Apple /// Softcard ///

The Softcard /// was produced by Microsoft specifically for the Apple ///. It was basically the same as the original Softcard produced for the Apple II which was Microsofts’s very first hardware product. The Softcard /// was just redesigned to fit inside the Apple III. The Softcard /// gave the Apple /// the ability to run the CP/M operating system and included a Z-80 CPU with 64k RAM. Relased in June 1980.

I’ve kind of wanted this card for some time and been looking for one but so often the price have been too high for me and availability has been quite poor. Luckily recently i was able to win auction that had the card and two floppies with it.

card_s
-Softcard /// 
-SOS-CP/M Utilities Diskette (076-0001) Apple 1982
-Apple Softcard III CP/M Master Diskette v2.20 (076-0002) Apple 1982

The manuals were missing but i believe i have most of the manuals that belong to the original package as well the CP/M book by Osbourne.

INSTALLATION:

What the manuals mentions that the card can be inserted in any slot but slot 2 is recommended. One drive is needed, but two drives are recommended naturally for smoother experience and usage. Also the 5-megabyte ProFile hardrive is supported.

I installed the card to the Apple /// that had Titan /// plus // & Titan /// plus //e – cards and the “OnThree” 512k memory expansion -card installed. That would make the /// even more usefull with even larger software support :

– Apple /// 256k/512k 
– Apple //e 128k 65C02
– CP/M 56k

My setup was as follows:

a3_cards_installed_s

#1 – Softcard ///  
#2 – Titan /// plus //
#3 – Titan /// plus //e
#4 – CFFA3000 (for Apple II-testing purposes)

This all reminds me of Commodore 128. You could run C64, C128 and CP/M software on it as it had dual processors inside:
-MOS 8502 @ 2 MHz (C64 & C128)
-Zilog Z80B @ 2 MHz (CP/M)

 

WHAT NEXT?

setup_s

Next step is to install the ClassicIDE-card with CF-card acting as HDD. I’ve had the card for years but there haven’t been much use for it after getting CFFA3000 for the IIGS. The ClassicIDE should work with the /// with CFFA-driver but that’s something to be seen. The physical space is very limited so i need to get an angled IDE-adapter in order to install the CF-card.

I do have 5MB Profile drive but .. it’s really noisy and how realible it is, who knows. If that can be modernized with CF-card, it’s fine with me.

I do have the “Legend Memory S-Card” that i thought to put on /// but right now i’m running out of slots.  I might install it to my another /// that is quite in stock condition, only calendar/clock-battery added so far. Just need to get RAM-chips to it..

There’s not lots of options for OS’s to be run with the ///:
-SOS
-DOS 3.3
-ProDOS 2.4.2
-GEOS
-A2Desktop
-Mousedesk
-CP/M
-BOS

That reminds me, i should install and test the mousecard with the /// (& //e emulation).

THOUGHTS?

Running CP/M software with Apple /// at the time, was as uselfull as it was for Apple II’s. There were large base of business software made already for CP/M when the /// was released so it was usefull addition to your ///. In this case as i have both of the  Titan cards on my /// the support for different software is quite maximized as the Titans allows 128k 65c02 Apple //e software run on the ///.

There were never that much software released for ///.. You bought your expensive and unrealiable /// and used  Apple II and CP/M software on it..sad. The /// had great potential.

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple /// Forever.