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The Compaq Deskpro 8086, finally!

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    The Compaq Deskpro 8086, finally!

    I've finally gotten another one of my "holy grail" systems, the original Compaq Deskpro 8086. This thread will be documenting the Deskpro as I build it up to how I want it to be.


    As some of you already know, the Compaq Deskpro was released in 1984, and was Compaq's first desktop computer.

    Since IBM released the 5155 portable earlier in 1984 to compete with Compaq's own Portable, Compaq decided to make a desktop to compete with IBM's PC and XT! Compaq used the full 8086 instead of the 8088, making the Deskpro a faster machine than IBM's own PC and XT. It also used the same dual-mode graphics sub system that the Compaq Portable used, allowing for high-res text and graphics on the same monitor. IBM had to have been more than a little ticked off.


    Here is my unit in its current state with an original amber monitor that I found for a great price:


    IMG_6138.jpg


    Such a nice looking desktop. Built like a tank too, It's heavier than an IBM XT.


    The system unit I got from someone in Huston, Texas and I believe from what I was told that it came from Computer Reset. It's in excellent condition. No rust or anything. It is 100% stock, with two 360KB drives, the floppy controller and a graphics adapter. Nothing else, not even a serial port. So I'll be the first one to ever upgrade it.


    The only thing I had to replace in it were two shorted tantalum caps on the floppy controller board. Finding that fault didn't take long, as the system would only start with the floppy controller removed. Otherwise it hasn't needed any other repairs.


    Here's another pic of it running Windows 1.01 (from floppies, as I don't currently have a hard drive installed):


    IMG_6139.jpg


    Looks so good in amber. I can't even express how excited I was to see this running on here. I will be doing a full install of it once I get an MFM/RLL hard drive in there.


    I will be sure to get an internal pic of this machine next time I open it.


    I did also find an original Operations Guide for the Deskpro, which I'll upload a pic of later. It's in great shape, aside from smelling a bit like a cigar. Hopefully it'll air out in time.


    And I actually found a set of drive rails for this machine on eBay! I thought I was going to have to make something, but a few days later I found some, which makes things a lot easier.


    The next item to find is the original keyboard.


    That's all I have for now. LOTS more to come...
    Compaq - It simply works better

    #2
    Congrats! I too am a big fan of older Compaq desktops!

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by alank2 View Post
      Congrats! I too am a big fan of older Compaq desktops!
      Thank you!
      Compaq - It simply works better

      Comment


        #4
        Wow, nice, this is the direct competition to Olivetti M24 / AT&T 6300. Would be nice to see some benchmarks in comparison.
        <album>

        Comment


          #5
          Absolutely amazing! Love seeing these classic 8088/8086-based machines fully restored and working.

          I myself am waiting for one of my "holy grail" machines to arrive from UPS (not spoiling what it is but I'll post my own thread once I can test it.) I'd also LOVE to get my hands on an IBM PS/2 Model P70, but they command OUTRAGEOUS prices even if broken, and Compaq Contura 3/25 also proving difficult to find.
          Vintage computer systems and peripherals I'm currently looking for:
          IBM PS/2 Model P70, Compaq Contura 3/25, Any Toshiba Libretto laptop from the Libretto 50CT up to the 110CT, Commodore 1541 disk drive in working condition.

          Send a PM if you are interested in selling any of these items to me. Thanks!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by 1ST1 View Post
            Wow, nice, this is the direct competition to Olivetti M24 / AT&T 6300. Would be nice to see some benchmarks in comparison.
            Entry 46 and 55: https://github.com/MobyGamer/TOPBENC...r/DATABASE.CSV

            The Compaq 8086 is really running at 7.16 MHz. I think the 6300 runs at 8 MHz (I could be wrong).

            Comment


              #7
              The correct keyboard seems to be hard to find and is pretty pricy, but I'm pretty sure the "compaq enhanced keyboard" should work with it, although it's a little newer, but it seems to be easier to find. I've tested the enhanced keyboard and it worked on an IBM 5160 and 5170, so I think it's an auto-switching keyboard.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by compaqportableplus View Post
                ...
                The next item to find is the original keyboard.

