Model 5538 PS/55E

For Japanese readers:
Please check Mr. J. Takamura's page for more information about this model (Japanese page).
If you want to see how to open/disassemble the case go here (good pictures, also Japanese page).


Model 5538 (PS/55E)

5538s are VERY different from another PS/55's. They are not MCA. These models were called "Green PC" when they first came (IBM named it "PC STREAM" latter). Unlike PS/2 E, these models have integrated LCD panel. Imagine a ThinkPad planar in a thick vertical case with a pedestal and a integrated LCD panel which is adjustable in vertical direction, that's the 5538.

For photo image for 5538-Z and 5538-V are available at IBM's web site.

Model Variations
 Early Models - "GREEN PC"
 
5538-W
5538-Y
5538-Z
 
WVB
YVB 
YWC 
  YAC
 ZWC 
 ZAC
 CPU
i486SX-33 3.3V
i486DX-33 3.3V
 RAM  4MB 4MB  8MB 20MB 8MB 20MB
 VRAM
1MB
 VIDEO
WD90C24 
  WD90C24
          S3 Vision 86C928
VGA 256C
  VGA, 256C
SVGA, 256C
 DISPLAY 10.3" DSTN Color
10.4" TFT Color
12.1" TFT Color
 FDD
3 mode
4 mode ( 2.88MB/1.44MB/1.2MB/720KB )
 HDD
170MB
170MB
340MB
 SCSI
 None
 FutureDomain ( RS6K style external connector)
 PC CARD
Type III x2
Type III x4
 DRAM CARD SLOT
2
 Audio 
 None
 Installed OS  DOS J6.3/V DOS J6.1/V  Win J3.1 OS2J2.1  Win J3.1  OS2 J2.1
 Released Date 
 1994. 5
1993. 10
 Key Board
option
option
 5576-C01 ( 106 Key with TrackPoint  II )
Later Models - "PC STREAM"
 5537
Model w/o LCD
 
5538-U
5538-V
 
UWD
VVC
VWC
VWD
ZVC  ZAC
 CPU
 i486DX4-75
i486DX2-50
i486DX4-75
i486DX2-50
 RAM  ?
4MB
8MB
8MB
4MB 20MB
 VRAM
1MB
1MB 1MB
 VIDEO
WD90C24
S3 Vision 86C928
VGA, 256C
SVGA, 256C
 DISPLAY
10.4", TFT
11.3", DSTN
 None
 FDD
3 Mode 
4 Mode 
 HDD
340MB
270MB
340MB
340MB
 SCSI
None
Future Domain
 PC CARD
Type III x2 
Type III x4
 DRAM CARD  SLOT
2
2
 AUDIO
None
CS4248KL
 Installed OS Poss DOS J6.3/V & Win J3.1 DOS J6.3/V  DOS J6.3/V & Win J3.1 DOS J6.1/V OS2 J2.1
 Released Date
1995. 6
1994. 11
1994.11
1995. 6
1994. 3

Easy Setup Menu
To get into setup menu, press F1 function key upon powering the system. Every sections in Easy Setup menu are written in English.

CPU
SL Enhanced 3.3v parts are used for all models. CPU is loaded on a sub-board and any model can probably take other model's CPU sub-board. You probably *can* swap the CPU to AMD 5x86 if you are a good soldering iron man.

Memory
All model have 4MB  RAM soldered on the planers. You can add more RAMs using IC DRAM Cards (parity modules are recommended. at least genuine options for Z model are parity modules). According to IBM's guide book, 36MB is the max amount of RAM consisting with onboard 4MB  RAM and two 16MB IC DRAM CARDs. But actually 5538 recognizes 52MB in combination of 4MB of base memory +16MB +32MB.

Note 1:
According to Mr. Takamura's web page, IC DRAM memories are described as follows:

Z Models
Requires Parity memories only (Hmm... my 5537-ZAC accepts Non-Parity)

Y/V/W Models
Can accept both Parity and Non-parity cards disabling Parity check in Easy Setup menu.

