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The consensus on how to answer IBM’s Personal System/2 is boiling down to building models that line up against each of IBM’s offerings while retaining the AT bus, and offering more flexibility by providing both 5.25 and 3.5 floppy disk drives. Olivetti duly followed that tack yesterday, bringing in three families of machines, the 80386-based M380, 80286-based M280, and 8086-based M240, the latter two being enhanced versions of the M28 and M24. And, not surprisingly given the AT&T connection, there is a strong emphasis on Unix, with the M380 running Xenix V 386 and Unix System V/386 as well as MS-DOS – and OS/2 when it is ready. Where IBM has only floor-standing 80386-based machines, the M380 comes in desk-top, table-top and tower configurations. A key feature of the 386 machines is Olivetti’s development of an equivalent to Digital Research’s Concurrent DOS: called 386- TopJob, the environment supports eight concurrent MS-DOS partitions on the 386, using the LIM expanded memory specification; Olivetti claims that even badly-behaved applications that by-pass the IBM BIOS will run. The M380C is a compact desk-top version while the M380 is designed as a file server and medium performance Xenix box; both run at 16MHz. They have three 32-bit Olivetti slots, two 16-bit AT slots and two 8- bit XT slots. The floor-standing M380T runs at 20MHz and is aimed primarily at the Unix and large file server markets. The 380C comes with 1Mb memory, the other two with 4Mb; the 380 and 380C have up to 48Mb main memory, the M380T 64Mb using 4Mb or 16Mb boards. The floppy disk controller enables users to mix and match 5.25 360Kb and 1.2Mb drives and 3.5 720Mb and 1.44Mb drives. 68Mb and 135Mb Winchesters are offered. The machines are available in September. The M280 is an enhanced M28 with up to 7Mb memory, 70Mb disk and choice of floppies. The M240 has a 10MHz 8086 with zero wait states with seven slots, choice of floppies, 20Mb disk and 20Mb tape. All use a new 102-key board and have EGA, with VGA promised; prices next month.

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CBR Staff Writer

CBR Online legacy content.