Early Vintage Computer Buses Have Their Influences On Your Computer Today

Early Vintage Computer Buses Have Their Influences On Your Computer

Early Vintage Computer Buses Have Their Influences On Your Computer Today
The term expansion bus is​ a​ frequent term in​ vintage computer terminology which requires elaboration .​
Much of​ the​ legacy of​ vintage bus systems are in​ our current computer systems today.
To begin with the​ expansion bus is​ a​ data highway for computer data information to​ travel on: the​ bandwidth is​ in​ essence the​ number of​ lanes .​
The bigger the​ bandwidth the​ more data can be sent .​
As examples,​ an​ 8 megabyte bandwidth means that data can be sent in​ 8 bits chunks .​
Our current systems use between 32 bit and now 64 bit bandwidth.
An expansion bus is​ where cards connect to​ the​ computer; Cards have an​ expansion edge,​ which fits snugly into the​ bus much like an​ electrical plug fits into a​ wall socket.
When cards are plugged into the​ bus,​ they communicate with the​ system,​ sometimes through the​ BIOS and others not .​
(The BIOS is​ the​ basic input /output system that tells the​ computer how to​ move data from the​ different components.) the​ 8,​ 16 or​ 32 bit bandwidth is​ an​ important consideration due to​ communication time between the​ cards .​
For example you have a​ 16 bit vintage 286 PC and it​ is​ sending out data at​ 16 bits a: your video card is​ also 8 bits .​
If you have an​ older 8 bit bus,​ such as​ in​ early IBM PCs and clones,​ the​ bus will become a​ bottleneck in​ the​ system; it​ is​ like having a​ 4 lane highway connected to​ another 4 lane highway by way of​ a​ 1 lane road .​
At most times regardless of​ the​ faster 4 lane highway traffic will be slow – limited by the​ single lane connection road.
There were basically 3 types of​ expansion bus available in​ vintage computers: ISA,​ MCA,​ EISA systems.
Each early development in​ major ways paved the​ way for the​ later systems which indeed we​ take for granted today .​
This was both in​ terms of​ hardware and basic concepts in​ our computer systems and technology as​ well as​ computer marketing that we​ take for granted today as​ simple basic facts of​ life without any consideration due.
Basically the​ newer buses offered increased performance over the​ older technology buses.
The basic explanations of​ the​ buses are as​ follows:
The 3 bus standards to​ note were Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) .Micro Channel Channel Architecture (MSA) and Extended Industry Standard (EISA) bus systems.
Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) .​
This was the​ original AT bus also called an​ ISA bus .​
It was the​ original 8 bit IBM PC bus which was bumped up to​ 16 bits at​ some point in​ its later development .​
Fine for a​ 16 bit 286 or​ very early 386 computers
Micro Channel Architecture (MSA) .​
This was an​ early 32 bit bus system which was not received well but set the​ stage for an​ industry consortium of​ the​ major non IBM computer manufacturers ( at​ the​ time referred to​ as​ the​ Group of​ Nine) to​ develop the​ EISA standard bus.
Extended Industry Standard Architecture (EISA) .​
The EISA bus standard was a​ standard of​ its own right which was 32 bit,​ included bus mastering and importantly remained compatible with previous older expansion cards .​
32 bit systems were first to​ incorporate in​ later 386 systems .​
The 486 line solidified and standardized the​ 32 bit systems in​ the​ established software of​ the​ day.
Backward compatibility at​ the​ time was a​ novel new concept which has remained an​ important consideration in​ the​ computer industry.
EISA slots would accommodate both the​ ISA and EISA expansion slots to​ allow hardware upgrades,​ However the​ EISA expansion boards would be of​ little advantage and would seldom work in​ the​ older ISA expansion slots.
On the​ other hand the​ Micro Channel setup was not backward compatible .​
On the​ one hand the​ Micro Channel developers were free to​ initiate new radical changes in​ computer development and hardware which would have allowed for major new useful features in​ computer software .​
However owners of​ previous systems would have been left with then obsolete vintage useless hardware which would have been of​ no use and certainly little financial value.
Hence there was a​ lot of​ resistance to​ the​ Micro Channel bus setup.
It died a​ lingering death with its legacy living on​ in​ the​ aspirations of​ features offered in​ future developments and standards.
Thus the​ die was set for future hardware standards and software function as​ well as​ standard computer marketing concepts that we​ take for granted like mother’s milk today.

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