Click Here to visit our Sponsor
The Latest News ! The History of Computing The Magazine Have Fun there ! Buy books and goodies
  Click here to loginLogin Click here to print the pagePrinter ViewClick here to send a link to this page to a friendTell a FriendTell us what you think about this pageRate this PageMistake ? You have mr info ? Click here !Add Info     Search     Click here use the advanced search engine
Browse console museumBrowse pong museum









 

Ready prompt T-shirts!

see details
C64 maze generator T-shirts!

see details
Spiral program T-shirts!

see details
BASIC code T-shirts!

see details
Pixel Deer T-shirts!

see details
Shooting gallery T-shirts!

see details
Pak Pak Monster T-shirts!

see details
Vector ship T-shirts!

see details
Pixel adventure T-shirts!

see details
Breakout T-shirts!

see details





I > INTERTEC  > HEADSTART   


Intertec
HEADSTART

Thanks to Michael Hoyle for this information:

The HeadStart had two models. HeadStart VPU and HeadStart ATS.

The VPU was an impressive machine. It was a portable or a desktop machine. Notice the picture has a smaller keyboard that snapped on the front bezel and a handle on the back. No customers ordered the portable version.

The VPU had a Z-80 and an 8086 and could support up to 1MB RAM. Inside the computer consisted of three circuit boards. Two (over the top of the CRT) was the processor and the RAM. The 1MB RAM took up a whole board.

The unit had a 3½" diskette drive that read Intertec's proprietary formats. The machine could convert CP/M 2.2 format and MS-DOS 2.1 format data. The machine had a coaxial network board (proprietary protocols) that connected one of two server machines. A 10/20MB and a 50 MB.

The machine was not popular because of:
- CP/M was dying, no one thought 3½" drives would be accepted (I think this was the first to install 3½" drives),
- IBM compatibility (Lotus 123) was a huge issue.

The IBM compatible ATS was created to answer these objections. The diskette was dropped out and an external 5¼ drive was added. The machine was sold with IBM PC-DOS 3.1 OS. It ran Lotus 123 and others and was very fast. It maintained the local area network capability. The ATS downfall was monochrome video, an external drive and no hard drive.

Intertec stopped production of the HeadStart in 1984 and the company reduced itself to 12 employees. Service of the HeadStart continued however. A Netherlands company picked up the HeadStart name illegally (I remember a wrestler was used as the spokesperson for them). The legal issues were resolved out of court.

Intertec was a public company. The name was changed to Wells American Corporation around 1985.
In 1985 Wells American began production of the A*Star. The A*Star was an IBM XT compatible that was exactly like the IBM. It used the 80286 and the speed could be switched: A*Star I 6/8 MHz, A*Star II 6/8/10/12/14/16 MHz. The A*Star used PC-DOS 3.x OS and would accept any of the IBM add-ons. Top memory was 1MB. The proprietary network was included with the A*Star I and was promoted as network ready. Wells American added an ISA bus NIC to allow IBM compatibles to access the HeadStart file servers.

The successful A*Star was sold directly to the enduser and was the first to break the $1000 barrier. The A*Star was never updated beyond the 80286 by Wells American. A*Star's were sold with a 30 day money back guarantee, on-site serviced by RCA/GE Computer services and guaranteed compatibility with IBM software and hardware add-ons.

After the A*Star, Wells American designed a dual bus 80286/80386 machine called the CompuStar I. This machine was a floor standing tower and was designed with the first processor local bus. A separate motherboard held the bus interface circuitry. The bus architecture could have been a combination of Microchannel or ISA. Only ISA was ordered as microchannel was a flop. The CompuStar had a single board processor (proprietary design) that was interchangeable. An 80286 machine could be switched to an 80386 in 10 min.
The case was built from extruded aluminum and was a hefty design. "The Robb Report" picked the CompuStar I as the "Ultimate" computer and it received the highest rating given to any hardware product by "Infoworld" magazine for the year it was reviewed. 386 processor speeds reached 16/20/25MHz.

The CompuStar II in contrast was a very small machine. It had interchangeable processor boards but only the ISA bus. It could mount 3 half height 5¼ drives and a 3½ fixed drive. Each of the CompuStar machines could hold up to 16MB RAM. 80386 Processor speeds were 16/20/25/33 MHz.

With the recession of 1988/9 the expensive CompuStar sales slowed and Wells American could not keep up financially, declaring bankruptcy.
The A*Star and CompuStar trademarks were sold to CornerStone Technologies, Inc., in SC. The A*Star is still manufactured by CornerStone.

I was the production manager when the A*Star was first produced and then became the Product Manager for the A*Star and CompuStar lines. I am the President of CornerStone Technologies, Inc. so I have been building the A*Star since 1985.

ShareThis


 

I bought the A*Star way back when and it was a great machine. All the software and shareware worked. No problem downloading to it (big phone bills with dial-up!) I, of course, added a hard drive a couple of months after I purchased it. I had it for years. I previously used a C64.

          
Monday 5th May 2014
Katy (USA)

I have an A-0star and a Compu-Star with 286/386 CPU boards. If not mistaken I think I have one of the few 486 CPU boards that was created but I''ll have to check that. I also have a Original Stock certificate if anyone is interested.

          
Tuesday 4th October 2011
Franklin (USA)

I led the development team for the HeadStart. If anyone needs specific information I will provide what I can.

          
Wednesday 13rd June 2007
Dave Prue (Asia)

 

NAME  HEADSTART
MANUFACTURER  Intertec
TYPE  Professional Computer
ORIGIN  U.S.A.
YEAR  Unknown
END OF PRODUCTION  1984
CPU  Zilog Z80 + Intel 8086
SPEED  Unknown
RAM  128 KB to 1MB depending on model. All models are expandable to 1MB
ROM  Unknown
TEXT MODES  80 x 25 - 132 x 25 on a 12
GRAPHIC MODES  Unknown
COLORS  Monochrome
I/O PORTS  One RS 449/RS 232 compatible serial port - Centronics - External Data Bus - Coaxial Communication Interface - External disk I/O interface - Optional network print spooling interface
BUILT IN MEDIA  One 3.5'' disk-drive
OS  CP/M 80 (Concurrent CP/M 86 optional) - MS DOS - LAN DOS (multi users)
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in PSU
PRICE  Unknown


retro computing t-shirts and goodies
3D Cubes
BASIC code
Breakout
C64 maze generator
Pak Pak Monster
Pixel adventure
Pixel Deer
Ready prompt
Shooting gallery
Spiral program
Vector ship

Related Ebay auctions in real time - click to buy yours







 
Click here to go to the top of the page   
Contact us | members | about old-computers.com | donate old-systems | FAQ
OLD-COMPUTERS.COM is hosted by - NYI (New York Internet) -