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Mac in a PC/ANDOR ONE

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I can see wanting to run the occasional PC program on your Mac, after all, I just spent 45 minutes writing about just that topic above. But I'm less sure about wanting to run the occasional Mac program on your PC. It's possible now, thanks to Hydra and its ANDOR ONE.

The ANDOR ONE is a PC expansion board that works with all PC-compatible computers (though not most laptops due to the slot limitations) that use an ISA or EISA bus, although it won't work on a Micro Channel bus. You must add your own Mac 128K ROMs and Macintosh system software (yes, it works with System 7), much like emulators for the Atari ST and the Outbound Portables. As far as I can tell from Hydra's press information - which is very complete by the way, these people did their homework - the ANDOR ONE is essentially a slightly souped-up Mac Portable in the sense that it uses a 16 MHz 68000 and is thus twice as fast as the Classic, although still about half the speed of an SE/30. The speed of the host PC doesn't make too much difference, except when it comes to disk access times, which of course drop significantly on the faster PCs.

From what I gather, Hydra designed the ANDOR ONE so it can share a PC hard disk much as SoftPC shares a Mac disk by creating a single file that looks like an entire hard disk inside. I'd prefer to have be able to see all the PC files from within the Finder and all the Mac files from within DOS, but it doesn't look like ANDOR can do that. However, with some clever software, Hydra has made it possible for the ANDOR to read, but not format, Macintosh 400K and 800K (but not 1.4 MB) floppies directly in most 3.5" PC floppy drives, which is something of a feat. Realizing that the PC connectivity is still limited in terms of connecting to Macintosh peripherals, Hydra also put two SCSI ports (one 50-pin and one 25-pin) and an AppleTalk RS-422 port on the ANDOR card, so you can still hook up directly to most Macintosh peripherals directly.

I played with one of these running on a 486 at Macworld, and it did indeed run all the standard Mac software that was installed on their hard drive, including PageMaker 4.0 and Word 4.0. The speed was certainly acceptable, though not on the level of an SE/30, and the only problem I had was that I couldn't figure out how they had mapped the option key. The PC Alt key seemed to equate to the Mac command key, and shift did what you'd expect, but control did not equal option. It's not a big deal, and I probably just missed it, but I'd hate to be without an option key in PageMaker and many other applications.

The ANDOR ONE is not cheap at $995 list price, and adding 4 MB of RAM and the Mac ROMs will add another $600 or so. The question comes up immediately: "Why should I buy this instead of a Classic?" Hydra provides four answers to this question, three of which are pretty good (I said that they did their homework). The first answer is that the ANDOR ONE is faster. That's true, but big deal, so is a PowerBook 100 and I'd far rather have a PowerBook 100 than a Classic. However, Hydra goes on to point out that an ANDOR, because of its host PC, has many more networking options than a normal Mac, an ANDOR ONE can run both PC and Mac software at full speed, and finally, purchasing restrictions may prevent some people from buying a true Macintosh but a PC card that happened to run Macintosh software would be OK. I like the way these people think, but I'm afraid that unless they significantly reduce the price of the ANDOR ONE it won't sell particularly well.

Hydra Systems -- 408/253-5800

Information from:
Hydra propaganda

 

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