PC IBM PS1

PC IBM PS1 The PS/1 286, model 2011, is truly a special computer and different from all the others.

Since the first specimens came out of the IBM factories in 1990, doing two calculations we discover that this year is twenty-two years old.
On the occasion of a similar occurrence (?), OGI could not miss the opportunity to dedicate a nice memorial article to him. And indeed, here we are.
What makes the ps / 1 286 different from the usual preassembled that were sold during that period is primarily its essential and functional design. A feature, this, well embodied by the monitor that also contains the power supply necessary to operate the central unit; consequently, the shapes of this machine are “well square” and compact, giving the ps / 1 286 a serious and at the same time pleasant appearance. I personally have never found such an elegant design in any other computer or monitor.
The monitor also includes contrast, brightness and … volume controls. Exactly, volume: the ps / 1 286 can indeed rely on a built-in mono speaker driven by its ps / 1 sound card, a “3-voice” sound card based on proprietary hardware (unfortunately exploited by very few video game producers, among such as Sierra) that sounded exactly like TANDY and that did not look completely disfigured in front of an Adlib. A curiosity: the card is equipped with a single game port, with the ability to buy a simple Y-cable to “split” and allow the attachment of a second Joystick: pity that such an accessory has NEVER been found on the market.
A completare il comparto hardware, all’interno dello chassis trovano spazio una CPU Intel 80286 da 10Mhz, accompagnata da 512KB di RAM (espandibile tramite modulini esterni proprietari sino a 2MB), un disco rigido da 30/40MB e l’immancabile lettore di floppy. È persino previsto un case di espansione da montare sotto lo chassis che permette l’alloggiamento di un drive da 5 e 1/4.
Note that the American models of this PC also have a standard modem, which already at the time of the release allowed to connect to the network. A need probably not heard in old Europe (let alone in Italy), so much so that the local versions were distributed without this (in) useful add-on.
To guarantee the correct functioning of the machine it is now necessary to replace the Dallas DS1287 chip, since after 22 years the battery inside it will certainly be exhausted. You can use the ps / 1 even without replacing the battery, but doing so will not be possible to correctly set the floppy drive, which will be unusable. The date and time will also be lost when the machine is turned off. In the OGI Forum you can find information on how to find a replacement chip.
A new battery is also necessary in case you want to install another operating system (for example FREEDOS) instead of the IBM PC-DOS 4.01 installed as standard in the read-only memory called romshell that is on the motherboard (other feature only).

Without an internal battery, in fact, the ps / 1 286 (which will also be powerful, but not omnipotent) can not maintain the BIOS settings, not even restarting the machine by using the ctrl-alt-delete combination. At every start we would always see the legendary 4 quadrants of the preinstalled operating system (which, being hosted in a ROM, is immune to the lack of energy).
Among the software supplied with the PC, we recall:

PC Globe, a virtual map of the world where you can see all the detailed information about each country and even listen to national anthems. Very useful for relationships at school, when there was still no Google.
Bush Buck, an educational game from a geographical point of view that consists of finding treasures around the world traveling by plane from one city to another.
World Class Chess, un gioco degli scacchi con grafica molto dettagliata e IA notevole.
Sylpheed, un gioco innovativo in cui si deve pilotare un’astronave nello spazio sparando alle astronavi nemiche, è invece incluso nella confezione del joystick acquistabile separatamente.
I consider this machine as a time machine.

You sit down, turn it on, the 4 quadrants appear and you feel in another era, the early 90s.
Move the mouse, select the “user software” quadrant at the bottom left and see the contents of the hard disk, choose your program and with two clicks start it. Simpler than that!

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