of various I/O cards are available from Gemini, E V, Nascom and IO Research,
whilst battery backed RAM IS available from Microcode. A full implementation
card is available from E V
and a High Speed Arithmetic Processor is
now available from Belectra. The already broad range covers most needs and
the main problem appears to be finding out about the various expansion
facilities on offer. Also a number of new cards will be added before the end
of this year.
One of the more impressive features of the Gemini is the Network
system, which can be installed retrospectively into a Galaxy. Essentially the
Gemini MultiNet network system consists of a file server and up to 31
stations. The file server is based on a standard Galaxy 2 but substitutes a 5
or 10 MB Winchester drive in place of floppy in drive A. A small Network
controller card is connected to the PIO
on the CPU card and thence to an
additional three pin connector on the back panel. Each station appears to the
user as a separate disk based CP/M computer of very similar specification to
the Galaxy 2 using the Winchester disk of the file server for disk access.
Although the file server is normally supplied as a complete entity it is
possible to up-grade an existing Galaxy into a Network file server by feeding
an external Winchester sub-system (GM835) and an internal Network card
and, of course, the necessary software. Gemini supply workstations
for use on the Network which are similar in style to the Galaxy, but
physically smaller, as they do not require an on-board disk. As with the file
server the Galaxy 2 can be converted for use as a workstation with the
advantage of retaining a local floppy disk capability. Gemini Dealers are able
to carry out either conversions.
In use the Network is extremely reliable and the software is
delightfully “bug” free. The speed is surprising; when only one station is
requiring access the workstation actually responds faster than the normal
Galaxy 2 due to the 250K baud network data rate and use of RAM spooling
puffers on the file server. Naturally, the reponse times get longer with heavy
usage. However, a 10 station Network is not markedly slower than a normal disk
system. In terms of cost a Network becomes viable at about four systems, being
cheaper than four separate Galaxy machines.
Over all the Gemini Galaxy is a complete machine from a number of
angles. Complete in the respect that it can be purchased and plugged in and it
will go. Complete in the respect that the machine is robust enough and with
enough expansion capability to be of serious use as a development tool from
both the hardware and software aspects. Complete in that would appeal to the
serious business user and the computing enthusiast alike. All in all, a very
capable all rounder with only a small number of niggles and at a very
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