                ...
                Excellent. It can be challenging to find the original keyboard. If you find yourself in a pinch, the Compaq Enhanced keyboard will work fine with the Deskpro and can be easier to acquire. I did this until I found an original keyboard as it kept the proper aesthetic.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jafir View Post
                  The correct keyboard seems to be hard to find and is pretty pricy, but I'm pretty sure the "compaq enhanced keyboard" should work with it, although it's a little newer, but it seems to be easier to find. I've tested the enhanced keyboard and it worked on an IBM 5160 and 5170, so I think it's an auto-switching keyboard.
                  Ha, you beat me to it.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    1ST1,

                    Thanks! I did benchmark this machine in CheckIt and got a pic of the results. I’ll upload it a little later.


                    TH2002,

                    Thank you! Yeah, these old 808x systems are really a lot of fun to restore. I will keep an eye out for your thread on the new machine you are getting! Yeah, I’d like to have a P70 too, but as you say, they are just too expensive most of the time. You’ll definitely find a Contura 3/25 eventually, I got one super cheap off of eBay last year. The Conturas are really cool. I have the 3/25, 4/25, 4/25c and 4/25cx. The only ones I am lacking are the 3/20 and 3/25c which I would like to get eventually.


                    jafir,

                    Yeah, the keyboards are definitely not super common these days. But yes, the enhanced keyboard will work and I have been watching for a reasonable priced one as well. I’d actually like to have both it and the original. I’m pretty sure I saw one a year or so ago on eBay that ended for extremely cheap, so I don’t think they’re terribly pricey, just hard to find. Wish I had bought it but since I didn’t own a Deskpro then I passed on it.


                    resman,

                    Great system you have there! Yes, I have been watching for a good enhanced keyboard as well. Ideally, I’d like to have both it and the original. I also see an original Portable to the very right and a III or 386 just barely to the very left.
                    Compaq - It simply works better

                    Comment


                      #11
                      There are a couple of keyboards on ebay right now, but they are both around $100, before shipping. I've been tempted to put in a really low offer, but I'm also hoping that I can go back to computer reset and maybe dig one up, if I'm lucky. There is even an a deskpro 286 keyboard on ebay, that I've never seen before, it looks like the 10 function key 8086 version, but has the dreaded L shaped enter key that I hate. I've got an 8086, 286, and 386 (a 386/25, not the original deskpro 386) so it might be cool to get all of the keyboard varieties, just for authenticity.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jafir View Post
                        There are a couple of keyboards on ebay right now, but they are both around $100, before shipping. I've been tempted to put in a really low offer, but I'm also hoping that I can go back to computer reset and maybe dig one up, if I'm lucky. There is even an a deskpro 286 keyboard on ebay, that I've never seen before, it looks like the 10 function key 8086 version, but has the dreaded L shaped enter key that I hate. I've got an 8086, 286, and 386 (a 386/25, not the original deskpro 386) so it might be cool to get all of the keyboard varieties, just for authenticity.
                        Yeah, I saw those. That person has been trying to sell them for ages, which tells me they probably aren’t open to reasonable offers.

                        Yes, that is the keyboard the early Deskpro 286s came with. It uses the AT layout, same as the original IBM AT keyboard did. The Compaq Portable 286 also has the same layout. I don’t have any issue with the layout personally.
                        Compaq - It simply works better

                        Comment


                          #13
                          My issue is that I always hit enter when trying to hit backslash. I have trouble with XT keyboards too these days, even though that's what I started on. Maybe I just need more practice on my old stuff

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by jafir View Post
                            My issue is that I always hit enter when trying to hit backslash. I have trouble with XT keyboards too these days, even though that's what I started on. Maybe I just need more practice on my old stuff
                            Yeah, a different layout can be odd until you adjust. I remember when I got my first IBM model F how completely lost I felt using it, but now I can type really fast on it!
                            Compaq - It simply works better

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by compaqportableplus View Post
                              1ST1,
                              resman,

                              Great system you have there! Yes, I have been watching for a good enhanced keyboard as well. Ideally, Id like to have both it and the original. I also see an original Portable to the very right and a III or 386 just barely to the very left.
                              I've got a few Compaqs:
                              Portable w/ Tiny286, XT-IDE
                              Portable 386
                              DeskPro w/ NEC V30, 2xST225 running Xenix 86, XT-IDE running DOS 5.0 (original keyboard)
                              DeskPro (enhanced keyboard)
                              DeskPro 286/12
                              DeskPro 386/25
                              DeskPro 386/20e w/ Cyrix486dx2, FastMath, 16MB running Win95/Linux/NT 3.51(NT4 shell)
                              DeskPro 486/33L w/ 486DX4, 38MB running NT4 - had it running OpenStep but the drive died.

                              Still waiting to find an original SystemPro, and then I'm done

                              Comment

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