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99 votes
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How much better was DEC Alpha than contemporaneous x86?

The Alpha team set out to create a high-performance architecture, planned to last for 25 years and allow for 1000-fold performance increase over those 25 years. So they placed some long bets, starting ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
71 votes

How much better was DEC Alpha than contemporaneous x86?

Stephen Kitt has done what seems to me an excellent job of outlining features and when they were introduced. I'll take a slightly different tack, instead picking a single point in time, and pointing ...
Jerry Coffin's user avatar
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28 votes
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Were printed manuals for HP PCL or GL ever published?

My bookshelf says yes, they definitely were: They don't appear to have ISBNs but there are HP part numbers: PCL 5 Printer Language Technical Reference Manual is 5961-0509 (1999 edition? Part 1, Part ...
TomH's user avatar
  • 396
23 votes

How to transfer file(s) between modern Linux host and HP48 handheld calculator?

Prepare hardware Gather hardware Get or make a serial cable from HP48 to DB9 (most common) or DB25 (instructions on https://www.hpcalc.org/hp48/docs/faq/48faq-12.html, the core of it being: looking ...
Stéphane Gourichon's user avatar
16 votes
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How was it possible to run IBM mainframe software in emulation on HP?

I don't know what environment they installed to run their software on the HP. The vendor did all the work. For all I know it was just raw COBOL with an IBM compatible runtime running on top of HP-UX. ...
Will Hartung's user avatar
  • 12.3k
15 votes

How much better was DEC Alpha than contemporaneous x86?

I was at HP when the Alpha cancellation decision was made. In fact I was part of a team that ran comparative HPC benchmarks on Alpha and x86. The fact was that by 1999 the x86 Pentium-II was ...
Alan B Heirich's user avatar
14 votes

How much better was DEC Alpha than contemporaneous x86?

Alpha fizzled in the face of the HP/Intel partnership pushing their Itanium 64-bit architecture I think it's important to note that during this period, there was a widespread belief that the VLIW ...
Maury Markowitz's user avatar
14 votes
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Why don't manufacturers make handheld computers like the Jornada 720 any more?

This answer is not quite about retrocomputing, but anyway... They are making them, though it is a bit of a niche market. One of the newer ones (designed by the original Psion designer!) is the Gemini ...
Radovan Garabík's user avatar
14 votes
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Early programmable calculators with RS-232

In the early seventies, companies like HP and Wang sold 'programmable desktop calculators' that were really personal computers Not really, as they stood firmly on the calculator side. If at all, ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 226k
11 votes
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How to access old laptop IDE hard drive

The easiest way is to get an external USB enclosure or USB-to-IDE adapter. IDE-to-SATA adapters exist, but they require opening up your computer to install. When selecting hardware, keep in mind ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 8,657
11 votes

Were printed manuals for HP PCL or GL ever published?

Books? Manuals! Both are simply the command language for specific HP products, which all had their detailed manuals printed and put in the box. Them becoming de facto standards is history at work :)) ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
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10 votes
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When did computers stop needing to be marketed as calculators?

Hewlett-Packard marketed some of their computers as calculators for some marketing related reason like you stated. Similarly, DEC called their computers "Programmable Data Processors", to avoid the "...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
10 votes

Early programmable calculators with RS-232

The de facto – and indeed de jure – standard interface for computers controlling random equipment was RS-232. Some would argue with that, at least in certain industries — Hewlett-Packard’s HPIB (GPIB,...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
9 votes
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What CPU did the HP85 have?

The CPU in the 85 was the Capricorn, which was used for the Series 80 systems. The Wikipedia article linked there gives an overview of the CPU, and the July 1980 and August 1980 issues of HP Journal ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
9 votes
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Instruction set support for multiplication with a constant

In the original ARM instruction set there are no dedicated shift and roll instructions; instead the second operand of each instruction always passes through the barrel shifter, so shifts and rolls are ...
Tommy's user avatar
  • 37.3k
9 votes

When did computers stop needing to be marketed as calculators?

Hewlett Packard in the 1980s-1990s had two divisions. The Calculator Division and the Computer Division. These two divisions each made their own products without reference to each other. The ...
Chenmunka's user avatar
  • 8,141
9 votes

How much better was DEC Alpha than contemporaneous x86?

One little known fact is that what become PostgreSQL was done on Alpha workstations with 64MB of RAM. I forget the model number of the workstations but they were small desktop machines. I was the ...
Jon Forrest's user avatar
9 votes

How much better was DEC Alpha than contemporaneous x86?

I worked in service at DEC from the '80s to 2003. Regarding the public implementation of Alpha chips: on DEC boxes it was fine. My POV as related to Intel / Microsoft relationship: it was a deal-...
Bob Schmoe's user avatar
9 votes

Should I install Gentoo i586 packages on my PC?

The original Pentium, which succeeded the i80486, was indeed the original definition of the i586 instruction set - and not x86_64. But the Pentium was introduced in 1993, and your HP machine is much ...
Chromatix's user avatar
  • 16.8k
9 votes

How was it possible to run IBM mainframe software in emulation on HP?

There were a number of companies offering IBM 'compatible' mainframes - Hitachi, Fujitsu and Amdahl come to mind. IBM got slapped with an anti-trust suit when it tried to limit their operating systems ...
Kartman's user avatar
  • 285
8 votes

Early programmable calculators with RS-232

RS-232 became "standard peripheral interface" later, when most of these "peripheral devices" adopted microprocessors. In early days, parallel ports were more common because they: can read-write data ...
Stanislav Orlov's user avatar
8 votes

How much better was DEC Alpha than contemporaneous x86?

I was working at the time porting a large system from Unix to Windows NT, we had a few Intel Windows NT machines and a DEC Alpha running Windows NT. (Along with Sun, Dec, IBM, etc Unix workstations) ...
Ian Ringrose's user avatar
8 votes

How did the HP 9100 use base 14?

Note: I have no personal experience with this calculator. Also, a lot of this has appeared already in comments. References: the main HP 9100A/B page and the programming page at hpmuseum.org. The 9100A/...
benrg's user avatar
  • 2,472
7 votes
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Sources for HP's A Graphics Language?

AGL was an extension to BASIC and FORTRAN, which was implemented on several HP systems. It was used to describe what you wanted drawn, and the BASIC/FORTRAN system would generate HP-GL to drive a ...
John Dallman's user avatar
  • 13.4k
6 votes

Instruction set support for multiplication with a constant

The VAX, sold first in 1977, has a scaled indexed addressing mode, which offers indexReg*constScale+baseReg address computation.  When used with an LEA instruction (load effective address), this ...
Erik Eidt's user avatar
  • 3,357
6 votes

Copying disk image from HP 9122D drive

(Some background: the 9122D uses Sony OA-D32W floppy drives. Here's a service manual and a discussion about repairing these drives.) If you want a perfect 1:1 image of the floppy disk at the magnetic ...
snips-n-snails's user avatar
6 votes

How much better was DEC Alpha than contemporaneous x86?

My personal experience with the Alpha AXP was when I attended a presentation in the Detroit area during the introduction of the product many years ago. It was a video presentation and it showed the ...
KitchM's user avatar
  • 61
6 votes
Accepted

What does HP Omnibook 300 error code 0302h mean?

0AAh is the Basic Assurance Test code (BAT). See BIOS Diagnostic - keyboard This error code means that the keyboard does not respond to this command. 1.0.3. Keyboard controller test. A keyboard ...
Martin Maly's user avatar
  • 5,575

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