expansion differences (was Re: Micro$oft Biz'droid Lusers)

From: Jeff Hellige <jhellige_at_earthlink.net>
Date: Thu Apr 25 06:39:15 2002

>Open the box. Open the S-100 mainframe. Open the individual card boxes,
>extract the cards and plug them into the mainframe. Open the carton the in
>which the FDD enclosure traveled. Extract the enclosure, insert the 8" floppy
>drives. Attach the cables to their respective sockets, at each end, attach
>power cables, power on the Terminal, power up the S-100 box, Power up the
>FDD's, insert the boot disk, watch the lights bling, ... WHAT? no display?
>... oh yeah... attach the serial cable to the terminal. repeat the process...
>and 64k CP/M 2.2 is booted. Total elapsed time, 4 weeks of shopping, 1 week
>for shipping, 1.5 hours fiddling with boxes, cables, enclosures, etc. 45
>seconds to boot the 1st time. ... done... Cost? well, the two Mistubishi 8"
>DSDD drives cost $479 each, the terminal cost $753, shipped the CCS hardware,
>including CPU, FDD, 64KB DRAM, 4-additional serial port card, 4 parallel in +
>4 parallel out card, mainframe, FD box (the one I sent you) $1479, I think. I
>don't remember what the shipping cost was, but that was in '79. Later the
>next year I attached an ST-506 drive.

        Looking at the above and then looking at how one would expand
a CoCo or any of the early 'home' micros, I fail to see the
difference other than the orientation and placement of the exansion
buses. Both required you to add expansion cards for greater
functionality. One happened to house the cards internally while the
other didn't. You list a total of $3190 for the system above, that's
a far cry from the $599 for the TRS-80 Model I or $399 for the
original CoCo. Another thing to remember is that you list a system
made up primarily of one vendor's cards, that being California
Computer Systems. This made things quite easy, especially concerning
booting CP/M. Take a more typical hobbyist S-100 bus machine though,
with it's mix-and-match selection of S-100 bus boards, and the new
owner will likely have to spend quite a bit more time than 45 seconds
to get it to boot the OS for the first time. Did you have to expand
the CoCo or other 'home' 8bit machines to do useful things? No. Did
you have to spend time expanding most S-100 bus machines in order to
do anything useful? Yes. The higher level of integration coupled
with the much lower price is what opened the market up. Both systems
are 'real' computers, both capable of similar uses, they're just
aimed at different markets.

                      Home of the TRS-80 Model 2000 FAQ File
Received on Thu Apr 25 2002 - 06:39:15 BST

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