I am planing on buying an IBM PC 300 system from IBM PC Direct (I get a
discount), and I am trying to decide what to do about a modem. I'm
going to put at least three partitions on a 1GB hard drive, the first
of which will contain DOS-Windows-OS/2, the second Linux, and the third
anything I may want to play around with later.
Naturally I want to get a modem which I can use with as many operating
systems as possible, but my computing background is mostly IBM
mainframes and Sun Sparcstations, and I know very little about PC
architecture or modems (yet!).
The IBM PC Direct catalog offers a DSP Modem and Audio Card which looks
very interesting. It appears to be a fully upgradable Fax/Data/Voice
modem (with voicemail, speakerphone, fax-back, fax mailbox, and other
capabilities) and also a full-blown 16 bit multimedia sound card (MPC-2
compliant, wavetable MIDI, etc.). The price, $235, seems quite
reasonable. It uses something called Mwave Digital Signal Processor
technology (is that different from everyone else's DSP?), and the
catalog claims that since it is easily upgradable when new modem
standards come along, it could be "the only modem you may ever need".
Well, I guess that means they want me to buy it. :-) But I have a
couple of questions first, which I'm hoping someone here will be able
to help me with.
One -- does anyone here have any experience with this card? Does it
live up to it's billing as *both* a modem and a sound card?
Two -- is such a card likely to be used the same way by comm programs
as a normal internal modem? IBM also sells plain internal modems, and
I'm wondering if this card is just two normal cards (modem and sound
card) combined into one, or whether it is something different. If it
*is* something different, how would that affect me when I tried to use
it with a comm program? Remember I don't know much about the PC
architecture. I know there are such things as COM1 and COM2, but I
don't really know many details (any book suggestions for this?).
Three -- given that I am interested in running my PC under several
different operating systems, should I even be thinking about an
internal modem at all? Maybe external modems, attached to the serial
port, are generic and all look alike while internal modems require
special software support. Again, I just don't know. Is it likely that
I will be able to use this modem under Linux? Under other Unixes?
Any help on any of these questions, or any relevant comments or
suggestions, will be greatly appreciated!