor

Chuck(G)
October 4th, 2013, 09:53 AM
The M24 also had a hardware clock--something that IBM didn't add until the 5170.

I do wonder, however, if the clock addition with battery-on-board was a wise choice. Think of the motherboards that would have been left uncorroded...

Caluser2000
October 4th, 2013, 10:20 AM
Good point and of course Dallas type battery/crystal chips stopped that. It was more the choice of battery though. Anyone have any idea who was the first manufacturer who used slip in coin batteries on their mobos?

Chuck(G)
October 4th, 2013, 11:22 AM
I did replace the leaky rechargeable battery on my 6300 with a coin cell and a MOSFET (has a much lower forward voltage drop than any diode). Let's hope it holds out.

wesleyfurr
October 4th, 2013, 04:26 PM
How safe are the coin cells and dallas clock chips? I've been going through everything and pulling batteries...finding too many damaged boards too... :-( Been leaving the coin cells...but having second thoughts...

Thanks,

Wesley

Caluser2000
October 4th, 2013, 05:22 PM
If the coin cells have been there a while they're probably flat anyway. The bigger soldered on coin type batteries can corrode. Happened on my Acorn 3000 but I spotted it just in time.

Trixter
October 5th, 2013, 07:09 AM
The M24 also had a hardware clock--something that IBM didn't add until the 5170.

I do wonder, however, if the clock addition with battery-on-board was a wise choice. Think of the motherboards that would have been left uncorroded...


At least on the M24/6300 the motherboard faces the underside of the system. If/When the battery leaks, it drips onto the bottom of the case, harming nothing. (Unless you store it vertically :-O

dvanaria
October 8th, 2013, 08:40 PM
The very first clone, the Columbia Data Products MPC 1600, had a few features that made it better than the original IBM PC.

For one thing, it had twice the RAM capacity (128 K instead of 64 K). It also had a motherboard with a built-in floppy drive controller, which freed up one of the ISA slots. The original IBM had only 5 expansion slots, and two of those were taken up by a graphics card and a disk controller card. The MPC had 8 expansion slots and only one of them was filled in when you bought the machine (the video card).

I'm taking most of that from wikipedia - I just bought a nicely preserved MPC off craigslist and really I'm just learning about them. I had actually never even heard of them before. The guy selling this one had everything in original boxes (computer, keyboard, monitor, and all the original manuals and software). I don't think the keyboard is the original one, but everything else seems to be. It's not the prettiest PC clone, but besides that it seems to have topped the original PC when it came out.

Chuck(G)
October 8th, 2013, 08:50 PM
Also, here's another early clone, The Eagle PC (http://www.digibarn.com/collections/systems/eagle-pc/). The original Eagle PC is a pretty rare bird, but very well constructed.

vwestlife
October 9th, 2013, 04:32 AM
Also, here's another early clone, The Eagle PC (http://www.digibarn.com/collections/systems/eagle-pc/). The original Eagle PC is a pretty rare bird, but very well constructed.

--and containing illegally copied IBM ROM code, just like the Corona Data Systems PC I had. That was the only PC I've ever seen whose power supply was contained within a metal screen cage, rather than a fully enclosed metal box. Its startup screen also referred to itself in the first person -- something like "I cannot find a boot disk!"

barythrin
October 9th, 2013, 09:09 AM
Since you didn't ask for the history of the clone which ends up with Eagle and CDP territory but who had a significant impact that scared IBM that IMO is pretty easily Compaq. The Compaq Portable being a true "IBM Compatible" clone that also resulted in IBM suing Compaq but losing the case since Compaq did the proper blind programing team to create the same results from the team that did the reverse engineering. So not only was it the first legal clone (spawning pretty much the PC compatible market that all of us enjoy today) but it was also the first legal PORTABLE IBM clone. Even beating IBM to the portable market.

Some history shows that Compaq (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compaq) from this success basically became the fastest growing company to reach Fortune 500 status in history (not sure if it's still accurate to today but seems like it still holds the record). Exerpt from the article:


During its first year, the company sold 53,000 PCs for sales of $111 million, the first start-up to hit the $100 million mark. Compaq went public in 1983 on the NYSE and raised $67 million. In 1986, it enjoyed record sales of $329 million from 150,000 PCs, and being the youngest-ever firm to make the Fortune 500. In 1987, Compaq hit the $1 billion revenue mark, taking the least amount of time to reach that milestone. By 1991, Compaq held the fifth place spot in the PC market with $3 billion in sales that year.

IBM found them as a significant threat and had to have felt a bit foolish now having someone come out with a portable compatible version of their system before them and responded with also nice IBM 5155. From a collectible and historic point of view it's ironic how little value the Compaq Portable has these days :-) but it deserves its rightful place in the collection.

