Intellec-mds 800

From: Tony Duell <>
Date: Sat Sep 4 18:40:44 2004

> I am considering buying a classic pc. The one I might buy is the intellec
> mds 800. It comes with a drive also. I dont know much about vintage pc's

I have one, I also have the manuals, including schemmatics..

> but would love to be like you all. I thought starting with one of the best
> pc's would be good. So my question is, if I were to buy this pc, what type

Deifne 'best'. Best for what purpose? It's certainly not the fastest
machine ever made. It's certainly not the first 8080 system (that honour
may well go to the Intellec MSC8i). It is a very solid 8080 development
system (and can be used to cross-develop programs for other processors,
things like the 8048 and Intel's DSP (2900 IIRC)).

What are you planning to use it for? Why do you want it?
> of monitor/keyboard do I hook up to it? Where can I get one?

It uses a serial terminal. You can use just about any serial terminal, or
a PC (deskop, laptop, even a palmtop) with a serial port running a
terminal emulator (I often use my HP95LX or HP100LX for testing machines
like this, those machines have a terminal emulator in ROM). In the end
you mioght want to get a terminal from the same historical period, but
you don't need to do this to start with.

The only problem may be that the MDS800 is expecting a current loop
interface, not an RS232 interface. I built a converter for this _years_
ago (and can probably still find the schematics), I think such things
were also made comemrcially at one point. However, if you're not
comfortable with the idea of a serial termianl, then you probably don't
want to start making interfaces...

> I want to test this intellec before I buy it and want a monitor/keyboard to
> hook up to it before I buy it.
> I also dont want to spend alot for the monitor/keyboard since the pc is
> quite costly.
> Thanks for your advice,
> Andy
> ps, if I buy this intellec, what can I do with it?

Err, why on earth do you want to buy it if you don't know what you can do
with it? Well, OK, I've bought machines not knowing exactly what they can
do, but I generally have a fairly good idea as to what they were used for.

To be honest, I am not convinced you'd be happy with the MDS800. It
sounds like you have very little old computer experienec at all. This is
not a bad thing -- we all started somewhere, we all had to learn (and
most of us, including myself, are still learning). But the MDS800 is not
a totally trivial machine to get going or keep going. I would suggest
starting out with one of the all-in-one CP/M machines (my favourite is
the Epson QX10, but there are many, many, more that people here can
recomed) at least to get he feel of 8080/Z80 based computing.

Received on Sat Sep 04 2004 - 18:40:44 BST

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