This is a highly IBM PC compatible system. It means that it is truely hardware and sotfware compatible with the IBM PC of that time. Back then, all "PC compatible" systems were not exactly 100% compatible... so it was a real marketing argument for the Olivetti M24.
There were two true tests to know if a system was really IBM PC compatible : Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft Flight Simulator, and the M-24 was running both with no problem.
But in addition to its good compatibility, the Olivetti M24 was offering more than the IBM PC itself : RS232c and Centronics interface built-in, more complete keyboard, better graphic possibilities (640 x 400) and 7 free expansion slots (instead of 3 for the IBM PC). Even the CPU (8086, real 16-bit) was faster than the 8088 (16-bit with an 8-bit bus) used by the IBM PC.
It runs under MS-DOS 2.11, CP/M 86, UCSD P-System and even PCOS, the Olivetti OS used on the M20.
The 128k RAM can be expanded to 256k or 640k by adding memory directly onboard. It is also possible to connect two optional 10 Mb hard disks (one internal and one external).
The Olivetti M24 was sold with a green or yellow phosphore 12" monochrome monitor, or with a color monitor (more expensive, of course). Two keyboards were available : one absolutly identical to the IBM PC's, and an Olivetti with more keys (102 instead of 83) including 18 functions keys and a complete editing keypad.
In September 85 appears a new model, the M24 SP. It is based on a M24 but its Intel 8086 is running at 10 Mhz, it has 512k RAM (still upgradable to 640k) and a 20Mb hard-disk.
Conclusion : the Olivetti M24 was the first computer to be fully compatible with the IBM PC and to offer more features than original PC, for a cheaper price !
The Olivetti M24 was also sold as the Logabax 1600 in France (Olivetti owned Logabax) and the ATT PC-6300in the USA (Olivetti signed a distribution deal with ATT). As Olivetti was not entirely satisfied with the ATT deal, it also approached Xerox to distribute its computers in the USA.
In the late eighties the Finnish magazine Mikrobitti was benchmarking the IBM compatible machines they tested with a self-written benchmark utility. The 4mhz IBM PC was used as a baseline with a score of 1.00. I notice that in the December 1988 issue the Olivetti M24 is listed as the fastest tested computer up to that point with a score of 2,86! Next entries are Toshiba T1200, Amstrad PPC 640, another Amstrad, Microgem MIC-4, Schneider EuroPC, etc.
Saturday 15th September 2012
The screen also was available with white phosphor and the monochrome versions were powered through the signal cable - no separate power cable.
One feature, important at the time was that your could remove the top cover in the normal way to $ expansion cards. You could also remove the bottom cover which gave access to the mother, mounted "upside down" and connected to the separate expansion board backplane with a cable that passed through a slot in the metal separating the upper and lower compartments. This meant that motherboard upgrades did not require you to remove the expansion cards. I was never convinced of the utility of this and it was $ped after being used in the M28 (the 80286 successor to the M24).
There was also a socket on the motherboard that accepted an 8250 (if I recall correctly) that allowed synchronous serial connections. I never ever saw it used.
There were two models of keyboard. One conventionally had 10 function keys at the left-hand side. The other had nineteen across the top: used for proprietary applications such as OliWord.
Wednesday 23rd May 2012
I have an M24 working in good condition. Write me at email@example.com if you''re interested.
Thursday 23rd September 2010
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
MS-DOS and GW-Basic delivered on disks
Separated full-stroke keyboard, 102 keys, numeric keypad, 18 function keys A standard IBM keyboard (83 keys) was also proposed
optional 8087 arithmetic co-processor, NEC 6845 video generator
128 Kb (up to 640 Kb)
40 / 80 x 25
40 x 25, 80 x 25
320 x 200 with 4 colors / 640 x 200 monochrom / 640 x 400 monochrom
SIZE / WEIGHT
16 x 38 x 37 cm
Centronics, RS232c, mouse, keyboard
BUILT IN MEDIA
One or Two 5.25'' disk-drives (360k or 720k), optional 10 Mb hard-disks
MS DOS 2.1, Concurrent CP/M 86, UCSD-P, PCOS
Built-in PSU, 135w
Hard-disk, IEEE 488, RS 422, RS 232, PC Net boards, IBM 3278 coaxial network board, mouse
2 disk-drives system : 3535 (France, 84) color monitor, 10 Mb hard-disk : 8250 (France, 85)