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Re: Altair Computer Family

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  • wtsnet
    Dave, ... neat ... The special part is included in Steve s description. Pertec specialized in Business Systems and lost interest in other markets. The was
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 9, 2004
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      Dave,

      Steve wrote:

      > There was nothing special about the "business systems" except that
      > the already existing components were gathered together into one
      neat
      > package in the form of a computer desk.

      The "special" part is included in Steve's description. Pertec
      specialized in "Business Systems" and lost interest in other
      markets. The was an attempt at an "All Blue" professional package.
      There are Altair systems of equal power with bezals and desks that
      do not match. The desk & software made it a business system.

      The second special feature is the hard disk. It is big heavy
      minicomputer technology, however micros rarely had any hard disk.
      The 5MB fixed/5MB removable drive made the 300/55 competetive with
      machines from the big guys: DEC, IBM, Burroughs. The machine
      probably ran the original Peachtree Software. The machine was also
      used to make MTX a multi-user BASIC system. MTX was non-Microsoft
      and ran programs from MAI BAIC Four computers. I don't remember if
      CP/M was available for the hard disk.

      The entire cabinet ran a bit hot, not just the controller. The top
      of the 8800bt was often removed. A common failure is loose or
      damaged cables to the 4PIO. The Turnkey proms are different for the
      300/55. There are two proms and the monitor is hex, not octal

      Tom

      --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "Steve" <alltare@y...>
      wrote:
      > Dave,
      >
      > Thanks for posting your pix, and thanks for the link to your
      site.
      > If some of your collection was used in the "Pirates" movie, you
      must
      > have a few good stories to tell us.
      >
      > There was nothing special about the "business systems" except that
      > the already existing components were gathered together into one
      neat
      > package in the form of a computer desk. The equipment rack
      > containing the hard disk, controller, and computer was the
      pedestal
      > of the desk. The hard disk drive is a front loading unit,
      probably
      > the model 3422 dual disk 10MB model (one 5MB fixed platter and one
      > 5MB removeable cartridge). It connects to the HD controller box
      via
      > a couple of very wide ribbon cables. The controller is in turn
      > connected to the computer's 4PIO board via some smaller ribbons.
      The
      > weak point in the system was the controller, which always seemed
      to
      > be the cause of funny behavior. There are 3 large boards inside
      it
      > that often had flaky sockets, and the poorly designed power supply
      > was prone to overheating.
      >
      > You can see a few advertising photos at Tom Sanderson's web site at
      > http://www.virtualaltair.com/ .
      > Click on SYSTEMS, then select MITS 300/25 or MITS 300/55. Tom may
      > have more info to offer about these systems.
      >
      > steve
      > ============================
      > --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, Dave Freeman
      > <dfreeman@a...> wrote:
      > > As a new member of your group I just posted photos of my Altair
      > Family
      > > Collection on your site. I have been collecting since 1980 and I
      > would
      > > like to get some help on describing the MITS/PERTEC/Altair
      Business
      > > Computer System I have posted. I believe this is the first
      computer
      > > system that PERTEC built after they bought MITS. I also am
      > interested
      > > in how many of these they produced.
      > > Thanks,
      > > Dave
    • Steve
      As far as I know, CP/M wasn t ever released for the Altair hard disk systems, although Lifeboat did release a hard-sectored 8 version that ran on stock Altair
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 9, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        As far as I know, CP/M wasn't ever released for the Altair hard disk
        systems, although Lifeboat did release a hard-sectored 8" version
        that ran on stock Altair floppy systems. That allowed one to run
        popular CP/M programs like "WordStar" and "Advent" (Adventure- the
        first text adventure game).

        Peachtree business software was available for both floppy and HD, but
        it was known by the Altair or ASDC (Altair Software Distributing Co.)
        name. Let's see, there was Accounts Payable and Receivable,
        Inventory Management, Word Processing, and General Ledger.

        The turnkey bootloader 2-chip EPROM set is called HD/TBL #1 and #2.
        They were installed on the Altair's TurnKey board. I would have to
        confirm this, but I think they could also boot from floppy.

        steve
        ====================

        --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, wtsnet <no_reply@y...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Dave,
        >
        > Steve wrote:
        >
        > > There was nothing special about the "business systems" except
        that
        > > the already existing components were gathered together into one
        > neat
        > > package in the form of a computer desk.
        >
        > The "special" part is included in Steve's description. Pertec
        > specialized in "Business Systems" and lost interest in other
        > markets. The was an attempt at an "All Blue" professional package.
        > There are Altair systems of equal power with bezals and desks that
        > do not match. The desk & software made it a business system.
        >
        > The second special feature is the hard disk. It is big heavy
        > minicomputer technology, however micros rarely had any hard disk.
        > The 5MB fixed/5MB removable drive made the 300/55 competetive with
        > machines from the big guys: DEC, IBM, Burroughs. The machine
        > probably ran the original Peachtree Software. The machine was also
        > used to make MTX a multi-user BASIC system. MTX was non-Microsoft
        > and ran programs from MAI BAIC Four computers. I don't remember if
        > CP/M was available for the hard disk.
        >
        > The entire cabinet ran a bit hot, not just the controller. The top
        > of the 8800bt was often removed. A common failure is loose or
        > damaged cables to the 4PIO. The Turnkey proms are different for the
        > 300/55. There are two proms and the monitor is hex, not octal
        >
        > Tom
        >
        > --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "Steve" <alltare@y...>
        > wrote:
        > > Dave,
        > >
        > > Thanks for posting your pix, and thanks for the link to your
        > site.
        > > If some of your collection was used in the "Pirates" movie, you
        > must
        > > have a few good stories to tell us.
        > >
        > > There was nothing special about the "business systems" except
        that
        > > the already existing components were gathered together into one
        > neat
        > > package in the form of a computer desk. The equipment rack
        > > containing the hard disk, controller, and computer was the
        > pedestal
        > > of the desk. The hard disk drive is a front loading unit,
        > probably
        > > the model 3422 dual disk 10MB model (one 5MB fixed platter and
        one
        > > 5MB removeable cartridge). It connects to the HD controller box
        > via
        > > a couple of very wide ribbon cables. The controller is in turn
        > > connected to the computer's 4PIO board via some smaller ribbons.
        > The
        > > weak point in the system was the controller, which always seemed
        > to
        > > be the cause of funny behavior. There are 3 large boards inside
        > it
        > > that often had flaky sockets, and the poorly designed power
        supply
        > > was prone to overheating.
        > >
        > > You can see a few advertising photos at Tom Sanderson's web site
        at
        > > http://www.virtualaltair.com/ .
        > > Click on SYSTEMS, then select MITS 300/25 or MITS 300/55. Tom
        may
        > > have more info to offer about these systems.
        > >
        > > steve
        > > ============================
        > > --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, Dave Freeman
        > > <dfreeman@a...> wrote:
        > > > As a new member of your group I just posted photos of my Altair
        > > Family
        > > > Collection on your site. I have been collecting since 1980 and
        I
        > > would
        > > > like to get some help on describing the MITS/PERTEC/Altair
        > Business
        > > > Computer System I have posted. I believe this is the first
        > computer
        > > > system that PERTEC built after they bought MITS. I also am
        > > interested
        > > > in how many of these they produced.
        > > > Thanks,
        > > > Dave
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