U Models
Memory check selection is not provided in Easy Setup but both types are supposed to be usable.

Note 2:
Upper DRAM slot should be exclusively used for 16MB and /or 4MB card. If 8MB or 32MB DRAM card are populated in the upper memory slot, the system will recognize only half of actual RAM installed.

The Big Blue offers following genuine option cards:

IDCapacityTypeFRU
06G92424MBP07G1415 (different P/N is printed on mine: A) P/N 40G1914, B) 40G0275)
06G92438MBP07G1416
66G657516MBP66G0094 (different P/Ns such as 66G0093 and 66G8262 also exist)
84G56914MBNon-P84G5724, 92G7237
84G56948MBNon-P84G5725, 92G7236
84G569716MBNon-P84G5726, 92G7424

Third Party's products which I tested on 5538-YVB and 5537-ZAC:

VenderCapacityTypeID
Kingston16MBNon-PKFJ-NEM/16
Kingston16MBNon-PKTMTP360/16 145-010.A00 (Also labeled as PRINCETON TB973081)
Fujitsu16MBNon-PFMVNEM161 P/N CA46006-6270 004M32R2CA0-08F0P5E
Fujitsu16MBPFMBNEM161 P/N CA46006-6256 004M36R2CA0-08F0P5E
Hagiwara32MBNon-PHMC-A032
GreenHouse32MBNon-PJD32NF

Click here for IC DRAM Cards.

HD
U/V Models
supports E-IDE while W/Z/Y models supports legacy IDE with limited capacity of 524MB. I have a 820MB drive in my 5537-ZAC using EZDRIVE and it sees all 820MB happily.

Y and Z models
1st drive is screwed to the inner structure and you need to disassemble the machine to exchange the drive.

2nd Hard drive slot is prepared for all models. You can use same drive cage which is used in ThinkPad models such as M23V, C23V and TP550/555BJ. The cage is almost same with the one used for TP720/TP720C but the location of key holes beside the connector are little bit different.

Genuine optionsP/NPrice (JY)
170MB option pack66G7049?
340MB option pack66G864198,000
527MB option pack84G7056148,000

FDD
Single floppy drive. 3-mode drive for -U/V/W model and 4-mode drive for -Y/Z models.

3 mode drive can read/write 1.44MB/1.2MB/720KB
4 mode drive can read/write 2.88MB/1.44MB/1.2MB/720KB

ISA Slot
None.

PCMCIA
Type 3 x 2 for -U/V/W.
Type 3 x 4 for -Z/Y.

NT4, Win95B and OS/2 J2.11 can see and use all of these PCMCIA slots with built in drivers.

Ports
RS232C 9 pin x2, 1 parallel, VGA port for external display, mouse and keyboard.
Mini Centronics 60 pin SCSI connector (Z/Y models only).

SCSI (Y and Z models only)
Y/Z models have a onboard FutureDomain SCSI controller and RS/6000 style external connector. 538 is not a MCA designed PC neither have IBM MCA SCSI but it does have RS6K style 60 pin connector. Anyway, Y/Z models have 4 PCMCIA slots, your second choice is to use PCMCIA SCSI card. If you are a real MAD then you may have one or two (or more) of external cables for the connector.

Note:
1) You have to activate SCSI section in Easy Setup Menu before you use SCSI devices. To get into the Setup Menu, press F1 key upon powering the PC.
2) System will reports 1047000 221 error if you enable SCSI section in Setup menu but you don't have any SCSI devices attached to SCSI port.

Win95 has a built in driver for the chip.
Use FD 850/M/MER/MEX SCSI HOST ADAPTER.

DOS driver for CDROM
I used FDCD.SYS from Correl POWERSCSI for CD-ROM under DOS.

LCD panel
See above chart

Video Chip
WD90C24 is standard on the planers for models other than -Zxx.
S3 86C928 is prepared for Z models (provided as a sub-board).