Caluser2000
October 9th, 2013, 10:19 AM
Absolutely. And with most clones it was pretty obvious you were getting more bang for your buck. It wasn't rocket science.

PeterNC
October 9th, 2013, 10:25 AM
Leading Edge machines always appealed to me. :)

Stone
October 9th, 2013, 10:34 AM
Leading Edge machines always appealed to me. :)I've got a 14" Leading Edge VGA monitor that works great if you're interested.

15520 15521

Chuck(G)
October 9th, 2013, 11:33 AM
Let's also not forget the two Kaypro offerings--the passive-backplane PC and the 8MHz AT version, the 286i. AFAIK, the 286i was the first AT-compatible to use an 8MHz CPU. Too bad that neither was a luggable--I think that Kaypro may have missed a key market there.

Agent Orange
October 9th, 2013, 11:33 AM
Since you didn't ask for the history of the clone which ends up with Eagle and CDP territory but who had a significant impact that scared IBM that IMO is pretty easily Compaq. The Compaq Portable being a true "IBM Compatible" clone that also resulted in IBM suing Compaq but losing the case since Compaq did the proper blind programing team to create the same results from the team that did the reverse engineering. So not only was it the first legal clone (spawning pretty much the PC compatible market that all of us enjoy today) but it was also the first legal PORTABLE IBM clone. Even beating IBM to the portable market.

Some history shows that Compaq (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compaq) from this success basically became the fastest growing company to reach Fortune 500 status in history (not sure if it's still accurate to today but seems like it still holds the record). Exerpt from the article:


IBM found them as a significant threat and had to have felt a bit foolish now having someone come out with a portable compatible version of their system before them and responded with also nice IBM 5155. From a collectible and historic point of view it's ironic how little value the Compaq Portable has these days :-) but it deserves its rightful place in the collection.

Compaq was great in its time but they were very pricey. The average person didn't go that way.

barythrin
October 9th, 2013, 11:48 AM
True. Our family waited out the war for more practical timing and ended up with a Zenith Z-150 (151). Although honestly knowing the original prices during those years I'm not sure what I would have done. May be a fun side thread though if we have the spare time to gather prices and inflate them then put us the situation of what would be buy today. IIRC even the Zenith was around $2000 I think. I keep thinking in my head whoever was closer to 1200 would win.

raisedabar
October 9th, 2013, 06:17 PM
I absolutely love the compaq portables I think they are so well made (minus the rotting keyboard cables, but easily fixable) and I couldn't even afford one then but now, to my great joy I have a bunch now =) I think the portable III's and 386's are the coolest looking clones ever...

Beerhunter
October 10th, 2013, 01:49 AM
1. The original IBM PC pretty much used the worst possible CPU (8088 semi 16bit with 8 bit bus) possible and had no graphics as standard.

2, Many of the competitors improved on this by using the 8086 CPU (16 bit bus) and/or including graphics.
Having been around in those days. (You can see me on the recent Nat.Geo. Channel Program about gadgets.)

1. I disagree with "the worst possible CPU". In fact I'd say that the statement shows a little business nativity. The IBM PC didn't even come with Mono Text as standard because the display adapter was an add-on.

2. 8086s in PCs was largely for marketing. The 16-bit bus had to interface to the IBM PC's 8-bit bus, in order to be compatible, and so other than fetching from memory, not a lot was gained.


--and containing illegally copied IBM ROM code,
Copiers were found out pretty quickly because they copied our bugs!

Al Hartman
October 10th, 2013, 05:35 AM
It was my understanding that choosing the 8088 allowed IBM to keep the cost of the computer down as they could use off-the-shelf parts and not have to have new parts designed.

The PC was never imagined to be the success it turned out to be. IBM thought they would only sell a few thousand units. They never expected it to take over the Microcomputer category and dominate it.

vwestlife
October 10th, 2013, 06:08 AM
One thing I wonder about the IBM PC is why they made it check the RAM during startup, if it has parity RAM chips. With only 64K the brief wait wasn't such a big deal, but with the full 640K, it is a pain to wait 45 seconds for the RAM check to complete with nothing but a blinking cursor on the screen.

Many other personal computers of the time got along just fine without a RAM check on startup -- most of which didn't even use parity RAM chips. Does anyone know if IBM's previous personal computers before the 5150 (the 5100 and DataMaster) did a RAM check during POST as well?

krebizfan
October 10th, 2013, 11:47 AM
I never had a problem with the RAM check. Sure it takes awhile to complete but on some of the faster POST systems I instead had to wait 30 seconds for drives to spin up after POST. Net result was I got to the command prompt at the same time.

