Altos 586

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Altos 586
Type Microcomputer
Release date 1983 (1983)
Introductory price 7 990 - 10 990 USD
(circa 19,200 - 26,400 USD today)
Media 1 MB floppy drive
Operating system Xenix or MP/M-86
Memory 512 kB to 1 MB RAM, 12 / 32 / 42 MB Hard drive
Connectivity 8x RS-232C Serial Port, expandable to 16; Parallel printer port

The Altos 586 was a multi-user microcomputer intended for the business market. It was introduced by Altos Computer Systems in 1983.[1] A configuration with 512 kB of RAM, an Intel 8086 processor, Microsoft Xenix, and 10 MB hard drive cost about 8 000 USD.[2] 3Com offered this Altos 586 product as a file server for their IBM PC networking solution in spring 1983.[citation needed] The network was 10Base-2 (thin-net) based, with an Ethernet AUI port on the Altos 586.


BYTE in August 1984 called the Altos 586 "an excellent multiuser UNIX system", with "the best performance" for the price among small Unix systems. The magazine reported that a US$10,000 (equivalent to $23,053 in 2016) Altos with 512 kB RAM and 40 MB hard drive "under moderate load approaches DEC VAX performance for most tasks that a user would normally invoke".[3] A longer review in March 1985 stated that "despite some bugs, it's a good product". It criticized the documentation and lack of customer service for developers, but praised the multiuser performance. The author reported that his 586 had run a multiuser bulletin board system 24 hours a day for more than two years with no hardware failures. He concluded that "Very few UNIX or XENIX computers can provide all of the features of the 586 for $8990", especially for multiuser turnkey business users.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Halamka, John (7 November 1983), "Review: Altos 586", InfoWorld, Vol. 5 (No. 45): 89–90 
  2. ^ Yates, Jean L. (October 1983). "Unix and the Standardization of Small Computer Systems". BYTE. pp. 160–166. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Hinnant, David F. (Aug 1984). "Benchmarking UNIX Systems". BYTE. pp. 132–135, 400–409. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  4. ^ Corson, Greg (March 1985). "The Altos 586 with the XENIX Development System". BYTE. p. 247. Retrieved 19 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "Whole Earth Software Catalog". You can now buy extremely fast UNIX systems that support multiple users for less than $10,000, including the new Fortune XP 20, the Altos 586, and the Tandy Model 16.