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. [0 Research --
– Pluto 2 seems to be going very well, and at £2500 a time I’m sure that 10 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 ?77!!