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PS2 FAQ Introduction

Archive-name: PS2-FAQ Introduction
Last-modified: 1996/02/20
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Version: 4.0
Author: Chris Feeny <Alkemyst>

HTML Formatting Maintained and Owned By COMPUTERCRAFT - COPYRIGHT 1996

S) 1.0 Introduction

Q) 1.1 What does this FAQ cover and how do I use this FAQ?

This FAQ is for the PS/2's and most other MCA machines. There may be some information that is inaccurate for non-IBM machines and this information should be gathered from the appropriate manufacturer. Also this is meant as a supplement to the FAQ. The c.s.i.p.h FAQ is full of information (over 300k I believe) that any PC-compatable owner can use almost everyday. The PS2 FAQ, therefore, tries to avoid repeating what can be obtained via this FAQ or other FAQ documents which are easily available.

To use this FAQ easily, import it into any standard word processor and use a global text search to find what you want. For instance, on WordPerfect hit F2 and enter the text you want to find and hit enter. The section numbers from the table of contents make good search headings.

If there are deficiencies, errors, and/or missing information you would like to see Email me at:

Q) 1.2 What are the different PS/2s and their features?

Note: a very good reference can be found at,in pub/simtelnet/msdos/info/ (#25,30,50,55,60,70,73,80). (Thanks:
(HTML editor's note: This document, IBM PERSONAL SYSTEM/2 REFERENCE GUIDE - Configuration and Operating Information, is also posted at COMPUTERCRAFT)

Model ####-xxx Model Factory Processor K/ns set MHz Cache BusType Intro Date
Model 25 8525-several 8086 8 n ISA 08/87
Model 25-286 8525 80286 10 n ISA *
Model 25LS 8525 80286 10 n ISA *
Model 30 8 530-0+01/02/21 8086 8 n ISA 04/87
Model 30-286 8530-E01/E21 80286 10 n ISA *
Model 35SX 8535 80386SX 20 * ISA 06/91
Model 35SLC 8535/050/055 80386SLC 20 * ISA *
Model 35LS 8535/14X/24X 386SX 20 n ISA 01/91
Model 40SX 8540 80386SX 20 * ISA 06/91
Model 40SLC 8540/050/055 386SLC 20 * ISA *
Model 50 8550-021 80286 10 1W n MCA16 04/87
Model 50Z 8550-031/061 80286 10 0W n MCA 08/88
Model 53SLC2 9553-0BB 80486SLC2 25/50 * MCA *
Model 53LS 9553-1BX/2BX 80486SLC2 25/50 * MCA *
Model 55SX 8555-031/061 80386SX 16 * MCA *
Model 55LS * 80386SX 16 * MCA *
Model 56SX 8556 80386SX 20 * MCA *
Model 56SLC * 80386SLC 20 * MCA *
Model 56SLC2 9556-DB6/DBA 80486SLC2 25/50 * MCA *
Model 57SX 8557 80386SX 20 * MCA *
Model 57SLC * 80386SLC 20 * MCA *
Model 57SLC2 9557-DBx 6/A/G 80486SLC2 25/50 * MCA *
Model 57 Ult. 9557-1BA/2BA 80486SLC2 25/50 * MCA *
Model 60 8560-041/071 80286 10 1w n MCA 04/87
Model 65SX * 80386SX 16 * MCA 06/90
Model 70 8570 80386 16 n MCA32 09/88
Model 70-Axx 8570-A21 80386 25 64/30 MCA 06/88
Model 70-Exx 8570-E61 80386 16 n MCA 06/88
Model 70-386 8570-121 80386DX 20 n MCA 06/88
Model 70-486 8570 i486DX2 16/20/33 * MCA 10/93
Model 70-Bxx 8570 80486 25 * MCA *
Model P70-386 8570 80386DX 20 * MCA *
Model P75-486 8570 80486DX 33 * MCA *
Model 76 9576-DU6/DUA 80486SX 33 * MCA *
Model 77 DUx 9577-DUA/DUG 80486SX 33 * MCA *
Model 77 DNx 9577-DNA/DNG 80486DX2 33/66 * MCA *
Model 77 Ult . 9577-1UA/1NA 80486DX2 33/66 * MCA *
Model 80-386 8580-041/071 80386DX 16 n MCA 04/87
Model 80-386 8580-xxx 80386DX 20 n MCA 04/87
Model 80-Axx 8580-A+16/21/31 80386DX 25 64/30 MCA 06/90
Model 80 modification 80486DX 25 * MCA *
Model 80 modification 80486DX2 16/20/33 * MCA 10/93
Model 85 9585-0Xx 6/A/G 80486DX 33 * MCA *
Model 85 9585-0NT/0NG 80486DX2 33/66 * MCA *
Model 90 XP 4868590 i486SX 20/25 * MCA *
Model 90 XP 4869590 i486DX 25/33/50 * MCA *
Model 90 XP 4869590-DLA/DLG 80486DX2 25/50 * MCA *
Model 95 XP 4868595 i486SX 20/25 * MCA *
Model 95 XP 4869595-0LG i486DX2 25/50 * MCA *
Model 95 XP 4869595-0MG/0MT i486DX 50 * MCA *
Model 95 Server 9595-xNT/xNG i486DX2 33/66 * MCA *
Model 95 Server 9595-xPT/xPG i586 60 * MCA *
Model 95 Server 9595-xQT i586 66 * MCA *
* Entry not in ASCII original - HTML editor's note.
The -xxx suffix can usually be broken down to -ABC where,
A=number of hard drives on some mostly 9595s.
B=processor: A=386DX25 B=SLC2/50 L=DX2/50 M=DX50 N=DX2/66 P=586/60 Q=586/66 U/X=486SX/33
C=hard drive type: 6=104 A=208/212 B=250 G=540 T=1GB X=none
[Please verify ####-xxx Model...some could be inaccurate, Chris]

