Intel Above Board

MC, MC32, and 2 Plus

@70D1.ADF Intel Above Board MC
ABMC.exe Operating Software Diskette (303989-001, 20 May 1991) [P] (zipped image)
Readme for ABMC.exe
Intel Above Board MC Installation Guide (scan by David Beem)

@70B0.ADF Intel Above Board MC32
C70B0.ADF Init file for @70B0.ADF
ABMC32.exe Distribution Diskette (302477-001A, 01 Dec 1991) [P] (zipped image)
Readme for ABMC32.exe

@7788.ADF Intel Above Board 2 Plus
I7788.ADF Init file for @7788.ADF (version 1)
I7788.DAT Alternative init file for @7788.ADF? (version 5)
@FEFE.ADF IBM 2 MB 16-bit Memory Adapter (for Above Board 2 Plus)
CFEFE.ADF Init file for @FEFE.ADF (for Above Board 2 Plus)
   So which adapter ID is correct? Both?
AB2PLUS.ZIP Option Diskette for 2 Plus (zipped image, from David Beem)

MCATST.exe Diagnostics disk, MS-DOS. Do not run IBM's diagnostic programs to test the Above Board's memory. (This includes the "Test the computer" option in the main menu of the Reference Diskette program.)
CHKMEM.exe This program reports the amount of conventional, extended and expanded memory present in a system.

Intel Above Board Support Pages (archived)

Above Board MC
   Installing Memory
   I/O Daughterboard
Above Board MC32
Above Board 2 Plus
   DIP Switches (U22)
Installation Problems and Solutions
ADF Sections

Some of the information on this page came from William R. Walsh's website (original HERE).

Above Board MC [P] [P]

1-8 30-pin SIMM sockets
J1 50-pin header for I/O board
U8,14 Dallas DS1005C-003 Delay Line
U11 pads for 8-pin DIP (switch, socket?)
U16 Xilinx XC3342 PQ100C-5014
U17,18,22,26 MT5C6404DJ-15 16Kx4 SRAM
U35 M5M28C64AFP-15 8Kx8 EEPROM

Installing Memory

256 KB, 1 MB and 4 MB SIMMs are supported. All installed SIMMs must be of the same size and 100 ns or faster. 85 ns or faster SIMMs allow for zero wait state operation.

Restrictions depending on the type of the slot in which the adapter is installed:

16-bit Slot

  • Maximum extended memory: 16 MB
  • Maximum expanded memory: 32 MB
  • You must add SIMMs two at a time.
  • Any extra memory on an Above Board above 16 MB of extended memory can be set up as expanded memory.

32-bit Slot

  • Maximum extended memory: 64 MB
  • Maximum expanded memory: 32 MB
  • You may add SIMMs two at a time up to 16 MB of total extended memory (all boards in your system), but your board will operate faster if you install the SIMMs four at a time.
  • Beyond 16 MB of extended memory, SIMMs must be added four at a time, for all boards in your computer.
  • Any Above Board that is supplying extended memory above 16 MB must be placed in a 32-bit slot.

I/O Daughterboard

Connects to the 50-pin header (J1) and provides 1x serial and 1x parallel port. Includes a replacement MCA bracket for the adapter. Sold separately.

Above Board MC32

No outline available. Do you have this adapter? Let Us Know!

Above Board 2 Plus (Adapter ID FEFEh or 7788h?) [P] [P]

This "pretends" to be an IBM 2 MB 16-bit Memory Adapter, like the Orchid RAMQuest II.

1-8 30-pin SIMM sockets
U7 Dallas DS1000C-8009 Delay Line
U12 Intel PCEO 301237-001 Gate Array
U14-16 Cypress CY7C149-35PC 1Kx4 SRAM
U18 Dallas DS1000C-8010 Delay Line
U20 Intel PCEO 301252-001 Gate Array
U22 DIP switch (4 positions)
U23 Empty 8-pin DIP socket (?)

