PS/2s nicer than expected; some questions

From: Ward D. Griffiths III <>
Date: Wed Mar 24 12:15:09 1999

On Wed, 24 Mar 1999, Derek Peschel wrote:

> Ward Griffiths wrote:
> > On Wed, 24 Mar 1999, Bruce Lane wrote:
> > > The only other maker that I know of that built MCA-slot machines was NCR
> > > with some of their larger servers.
> > Nope. Well before NCR licensed it, there was the Tandy 5000MC. The
> > first MCA machine on the market without bus-mastering crippled the
> > way it was on IBM's own early MCA systems. A damned fine machine
> > which of course sank like a stone. An uglier death than the Tandy
> > 2000 sufferred.
> I had to read your description of the Tandy's bus about three times. The
> sentence is very confusing. You're saying the early IBM systems had
> crippled bus matering, right? And the Tandy didn't?

It was a decision made by IBM's marketroids. I'm told the conversation
went something like this:

Engineer: (explains the concept of bus-mastering)
Marketroid: Now let me get this straight. A customer can buy a
  Model 50 from us (286), then a few months later purchase a '386
  card from somebody else, plug it in and he's effectively got a
  Model 80?
Engineer: Yup! Ain't it cool?
Marketroid: I don't think so.

> And I'd like to hear more about the 2000 too. I got the impression that the
> 5000MC disappeared quickly and quietly; in a way that's better than a long
> drawn-out death (which it sounds like the 2000 had). Do you disagree? Do I
> have my facts wrong?

The Tandy 2000 was a machine based on an 8 Mhz 80186 cpu that came
out about a year before the IBM PC/AT. True 16-bit, better graphics
than just about anything else on the market, screamingly fast for
the time. Ran MS-DOS 2.0 to 2.11. Because the 80186 did not have
the degree of compatibility with the 8088 that the 80286 had, many
programs dependent on PC-specific memory map and hardware (i.e.
most graphics programs) didn't run, though programs that were
well-behaved, accessing the hardware through MS-DOS system calls
like everything was supposed to, ran fine. Of course, most game
and graphics programs skipped the DOS calls to get performance.
The expansion bus was proprietary, since there wasn't a "standard"
16-bit PC bus until the AT arrived on the scene.

The Tandy 2000 was also the first PC-type machine to come with 12
function keys along the top of the keyboard -- I still consider
the Tandy 2000 keyboard to be the second best ever made (after
the AT&T Unix PC keyboard).

Other features? 640x400 mono or 16-color (with optional card)
graphics. RAM to 768k. Came with dual 720k 5.25 floppies or
one floppy and 10 Mb HD.

I've got to get another one to replace the machine I left with my
ex-wife. Well, only a few weeks till the Trenton Computer
Festival, might be one there.
Ward Griffiths
"the timid die just like the daring; and if you don't take the plunge then 
you'll just take the fall"                                Michael Longcor
Received on Wed Mar 24 1999 - 12:15:09 GMT

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