All 85xx models are XGA or VGA, 95xx models are XGA-2 or SVGA.
LS models are usually indentical to the SX counterparts but are diskless.

Q) 1.3 What are the IBM brand MCA cards?

These are usually denoted with a /A suffix. Here is a list of what is

See Appendix A for full list.

Q) 1.4 Where do I get a Reference Disk for my PS/2?
[Rewrite by Aron Eisenpress <>]

Reference Disks can be downloaded from two IBM sources, via ftp to or by dialing the IBM PC Co. BBS at 1-919-517-0001. The same reference disk files are available from both sources, but the BBS also has many other files, such as product announcements, reference and configuration information, some shareware and employee written programs, and many OS/2 related files.

Via ftp, follow these steps:
o Ftp to and log in as "anonymous" with your e-mail address as the password.
o Select the "pub" directory, type: cd pub
o If you don't know which file you need, look in allfiles.txt in the pub directory; which includes short descriptions (also in this FAQ).
o The Reference Disk files are in the refdisks directory, type cd refdisks.
o Set transfer mode to binary, type bin
o Get the file you need, type get RFxxxxxxx.DSK (or whatever filename)
o If the Filename ends in .DSK you will need LDF.COM and if it ends in .TG0 you will need TGSFX.COM.
o Get back to the pub directory, type: cd ..
o Go to the UTILS directory, type cd UTILS
o Type: bin press return and then type: get LDF.COM or get TGSFX.COM

Via the BBS, follow these steps:
o Log on to the IBM PC Co. BBS at 1-919-517-0001. Follow instructions until you get to the main menu. Type REF DISKS, read the agreement and answer it. Now you have access to directorys 27 (ref disks) and 32 assuming you agreed.
o Type D to download then enter the filename. Also LDF.COM or TGSFX.COM as outlined in the ftp directions After the files are obtained:

For .DSK files:
o Run LDF.COM so that the files LOADDSKF.EXE and PRODAID.TXT are extracted. LOADDSKF.EXE is what you need, PRODAID.TXT is the IBM agreement.
o Insert a blank disk and type LOADDSKF filename.DSK A: (or B:) [/F to format and /C to convert a 720KB image to a 1.44MB disk.]
o Ensure the proper disk is inserted and answer: "Y".
o Your reference disk is ready to go.

For .TG0 files:
o Run TGSFX.COM so that the files TELEGET.EXE and TGCONFIG.EXE are extracted.
o Run TGCONFIG and follow the prompts.

For more information on this procedure:
o On ftp, cd to UTILS and get DSK.HLP.
o On BBS, type HELP and read the instructions.

One other common source from dealers or IBM is the IBM "Technical Connection Personal Systems" CDROM. Some offices also have one (a good sign is if there are alot of PS/2s in your office). It also includes some files unavailable from the on-line sources.

Q) 1.5 Which file is my Reference Disk? They are all cryptically written.
See Appendix B.

Q) 1.6 What does the Reference Disk do?

