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Microsoft on the cusp

RJBJR

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Feb 17, 2011
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Once upon a time Microsoft was actually offering products to make the PC run faster!
I ran into this today while rummaging through my junk, it is the Mach10. The thing with the cable isn't a mouse, it's a switch to toggle the speed of the processor.
 

Dave Farquhar

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Microsoft marketed a few hardware products over the years, besides mice. I think the motive behind the accelerators was, indeed, to allow early versions of Windows to be more usable on 8088-based machines.
 

RJBJR

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Anything to get Windows 1 to run faster I guess.

They were determined to do whatever it took for their bug-ridden beast. The Mach10 looks like it was released just prior to winderz 2 (Nov, '87)
 

RJBJR

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Microsoft marketed a few hardware products over the years, besides mice. I think the motive behind the accelerators was, indeed, to allow early versions of Windows to be more usable on 8088-based machines.

They had a Mach20 that was a 286 on a card for the PC, I've never even seen one of those. They also did memory cards, here is an early one from 1981, it currently resides in an 16-64k PC5150, the card maxxes out at 192k which brought the 5150 up to 256k total.
 

RJBJR

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Neat! Have you tried it? It would be nice to see what Norton SI would report with and with out the Mach 10.

That's a neat thought. I have had the card plugged in once, it works, the connector that plugs into the 8088 socket is kind of fragile so I'm not going to do that just to compare.
 

njroadfan

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Microsoft's most popular (and often cloned) early hardware product was the SoftCard for the Apple II. It was a Z80 co-processor card that allowed the Apple II to run CP/M.

http://www.apple2info.net/hardware/softcard/softcard.htm
(Check out the neato logo)

Also the CPU socket cable was a problem with Apple IIgs accelerators too. The fix was to install a ZIF socket to allow for gentle install/removal of the cable.
 

towermax

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I had a Mach 10 and, later, a Mach 20. I used both in my original IBM PC. I still have the Mach 10 in it's original box packed away with the PC and other vintage gear.

The Mach 10 had a 9.54MHz 8086 that could be toggled to 4.77MHz for programs that wouldn't run correctly at the higher speed. It also had a socket for a 10MHz 8087, an InPort for a Microsoft InPort mouse, and, IIRC, a very small amount of cache ram (1K?).

One interesting thing was that with the Mach 10 installed, the hard drive (MiniScribe 3650 with RLL controller) would run at a 3:1 interleave instead of 4:1. That was probably as big a performance improvement as the faster CPU. (It wouldn't do this with a couple other drives I tested at the time--must have been some special serendipity with the 3650 and/or the controller card.)

The Mach 20 was introduced when Microsoft was still working on OS/2 with IBM, and was positioned as just the thing to run OS/2. I got a copy of the OS/2 version of Excel free with the Mach 20. When Microsoft dropped OS/2 development, I was so irritated that I wrote to Microsoft and demanded to return the Mach 20 for a full refund. Even though I had bought the Mach 20 from a third party vendor, after some wrangling, I got the refund, and a free copy of the Windows version of Excel as a bonus.

I later upgraded the PC with the Orchid Tiny Turbo 286 and then the Intel Inboard 386/PC, and still have them packed away as well.
 

DOS lives on!!

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That's a pretty neat card you've got. That is probably why some PC manufacturers decided to put in an internal turbo button in the case instead of the external plug in switch.
 

gerrydoire

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I have this card in an IBM PC 5150, It gives you speed like them Turbo 8mhz clone from yonder years.
 

RJBJR

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Microsoft's most popular (and often cloned) early hardware product was the SoftCard for the Apple II. It was a Z80 co-processor card that allowed the Apple II to run CP/M.

http://www.apple2info.net/hardware/softcard/softcard.htm
(Check out the neato logo)

Also the CPU socket cable was a problem with Apple IIgs accelerators too. The fix was to install a ZIF socket to allow for gentle install/removal of the cable.

Those SoftCards would have been a foot in the apple cart for MS.

Maybe I'll do the ZIF socket....I have a Tinyturbo 286 that would benefit from one of those too.
 

RJBJR

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That's a pretty neat card you've got. That is probably why some PC manufacturers decided to put in an internal turbo button in the case instead of the external plug in switch.

It was dog eat dog..... The Mach10 has the remote switch and a toggle switch.
 

RJBJR

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I later upgraded the PC with the Orchid Tiny Turbo 286 and then the Intel Inboard 386/PC, and still have them packed away as well.

Yup, got those same two squirreled away....for what I don't know. Been going through my junk wondering why I have this stuff any more.....<g>
 

RJBJR

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I have this card in an IBM PC 5150, It gives you speed like them Turbo 8mhz clone from yonder years.

The great thing about the 5150 is that it doesn't have one of those soldered in batteries.
One of the not-so-great things is that it didn't come with a clock, but when you make something to last forever like IBM did then time was irrelevent. Except when booting <g>
 
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