Computers Manufactured in 1986

From: Christopher Smith <>
Date: Tue Apr 2 10:29:05 2002

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Torquil MacCorkle III []

> Pardon the ignorance here,

> But which would you guys consider to be the most modernly
> functional one
> of the 1986 bunch?

> (What I am trying to do together here is get a setup of only
> stuff made in
> 1986.... It'd be neat to have a system exactly the same age as me :))

Well, here's my list:

AT&T Unix PC. 512k to 4M of ram [usually 1M], 40 to 60M hard drive,
all in one system with a monochrome green screen, removable keyboard,
and 3 button mouse. It also had a 5.25" floppy. It ran Unix SystemV
R 3.0 or 3.5, I vaguely remember a port of some other system to run
on it. Check some of the web pages you can find. There was a built
in graphical windowing system, dynamically loadable drivers, and if
you could get the ethernet board, or extra serial ports, you could
run multi-user configurations. It could read/write (through special
bundled software) MS-DOS disks, and there was also a DOS board for it
with an 8088 CPU or something like that, and some RAM to let it
actually run DOS, and DOS apps.

These are pretty cool. See if you can google yourself a picture of
one. :)


If you don't mind being something like a year off -- it was likely in
prototype stage in 86, but released in 87 -- VAXStaion 2000 would be
an excellent choice, too. It is a small (literally the size of a large
lunchbox) VAX, with a built-in b&w framebuffer (for VWS, or X11), can
accommodate an internal disk of up to 150M, and memory or (my memory is
somewhat fuzzy on this) 8 or 12M, but you usually see it with something
like 4M of RAM. You can also (if you use a lower-capacity, half height
hard disk) fit a 1.2M floppy drive in there. There is a special inch-
high expansion that screws on to the bottom of the unit to give it an
external plug for another disk, and a tape drive (95 or so MB tk50).
I believe it will run VMS, Ultrix, or possibly NetBSD. I would (and
do on mine) run VMS on it, though.

For a graphical workstation (that will actually plug into the wall! SGI
didn't at the time), this is from Intergraph's page -- it ran a Unix-oid
called CLIX:

In 1986, at the Design Automation Conference, Intergraph introduced
the InterPro 32C - the industry's first workstation with a processing
speed of 5 million instructions per second (MIPS). This RISC-based
computer was powered by the Clipper C100 chip from Fairchild
Semiconductor and offered workstation performance that was five times
more powerful than the VAX-11/780. Two separate 4K byte cache memory
management units were linked to the CPU chip via a dual, dedicated
32-bit bus architecture. The unique combination of cache design and
size provided for unparalleled instruction processing speed. The
Clipper processor utilized the UNIX System V operating system. The
second processor, an Intel 80186, was the I/O processor. And an
Intergraph Raster Operations Processor executed the graphics commands
and display operations.

Then for the normal stuff, you may want to also consider:

The Amiga 1000 (Launched in the UK that year...)

Atari 1040STF (These had a GUI in the ROM, but didn't multitask
without an add-on)

The Tandy TRS-80 "Color Computer 3" (Not as impressive as the Amiga
or Atari, but they're cool, especially if you have disk and tape
interfaces, and perhaps a copy of OS-9) I have wanted one of these
for a while, myself.


Christopher Smith, Perl Developer
Amdocs - Champaign, IL

/usr/bin/perl -e '
print((~"\x95\xc4\xe3"^"Just Another Perl Hacker.")."\x08!\n");
Received on Tue Apr 02 2002 - 10:29:05 BST

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