BS al a Erlacher

From: Richard Erlacher <>
Date: Mon Apr 29 04:36:14 2002

Well, Sir, I apologize for the inappropriate attribution of that inane set of
remarks to you. I have to admit it surprised me that something of that nature
could come from you, particularly in light of the generally sensible posts I'm
accustomed to seeing with your name.

That post to which I was replying did, however, start out with
> From: r. 'bear' stricklin <>

> On Tue, 23 Apr 2002, Richard Erlacher wrote:

> > The year I got my first PC/AT (I used 'em at work all the time, but
didn't get
> > one at home for a while.) I bought a 25 MHz clone (NEAT architecture)
with 8 ..."

The fact that Mr. Goodwin's format was so confusing as to throw me off at the
same time he complained about my experimenting with the various formats people
had suggested, doesn't help.

It's interesting that you mention the Northwest Computer Products as a source,
since I do seem to recall that they were the source of the '286/25 motherboard
to which I referred. I bought this hardware from a local guy who took my list
of items and reference prices and then set about to gather up all the pieces
for me and then take a small profit on the work. That motherboard, as I
previously indicated was a board complete with the IIT coprocessor and 4 MB of
DIP ram, all provided by NCP (if that's the right outfit) and the remaining 4
MB of SIPP memory was from a local vendor who supplied many of the sellers who
advertised in Computer Shopper, though he happily sold to us and anyone else
who asked him, at the same prices as those he charged the mail-order vendors
he supplied.

The video board was a 1Kx768x16-color Genoa 5400, I believe (I saw the box
earlier today, though I don't have the card any longer). Those were not
cheap, but were readily obtainable if one had the connections, at a price on
the order of $139 or so. The advertised price at the time was on the order of
$199, but it wasn't unusual to find someone who wanted to sell them and would
take $60 less just to turn their inventory.

As I previously mentioned, we'd been designing with 25 MHz 'C286 processors
since '87 or so, for the satcom biz. I designed ground equipment, but the
selected Harris CPU was used in both ground and flight app's and it was so
widely avaialble that we didn't think anything about using it. The "official"
25 MHz part did come a bit later, but that was only a couple of years later,
and really wasn't a die change or shrink. I think it was just a ground-rule
change where the performance spec's were concerned.

I took a look at the motherboard, BTW, and found that the C&T chips on the
board were marked 20 MHz, but there's a sticker on the board that clearly says
"25 MHz." This suggests the boards were selected for that rate.

I don't know how you and your friends went about buying hardware back then. I
shopped around because I didn't want to have to do it again. I didn't like
paying more than 30% of retail prices, and seldom had to do that. I went back
and checked the prices from Orca, and find their Q1 pricing on 1 MB SIMMs and
SIPPs were, indeed, in the range of $35-37 at the time (September '89), as I
have it penciled in the margin of their spec's. I did, after all, buy my
first '386 motherboard from them, and complete with RAM.

Since the distributor price of 1M DRAM SIMMs was only about $75-$78 at the
time, I don't know where the $1k for 8 MB of RAM would come from. I bought a
1 MB-populated memory board (mfg by CUMULUS) for my HP LJ3 at about that time
for $99 from a local retailer. It makes no sense that a SIMM would cost $125
through "discount" retailers.


----- Original Message -----
From: "r. 'bear' stricklin" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2002 11:41 PM
Subject: Re: BS al a Erlacher

> On Sun, 28 Apr 2002, Richard Erlacher wrote:
> > You, 'bear,' need to go back and reread what you've previously written.
> > 25MHz NEAT clone I bought in '89 was a '286, which, as I explained, was
> > because it was slightly faster than the much more costly '386's of the
> > but cost MUCH less. It was, by the way, acquired through an ad in the
> > Computer Shopper, which I followed closely when I was shopping for a
> > since they didn't have an eBay yet.
> Dick, if I had any free coupons for reading comprehension lessons at the
> Sylvan Learning Center of your choice, I'd give them to you. I had not,
> until now, contributed further to this thread, and if you'd actually paid
> the slightest bit of attention you would have seen that it is GLEN
> GOODWIN's article you have responded to---as witnessed by the header you
> yourself included, even.
> > I often found decent prices in Computer Shopper, and seldom even bothered
> FWIW I read Computer Shopper myself quite a lot at that time, cover to
> cover even, because I was 12 and given over to such things. My memory does
> not bear out your case, but it's notoriously flaky and I do not have the
> magazines around anymore.
> I did find some notes I---in a fit of wishful thinking---made about that
> time (based on doodles I remember drawing to cheer up a friend (ah, the
> heated war between Amiga and Macintosh), and other pages nearby with
> actual dates on them) with the following notes culled directly from
> Computer Shopper ads:
> * Orchid Pro Designer Plus: $339, p.30 $299, p.208
> * Miniscribe M3085; 70 MB, 18 msec. HD: $569, p. 56 $549, p.112
> Price from a local shop; the best I remember finding anywhere:
> * Barebones 16 MHz 286 (MB, case, PSU), $475 from Northwest Computer Outlet
> A few tens of pages later, representing fall 1990, and irrelevant to the
> discussion, but perhaps interesting to somebody:
> * GVP 28MHz accelerator for Amiga 2000: ~$775
> * 2 MB RAM expansion board for Amiga 2000, fully populated: ~$450
> These would've been from AmigaWorld. The next page bears some more
> Computer Shopper fruit:
> * Seagate ST1144A, kit: $469, p.298
> * ATI VGA Wonder Plus, 512k: $229
> * Sound Blaster: $149
> * USR Courier HST (14.4kbps): $539
> * NEC CDR3501 external CD-ROM, with interface: $549
> So I _still_ find your claim highly specious, though I lack primary
> sources at the moment to back it up further.
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Glen Goodwin" <>
> > To: <>
> > Sent: Saturday, April 27, 2002 11:47 PM
> > Subject: BS al a Erlacher
> Look! Do try to pay attention, please.
> > except perhaps in that I had the information and you didn't. I don't
> > read the posts on the list as thoroughly and completely as I should,
> > reacting, and it's clear I'm not alone in that.
> Yes. Painfully clear.
> I don't know what to say on the availability of 25 MHz 80286 parts. As I
> recall I stated quite clearly in the original message that my statement
> was just that; a feeling. As it turns out I did find something out about
> it in the meanwhile:
> "1989 (spring) Harris Semiconductor introduces a 25 MHz version of the
> 80286. Price is US $142 each in quantities of 1000."
> Not exactly a primary source, no, but it is something to chew on.
> ok
> r.
Received on Mon Apr 29 2002 - 04:36:14 BST

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