Trixter
October 10th, 2013, 12:04 PM
One thing I wonder about the IBM PC is why they made it check the RAM during startup, if it has parity RAM chips.

So that you could be made aware of bad memory and replace it before you lose your work. (Remember, this was meant to be personal computer for businessmen, not a home computer for wife and kids.)

vwestlife
October 10th, 2013, 03:22 PM
So that you could be made aware of bad memory and replace it before you lose your work. (Remember, this was meant to be personal computer for businessmen, not a home computer for wife and kids.)

But at least theoretically, with parity checking the system will halt before data corruption has a chance to occur. You'd lose your unsaved data in RAM, of course, but it wouldn't be any worse than a power failure (and much less likely to happen).

I think IBM was just being unnecessarily careful, perhaps with some of their conservative System 360 way of doing things trickling down the PC. In fact, the IBM PC was the first personal computer I can think of to have a power-on self-test of any kind. Other computers of the time just assumed everything was working OK, and if not, you were treated to a screen full of garbage, or other erratic behavior!

PeterNC
October 10th, 2013, 03:54 PM
I've got a 14" Leading Edge VGA monitor that works great if you're interested.

Beautiful! Maybe next time I visit AC I can swing by. Probably not before early next year.

Trixter
October 10th, 2013, 07:53 PM
You'd lose your unsaved data in RAM, of course

Precisely why it is tested before the user has the opportunity to work on a spreadsheet for 8 hours without saving.

Before Microsoft instilled the idea in people that it was normal to reboot (the only thing I actually hate about them), it was commonplace to turn on a business desktop in the 1980s and expect it to stay on and work properly for days. I'm not saying that's realistic, I'm saying that's how most non-computer-savy businessmen worked back then.


I think IBM was just being unnecessarily careful, perhaps with some of their conservative System 360 way of doing things trickling down the PC. In fact, the IBM PC was the first personal computer I can think of to have a power-on self-test of any kind. Other computers of the time just assumed everything was working OK, and if not, you were treated to a screen full of garbage, or other erratic behavior!

Personal computers, yes. But some had diagnostics, they were just quiet or quick about it.

BrianS
October 11th, 2013, 04:22 AM
I bought the Leading Edge Model M as it had an 8MHz 8088, and added the 8087 to it immediately. It had some "issues": the battery backed realtime clock had an error in it, I think it thought there was a "June 31st" in the year. I wrote a little program to check and correct it on bootup. The test for the presence of the Coprocessor was "non-standard" and the RM FORTRAN compiler failed to recognize it. I disassembled the compiler and no-op'd out the test for the coprocessor. Also had to disassemble the Initialization routine in the RMFORT.LIB to no-op out the test. Totally worth it for the extra speed.

njroadfan
October 11th, 2013, 04:38 AM
I bought the Leading Edge Model M as it had an 8MHz 8088, and added the 8087 to it immediately. It had some "issues": the battery backed realtime clock had an error in it, I think it thought there was a "June 31st" in the year. I wrote a little program to check and correct it on bootup. The test for the presence of the Coprocessor was "non-standard" and the RM FORTRAN compiler failed to recognize it. I disassembled the compiler and no-op'd out the test for the coprocessor. Also had to disassemble the Initialization routine in the RMFORT.LIB to no-op out the test. Totally worth it for the extra speed.

In all the years working at a former Leading Edge dealer, I think I only saw one Model M (M=Mitsubishi, the real manufacturer of that machine). Don't know if it was because of rarity (in total sales or because they were mostly tossed) or that they were just reliable. Their Model D (by Daewoo, who later took over the company) was far more popular.

BrianS
October 11th, 2013, 04:44 AM
The Model M with it's CGA compatible graphics card, 2x 360K floppy drives, 256KByte memory, monitor, and keyboard was $2,000. The case was roomy, and I maxed it out before selling it many years later for $500. Put a 20MByte "Hardcard", EGA, PGC (Professional Graphics Controller), 640Kbyte main, and an expanded memory card for Ramdisk into it. The EGA and PGC could be jumpered to run at the same time, use two monitors. The PGC used two adjacent 8-bt slots, and used three boards. I loved it. Did software consulting at home, and it paid for my '90 TBird.

PeterNC
October 11th, 2013, 10:06 AM
That was a pretty sweet machine! :)

BrianS
October 11th, 2013, 02:31 PM
I still have two PGC cards in the basement- and a PGC Monitor. I ended up writing a lot of code for it, including a HPGL to PGC convertor. That way you could preview the HPGL file before sending to the Plotter. The PGC had a nice language. Back in the day when 640x480 with 256 colors was "Amazing".