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Altos Computer Systems

The Altos 186 was based on the "brand new" 16-bit iApx 186 CPU, in fact the (sometimes called "Lost Generation") Intel 80186.

Compared to the previous Altos models, the new design made it less bulky. The main unit is at last smaller than the keyboard or the monitor. The main unit houses a 720k 3.5" disk-drive and a 10 MB hard-disk.

We need more info about this computer ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system, please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.
Please consider donating your old computer / videogame system to or one of our partners from anywhere in the world (Europe, America, Asia, etc.).


I also own and one of the Altos 486 from 1984. Its still running, but I am missing one fan. My room seems to be cold enough to run the computer for some time with XENIX. I am pretty sure Jeff Nisler has a lot more information about this "pretty one" but if you need some information or photos/video feel free to ask.

Wednesday 29th December 2021
Jan (Germany)

Altos 186 and 486 systems did indeed run the Intel 80186 processor, which were passed over by the PC world.

Typically there would be one to four terminals attached, one of which was the system console. The version of unix that it ran was a port of Xenix, which was Microsoft''s port of Unix. Yes it was "real" unix, albeit a somewhat limited one. However, most unix software could be made to run on it.

Altos computers of this era were Intel based but most of them were not "IBM compatible." Altos did not see any need to do that since their machines were never intended to run MS-DOS.

Friday 11th October 2013
Art Cancro (USA)

I worked at Altos when the 186 system came out. I porterd a version of the Pick OS to it in 1984 (a solo effort, which was never offered for sale). And I can tell you why it was a slow pig running zenix - the size was made small by removing hardware to a bare minimum, and in the balance the main cpu had to also be the CRT controller - the OS had to sit 2nd seat to the controller, or you wouldn''t see anything.
I have one of the prototypes, and it still works.

Wednesday 22nd December 2010
Jeff Nisler


MANUFACTURER  Altos Computer Systems
TYPE  Professional Computer
YEAR  1984
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke professional keyboard, editing and numeric keypads, 16 function keys
CPU  iApx 186
SPEED  8 Mhz
RAM  512 kb
TEXT MODES  80 x 25
GRAPHIC MODES  640 x 400
COLORS  Yes...
SOUND  Beeper
I/O PORTS  2 x RS232/Serial ports
BUILT IN MEDIA  720k 3''1/2 disk-drive and 10Mb or 21Mb hard-disk
OS  Xenix
PRICE  12350 (France, september 1984)

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