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Thread: Microsolutions CompatiCard Comparison Table

  1. #1

    Post Microsolutions CompatiCard Comparison Table

    So I threw together a quick comparison table of the different CompatiCards for my own edification. I am posting it here in case it is helpful to anyone else or for when people go googling around. I tried to hit all the main points and I am basing the info off of the manuals in my CompatiCards. However, corrections, insights, and more info are always welcome.
    Model
    CompatiCard
    CompatiCard II
    CompatiCard IV
    Boot ROM
    -
    -
    +
    Max # of Drives
    Total (Int + Ext)
    4
    2
    4
    Internal
    4
    2
    4
    External
    2
    0
    2
    Drive Types:
    8"
    HD
    ?
    -
    ?
    DD
    +
    -
    +
    SD
    +
    -
    +
    5 1/4"
    HD
    +
    +
    +
    QD
    -
    -
    +
    DD
    +
    +
    +
    SD
    +
    ?
    +
    3 1/2"
    ED
    -
    -
    +
    HD
    +
    +
    +
    SD
    +
    +
    +
    Current Wish List: 1. IBM 7531 Industrial Series PC 2. NEC MultiSync XL (JC-2001) Monitor 3. Copy II PC Enhanced Option Board (the one with the toggle switch on the back) 4. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 5. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). If you have any of the above for sale please PM me. Thank you!

  2. #2
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    I'll toss my knowledge in here.

    Compaticards can be grouped into two broad categories; the I and II; and then the IV. They are very different internally.

    The I and II are essentially the same card; they differ in that the I has an external drive connector and supports up to 4 drives. Otherwise, the design is an old-school NEC uPD765A (or Intel 8272A; the same chip) design with external data separator. From a programming viewpoint, the design is of the PC/PC-XT school; the data rate adjustment is not compatible with the PC AT standard and, in fact, uses a completely different I/O port address (e.g. for the first controller, it's 7F2). What this means is that if direct-access utilities use the CC I/II, they must have code to do so, unless the data rate can be set with another utility; i.e., there's nothing at the PC-AT I/O address for adjusting data rate (3F7). So the CC I and II are probably not going to function well with OS/2 or Windows NT (unless someone's done a driver for it).

    The IV is very different animal--it uses an "all in one" FDC IC that follows the PC AT conventions. Said FDC is either a NSC PC8477 or an Intel 82077. The two chips are virtually pin-compatible, but the later revisions of the Intel chip (e.g. 82077AA-1) do not really support FM (single-density). The CC IV works well with Windows (all versions) as well as OS/2 and Linux/BSD. It essentially obsoletes the CC I/II cards.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    I'll toss my knowledge in here.

    Compaticards can be grouped into two broad categories; the I and II; and then the IV. They are very different internally.

    The I and II are essentially the same card; they differ in that the I has an external drive connector and supports up to 4 drives. Otherwise, the design is an old-school NEC uPD765A (or Intel 8272A; the same chip) design with external data separator. From a programming viewpoint, the design is of the PC/PC-XT school; the data rate adjustment is not compatible with the PC AT standard and, in fact, uses a completely different I/O port address (e.g. for the first controller, it's 7F2). What this means is that if direct-access utilities use the CC I/II, they must have code to do so, unless the data rate can be set with another utility; i.e., there's nothing at the PC-AT I/O address for adjusting data rate (3F7). So the CC I and II are probably not going to function well with OS/2 or Windows NT (unless someone's done a driver for it).

    The IV is very different animal--it uses an "all in one" FDC IC that follows the PC AT conventions. Said FDC is either a NSC PC8477 or an Intel 82077. The two chips are virtually pin-compatible, but the later revisions of the Intel chip (e.g. 82077AA-1) do not really support FM (single-density). The CC IV works well with Windows (all versions) as well as OS/2 and Linux/BSD. It essentially obsoletes the CC I/II cards.
    Chuck,

    Thanks for the information. I meant to mention the bit about the chips on the CC IV and the fact that the chip is socketed so you can order replacements for the Intel 82077. I switched all of mine out a few months back so in my mind all CC IVs do FM w/o issue .

    Regarding the four drive support I am sure the CC II only support two drives and that it does NOT support SD 5 1/4" disks (per the MicroSolutions brochure on Bit Savers 1. "Supports two internally mounted drives" and 2. "CompatiCard II does not support single density operation w/ 5.25" CP/M Formats". Not sure why this would be if it is the same chip as the original CC. The CC II seems to be a very stripped down CC.
    Current Wish List: 1. IBM 7531 Industrial Series PC 2. NEC MultiSync XL (JC-2001) Monitor 3. Copy II PC Enhanced Option Board (the one with the toggle switch on the back) 4. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 5. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). If you have any of the above for sale please PM me. Thank you!

  4. #4
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    Perhaps the disclaimer on the CC II applies to some specific revision; revision "D" uses a UMC8326 data separator, which will definitely handle FM--that 8 pin DIP on the left side, just below the floppy header:


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