1-8 30-pin SIMM sockets. Uses 256 KB parity SIMMs and probably needs them in pairs.

Caution: When loading SIMMs into this adapter, be careful! Some if not all samples use plastic SIMM sockets, and these are incredibly easy to break. A repair doesn't look to be nearly as easy.

"PCEO" stands for Intel's Personal Computer Enhancement Operation. The PCEO was the group responsible for the development and marketing of the Intel Above Board family of adapters.

DIP Switches (U22)

From William Walsh (edited):
   I installed it, ran QBMCA for the adapter ID, and started fiddling with the DIP switches in a test bed machine. With no RAM installed (and probably running the adapter in a machine that's way too fast for it - a Model 53SLC2) the switches did nothing, caused odd video colors at POST or made the machine fail to start entirely.

Tim Knight said (edited):
   I think I read something years ago that each one of the dip switches represent 512 KB memory installed. However, I lie a lot... (give it a try). Don't forget to experiment with SOFTSET - you will need it.

David Ress said:
   From the Fall 1988 Special Edition of BYTE, I found an Intel Above Board/2 (16-bit adapter) listed that supports a maximum of 2 MB of RAM, uses 256 KB SIMMs, either 100 or 120 ns. The adapter may be configured for Extended Memory use and is compliant with EMS 4.0. It originally cost $445 with 0 KB on board, it included RAM disk drivers and print spooler software. Warranty was for 5 years.

This issue lists 25 memory boards and specs that were available as of Fall 1988.

I have another issue at home that explains why you are seeing the same adapter ID on this adapter as IBM 2 MB adapter. Basically, it was done this way to make it easy for manufacturers to get into the MCA arena.

Installation Problems and Solutions (from the ABMC.exe Readme file)

Using MCATEST to view Above Board MC ROM error messages

If the Above Board MC ROM displays an error or warning message, you can run MCATEST to view the message at your convenience. MCATEST will automatically display any Above Board MC ROM error or warning messages.

Installing an Above Board with an IBM Token Ring Adapter

A memory conflict may occur when an Above Board is installed in a system with an IBM Token Ring board. The IBM Token Ring is compatible with the Above Board 2, Above Board 2 Plus, Above Board MC, and Above Board MC32. The Above Board MC32 and the Token Ring boards can be installed by following the normal instructions. However, if your Above Board is configured as expanded memory and you're installing a Token Ring, you must take steps to eliminate conflicts.

Once you've installed the Above Board, there are two ways to configure the Token Ring and Above Board so they don't conflict. To decide which is best for your computer, boot with your computer's Reference Diskette and select the options to "Set Configuration" and "Change Configuration."

  • Use option 1 if you have a board (other than the Token Ring) using addresses that begin with "C".
  • Use option 2 if you have a board (other than the Token Ring) using addresses that begin with "D".

Option 1:

  1. Boot with your computer's Reference Diskette.
  2. Use the "Change Configuration" option to reposition the "Packet Buffer RAM Address" from the default value D8000 to C4000 (or C8000 if there's a conflict at C4000). Leave the "ROM Address" for the Token Ring board at CC000.
  3. Press F10 to save the configuration. Exit the Reference disk program, then boot to a DOS diskette.
  4. Edit your CONFIG.SYS file and make these modifications:
    • Add " ,C400" (or C800 if that's the address you used in step 3) to the DXMC0MOD.SYS command line. You must add a space in front of the comma.
    • Save the new CONFIG.SYS file.
  5. Reboot the computer and you're finished.

Option 2:

  1. Boot with your computer's Reference Diskette.
  2. Use the "Change Configuration" option to reposition the "ROM Address" for the Token Ring board from the default value CC000 to DC000. Leave the "Packet Buffer RAM Address" at D8000.
  3. Press F10 to save the configuration. Exit the Reference disk program and you're finished.

