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82-T/A

This thing is pretty cool. Apple IIe and IBM PC in one!

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If you had an Amiga you could get a bridgeboard which is an 8086 or 286 PC on a card, or an Emplant which gives you a Mac on a card.

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The Archimedes had a plug in PC card that allowed you to run Windows 3.1 alongside RiscOS. It would also run DOS but colors were limited to EGA and it was s-l-o-w for games.

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I had a DOS compatible Macintosh around 1994 ... it was a full 486 PC on a card stuck into the processor-direct slot. Expensive but good training wheels for me to get my Mac-using self up to speed on the "other side" of computing. It shared the same hard drive so it was easy for me to download files and utilities using my modem on the Mac side.

 

Yet another reason the cheap, portable, versatile computers of today are so much more charming than "retro tech."

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If you had an Amiga you could get a bridgeboard which is an 8086 or 286 PC on a card, or an Emplant which gives you a Mac on a card.

 

There was also the AMax cartridge for the Amiga that let you run 68K Mac software. It was part hardware and part software emulation, The cartridge had to contain Mac ROMs - installed by the user. The boot sequence dumped the ROMs into Amiga memory and started the emulation. The cartridge allowed you to connect Mac floppy drives to the Amiga as the variable speed format could not be read by standard Amiga floppy drives.

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I had a DOS compatible Macintosh around 1994 ... it was a full 486 PC on a card stuck into the processor-direct slot. Expensive but good training wheels for me to get my Mac-using self up to speed on the "other side" of computing. It shared the same hard drive so it was easy for me to download files and utilities using my modem on the Mac side.

 

Yet another reason the cheap, portable, versatile computers of today are so much more charming than "retro tech."

 

I actually have the Mac in question - Performa 636 (really any Quadra/Performa/LC 63x/64x is capable of using the 486 card) - but no card. ;)

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It was pretty common BITD to have a "system on a card" that could make one system run another's programs, by actually providing that system's CPU and memory subsystem and then just using the I/O of the host system. Most systems back then used off the shelf parts, so it was pretty easy to do, and cheaper than buying a whole second system which would include the case, system bus and I/O.

 

Apple even did it themselves for their own system when they made the IIe card for Mac.

 

Apparently the Cordata WPC Bridge computer posted above used an actual Trackstar card for IIe compatibility. This was in 1988, so those components wouldn't have been too expensive by then.

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I had a DOS compatible Macintosh around 1994 ... it was a full 486 PC on a card stuck into the processor-direct slot. Expensive but good training wheels for me to get my Mac-using self up to speed on the "other side" of computing. It shared the same hard drive so it was easy for me to download files and utilities using my modem on the Mac side.

 

Yet another reason the cheap, portable, versatile computers of today are so much more charming than "retro tech."

Kinda like running Windows on a Mac with Parallels.

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Even the TI-99/4A had some weird crossover box to bridge with an IBM PC, solving a problem nobody ever had.

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By far my favorite computer back in the day for this type of thing is.... the Atari ST!!

 

Yep, Mac compatibility with first the Magic Sac, then the Spectre, and finally the Spectre GCR.

 

IBM compatibility with the PC-Ditto software, then the various IBM compatible hardware cards that came later.

 

Atari 8-bit emulation. CP/M emulation. C64 emulation (which was crude, but fun). I thought I saw an Apple // emulator, too but I could be mistaken.

 

Point is, that box was extremely flexible and super fun! I could (and did) spend time doing Hypercard, then a reboot and I was programming in Turbo Pascal, then a reboot and I was doing desktop publishing in PageStream, then another reboot and I would finish the day playing Empire or Simcity on the ST side, and finally downloading adult .GIF pics onto my massive 20Mb hard drive. The ST was really my dream machine for a long, long time.

