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WorkS Digest V1 #8

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Aug 18, 1981, 2:45:52 AM8/18/81
>From DUFFEY@MIT-AI Tue Aug 18 06:42:26 1981

WorkS Digest Tue, 18 Aug 1981 Volume 1 : Issue 8

Today's Topics:
Workstations - IBM's Personal Computer, Micro Benchmarks

Date: 17 Aug 1981 1331-PDT
From: Rubin at SRI-KL
Subject: IBM Personal Computer

For those of you who stay in touch by computer rather than paper
or radio: Here's the latest on the IBM PC. It's a three-piece
unit, VERY slim nice-looking keyboard, with basically the same
key layout as the 5250 series. The display looks cosmetically
the same as a displaywriter's, and sits on a logic box with dual
diskettes. Inside we have an 8088, up to 256K, five expansion
slots, 80x25 screen memory with graphics 320x200 or 640x200.
Figure it out, that means an OK but not great 8x8 character
cell. The unit displays up to 16 foreground colors on 8 back-
ground colors (but I doubt if all those are available in the
graphics modes). And you get a sound generator and built-in
speaker to boot!

The thing is totally modular; even the I/O cards are separate!
For $ 1,565 you get a keyboard and logic unit with 16K RAM and
a Basic interpreter in 40K ROM. A cassette interface is built
in, I think; but no diskette or monitor at this price -- you
use your TV set. Of course you can add one or two minidiskettes,
lots more memory (16-64k increments), a B&W monitor (no color
monitor was mentioned), RS-232C interface card, matrix printer,
a joystick/paddle interface (but you have to buy somebody else's
joysticks and paddles); and maybe the kitchen sink. A "business
configuration" with 64K, dual diskettes, printer, and "color
graphics" goes for about $ 4,500.

The big news might be the software -- there's plenty of
it. If you don't like their idea of a diskette OS or Pascal
compiler or word processor, you can try USCD Pascal or CPM-86,
coming soon from Softech and Digital Research. (Gee, and I
was looking forward to JCL). And then there's Visicalc, three
Peachtree business applications, Microsoft Adventure, 3270
emulation on the way, and a new IBM Software Publishing outfit
(!**8). It looks like they read Byte.

Where can you get it or ogle at it? Try your local Sears,
Computerland, or IBM store (or DPD sales rep, if you're a
big banana).

Darryl Rubin
SRI International


Date: 17 Aug 1981 1220-PDT
From: Rubin at SRI-KL
Subject: Micro benchmarks

This may sound like an answer that begs the question. But THE
one true way to benchmark a micro depends entirely on your point
of view. (As you see, I have an unmatched knack for discovering
the obvious.) CPU architecture and instruction throughput matter
the most to designers of CPU boards for number-crunching and other
compute-bound stuff. Good I/O architecture and throughput score
highest to OEMers of communications and data base boxes. Good
compilers, spiffy user interfaces, and software tools (Xerox we
hear you!) matter the most to the rest of us system developers
and end users. What you will "see" is what you should measure.
Just to be exhaustive if not obsessive, I'll mention the sometimes
overlooked importance of good I/O controllers and peripherals,
especially big fast disk; a W-I-D-E choice of hardware and
software offerings; reliability, support, and the prospects for
compatible future enhancement. Most of all, vendor credibility
and track record. How do I benchmark thee, have I counted all
the ways?. . .

Darryl Rubin
SRI International


Date: 15 AUG 1981 1411-PDT
Subject: Benchmarks

Quote from ???: "There are lies; there are damn lies;
and there are benchmarks."



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