Micro Channel architecture

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Micro Channel Architecture was a proprietary 16- or 32-bit parallel computer bus created by IBM in the 1980s for use on their new PS/2 computers.



Micro-Channel architecture was designed by IBM engineer Chet Heath and first introduced on the high-end PS/2 series of machines in 1987; it slowly spread to IBM's entire computer line.[1]

NCR Corporation also designed and built high-performance personal computer, workstation and server platforms supporting MCA, including their own MCA-based logic componentry, including SCSI, graphics, networking, and audio.

In 1988 Intel made an i82310 MCA chipset.

For a time, MCA could be found in the PS/2, RS/6000, AS/400, and even some of the System/370 mainframes. However, most of these systems later were redesigned to incorporate PCI. MCA is no longer used in new designs.

Why the interface was created

Overview of the technology issues of that time

Micro Channel was an attempt to address, once and for all, the problems that had come to plague the PC bus (later known as ISA).

The principal design problems of ISA were:

  • A slow bus speed.
  • A limited number of interrupts, fixed in hardware.
  • A limited number of I/O device addresses, also fixed in hardware
  • Hardwired and complex configuration with no conflict resolution.
  • Poor grounding and power distribution.
  • Undocumented bus interface standards that varied between systems and manufacturers.

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