The Reference Disk is your access to the internals of the PS/2, much like accessing CMOS on other computers. From the Reference Disk you can add options, change the time and date, set up a configuration, check SCSI device, change the settings of the options you added and test your system for problems. Once you have the Reference Disk running go to the Main Menu and Backup the Reference Disk and take one copy BEFORE you add options to it and put it in a safe place.

Q) 1.7 I hear there is more diagnostics hidden on the Reference Disk, where are they?

This little known command allows one to test the system one test at a time. This is useful if the system hangs or gets an error early in the full-test. To access the Advanced Diagnostics press alt and CTRL-A from the Reference Disk Main Menu and it will allow you to select which test to perform after verifying the present configuration. Also these are more through tests and also offer hard drive formating options and some wrap plug port tests (see Q6.6 for details).

Q) 1.8 Why can't I copy my Reference Disk, I want to make a backup?

You can by selecting the option to backup the Reference Disk from the Reference Disk Main Menu. The files are written in a special way to the disk and only the Reference Disk and LOADDSKF can create new/backup Reference Disks unless a total disk copy program is used to copy the hidden files, DISKCOPY works.

Q) 1.9 I got the Reference Disk, but now it is saying I need an Option Diskette/or giving me a 165 error at POST...What are Option Diskettes and Where do I get them?

Option Diskettes are the .ADF files that allow the PS/2 to communicate properly with installed options and the 165 error code is also saying that the proper .ADF file was not used to configure the system. The BBS and both have all the IBM option diskettes and some common third party ones. A file index of all the files on the ftp site can be obtained by getting the FILES.TXT file which has 100k of disk name and descriptions of every disk IBM included with option, computers, and devices as well as some third party software. When you get the right one go to Copy an Option Diskette in the Reference Disk Main Menu and it should do the work for you. Now just configure the system and you should be set.

Q) 1.10 I got the Option Diskette, but the Reference Diskette is telling me no option files can be found, What am I doing wrong?

Nothing usually. Sometimes the Reference Disk can not copy the proper files, so look in the manual for the device and see what file(s) must be copied manually over to the Reference Disk. As always use a backup copy of the Ref Disk.

Q) 1.11 I bought my PS/2 second hand who can I get technical support from?

IBM. The 800-772-2227 (1-800-PS2-2227) is open 24 hours a day for most systems and is your source for answers. Usually the staff is dead accurate and only rarely is misinformation handed out. The chances of misinformation is greatly increased when calling during non-standard EST business hours.

Q) 1.12 IBM tech. support says they do not know my answer now what?

Well if they didn't connect you to the premium support section ask to be connected there. The Premium (I think that is what they call it) support techs are usually alot more adept at in-depth tech help, but sometimes the normal tech does not connect you to them when you have a more advanced problem so ask for them if you feel the person helping you is lost (usually symboled by alot of being put on hold 'while I find out the answer' type responses). Also it is a good idea to always call back later to double check on things that you are not totally comfortable with the given answer. BTW these calls are free at anytime of the day or night.

Q) 1.13 I got an IBM MCA card with no labeling, How do I tell what it is?

This is a big problem with IBM cards. Most Card manufacturers get label crazy silkscreening their name and the card's name all over the card's breadboard, yet IBM being the marketing giant doesn't need the extra production step and goes with bare breadboards.

The first thing to do is to ground yourself (by touching the power supply of a turned OFF computer is a good way) and try to set the card on an anti-static bag or surface and try not to move around to much because one static charge to a key area and it won't matter what the card is for. Then try and find out what IBM part numbers (IBMPN) and FRU (Field Replacement Unit)(IBMFRU) are listed on the front and back of the card. Contrary to popular belief you can not tell what the card does by these numbers as a class, ie not all 87Xxxxx cards are disk controllers and made in 1987. With all the numbers written down place the card in a anti-static bag and store it carefully. Call IBM at 1-800-227-2227 and ask them first. Chances are if the card is over two years old it is going to be a gamble at best. If they could not help, it is time to post your problem to for answers. Try to render an ASCII image of the card to give people an idea of what it is and this might also help someone identify it on the spot.

Also as a last resort the FCC# could be used as it almost never changes and is unique for each card. The FCC BBS # is 301-725-1072. Call at 2400/7E1/no error control.

Another method though I believe you need to have it installed and configured is a program on PC-DOS 6.3 which takes the 'electronic name' (a four digit number) of the MCA card and gives the description.

email:Chris Feeny\

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