This computer was made available by someone who had recently purchased a new
computer and heard that I collect old machines. It didn't start up properly
when I got it...the memory settings had been misconfigured and something
weird was also going on with the hard drive. It mostly works now, though I
think the keyboard cable needs to be replaced. It can even log into my
network and grab files off of the Linux server...it's slow, but no slower
than pulling data off its own hard drive. It arrived with an IBM CGA
monitor and a nice, clicky (and very heavy...this is IBM stuff, after all)
83-key keyboard. The computer is configured as follows:
A full 256K on the motherboard.
Sigma Designs multi-function card with another 384K (for the
640K that Bill Gates said was all anybody would ever need), a couple
of serial ports (one with a 16550A now), a parallel port, a joystick
port, and a real-time clock. Between the switches on this card and
the switches on the motherboard, the machine reported 512K when I
received it; trial and error got it straightened out. The only
thing I've not been able to get working is the clock; I have no
driver for it, and Sigma Designs' website doesn't have anything
appropriate for it (they're into video capture and playback these
IBM Color Graphics Adapter...the old-school full-length CGA card
that "snows" during screen updates in some programs.
IBM full-length floppy controller, with one 5.25" DSDD (360K) drive.
No-name MFM hard disk controller of late-80s manufacture, driving a
20MB 5.25" half-height hard drive...no doubt an
upgrade or repair item installed by the previous owner, as IBM
wouldn't have shipped it with a half-height drive of any kind.
Racal Interlan NI5210
ISA Ethernet adapter...I picked this one up
at a local
not knowing if I'd actually be able to get
this old beast on my LAN and communicating with other systems.
The hard drive was low-level formatted and scanned for bad blocks; it now
has loaded on it the DR DOS 6.0 that I bought years ago for the first 286 I
built. I also installed the Microsoft Networking Client for DOS off of a
Windows NT Server CD-ROM (copied to floppies, of course); that's how it's
able to talk to my Samba
(it can also ping hosts on the Internet, but there's no
other network software installed at this point).
Here's the out-of-the-box configuration for a PC/XT:
4.77-MHz 8088 (either Intel or
AMD; mine's AMD, but my understanding
is that Intel was providing full manufacturing data to AMD at this point
as a condition of IBM using its processors).
64K-256K RAM, expandable to a maximum of 640K conventional memory
and more memory through EMS (and maybe XMS, though I'm not sure of
that...that might be a 286-and-up measure).
Eight 8-bit ISA expansion slots.
Two options for the display when it was released:
MDA, 80x25 text only, monochrome
CGA, 80x25 text in 16 colors, up to 320x200 2-color graphics
Detached keyboard with numeric keypad and 10 function keys.
Integrated DIP-16 joystick port.
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Scott Alfter; all rights reserved.
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