[vcf-midatlantic] IBM PC near-compatibles

Herb Johnson hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Mon Oct 23 17:26:13 EDT 2017

As vintage interest increases in the early IBM PC era computers, and in 
386/486 PC's, I have a question. Is there any current interest in the 
early semi-compatible PC's?

I mean of course, the 8088/88 systems near and after the IBM PC of 1981, 
where a number of manufacturers made MS-DOS systems which had most of 
the IBM PC hardware, some PC functionality (or better!) but was not 100% 
hardware compatible.

It took some years for the "market" to decide, IBM PC software HAD to 
use every hardware trick to gain performance, and it could only do that 
if EVERY "PC" had the same IBM PC hardware. And, hardware HAD to be IBM 
PC and ISA compatible so it would run with minimal grief in PC's of the 
day, and their software. Eventually, the "Tiawan clones" came out, which 
were 100% PC compatible, and cheaper, and thus "PC compatible" became a 
redundant phrase.

I know there's some interest in say Compaqs, which at times led the way 
over IBM. But those were pretty compatible too.

But that leaves a bunch of S-100 systems, some Heath/Zenith systems, 
brands like Victor and God-knows how many others, who produced those 
semi-compatible systems, which were soon abandoned.

Now, S-100, I can deal with and those catch some people's interest. In 
fact there's a lot of 3rd party PC hardware for the Heath/zenith Z-100 
(Z-120 series). But Zenith 150-series systems, with five boards in some 
super-ISA backplane? Forgedabotit.

I show some of the Zenith 151-s on my Web site, and of course Z-100's; 
so I get inquiries, like today, where someone has a Z-151 to offer. I 
tell them "sorry, no one cares". Comments?

Herb Johnson

Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net

More information about the vcf-midatlantic mailing list