AST Research Inc. (Irvine, Calif.)

Originally a manufacturer of microcomputer add-ons, AST Research was founded in 1980 by three friends, Albert Wong, Safi Qureshey and Thomas Yuen. The A, S, and T in the company name are the first initials of the founders’ first names.

In the 1990s, AST Research was one of the high-fliers among PC makers. Its notebook and desktop PC lines were among the best-selling models, and it had a thriving PC add-on business.  It also produced and sold its own brand of laser printers. Total sales for FY1991 were nearly $700 million.

By the end of the decade, however, sales declined and the company was sold to Samsung in 1996, and it was rebranded AST Computers. Then in 1999 Packard Bell bought the company’s assets. The last AST-branded computer was sold a couple of years later.

The AST Premium/286 came in five configurations, depending on memory, storage, and graphics options: Model 80, Model 90, Model 120, Model 140, Model 170.

AST Research AST Premium/286 (January 1987, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $1,995 to $3,995
Base Configuration: 10MHz 80286 CPU, MS-DOS 3.1,7 ISA slots, 512K RAM (13MB max), 3.5-inch floppy drive, keyboard/keypad, RS-232C and parallel ports, diagnostics and utilities disks, software manuals
Video: CGA, EGA, MDA, and Hercules
Size/Weight: 19.25 x 6.25 x 16.5 inches
Important Options: 20MB to 70MB hard disk drive, tape backup, 14-inch color monitor

AST Research AST Premium SE 4/33
Base Configuration: 33MHz 80486 CPU, 80387 FPU, 8MB RAM, 3.5-inch floppy drive, 10 EISA expansion slots, parallel and 2 serial ports, SCSI adapter, Ethernet and Token Ring adapters, 102-key keyboard, 300W power supply
Video: Super VGA
Size/Weight: 26h x 19d x 15w inches
Important Options: 330MB to 1GB hard drive, 14-inch AST Super VGA color or AST Mono VGA monochrome monitor

AST Premium 486/33E

AST Premium 486/33E

AST Research AST Premium 486/33E (1990, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $5,795
Base Configuration: 33MHz 80486 CPU, 4MB RAM, 5.25-inch floppy drive, parallel and 2 serial ports, 102-key keyboard, 7 EISA expansion slots, IDE controller, 220W power supply
Video: Super VGA
Size/Weight: 6.25h x 16.5d x 19.25w inches
Important Options: 80MB, 110MB, 210MB, 320MB, or 330MB hard drive; SCSI controller, ESDI adapter, MS-DOS 5.0, OS/2 1.21

AST Research AST Premium 386/33TE (1990, server)
Original Retail Price: $6,495
Base Configuration: 33MHz 80386 CPU, 8MB RAM (16MB max), 5.25-inch floppy drive, parallel and 2 serial ports, 102-key keyboard, 10 EISA expansion slots, SCSI controller, 300W power supply
Video: Super VGA
Size/Weight: 24.25h x 17.9d x 14w inches
Important Options: 110MB, 210MB, 330MB, or 660MB hard drive; MS-DOS 5.0; OS/2 1.21

AST Research AST Premium 486/33TE (1990, server)
Original Retail Price: $9,495
Base Configuration: 33MHz 80486 CPU, 8MB RAM (16MB max), 5.25-inch floppy drive, parallel and 2 serial ports, 102-key keyboard, 10 EISA expansion slots, SCSI controller, 300W power supply
Video: Super VGA
Size/Weight: 24.25h x 17.9d x 14w inches
Important Options: 110MB, 210MB, 330MB, 660MB, or 1GB hard drive; MS-DOS 5.0; OS/2 1.21

AST Research AST Premium II 386/25 (1990, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $2,195
Base Configuration: 25MHz 80386 CPU; 2MB RAM (16MB max); 3.5-inch floppy drive; IDE controller; parallel and 2 serial ports; 3 32-bit and, 2 16-bit, and 1 8-bit expansion slots; 3 drive bays, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply
Video: Super VGA
Size/Weight: 6.25h x 16.5d x 15.25w inches
Important Options: 40MB, 80MB, 110MB, or 210MB hard drive; MS-DOS 5.0; OS/2 1.21

AST Research AST Premium II 386/33 (1990, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $2,795
Base Configuration: 33MHz 80386 CPU; 4MB RAM (16MB max); 3.5-inch floppy drive; IDE controller; parallel and 2 serial ports; 3 32-bit and, 2 16-bit, and 1 8-bit expansion slots; 3 drive bays, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply
Video: Super VGA
Size/Weight: 6.25h x 16.5d x 15.25w inches
Important Options: 40MB, 80MB, 110MB, or 210MB hard drive; MS-DOS 5.0; OS/2 1.21

AST Research AST Premium II 486SX/20 (1990, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $2,995
Base Configuration: 20MHz 80486SX CPU; 4MB RAM (16MB max); 3.5-inch floppy drive; IDE controller; parallel and 2 serial ports; 3 32-bit and, 2 16-bit, and 1 8-bit expansion slots; 3 drive bays, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply
Video: Super VGA
Size/Weight: 6.25h x 16.5d x 15.25w inches
Important Options: 40MB, 80MB, 110MB, or 210MB hard drive; MS-DOS 5.0; OS/2 1.21

