New answers tagged

8

There is a circular buffer which holds all your keypresses. The BIOS is always monitoring the keyboard and filling that buffer, even after some kinds of crashes. It is expected that MS-DOS or the application is going to eventually fetch some keypresses, but that wasn't happening. So as soon as the buffer filled up, the BIOS just wanted to warn you. Most ...


17

Well, it was simply the BIOS' way to tell you that the keyboard buffer is all the way filled up. What was actually "counting" my keypresses? In so far as there is a 16 entry (32 bytes) buffer area to type ahead while the main program is still working on something else. So if 16 keystrokes come in without a single one being read, it's full and the beeping ...


0

Two decades ago I read an essay (sadly now impossible to find) that used this and a few other similar tech platform competitions to make a rather deep point: In a competition between two at least somewhat competitive platforms, the more open platform wins every time. Now personally I'm not so sure about the "every", but I've found this statement to have ...


3

The "Turbo XT" 4.77/8mhz clock switching first appeared on no-name clones, and was carried over into the 386 era with 16/33mhz switching.


0

As mentioned is a comment above by @scruss, some manufacturers (such as ARS Technologies) have created a USB device that provides an USB-ISA bridge and an ISA slot. It is an expensive option, as it's a niche product, and most people needing this kind of item will be in a position where they have to support some old mission-critical peripheral that can't ...


5

The product ID on the sticker (819475G) identifies the machine as an IBM ThinkCentre A50p, model 8194. A search for the 8194 model on a few RAM sellers' websites gives us the following information: The IBM ThinkCentre A50p 8194 Computer takes the PC2700 DDR SDRAM DIMMs. and: Memory Speed options: PC2700 DDR333 184Pin SDRAM DIMM These are industry ...


0

As can be seen on this picture of a Selectric typewriter the badge there is very similar. My guess would be that it was as simple as "We need a place for the IBM badge".


-1

Floppy disks were extremely unreliable. As a consumer, if I knew a game would only be usable by booting from it's own floppy disk, I'd be immediately turned off on buying that game because I know that sooner or later, that floppy disk is going to be rubbed raw by the floppy drive's read heads and turned into rubbish. Then I'll be out of my money and without ...


3

Very good answers here already; I'll try to focus on direct answers to your questions. This required users to run an OS, install drivers, manage IRQs and hardware bus addresses, etc. Why was this a strength of the platform, instead of a weakness? Because configuration hassle is much more affordable than buying a new system to support your new hardware. ...


2

I think it was just a nice middle ground. Warning: anecdotal knowledge ahead. Commodore/Amiga had basically just one configuration which sold exceptionally good - C64 and A500. Revisions worked well by maintaining compatibility, but did not add any extra performance. Then came the C128, which had a C64 compatibility mode. No seamless upgrade, but rather a ...


11

Your question is backwards, the Amiga and Atari ST were really the only computers that had mainly bootable games on floppy, pretty much every other disk-based PC required you to boot into the OS first, then boot your game. There are a very small number of exceptions on the PC, but they are rare. The simple answer is that the Amiga and ST had part of their ...


4

The word "ecosystem" in your question gives a clue to the answer: hardware platforms evolve, to a greater or lesser degree, after release. It's inevitable that technology will progress to offer new capabilities after release, and one of the factors in the long-term success of a platform is how well these (often entirely unanticipated) new capabilities, such ...


6

The hardware in PC clones was not particularly diverse, if the technical characteristics of the hardware is the distinguishing factor. Yes, there was a great diversity of manufacturers and vendors, but the diversity of features was pretty minimal. It is probably best to describe the PC clones of the 1980s as vanilla computers. And this was their real ...


0

First, having the plans available allowed small companies to build their own IBM PC clones. You didn't have to be a monolithic company like IBM to build one. A modern analogy is that you don't have to be Google to design an Android phone. Second, each of these numerous little companies did their own marketing, greatly expanding the platform's visibility in ...