WD90C24 and 256C on Win95:
In order to get 256C on Win95, you need to load VESA.EXE on your config.sys. VESA.exe is contained in a Video Driver Diskette for TP360/750. Or use 5538 Video Support Diskette (Japanese).

Audio
Basically 5538 doesn't provide built-in audio function. I'm not sure about 5538-Zxx if it has built-in audio function or not.

Keyboard
5576-C01, mechanical clicking keyboard with a track point-II, is equipped with earlier models. There are two variations of this keyboard.
One is with single cable and single connector to be connected to a Keyboard connector of 5538/5537.
The other is with single cable from keyboard which is separated into two connectors (thus it's called a "Y cable"), one for K/B port and the other for Mouse port.

Attention: (for Japanese readers)
It's advised that you need to use an " intermediate cable" together with C-01 K/B or other PS/2 K/B. Please observe following copy of a sheet which was shipped with 5537-ZAC.
I don't know how the "intermediate cable" works. I myself have not ever seen it. I think most of 5538 users do not have the cable and they use their B-01 K/B and PS/2 mouse in Fig.III below without the cable. Want to know the secret of this "intermediate cable"

Fig. 1
Cable connection for a 5576-C01 with single connector
Fig. 2
Cable connection for a 5576- C01 with Y cable for K/B and mouse
Fig. 3
Cable connection for 5576-001/002/003 or A/01/B01 K/B and a PS/2 mouse

AC Adapter
For TFT models: 18V/3.3A P/N 66G9434 FRU 66G9439
For DSTN models: 20V/2.0A P/N 84G7142 FRU 84G7156
Connector type: 2-pin cylindrical connector, center positive.

PS/55E and PS/2E
Physically they look very different each other but basic concepts of these systems are, I think, same.
Both systems were designed to meet with Green PC specification which was defined on Energy Star project promoted by US EPA (Environment Protection Agency) and US DOE (Department of Energy). See IBM Environmental Milestone
PS/2E and PS/55E came to the market too early and they were too expensive.

I once wrote to the comp.sys NG:
   It may be said that PS/55E had been introduced to the PC market too early. Design and concept were great but the price was a killer for general consumers. PS55Es were mainly delivered to big companies as like as MCA PC/55s.
Some of enthusiasts got one cheap NIB when IBM cleared out their surplus stock ( not so sure, but it was around 1996 to 1997. I happened to see a bargain sale when I was in Osaka ). I really wanted to buy one but it was still expensive to me though the price was discounted a lot.

Peter replied:
   History repeating. The same thing happened over here with the PS/2e 9533 "Pizzabox": it was a cash-killer when it was new and regularly sold by IBM.
When the stocks were cleared in about '97 the system showed up (along with a cheesy 12" SVGA tube display) in supermarkets and computer stores - but was still too expensive for its performance and for "regular" users. I saw some back then, planned to buy one but stepped back when I saw the price tag. It still cost 950 DM at a time when a Pentium-90 system with monitor was down to 750.

Here is some info about PS/2 E:
MAD Max Extreme Tam's PS/2 E pictures
The PS2/E and Linux Peter's tips and "How to" install SuSE 6.1.
The Antique Computer Virtual Museum Maintained by D.B.Young.


Model 5537-Z

5538-Z without integrated LCD panel. That's 5537-Z. I'd like to call it "Monolith".

CPUSL Enhance i486DX2-50MHz
VideoSVGA/ 1024x768 256C; S3 Vision 86C928
VRAM1MB
HDD170MB/340MB/520MB
SCSIFutureDomain
PCMCIAType-III x4
AudioCS4248KL (Stereo IN/OUT)

Win95 driver for CS4248KL
Sound Driver for TP750 series can be used (but you have to load the driver *twice*).

The PS/55 E line was followed by model 6870 PC710 with P90, and later P II or P III....


PS/55 Index