VOGONS


ICONIX, a division of Unisys

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First post, by DankEngihn

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I recently picked up this computer, along with a few other machines, and some misc. parts at a local computer store for 10$. I was mostly attracted to the case, and the tape drive. I took it home, and am only now really getting around to messing with it. I checked it worked, and I got a "NO VGA DETECTED" beep code 😒 . So I took it apart, and took some pictures documenting the process.

Sorry for the really shitty picture quality. I suck at taking pictures, and my phones camera is hot garbage.

Here's a picture of the front and back of the case. I can't really find a ton of information on the brand. Going off of what little information I could find, ICONIX seems to be a division of Unisys Canada, aimed to fulfil a standard for the Ontario Ministry of Education.

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This is definitely a late-AT era case, as it has no turbo (or reset for that matter) button, and has a single sliding side panel.

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One thing I know for sure is that it is HEAVY! Like, really REALLY heavy. I weighs around the same as the 19" Dell CRT's that I once had, and those were 52 pounds! 🤣

On the inside, we can immediately see the absolutely MASSIVE motherboard taking up the entire bottom of the case, and a huge drive cage with 3 hard drives in them. (I removed the IDE & SCSI cables so you could actually see the hardware inside)

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Taking a closer look at the hard drives shows 2 80 GB Hitachi DeskStar's, and a full-height 3.5" 4.3 GB HP SCSI drive that sounds like a jet engine.

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This server has clearly been used well past it's day, with the two 80 GB drives having date codes of September and February of 2003. 🤣

Reply 1 of 31, by DankEngihn

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Continuation, due to the 5 attachment limit.

Taking a closer look at the cards in the system, revealed an ATI Mach64 GTB, which seems strange, because this machine was used as a server, so why would they need a TV tuner? 😕 Turns out the card wasn't fully seated in the slot, which is why it gave the beep code.

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There was also an Adaptec SCSI card that was running the tape drive and the 4.3 GB hard drive.

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Lastly, there was a D-Link DFE-538tx ethernet card.

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Removing the heatsink revealed a 90 MHz Socket 5 Pentium 1.

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There was also 40 MB of RAM, with two single-sided sticks, and two double-sided sticks. Also included in the picture is my leg.

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More coming later, when I feel like adding more pictures to this thread.

Reply 4 of 31, by Errius

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That's an Intel case/motherboard with someone else's logo slapped on the front.

According to This thread the motherboard is a Premiere/PCI II (Plato)

Now can anyone identify the case?

ETA: Here is the pizzabox version of the same computer: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/intel- … ming-1791551388

“I like to dissect PCs. Don't you know I'm utterly insane?"

Reply 5 of 31, by DankEngihn

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The inside of the front panel has an Intel part number.

The case also uses some annoying-ass drive rails, that I pretty much have no hope of finding more. 😒

Reply 6 of 31, by PC Hoarder Patrol

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The FCC ID (EJM NINAPEN90) simply refers to it as 'Intel Corporation PCI Tower Computer' from 94/95 - can't see much else beyond that. What's the actual product code on the back label?

Reply 8 of 31, by Anonymous Coward

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This was possibly used as a server for the Unisys Icon computers that were pretty common in Canadian primary and middle schools in the 80s and early 90s. I think originally the servers were some weird 80186 proprietary based things, but I remember the server in my school was a Unisys 386 with a 1X CD-ROM drive. I didn't know they had Pentium based servers though. I remember at my school the Icons got dumped around 1995 and were were replaced by standard DX2-66s running WFWG3.11.

icon-004.png

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 9 of 31, by Errius

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Here is the old support page for this motherboard:

https://web.archive.org/web/20010608174259/ht … /premierepciII/

“I like to dissect PCs. Don't you know I'm utterly insane?"

Reply 10 of 31, by DankEngihn

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Anonymous Coward wrote:

I didn't know they had Pentium based servers though.

http://www.ic.gc.ca/app/opic-cipo/trdmrks/src … 725486&lang=fra

Apparently they were inactive as of 2012

Reply 11 of 31, by Anonymous Coward

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That doesn't surprise me. The Icons were only economical when desktop PCs were really expensive. By 1995 you could get a DX2 for $1000, and whatever it ran was lightyears ahead of the software for the Icon, which was stuck in the mid 80s.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 12 of 31, by DankEngihn

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Anonymous Coward wrote:
This was possibly used as a server for the Unisys Icon computers that were pretty common in Canadian primary and middle schools […]
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This was possibly used as a server for the Unisys Icon computers that were pretty common in Canadian primary and middle schools in the 80s and early 90s. I think originally the servers were some weird 80186 proprietary based things, but I remember the server in my school was a Unisys 386 with a 1X CD-ROM drive. I didn't know they had Pentium based servers though. I remember at my school the Icons got dumped around 1995 and were were replaced by standard DX2-66s running WFWG3.11.

icon-004.png

That's what I would've thought, but it seems to have been a server for a lab of 10 Compaq prolinea machines running WFW 3.11.

