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.
I have an Olivetti PE24 (which I was given in 1990), which is similar to a M24. The PE stands for Personal Engineering. I have had it stored in my garage for nearly 20 years, and yesterday I plugged it in and it started up perfectly.
I have all the manuals that go with it. The Installation and Operations Guide says:
"The Personal Engineering (PE) 24 is designed to meet, in full, the requirements of the CAD/CAM market. The system is based on the Olivetti M24 SP personal computer, with additional features to support the graphics environment.
"The PE 24 uses an advanced graphics controller and a high resolution, colour video display and runs software specialized for the CAD/CAM environment.
"The operating system used by the PE 24 is MS-DOS. The graphics primitives for the graphics controller can be written in the following compiler languages: * FORTRAN 77 * C * PASCAL * BASIC
I have looked for information online about the PE24, but can''t find any references to it. Maybe this is quite a rare old computer that I have.
Monday 1st May 2017
I have an old and working M24. Excellent machine. In working order (except for a sticking letter which needs remove and cleanning). Mail: email@example.com if you''re still looking.
Tuesday 1st November 2016
James Medes (London, England)
Hi, does anyone know if I can purchase an M24 or comparable with the old style 5.25 floppy drive or for USA 5 1/4 inch floppy drive Many Thanks
Friday 16th September 2016
Robert Ingram (England)
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)