About the Above Board MC ROM

The Above Board MC ROM configures the memory on all Above Board 2, 2 Plus, and Above Board MC boards each time you boot your computer. The "ROM" is actually an EEPROM that can be updated by the SOFTSET program. SOFTSET will update the executable code in the Above Board MC ROM if there are future revisions (all you need is a copy of the new ROM.DAT file). SOFTSET also stores your Above Board configuration in the Above Board MC ROM so that the ROM knows how to set up your memory.

Above Board Expanded Memory conflicts

The Above Board Expanded Memory Manager (EMM.SYS) can conflict with ROM or RAM that is on another add-in board.

EMM.SYS searches reserved memory from C000 to DFFF to find unused pages. EMM needs at least four 16K-byte pages of contiguous memory, but will use as many free pages as it finds.

If your computer contains a ROM that isn't active at start-up, EMM may assume the page is free for its own use and a conflict will occur. In this case, you must use one of the exclude page parameters on the EMM command line.

You can tell EMM where to start its free page search, where to end its free page search, or to exclude a specific page. The third option leaves EMM free to search for any unused pages. Use this method when using Quarterdeck's QRAM, so the extra pages can be used to load device drivers or TSRs into high memory.

To exclude a page, use the EP parameter to specify the page or range of pages that EMM should not use. For example, to exclude the pages from C000 up to C800, edit your CONFIG.SYS file to add EP=C000-C7FF to the EMM command line as shown in the following example:

Device = EMM.SYS MOD65 EP=C000-C7FF

To specify an address where EMM should begin it's free page search, edit your CONFIG.SYS file and add the parameter EXPF=D000 to the DEVICE=EMM.SYS line. Check your Above Board manual for other starting and ending addresses.

Microsoft Windows 3.0

Above Boards are compatible with Microsoft Windows 3.0.

For 386 enhanced mode in a 386-based machine, set your Above Board for all extended memory. A minimum of 2MB of memory is needed to run Windows in this mode. Windows 3.0 provides expanded memory for applications that run under Windows. You can install Microsoft's EMM386.SYS to provide expanded memory for your applications that need expanded memory but don't run under Windows.

For standard mode in a 286 machine, you can set your Above Board for both extended and expanded memory if needed. A minimum of 256K of extended memory is required to run Windows in this mode. Be sure EMM.SYS is BEFORE HIMEM.SYS in the CONFIG.SYS.

Quarterdeck QRAM

EMM requires a minimum 64K-byte page frame to supply expanded memory for applications. QRAM will use any extra 16K-byte pages (beyond the 64K-byte page frame that EMM uses) to load device drivers and TSRs out of conventional memory. The pages QRAM uses are dedicated to what is loaded into them. QRAM will report "Nothing useful to do" if there are no extra pages.

If there are no extra pages available, you can configure QRAM to use EMM's page frame. This page frame could then be used only to load drivers or TSRs into high memory. In this case, there would be no expanded memory available for applications, so a choice must be made between having more conventional memory and any expanded memory.

If you have problems with a program that uses expanded memory, remove QRAM to see if the problem persists.


CHKMEM doesn't count all of the extended memory

When certain memory-resident programs (such as SMARTDRIVE, IBMCache and PC-Kwik) are installed, CHKMEM reports less than the total amount of extended memory in the computer. The difference between the total memory in the computer and the amount that CHKMEM reports is equal to the amount that the resident programs are using.

With Microsoft's HIMEM.SYS installed, CHKMEM will report 0K-bytes of extended memory.


CHKMEM reports "no extended memory available" when run in OS/2's compatibility box, even when the Above Board is working and providing extended memory. This is because OS/2 reserves all extended memory for itself, so none is available when CHKMEM looks for extended memory.

Check your OS/2 documentation for directions on how to see the extended memory amount available in your system.

CHKMEM shows no expanded memory

This problem means another device driver or program is conflicting with EMM. Check the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files for other device drivers. Other EMM drivers, such as DEVICE=VEM.SYS for a program called Above Disk, are incompatible with EMM.

