Vintage Computing Pt. 1

Last year, I came into a bunch of old computer gear from the 1980s.  The inventory is:

IBM PC XT (5150): The one that started it all. This machine sports an Intel 8088 CPU running at 4.77MHz, no coprocessor, dual 5.25” floppy drives and a very lightweight power supply. This particular unit is outfitted with a Quadram board that adds memory, Real Time Clock with battery backup, and expansion ports. This unit has an IBM CGA card and a 1200 baud modem card.

IBM XT/286 (5162): This is an AT class workstation, in spite of its name. It sports a 6 MHz 286 processor, with zero-wait-state RAM that actually makes it faster than its more expensive cousin, the IBM PC AT (5170). No math coprocessor in its socket. This one sports a Hercules GB200 CGA card, which is absolutely diminutive compared to the ‘traditional’ IBM cards. The 5162, being newer than the more expensive and powerful 5170, actually uses SIMMs for memory.

IBM PC AT (5170): This is a original AT class workstation, sporting an 8 MHz 286 CPU. Again, no math coprocessor in this one. It sports an traditional IBM CGA card, along with a memory expansion board to bring the system up to 640K.

Epson Equity 1+: This is a late model 8088 based workstation, much smaller than the IBM workstations and more polished looking. It runs at either 4.77MHz or 10 MHz. It sports 640K of memory, and a Paradise Basic EGA card that can function in multiple modes. This unit had a lot of rust on one side of the case, leaving small chunks to be cleaned out of all the tight spaces around the motherboard.  All of the configuration is performed through DIP switches, similar to the IBM 5150, but these are presented right at the front of the workstation, behind a small access hatch.

Epson Equity II+: This is an Epson 286 class machine, running at 8 or 12 MHz. It sports 640K of RAM, an Epson graphics card, and no DIP switches; all functions are contained handled by the BIOS configuration.

Also found were an IBM 5151 monochrome green-phosphor monitor – slightly burned in, an IBM 5153 CGA monitor in beautiful working shape, and an Epson monochrome monitor.

I’ll continue this series as I work through the process of getting one or more of these grand old machines up and running again.