28

It was an advantage because the IBM PC became an extensible computing platform. The most popular competitor to it previously was the Apple II, another open platform. The PC, as a platform, was popular to users because of the choices it enabled, as developers because of the foundations that it laid, and engineering firms because they could focus on what they ...


8

The IBM PC was cloned very early on, and many third parties made hardware peripherals. This required users to run an OS, install drivers, manage IRQs and hardware bus addresses, etc. Why was this a strength of the platform, instead of a weakness? A wide range of hardware devices was a strength, in that, if IBM wasn't willing to build it, or was unable ...


2

One problem in designing future-proof systems is deciding what features of the system's present design should be regarded as fundamental and what aspects should be considered happenstance. If some features of a design get treated as fundamental, it will be very difficult to change them later, but features needed to accomplish tasks efficiently can't be ...


4

Unlike the Amiga, the IBM PC was always seen as mainly a business computer. Having business done on lots of small machines on desks, rather than on large central machines via terminals, meant that businesses had to provide support staff to configure machines and assist users, rather than having staff to look after the central machines. However, the total ...


4

There were two primary reasons: Space - PC games were at an awkward juncture in time where both the OS and the games had grown but floppy disks had not, so there was often too little space on the disk to include the OS, even for single-disk games, let alone multi-disk games. License - They couldn’t just throw a copy of DOS on the disk; that would be piracy. ...


12

Games that were designed to be run from floppy were usually self-booting, and often could only be run by booting from floppy. In many cases, the game code could be stored in ways that would not be understood by MS-DOS (using things like non-standard sector sizes), and booting into a game would be faster than booting MS-DOS and then booting the game. The ...


20

The IBM PC was NOT a Game Machine Plenty of people played plenty of games on IBM & compatible computers. But the IBM PC was designed as a business machine, not a game machine. This is most obvious with audio capabilities. Where Atari 400/800, VIC-20, Commodore 64, Amiga and many other machines of the era included some (for the time) serious sound ...


23

Well there were some PC booter titles (MobyGames lists 249), but most of these were quite early games, even before hard drives, XMS or EMS even existed. These were almost always self contained single floppy games, that could run on the very specific hardware that existed. All they used was BIOS for disk access. Also DOS was not the only operating system, so ...


5

I'd like to question the premise, here. I understand that games in such a scenario would have to include a minimalistic operating system, but I guess a carefully tuned Linux kernel along with drivers for all the popular graphics cards would be enough? Space is an issue, so it would be beneficial if it were possible to have the kernels separately, or else ...


82

Bootable game disks do exist for the IBM PC. Conflict in Vietnam is an example of such a game. As can be seen on page 8 of the manual, the game boots directly without loading DOS first. The main reason it wasn't common was for compatibility. A self booting game has to have its own drivers for all the hardware it wants to support. As PCs quickly diversified ...


86

Hard drives have read/write heads which fly above the spinning disks when the drive is powered. When power is removed, the heads no longer fly... For a long time now, the arms which hold the heads have been designed to “auto-park” the heads away from the disks’ surface, or over a safe “landing zone”, when they lose power¹, but early (up to the mid 80s) hard ...


8

This command is supposed to place HDD heads on "park" position.


8

Measurements of my IBM Model 5150 indicate the badge itself is 1 in. square, equivalent to 25 mm. But there is an additional approximately 1/32 in. added for the indent area, thus allowing the badge to completely reside within the indent. For "clones", I suppose the ones deemed "100% PC Compatible" would need to match this size, precisely.


3

One inch square, I think (at least, the insets on my old, beige, midi-tower cases are).


7

If it works and the voltages are within tolerance then it should be OK to use it. The only thing that might affect things is that normal ATX supplies may regulate voltages according to 3.3V output, so normal ATX supplies may not work properly of there is no load on 3.3V as AT does not use 3.3V supply. The PicoPSU may work without 3.3V load just fine. And ...


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