They came from North Peel secondary school's communication tech department, and the Compaq I have looks for a network share upon booting windows (Activity lights on the network card flash constantly and windows hangs.)

For shits and giggles, I connected the two machines via 10base2, and it found the server, and booted into windows, and found the network (ICONIX machine) it was looking for. It showed up as drive G:.

So it was used as a server in a computer lab of Compaq Prolinea's.

Reply 13 of 31, by Anonymous Coward

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Sounds like Unisys may have badge engineered some standard PCs to sell to educational institutions familiar with the ICON name. It's pretty hard to find any information on "Iconix" except that it was a division of Unisys that focused on education. Still pretty weird that the server was Iconix, but the clients were all compaq. You'd think the school's contract would have required all the PCs to be purchased from the same supplier.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 14 of 31, by DankEngihn

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Okay, something even more bizzare. I found a DAT tape inside the case with "ICON QNX" written on it. Unfortunately the tape's casing just disintegrated when I picked it up, so I threw it in the trash. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of it.

Apparently this was used as a server for ICON machines at some point.

Reply 15 of 31, by Anonymous Coward

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Yeah, it seemed kind of odd an ATi card with TV tuner would have been in there. That card is from 1996 or 1997, and this system is clearly from 1994 or 1995, which implies somebody was fiddling inside.

QNX was the operating system for the ICON machines. Kind of odd that it was on a tape though. A system backup?

Two other interesting things I noticed. There is an empty bracket on the back of the machine. Perhaps that is the slot where the controller for interfacing with the Icons used to be.
Also, there is an intel sticker on the back of the case. Was this system actually manufacturered by or for Intel, and then resold to Unisys?

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 16 of 31, by DankEngihn

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That empty bracket had just come loose, and was flying around in the case. The screw that was holding it in had broken, so it was never (intentionally) removed.

I'm assuming that the original video card died, they just slapped whatever they had on hand at the time into the case. There was a bag with a bunch of cables for the TV tuner held into the case with packing tape.

It seems as if the DAT tape was used to boot into QNX so the machine would act as a server for the ICON computers, as it tried to boot from the tape drive, then into OS/2 from the hard drive.

I'm guessing that it was used as a server for ICON machines, then when they decommissioned the ICONs, they kept the server, but migrated it to Windows clients.

This is raising more questions than answers, the farther I dig into this thing.

Reply 17 of 31, by liqmat

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Errius wrote:
That's an Intel case/motherboard with someone else's logo slapped on the front. […]
Show full quote

That's an Intel case/motherboard with someone else's logo slapped on the front.

According to This thread the motherboard is a Premiere/PCI II (Plato)

Now can anyone identify the case?

ETA: Here is the pizzabox version of the same computer: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/intel- … ming-1791551388

Actually finishing up a Socket 5 build with that desktop system. Some kind Vogons members even sent me matching yellowed 5¼" drives.

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Reply 18 of 31, by DankEngihn

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liqmat wrote:
Errius wrote:
That's an Intel case/motherboard with someone else's logo slapped on the front. […]
Show full quote

That's an Intel case/motherboard with someone else's logo slapped on the front.

According to This thread the motherboard is a Premiere/PCI II (Plato)

Now can anyone identify the case?

ETA: Here is the pizzabox version of the same computer: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/intel- … ming-1791551388

Actually finishing up a Socket 5 build with that desktop system. Some kind Vogons members even sent me matching yellowed 5¼" drives.

full_yellow.jpg

Would you happen to have any more of the 5.25" drive rails? The only 2 I have are on the tape drive, and I pretty much have no hope of finding more.

Reply 19 of 31, by liqmat

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DankEngihn wrote:
liqmat wrote:
Errius wrote:
That's an Intel case/motherboard with someone else's logo slapped on the front. […]
Show full quote

That's an Intel case/motherboard with someone else's logo slapped on the front.

According to This thread the motherboard is a Premiere/PCI II (Plato)

Now can anyone identify the case?

ETA: Here is the pizzabox version of the same computer: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/intel- … ming-1791551388

Actually finishing up a Socket 5 build with that desktop system. Some kind Vogons members even sent me matching yellowed 5¼" drives.

full_yellow.jpg

Would you happen to have any more of the 5.25" drive rails? The only 2 I have are on the tape drive, and I pretty much have no hope of finding more.

I would if I could. Unfortunately, that desktop version of the case doesn't use rails. Any chance you could take a clear pic of those rails?

Last edited by liqmat on 2019-09-26, 02:34. Edited 2 times in total.