SUMMARY: SBUS 386 coprocessors

From: Todd Pfaff (
Date: Wed Feb 27 1991 - 13:45:47 CST

I asked:
>Is anybody out there using an SBUS 386 coprocessor, such as the one
>by Puzzle Systems? Are you happy with the performance? Any compatability
>problems? What are the limitations?
>Do you know of any other vendors besides Puzzle Systems?
and you replied (thanks):
>LogiCraft has a box which can sit on the net to provide a hardware 386 solution
>Probably more $$$ than the Puzzle board
>SoftPC 2.0 is a software-only solution
>From: glascock@hsr.mayo.EDU (Don Glascock)
> I have Puzzle Synergy-386 PC Sbus cards in two IPC's. I'ld like to say
>that this is a neat idea and that we should be doing this all over the
>place, but in truth, these were launched here prematurely: many small
>problems made the Synergy solution to getting dos in a window somewhat
>unsatisfactory -- until recently.
> Puzzle just released their new software, version 2.5, which is designed
>to run under OpenLook. It works significantly better than the Sunview
>version, and many small bugs have been fixed, though we still need to have
>a few worked out.
> If you were to wait a month or two, chances are you would be very
>pleased with what you saw.
> When you call Puzzle, the person who answers the phone more times than
>not is technically skilled and can discuss your questions in detail. They
>are very willing to work out any & all problems, and usually when I call
>them to report a problem, they say, "we just put forth our latest release
>which fixes that very problem". And they're right.
> I know that Sun can lay hands on a demo copy of a third-party Sunview
>application called 'SoftPC' (hint, Sun, hint...) which does in software
>what the Synergy-386 does in hardware, and I would LOVE to compare the
> The person for whom one of the Synergy-386 cards was purchased says that
>WordPerfect 5.1 feels slightly slower than it does on a neighboring
>PS/2-60(70?), but we expect this: on a PS/2, WP writes "straight down
>the wires" in hardware, while the Synergy software maps the dos "frame
>buffer" into X(view) screen stuff. Also, this user has not yet really
>worked with version 2.5 of the Synergy software yet, and Puzzle says that
>this version has improved performance in this area. Plus, keep in mind
>that the reason one buys a card like this has little to do with increased
>dos performance: we're interested in inter-connectivity between the two
>worlds, and this works fairly well at this point.
> In short, "neat idea, needs a bit more work, wish we could have played
>with it secretively (ie, instead of putting it in a user's IPC right off
>the bat), but glad we did it." But we really do need to compare it to
>SoftPC. I suspect that the Synergy will be faster, but it's hard to say
>without really looking.
>From: "Jonathan C. Davis" <>
>I have a Puzzle Systems 386 board, and I'm not very impressed with it.
>The window is rather small; even enlarging the physical window doesn't
>help since the useable part of the window remains small. Also, the
>speed is certainly not 386-speed. Unfortunately, I don't know of
>any other vendors. I think Puzzle is supposed to be coming out with
>an upgrade to at least improve the window sizing (on the other hand,
>maybe I'm just dreaming that I heard that from somewhere :-). For now,
>I've just taken the board out of my SPARC and stored it.
>From: (Joel Thompson)
>We have the puzzle systems coprocessor, and haven't been real impressed.
>The documentation supplied is minimal, and not alwaysaccurate. The
>performance seems O.K., but the window it creates dominates the screen
>(i.e., other openwindows windows are not allowed to overlap in front of
>the PC window).
So to further this investigation, does anybody have any comparisons of
DOS Windows, SoftPC, and hardware 386 coprocessors?

Todd Pfaff                      \
Flexible Manufacturing Centre    \
McMaster University               \
Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA  L8S 4L7 \ (416) 525-9140 x2902

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