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SoftPC Moves Out

Insignia Solutions is not sitting still with its SoftPC emulation software. Earlier this month, Insignia began shipping a new version of SoftPC tailored for use with the older and less powerful Macs, the Plus, Classic, SE, Portable, and LC. This version of SoftPC emulates the 80286, as does the older version with the EGA/AT Option module, but the new version does not include support for EGA graphics, expanded memory, or for the math coprocessor (which isn't surprising since none of those Macs have a coprocessor). The new version is cheaper as well, at $199 list, but keep in mind that it will not run on an SE/30 or Mac II-class machine. For that you still have to get the $399 SoftPC 1.4 and optionally, the $199 EGA/AT Option. Insignia may combine SoftPC 1.4 and the EGA/AT Option, but there's no telling when. If you're curious about SoftPC, hold on a bit, we're working on a review of it.

Of course, not everyone who wants to emulate a PC has a Mac. For those of you with NeXT machines (out of curiousity, do any of you have NeXT machines?) there's now SoftPC 2.0 for NeXT workstation, which is similar to SoftPC on the Mac. There are two exceptions, which point toward coming attractions in the Mac versions. First, SoftPC for the NeXT runs at about the same speed as a 12 MHz 80286 machine (SoftPC on my SE/30 is only about twice the speed of an 8086-based XT, quite a bit slower than on the NeXT), and second, SoftPC on the NeXT runs programs that require VGA graphics, but cannot display all of VGA's colors, mapping them to EGA's colors instead. Of course the SoftPC screen is a 640 x 480 window inside the massive NeXT screen, and if you were sufficiently masochistic, you could run Windows in that window.

VGA graphics are in hot demand on Usenet as well, and a number of people said that they had heard that Insignia is working on a Mac version of SoftPC that emulates the 386 and VGA. A version of SoftPC with these abilities might be available sometime in the middle of this year. I hope that if Insignia gets the VGA emulation working that they also speed up SoftPC a bit, since VGA graphics applications for the PC could be painfully slow under SoftPC.

Insignia Solutions -- 408/522-7600 (0494 459426 in the UK)

Information from:
Matthew Kendall Howard --
Todd A. Green --
Andrew Theodore Laurence --
Jonathan Thoma Sweet --

Related articles:
MacWEEK -- 12-Mar-91, Vol. 5, #10, pg. 5
InfoWorld -- 18-Mar-91, Vol. 13, #11, pg. 8
PC WEEK -- 25-Mar-91, Vol. 8, #12, pg. 36


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