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Thread: What are some extremely common MS-DOS PC/clone models of the 1980's and 1990's?

  1. Default What are some extremely common MS-DOS PC/clone models of the 1980's and 1990's?

    Hi,
    Concerning hardware, what were (and are) some extremely common, popular and widespread MS-DOS compatible PC's and clones, both well-known brand names and generic no-name knock-off makes, models and specification configurations through out the 1980's and 1990's? This question would probably go well into the 386 and 486 era also.
    Thank you

  2. #2

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    If you're talking about clones in the sense that they were not IBM, Compaq made lots of very well made clones. Their deskpro series in particular were very well received. You might check out Hewlett Packard and Dell as well, but Dell machines from that era aren't as common.

  3. #3
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    Toshiba laptops are extremely ubiquitous from the 8088 well into the Pentium era.

    AST was too, probably more relevant into the 386 era.
    Wanted: Any old clunky 286-P1 machine that has some kind of working battery or replaceable with off the shelf parts. Preferred: 10+lbs 386 machines.

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    I can't tell if this is a serious poster or a robot.

    It's almost easier to make a list of companies in the 90s who DIDN'T make a PC clone.

    Just a few who did: Zeos, Austin, Gateway, Dell, CompuAdd, Northgate, Tandon, Jameco, Mitsubishi, Acer, Targa, Wyse, Wang, Samsung, Canon, JDR Microdevices, AT&T, Commodore, Panasonic, Hauppauge, Compaq, AST, Everex, Apricot, NEC, Epson, Legend, Packard Bell, Kaypro, ALR, Heath-Zenith, Tandy/Radio Shack, NCR, HP, Toshiba, even IBM cloned themselves (*cough*Jr*cough*)..


    And then there was the company on a street corner in Taipai that made a clone multiplied by 4 corners per intersection multiplied by a million intersections in Taipai....
    "Good engineers keep thick authoritative books on their shelf. Not for their own reference, but to throw at people who ask stupid questions; hoping a small fragment of knowledge will osmotically transfer with each cranial impact." - Me

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    Specs on no-name knock-off clones? Even the people who put them together would have a hard time telling you that.

    In the late 80s, the typical low end no-name PC consisted of:

    Turbo 4.77/8MHZ ERSO style motherboard.
    640k RAM
    Dual 360k drives or one 360k with one 720k.
    20MB ST-225 (or similar) and MFM controller
    Hercules mono clone video card
    Generic random serial/parallel/low-density floppy/clock card
    MDA compatible monochrome CRT monitor.
    XT-style clone case or smaller XT/AT style with literally no badge
    Random clone XT form power supply (that was still higher wattage than IBM's)
    Generic XT-style keyboard.

    But then you would customize or upgrade piece-by-piece depending on your needs with NEC V20s, VGA, 286 boards, larger hard drives, high density floppy drives, better keyboards, and so on.

    You can't really get any more specific, as the exact parts varied wildly, even if they did the exact same thing. Pick from a pile of functionally identical Herc mono cards and each one would be a bit different.

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    Olivetti M24 and it's sisters AT&T 6300, Xerox 606x, Logabax Persona 1600. They made Olivetti to be the 2nd biggest PC manufacurer of the world for some time, just behind IBM. It made Olivetti also to european biggest manufacturer of office machines for some time. Sad to see how that brand has developped until today.

    Compaq and Kaypro also were quite popular.

    SomeGuy describes the typical white box PC clone. Many little box mover computer dealers made them.

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    To add a UK perspective, I would say the Amstrad PC 1512/1640 machines are often overlooked. Although not as attractively styled (nor as ruggedly built) they are in pretty much every respect a better PC than an IBM 5150/60 (only possible weakness is the CGA monitor is nowhere near as sharp as a 5153, but it still isn't bad) at a fraction of the cost. In fact I think when first released these were more commonly available than IBM machines, leading to some UK software specifically being listed as 'Amstrad PC compatible'.

    Although there were some odd design decisions (putting the power supply for the computer into the monitor so you could only use the official monitor with it) there were others which many manufacturers could've learnt a lot from eg not only did it have an RTC as standard, but it was powered by standard AA batteries on the top of the case. Nice and easy to change and nothing to leak and ruin the motherboard.

    Although I have a 5150 and love using it for the genuine IBM experience, I still often go to my Amstrad 1512HD20 as my XT class machine of choice.

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    Leading Edge's Model D seems to have been pretty popular/common. The keyboard is very nice, and their word processing package is supposed to be a lot like Wang's word processor.

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    Commodore PC-10, PC-20 and maybe ATARI PC-3. Schneider Euro PC also was quite pooukar at least in Germany.

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