16-bit ISA cards
This page describes a small cache of re-discovered ISA cards.
Most were remnants from the heyday of 16-bit PC bus interfaces in the 1990's and were kept as spare parts until... well, until I had no functioning computers left that might've required these spares. Now they're just hazardous waste material and scrap paper, and in the unlikely event that I actually do need a replacement ISA card -- then there's always eBay.
I photographed and scanned the remains should anyone need info, drivers, or documentation.
Oak EGA/VGA video card
This Oak Technology EGA/VGA card came as part of the first computer that I bought in September 1991. It remained in use for around three years until it got upgraded (probably by a Trident 8900C). The card came with no supporting documentation but a cursory glance reveals that it had 256kB of RAM and was powered by an OTI037C chip. What is is worth pointing out is that the card also has an EGA output -- which made it a valuable unit in my test arsenal.
Generic IDE/Floppy controller
This drive controller was part of the first 386-class computer that I bought in September 1991. Supplied without supporting documentation, the jumperless card is as basic and unspectacular as they come, and it remained in service for around three years until the PC got upgraded to one that included a monster of a caching controller by Promise Technology.
Generic Multi-I/O card
Manufacturers at some point figured out that ISA cards which combined IDE/floppy controllers with serial/parallel I/O cards were a winner -- until they were completely integrated into the southbridge of modern ATX motherboards. I had several such cards because I kept blowing serial ports. This is the only remaining one, its origin and use shrouded in as much mystery as why it doesn't have a game port and only supports hard drives up to 270MB.
VC512TM VGA card
This is a quick 'n dirty VGA card I bought in early 1996. Further analysis of the invoice reveals that it got used in my BBS machine -- along with the 1.2GB hard drive which was the original reason for the visit to this supplier. Powered by a Trident TVGA9000 chip, the card boasted 512kB of memory and evidently hit the market during 1995 (the driver disk is dated November 1994). An unremarkable device otherwise, I seem to recall using it well until April 2000 when the BBS was closed down.
Generic serial I/O card
Sometimes a person finds things in his inventory whose history and usage completely escape you, and this I/O card is one of them: According to the invoice it was purchased in July 1997, and this probably only because it featured two removable Winbond W86C551 UART chips -- a component used in conjunction with devices I had a rocky relationship with at the time. Judging by its condition, though, the card was never used. And now it's trash.
Compaq ES1868 sound card
If memory serves correctly, this particular Compaq ES1868 Audio Feature Board (model X071) entered my inventory in around 2010, presumably from an old Compaq desktop PC that got slaughtered at the office. It has the usual jacks and ports, it's dated 1998, I've never used it for anything, and that's all there is to say about it.
Bonus item: USRobotics 28k8 modem
In response to the need for more line speed and a discount offered to BBS SysOps, this internal USRobotics Sportster 28,800 data/fax modem was purchased in April 1995 via Rob Fisher's company, Datatec. It supported just about any protocol BBS users would dial in with and happily pumped data for several months until the phone line got exceedingly noisy. The modem didn't cope too well with the scenario and got swapped out for others that proved more resilient. During the course of the following years it got passed around from one PC to another; I'm sure it even did time in my future wife's first PC before it was put to rest and finally discarded during the year 2007.
It is now March 2013. These parts are well past their prime; whether as spares or relics from a bygone PC era they've certainly outlived their practical usefulness. I doubt I'll be building or restoring any XT- or AT-class PCs in the foreseeable future.
This page last updated: 18-03-2014