09
Dec
13

Storage photo tour 2

This week I came back to my parents place to visit them. I keep some of my old computer parts and books here and I thought I would share some photos.

Processors

First up we have some processors, a 20Mhz 386DX along with the much rarer Intel Overdrive and 486sx that is mounted for use in a socket. The fourth processor I couldn’t identify because of a permanently attached heat sink.

Calculator

This is my Dads old calculator that he bought back in 1975! Its got an LED based display and even came with a power pack for when the batteries ran out. It’s built out of a number of circuit boards and Dad couldn’t remember who made it. The only label on it says made in England.

MCA cards

These two cards came out of a Reply Corporation machine that my Dad bought. I believe they are micro channel architecture cards. IBM introduced the standard to try and make the main bus of PCs proprietary so they could charge clone makers royalties. It didn’t work out for them in the end. The top card is a IBM SCSI card with a card edge connector instead of the conventional one. The bottom one is a Madge Ringnode card, which is a token ring network card. This type of network was popular before Ethernet came along.

WD Hard disk controller

This is a Western Digital Hard disk controller from an old Epson computer an uncle gave my dad. I’m not sure if it’s for RLL or MFM drives but at least it seems to have a mask ROM that should have the low level format utility in it.

Epson Floppy Controller

This is the floppy controller from the same Epson computer, it has a Western Digital chip on it. It also has a serial and parallel port as was common on early PCs.

EGA Card

An EG-3000 EGA graphics card, it must be a later model as it’s quite small. The PCI VGA card is there for size comparison it’s a S3 Trio64.

NEC Floppy

This is an NEC FD1157 floppy disk again from the Epson computer, it’s an early 1.2Mb drive, you can tell by the stepper and spindle motor being larger and older style.

386sx

This is our old 386sx main board from our first PC, a Twinhead Superset 590. It has some damage from a leaky external battery, fortunately the board still works, but some connectors require replacement. The board has a chips and technologies chipset and a Paradise VGA adapter. The chassis was unfortunately ruined by the battery.

Floppies

Dads floppy disk storage box and some KAO blank floppies in the box. I remember these primarily for how colourful they are.

Tandon Hard disk

A Tandon hard disk drive. I’m not sure but I think these drives like these could use different encoding methods, either MFM or RLL. The controller was largely responsible for most effort in encoding. This drive uses a stepper motor like many other old drives and is mounted inside a bracket with a faceplate and activity LED.

Basic books

The 30 hour basic book is what I first learned programming with, as you can see it was really for the BBC micro computer. I was using gwbasic on the 386sx pictured earlier. The gwbasic reference helped me learn more about the language and filled in the gaps. It meant I could achieve more with the graphics, until I ran out of memory.

Manuals

Here is the main board manual and the Open Access handbook. The latter is for a office suite that we used before getting Microsoft Works.

Basic Manuals

Finally here is the gwbasic manual I was lucky enough to get with the Epson computer, it’s basically the same as the previous reference manual. When the Epson was built it was common for machines to come with programming manuals. Many early databases and basic commercial software was written using basic, gwbasic made porting these easier. Usually they came from CP/M machines.

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