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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. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 4. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). 5. Stacker HW CoProcessor Board MCA BUS. 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

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    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. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 4. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). 5. Stacker HW CoProcessor Board MCA BUS. 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:


  5. #5

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    Been meaning to add this bit in here for a while. A few weeks back a CC IV sold on eBay. While not that significant in of itself this particular CC IV was more like a CC I. It had no ROM BIOS/DIP Socket or DIP switches. It is also missing the two 74LS244 ICs. At first glance I thought it was a CC I but the silk screen clearly reads CC IV.

    s-l1600.jpg
    Current Wish List: 1. IBM 7531 Industrial Series PC 2. NEC MultiSync XL (JC-2001) Monitor 3. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 4. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). 5. Stacker HW CoProcessor Board MCA BUS. If you have any of the above for sale please PM me. Thank you!

  6. #6
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    I've got one of those. Just CC IV sans the DIP switches, resistor packs and ROM. PALs are still there.

    My suspicion is that it was a special order item for some customer.

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