The AS-100 is a 16-bit professional computer based on the Intel 8088 CPU. It has 128 KB RAM, built-in speaker, optional 8087 math co-processor and real time clock. The whole system (monitor + disks + keyboard) weights more than 30 Kg! The AS-100 is not a real IBM compatible system. It can use MS-DOS as its Operating System but that's all.
The computer can display 25 lines of 80 columns, or 640 x 400 pixels, with 8 colours from a total of 27. The character matrix consists of 9 x 7 pixels. There are 128 ASCII characters, and more user re-definable ones. Display attributes are inversed, underlined, wide, blink and masked. The computer was delivered with a monochrome or colour monitor (both 30 cm wide).
Different optional drives could be connected:
- one or two 5.25" FDD units, DS/DD, 640 KB each, 250 ms average access time, 250 KB/s average transfer rate
- from one to four 8" FDD unit, DS/DD, 1.2 MB each, 200 ms average access time, 500 KB/s average transfer rate
- 8.2 Mb Winchester hard disk
All the disks can be combined as follow: two 5.25" units + two 8" units + one hard disk, or, four 8" units and one hard disk.
Some expansion options were available:
- daisy-wheel (A-1200 & A-1250) and ink jet (A-1210) printers
- memory expansion cards (128, 256, and 384 KB)
- Intel 8087 math co-processor
- real time clock
- video card
- expansion interfaces (RS232, parallel, communication and hard-disk)
Several software packages were bundled or available separately: Canobrain (Canon database & data sheet), DBase II, Datastar, Infostar, Calcstar, Wordstar, Spellbinder, Spellstar, Wordmaster, and Gesmail. Several different languages were available, as well: Assembler, GW Basic, Canobasic, Pascal UCSD, Fortran, and Cobol.
The AS-100 does not use any mouse but an innovative jog dialer (see picture).
Simon Schoonens's memories:
Progressing from the CX-1 (see the CX-1's Mini-forum) this machine was another step forward for me. 640K floppies... and yes as shown on this picture 1.2Mb floppies (massive disks) Not too often sold though as a 10 Mb hard drive became available pretty soon. The interface to the floppies and hard disk was SCSI (quite advanced for the time).
It was modular and could even boot from the hard disk. I believe the implementation of MS-DOS was quite poor - we tried it but quickly settled on CPM-86 as it was more powerful. Our software was readily converted form CX-1 to the AS-100.
It had a serial interface and later on there was even a network option (quite crude and which never quite worked) We never sold much of the colour screens mainly the monchrome (green). I worked with it until 1984/85 and then moved to ICL's It was a very popular machine and we sold many.
I still have a complete floppy disk based system in good working order. They were very heavy. The one I have here worked on a daily basis from 1983 to around 1998 with the customer buying up old floppy disks from everywhere to keep it going. I remember the floppy disks were over $A100 per 10. A very reliable machine.
Cees Vos reports to us:
I think the printer on top of this system is the 3852-2 from IBM (made by Canon). It was used with the 3270 terminals and the IBM PC and PS-2 series of PCs.
The printer is, for my money, Canon PJ-1080A. I had one of these for a while. It was an early colour inkjet with parallel and optional serial interfaces. It used a tricolour cartridge and seperate black cartridge. These were essentially just ink pouches in acrylic cases, with rubber hoses leading to the outside of the case that were punctured inside the printer. If you planned to stop using the printer for any length of time, you were supposed to cap the cartridges using a lever under the paper cover, and hasd to use the same lever to uncap and prime the ink lines (Which you did by pumping the same lever!). In use it was a very quiet but slow printer because it could only form one row of pixels at a time. It also had a very low resolution (about 120 DPI I believe). It was badged and resold in the UK by Integrex for use with the Acorn RISC-OS machines!!!
Contributors: John J. Diamond (proofreading)