AST Research AST Premium II 486/33 (1990, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $4,495
Base Configuration: 33MHz 80486 CPU; 4MB RAM (16MB max); 3.5-inch floppy drive; IDE controller; parallel and 2 serial ports; 3 32-bit and, 2 16-bit, and 1 8-bit expansion slots; 3 drive bays, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply
Video: Super VGA
Size/Weight: 6.25h x 16.5d x 15.25w inches
Important Options: 40MB, 80MB, 110MB, or 210MB hard drive; MS-DOS 5.0; OS/2 1.21

AST Research AST Premium II 386SX/20 (1990, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $1,595
Base Configuration: 20MHz 80386SX CPU; 2MB RAM (16MB max); 3.5-inch floppy drive; IDE controller; parallel and 2 serial ports; 3 32-bit and, 2 16-bit, and 1 8-bit expansion slots; 3 drive bays, 102-key keyboard, 145W power supply
Video: Super VGA
Size/Weight: 6.25h x 16.5d x 15.25w inches
Important Options: 40MB, 80MB, 110MB, or 210MB hard drive; MS-DOS 5.0; OS/2 1.21

AST Research Bravo 286/16 (1989, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $1,095
Base Configuration: 16MHz 80286 CPU, 1MB RAM (16MB max), 3.5-inch floppy drive, serial and 2 parallel ports, IDE controller, 5 16-bit expansion slots, 145W power supply, MS-DOS 5.0
Video: Super VGA
Size/Weight: 6.25h x 16.5d x 15.25w inches
Important Options: 40MB, 80MB, 110MB, or 210MB hard drive, 80386SX/20 CPU upgrade, OS/2 1.21

AST Research Bravo 386SX/20 (1989, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $1,999
Base Configuration: 20MHz 80386SX CPU, 2MB RAM (16MB max), 3.5-inch floppy drive, serial and 2 parallel ports, IDE controller, 5 16-bit expansion slots, 145W power supply, MS-DOS 5.0
Video: Super VGA
Size/Weight: 6.25h x 16.5d x 15.25w inches
Important Options: 40MB, 80MB, 110MB, or 210MB hard drive, OS/2 1.21

AST Research Bravo 486/25 (1990, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $2,995
Base Configuration: 25MHz 80486 CPU, 80387 FPU, 2MB RAM (16MB max), 3.5-inch floppy drive, serial and 2 parallel ports, IDE controller, 5 16-bit expansion slots, 145W power supply, MS-DOS 5.0
Video: Super VGA
Size/Weight: 6.25h x 16.5d x 15.25w inches
Important Options: 80MB, 110MB, or 210MB hard drive, OS/2 1.21

AST Medallion CAD Series (1991, CAD workstation)
Original Retail Price: $8,995
Base Configuration: 33MHz 80486 CPU, 80387 FPU, 8MB RAM (16MB max), 120MB hard drive, 3.5-inch floppy drive, parallel and 2 serial ports, 5 16-bit ISA expansion slots, 102-key keyboard, CalComp DrawingCard graphics engine, CalComp 20-inch color monitor, CalComp 33120 Drawingboard II digitizer pad, Drawing Manager, MS-DOS 3.3
Video: Super VGA, 1280 x 1024 pixels, 256 colors
Size/Weight: 6.25h x 16.5d x 15.25w
Important Options: 40MB, 80MB, or 210MB hard drive

AST Research AST Premium Exec 386SX/20 (~1991, notebook PC)
Original Retail Price: $2,395
Base Configuration: 20MHz 80386SX CPU, 2MB RAM (8MB max), 40MB hard drive, 3.5-inch floppy drive, serial and parallel ports, expansion slot, monochrome monitor, 82-key keyboard, MS-DOS 5.0, NiCad battery, carrying case
Video: VGA CCFT, 32 shades of grey
Size/Weight: 2.25h x 9d x 11.4w inches, 7 lbs.
Important Options: 60MB or 80MB hard drive, keypad, 2400 or 9600 bps modem

AST Research AST Premium Exec 386SX/25 (~1991, notebook PC)
Original Retail Price: $2,995
Base Configuration: 25MHz 80386SX CPU, 4MB RAM (8MB max), 60MB hard drive, 3.5-inch floppy drive, serial and parallel ports, expansion slot, monochrome monitor, 82-key keyboard, MS-DOS 5.0, NiCad battery, carrying case
Video: VGA CCFT, 32 shades of grey
Size/Weight: 2.25h x 9d x 11.4w inches, 7 lbs.
Important Options: 80MB hard drive, keypad, 2400 or 9600 bps modem

AST Research AST Premium Exec 386SX/25C (~1991, notebook PC)
Original Retail Price: $4,995
Base Configuration: 25MHz 80386SX CPU, 4MB RAM (8MB max), 60MB hard drive, 3.5-inch floppy drive, serial and parallel ports, expansion slot, passive matrix color monitor, 82-key keyboard, MS-DOS 5.0, NiCad battery, carrying case
Video: VGA CCFT, 16 colors at 640 x 480 pixels, 256 colors at 320 x 200 pixels
Size/Weight: 2.3h x 9d x 11.4w inches, 7 lbs.
Important Options: 80MB hard drive, keypad, 2400 or 9600 bps modem

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