Review of the Elonex PC-286
by P.A. Greenhalgh
The Elonex PC-286 is one of the many Taiwanese IBM-AT clones currently
available. As now appears to be the norm, it is actually faster than the I8M,
as well as a great deal cheaper. Here follows a review of this system. It
should be noted that, unlike most magazine reviewers, I have actually shelled
out hard cash for this! Consequently the very fact that I decided to buy this
machine over all the others must mean that I must think it is pretty good.
However, I shall try to remain impartial!
The specification is:
- Intel 80286 processor, software switchable between 6 MHz, 8 Mhz and 10 MHz.
0 or 1 wait state, also software switchable.
- Socket for 80287 maths co-processor
- 640K bytes RAM
- 32K bytes ROM BIOS
- 20MByte Winchester hard disk drive (6SmSec access)
- 1.2 MByte floppy disk drive (can also read/write 360K disks)
- Battery backed Real Time Clock/Calendar
- MS-DOS 3.2
- Two RS-232 serial interface
- One parallel printer interface
- 6 16-bit expansion slots, 2 8-bit expansion slots (4 occupied)
- 200W Power Supply with fan
- “AT-style” Keyboard
- Hercules compatible monochrome text/graphics card
- 14″ monochrome (green) monitor
The above is priced at a very competitive £1295 (+ VAT).
There are a variety of options available, including various larger Winchester
sizes. The ones that I took were:
- EGA compatible colour display card
- 14″ colour monitor
- Additional floppy disk drive (360K)
The EGA board/colour monitor is available, in place of the Hercules
board/monochrome monitor, for an additional £395 (+ VAT). The additional floppy
disk drive is £80 (+ VAT).
Total price of the system reviewed here, therefore, was £1770 (+ VAT).
On getting the system to the office I unpacked it. The monitor box contained
purely that, plus manual. The computer box contained the computer, keyboard,
manuals, master disks and relevant connecting cables. The only additional item
required to hook it all up and get it running was a mains plug.
The Elonex is a reasonably attractive clone, finished in a cream colour. The
front panel has space for two floppy drives, both filled on my system. The
standard system has just a 1.2M drive, but I decided to also order the 360K
drive. The reason for this was that 360K disks created on the 1.2M drive cannot
always be read by systems with just 360K drives. I also reasoned that by