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  1. Technology
November 10, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

Milpitas, California-based Dolch American Instruments Inc’s Dolch Computer Systems (UK) Ltd subsidiary, which hitherto claimed to have the fastest portable computers on the market, has brought out the new Mach portable computer range, Mach standing for Modular, Adaptive Computer Hardware. Also announced is the 50MHz 80486-based PAC portable computer, a 33MHz 80486 upgrade and the first implementation of full motion video for the existing PAC 80386 and 80486 portables. The three Mach models, M-386SX-25C, M-386-33C and M-486-33C are liquid-cooled, using a process usually implemented in supercomputers. Also, a temperature-controlled fan is included for use in extreme environments. The systems can take one to seven AT add-in boards. Expansion is provided by Multislice modules; two expansion slots are added for each 1 module. For adding larger componenets such as CD-ROM drives, 2 Slices are available. And two VGA displays are offered. Dolch’s Chips & Technologies Inc chip set-driven Thin Film Transistor VGA colour displays are optional. The 25MHz 80386SX-based system costs UKP4,000. It takes 40Mb to 500Mb hard disk and has 2Mb RAM expandable to 16Mb, 64Kb cache, and supports the 80387SX. The 33MHz 80386 model is UKP5,500 and will support 40Mb to 500Mb hard disk, and has 4Mb RAM, expandable to 32Mb, 128Kb RAM cache and support for the 80387 and the Weitek Corp WE3167.

Science and engineering

Lastly, the 33MHz 80486 model, from UKP7,000, has 120Mb to 500Mb hard disk, and features 4Mb to 48Mb on-board RAM, 8Kb to 256Kb cache and supports the Weitek WE3167. Volker Dolch says the products are targeted at the science and engineering sectors, which account for 48% of sales, as well as high-end financial areas and industrial automation. Dolch in-house estimates put the global portable computer market at UKP1,500m by 1995. The portables are reasonably portable at 13 lbs and measure 16 by 11 by 4. They incorporate full-size keyboards, one parallel and two RS-232 ports as well as an external VGA monitor port. All machines support MS-DOS, OS/2, Unix, Xenix, Pick, PCPM, QNX, PCMOS and Theos. The machines are due to ship from January. The MultiSlice modules will be priced this month.The multimedia capability on the Thin Film Transistor flat-panel colour display is available now as an option on existing Dolch PAC models for UKP3,750. The new 50MHz 80486-based PAC, rated at 21.5 MIPS, is due to ship mid 1992 for UKP11,000 with VGA gas plasma screen, or UKP13,800 with the 24,389 colour Thin Film Transistor active-matrix screen. The EISA bus machine supports 200Mb SCSI hard disk expandable to 420Mb and 1.44Mb 3.5 floppy. It features 8Mb RAM expandable to 32Mb, supports 128Kb external RAM cache and 1Mb dedicated cache attached to the input-output disk. It has three full-length EISA/ISA expansion slots. The additional cost of the optional Thin Film Transistor active-matrix colour display is UKP3,000. The new PAC is aimed at design engineers with compute-intensive CAD/CAM/CAE applications. The company has also upgraded its 25MHz 80486-based PAC model to a 33MHz AT bus-based system with 256Kb RAM cache, delivering 14.5 MIPS for UKP7,000 with base VGA plasma screen. The upgrade features support for the Weitek WE4167 co-processor. All PAC portables weigh in at 18 lbs.

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