80-Bus News


Summer 1985, Volume 4, Issue 2

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Random Rumours (and Truths?)

by S. Monger

So, 80-BUS News is soon to cease? For those to whom this is news, let me just set the scenario. With the last issue of 80-BUS News, subscribers to this wonderful rag were sent a letter from our Editor, saying that once volume 4 was completed (this issue plus 2 more) there would be no more 80-BUS News. Oh woe, oh woe! Does this mean there will be a “Son of 80-BUS”? Well, our Ed. did go on to say that those that remained subscribers to the bitter end would receive FREE, GRATIS and FOR NOTHING a regular (since when has anything to do with 80-BUS been regular?) newsletter from Gemini. Well, as I’m sure that such an esteemed publication will have nothing to do with the likes of me, I thought that I had better write what looks like being my pen-penultimate rambling. And as you haven’t heard from me since Volume 3 Issue 3 I know how incredibly thrilled that this must make you.

So what has happened since I last penned a masterpiece? [Ed. – an awful lot, as I can’t remember ever receiving a masterpiece from you!] Well, let’s quickly go through the 80-BUS/​Nasbus manufacturers. Lucas – no sounds at all. Apparently the Nascom 2 still continues, unmodified from the original 8 year old design, and is largely used within the Lucas organisation. IO Research – Pluto 2 seems to be going very well, and at £2500 a time I’m sure that IO are going very well also, thank you. Belectra, Cotsgold, EV Computing, MAP80, Maas Computer Consultants – their products continue to be available. Microcode – I understand their products are now discontinued. Newburn – four new boards available from this new company to the 80-BUS manufacturing scene; A/D, D/A, multi-input, and multi-output boards. Also two new I/O boards soon from MRFS Ltd. Further details on these six boards when I have them.

And what about Gemini. Good news – GM802 RAM, GM813 CPU/RAM, GM832 SVC, and various systems are down in price. Also, glancing through their most recent MultiBoard catalogue (No.5 – the colour one) I note the following changes. The GM863-32 32K battery-backed static RAM board, GM863-64 64K bb s-RAM board, GM853 EPROM board, and GM870 auto-dial auto-answer V21/V23 MODEM, all marked as “in design” have now all been in production for some time. The GM851 12-bit A/D board, similarly marked, is just entering production. There is no sign yet of the GM855 tape streamer that is mentioned, and the GM723 ultra high capacity floppy drive has never appeared as the manufacturer went bankrupt! However, there is no mention of the GM842 D/A daughter board for the GM816, but this should be “available soon”. Finally, the GM829 FDC/SASI board has been replaced by the GM849 FDC/SCSI board; the main reason for this change being the decreasing availability of the FDC chip set that was used on GM829.

On the Gemini system front: 20 Mbyte Winchesters ‘have been available for some time – as a stand-alone system (GM924), as a MultiNet Fileserver (GM927), and as an add-on sub-system (GM835-20). Certain systems are now being shipped with 1/2 height drives. MultiNet 2 is available on all new network systems, or as an upgrade, and gives many worthwhile improvements. M-F-B 2 (the system for reading and writing disks of many different system types) has also been available for some time, and is currently being shipped with a library of formats rapidly approaching the 500 mark!

And finally, even though it is unrelated to 80-BUS, I just have room to make mention of the bomb-shell dropped by Gemini recently. In a word, “68K-BUS”. Although Gemini have no intention of stopping development of 80-BUS products (as I’m sure the above must illustrate) they decided that they must also have a “proper” 16/32 bit range. They have therefore been beavering away quietly behind the scenes and have launched a range of 68000 based system and board products, and a new bus – 68K-BUS. Good luck to Gemini with this range (grovel, grovel), and can I write for 68K-BUS News please ??!!

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