PS/2s nicer than expected; some questions

From: Lawrence Walker <>
Date: Wed Mar 24 09:54:35 1999

On 23 Mar 99 at 23:39, Mark Gregory wrote:

> Over the weekend I acquired some interesting PS/2 machines: a PS/2 P70 386
> portable, and a PS/2 Model 95 XP 486 server. This was my first experience
> with the PS/2 family, and I was pleasantly surprised. From what I remember
> when PS/2s were new, the media savaged them, mainly due to high price and
> the incompatibility with all existing ISA cards, RAM, etc.
> I was impressed with the build quality and design of the machines (the
> power supply in the M95 XP486 for example: undo one butterfly screw and the
> whole thing swivels out, allowing easy access to the drive bays) and with
> the ease of configuration of Microchannel cards - better Plug and Play than
> with many peripherals on Win 9x machines.
 The PS/2 is one of the lines I collect. They were a remarkable machine.
Unfortunately IBM goofed in charging exhorbitant liscensing fees for the
MCA which gave birth to the EISA consortium. I have an 8530 (XT model),
8557 (386,SCSI and fast UART), 8560 (tower 286), 8570-A21 (386, my fastest
at 25mhz with coprocesser and cache) , 8580 (386, introduced PS/2 MCA line
and VGA (on planar), tower, built like a tank-my favorite) and several spares.
Want a P70 and 95 to fill out the line.
 MCA was PnP before it became a "feature" The major drawback is the
availability and price of the cards. Virtually all the PS/2s were easily

> Some questions:
> 1) Why did Microchannel fail so completely? From a user point of view it
> seems quite nice.
MCA, EISA, and the price. The 8580 sold for $10,000 bare. It's still used quite
extensively in the corporate world tho.

> 2) Can MFM or IDE drives be used with an ESDI controller, or do the drives
> have to be ESDI drives?
 As others have mentioned ESDI is ESDI, but cards are available for IDE or

> 3) Anybody know if the 486DX33 on the processor board can be replaced with
> an Overdrive chip to make it at least a 486/66; or, does IBM still run
> their parts depot in Boulder for old machines?
 IBM still supplies but as in all things IBM at hugely inflated prices. There
are several alternate sources which the "MCA Mafia" on the PS2 newsgroup
can apprise you of.

> 3) I'm having some trouble with the P70. Originally, it wouldn't boot at
> all. I ran the diagnostics from the Reference Disk, and all tests were
> passed. I re-ran the Auto Configuration with no errors. I installed PC-DOS
> 6.3, and formatted the built-in HD at the same time. Everything seems fine,
> but the system won't boot from the hard drive alone. If I boot with a
> floppy in the drive, I can access the HD and run programs off of it. But
> without a floppy, nothing works. Any ideas?
> Thanks in advance.

 There was a discussion regarding this recently (and earlier) on the newsgroup.
Some models have info re set-up on the HD, and if you erase this when fomatting
there are certain steps you must do to reinstall the reference info. Can't
remember the details but the "MCA Mafia" are quite helpful. You could also
check out Peter Wendt's site to see if there's anything regarding this problem.

> Mark.
ciao larry
Received on Wed Mar 24 1999 - 09:54:35 GMT

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