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I actually have the Mac in question - Performa 636 (really any Quadra/Performa/LC 63x/64x is capable of using the 486 card) - but no card. ;)

Mine was a Quadra 610. I replaced the DOS on Mac card with one that had a Soundblaster16 on board, it was a tremendous expense at the time but it was great to have. If you can find a PDS card for a reasonable price that would be something to set up. Sorry I no longer have the bits. It needs a bunch of extra drivers which might be tricky to find.

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The Archimedes had a plug in PC card that allowed you to run Windows 3.1 alongside RiscOS. It would also run DOS but colors were limited to EGA and it was s-l-o-w for games.

 

I wonder if that by principle was a carry-over from the second CPU options on the BBC Micro/Master, where you could have an extra 6502, Z80, 32016 or in the case of Master 512, a 80186. While the PC card on the Archimedes probably was more universally useful, Acorn would've dabbled with extending the architecture before.

 

Also we must not forget the Softcard for Apple II that has a Z80 for CP/M functionality, as well as several other solutions like the SSE Softbox for PET which essentially is a headless CP/M computer controlled from the PET through IEEE.

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These system-on-a-card things that came out definitely had their appeal, but with the exception of the IIe card in a Mac LC, I never was able to have a great crossover experience like the ads promised.

 

The PC transporter by AE for the Apple made the thing into an unholy split personality, and it worked even slower then a 286. My dreams of playing Star Control 2 on the IIgs were never going to happen, as it rapidly unfolded.

 

Also everything from AE for the Apple broke. Vulcan hard drive, Sonic Blaster, Ram Keeper, the transwarp accelerator, even the 5.25 floppy external drive... All of them malfunctioned and died on me. Also I remember spending an entire day dialing their tech support line to a busy signal. Applied Engineering... Poop on you.

 

The Tracstar IIe card I had (have?) was just too much of a nightmare to get to work. And anyway, ApplePC (the emulator) runs full speed on a 386, so ... it's like... why?

 

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is I also think these crossover hybrid hardware contraptions are neat, but they never seem to actually perform like a dream-come-true, versus have a good stand alone example of both and some kind of go-between method.

 

(Incidentally, I'm currently trying to fix an IGT/aristocrat slot machine from 1982... those where two bitter rival manufacturers that teamed up breifly for legal reasons... It's like if Ford and Chevy made a truck together for awhile, then decided to never speak of it again... Seems to relate to this somehow)

Edited by CaptainBreakout
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On 9/9/2018 at 12:03 PM, Keatah said:

If you had an IBM PC you could buy something called the TrackStar. It was an Apple II compatible on an IBM PC expansion card.

 

I've got a whole website devoted to it, as well as a similar product called the Quadlink...

 

www.diskman.com/presents/trackstar

 

Gobs of info there, the majority of which is based on my own original research. Check it out. 😉

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On 7/27/2019 at 5:02 AM, DeathAdderSF said:

 

I've got a whole website devoted to it, as well as a similar product called the Quadlink...

 

www.diskman.com/presents/trackstar

 

Gobs of info there, the majority of which is based on my own original research. Check it out. 😉

 

That is really sweet! I may have to be on the lookout for one!

 

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14 hours ago, 82-T/A said:

 

That is really sweet! I may have to be on the lookout for one!

 

 

If you do, I would recommend the Trackstar E. It's the most advanced of the line, and also the easiest and most convenient to use.

If you pick one up and need any help, feel welcome to get in touch.

 

Edited by DeathAdderSF
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On 9/13/2018 at 10:37 PM, CaptainBreakout said:

The PC transporter by AE for the Apple made the thing into an unholy split personality, and it worked even slower then a 286. My dreams of playing Star Control 2 on the IIgs were never going to happen, as it rapidly unfolded.

 

It shipped with a NEC V20 (8088) and was apparently not intended for gaming at all as every game I threw at it, no matter how old and simple, had problems. I could also never get it to recognize any of the several 8087 co-processors I installed, despite them being the correct model & speed. When I was a teenager I too daydreamed about playing PC games on my Apple II. It wasn't meant to be for either of us.

