Early Vintage Computer Buses Have Their Influences On Your Computer Today



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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