80386 Controller Cards

Today’s museum post features a couple of controller cards from my old 386. The first is an I/O controller card that provided the computer’s parallel and serial ports. Our computer came with a dot-matrix printer that connected to the parallel port, and the mouse connected to the 9-pin serial port known as COM-1. Later on, I acquired a gamepad that connected to the game port (although I don’t remember if I connected it to this card or the one on the Sound Blaster).

Parallel and Serial Card (ISA)

If you look closely at the photo above, you might notice the 1980s-logo of a now-ubiquitous brand. That’s right, those chips with the 3-star logos on them are Samsung chips (Samsung means “3 stars” in Korean).

The second card is the drive controller card. Unlike the motherboards of today, the drive and I/O controllers were on separate cards. This card supported the 5.25-inch and 3.5-inch floppy drives and the 40 megabyte Maxtor drive in the beginning, and had room for one more drive later on, the Conner CP3000 that doubled the 386’s storage space.

Hedaka Drive Controller

Similarly, this card contains chips from a Korean company called GoldStar. Of course, today we know it as LG. I wonder if the manufacturing of these chips influenced any of the technology in the phones that we hold in our hands today. Quite fascinating to think about.

This site contains some additional information about the drive controller.

Lastly, it’s interesting to note that both of these cards are labeled as made in Hong Kong. I doubt any cards are made in Hong Kong today.

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