 

The PC Transporter is also a bitch to install, especially in the cramped IIgs case. After all the work I put into getting it in there, I'm not going to remove it even though it's basically useless to me. 😑

 

Edited by DeathAdderSF

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5 hours ago, DeathAdderSF said:

 

It shipped with a NEC V20 (8088) and was apparently not intended for gaming at all as every game I threw at it, no matter how old and simple, had problems. I could also never get it to recognize any of the several 8087 co-processors I installed, despite them being the correct model & speed. When I was a teenager I too daydreamed about playing PC games on my Apple II. It wasn't meant to be for either of us.

 

The PC Transporter is also a bitch to install, especially in the cramped IIgs case. After all the work I put into getting it in there, I'm not going to remove it even though it's basically useless to me. 😑

 

 

Are you sure that was the fault of the NEC V20? That was a really well regarded processor during the mid 1980s. I had one in my 8088 KayPro PC, and I never had issues playing games. Typically, the games would run really fast, so I'd have to toggle back down to 4.77Mhz instead of the 8.77Mhz, though... you could get them at speeds from 10Mhz and even 12Mhz in an 8088 form. But it was an excellent processor. 

 

 

5 hours ago, DeathAdderSF said:

 

If you do, I would recommend the Trackstar E. It's the most advanced of the line, and also the easiest and most convenient to use.

If you pick one up and need any help, feel welcome to get in touch.

 

 

Thank you... I'm going to figure out how to create eBay search notifications!

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I enjoyed the Apple II CP/M era while it lasted. Whether things actually worked right or wrong I felt everything worked correctly - maybe because I didn't know better, didn't have a frame of reference otherwise. So Z-80 cards were a hit with me. And I loved the word processing and database stuff. The only disappointment was discovering there were no games. My buddies and I had several aborted attempts at doing a Lunar Lander clone using the Microsoft card. Never finished it, and I can't seem to find the code. It's here somewhere..

 

As far as things like Apple in a PC or Transporters or Trackstars and things of that nature, I always found them to be specialist solutions. They had a narrow range of capabilities and were nowhere near as versatile as having 2 distinct machines side-by-side and connected via serial or some then-popular network. Not everything crossed over and they were doomed from the start because PC technology was rapidly evolving. I also observed this same frustration in the Amiga ecosphere, too, with their bridgeboards.

 

Oftentimes I think companies threw shit at the wall and sold what stuck.

 

 

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7 hours ago, 82-T/A said:

 

Are you sure that was the fault of the NEC V20?

 

I wasn't trying to imply it had anything to do with the CPU. Something about the proprietary PC Transporter hardware is likely responsible for the game incompatibilities. As I recall none of the issues I had were speed related, it was all problems with the keyboard input not working right in games, and/or PC speaker sound issues. Not something you'd see on your average PCs.

 

I was told by a PC Transporter enthusiast that AE targeted the business market with this product, so I doubt game testing was high on their priority list.

 

Edited by DeathAdderSF

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3 hours ago, Keatah said:

As far as things like Apple in a PC or Transporters or Trackstars and things of that nature, I always found them to be specialist solutions. They had a narrow range of capabilities

 

Generally I agree with you, as most of the "let's make one computer into another one" hardware solutions I've tried -- and I've tried many! -- really underwhelmed and / or were quite unreliable.

 

The Trackstar line, on the other hand -- and ESPECIALLY the Trackstar E -- is in my opinion the best of the bunch. Very versatile, extremely easy to use, and extremely high compatibility. You can have floppy disk images, ProDOS HDD images, and / or connect real Apple 5.25" drives to it. I grew up with an Apple IIc and I can say the Trackstar really provides an authentic experience very close to it.

 

Sure with modern software-based emulators these kinds of products are very niche now, but for guys like me who prefer running off real hardware, they can be pretty cool and fun. (Plus my website takes all the guesswork out of it.)

 

Edited by DeathAdderSF

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