Computer Type to select for non-IBM computers

If you have a non-IBM computer, select the "Model 70" system type option in SOFTSET. Selecting the "Other" option will cause EMM to ignore all parity errors and is not recommended.

Setting up the Above Board MC in NCR and Tandy computers

If you are installing the Above Board MC in an NCR or Tandy computer, use the following installation instructions. Boot with your computer's Reference Diskette. Select "Configuration" from the Main Menu, then "Automatic" so your computer will recognize the Above Board MC. Select "Change" on the Configuration Menu and select the Above Board MC to configure the board for your computer.

The Above Board ROM could not read drive C: to check for an Above Board iADF

The Above Board MC ROM displays this error message when it cannot read drive C. This happens when the Above Board MC ROM address is lower than the disk controller ROM address (for example, if the Above Board MC ROM is located at C800 and the disk controller ROM is at DC00). Be sure you have run SOFTSET. This will remove any unneeded Above Board iADF file, but you will see this message as long as the Above Board MC ROM executes before the disk controller ROM. You can use your computer's Reference Diskette to move the ROMs for these two boards to eliminate this warning message. Use one of the following methods (the method you should use depends on your disk controller type):

  1. If you can change the disk controller's ROM address using your computer's Reference Diskette, move it to an address below the address used by the Above Board MC ROM. For example, if the Above Board MC ROM is located at CC00, move the disk controller ROM to C800.
  2. If you can't change the disk controller ROM address using your computer's Reference Diskette but you have the option to disable it, then disable the disk controller ROM and move the Above Board MC ROM to the highest available address (usually DC00). Enable the disk controller ROM again. This should force the disk controller ROM to an address below the Above Board MC ROM.
  3. If the disk controller ROM address can't be changed and you can't disable the disk controller using your computer's Reference Diskette, then follow these steps:
    • Power down the system
    • Remove the disk controller
    • Boot with your computer's Reference Diskette and change the Above Board MC ROM address to the highest available address (usually DC00 -- if there is a conflict at DC00, choose the next lower Above Board MC ROM address until you find a value which does not cause a conflict).
    • Power down the system
    • Re-install the disk controller
    • Boot with your computer's Reference Diskette. Answer 'N' to the question "Automatically configure the system? (Y/N)." Choose "Set configuration" from the Main Menu. Choose "Change configuration" from the submenu. Verify that the system setup shown is correct and press F10 to save the configuration.

The Above Board MC ROM should now execute after the disk controller ROM, and the warning message should no longer appear.


If you are using the BUFFERS /X command under DOS 4.0, you may have a conflict if SOFTSET needs to program the Above Board MC ROM. Remove the "/X" from the BUFFERS command in your CONFIG.SYS file before running SOFTSET.

ADF for Intel Above Board MC32 Version 1.00 to be used with ADP type programs

AdapterId 070B0h "Intel Above Board MC32"

System Type
   A Model 80 (16MHz type 1) supports a fast memory cycle.  To see if you have
this model, check the front panel near the ON/OFF switch for a label reading 'TYPE 8580-041'.  If you are unsure what system you have, choose the '70/80s (except 80 type 1)' option.
   <"70/80s (except 80 type 1)>, Model 80 (16MHz type 1)

SIMM (memory) Speed
   The SIMMs in your Above Board supply the board's memory.  The DRAMs (memory chips) on these modules are usually labeled to show their speed.  This labeling typically consists of a part number, a dash, and the speed number.  The speed number is usually shown without the last zero.  For example '110000J-10' means a part number '110000J' and a speed number '10' implying 100 nanoseconds.  If you are not sure what speed memory you have, choose the 'Slow (100ns) memory' option."
   <Slow (100ns) memory>, Fast (80 or 85ns) memory

Content created and/or collected by:
Louis Ohland, Peter Wendt, David Beem, William Walsh, Tatsuo Sunagawa, Jim Shorney, Tim Clarke, Kevin Bowling, Tomáš Slavotínek, and many others.

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