IBM PC Oddities

Posted by  | Thursday, August 11, 2011

The PC’s (Really) Big Brother

When IBM designed its first PC, it called upon Florida-based engineers who’d built the System/23 Datamaster. IBM intended the Datamaster, introduced a month before the 5150, to be an easy word processing and BASIC machine, but it weighed 95 pounds and cost $9,830 (about $24,409 today).

The PC team borrowed several Datamaster elements. The first was its noisy keyboard. The second was its internal expansion bus, similar to the PC’s ISA. And the third was its use of the 8085 and 8-bit support chips: IBM chose the 8088, a 16-bit CPU with an 8-bit bus, in part because of its familiarity with the Datamaster’s 8-bit chipset.

(Photo: Steven Stengel)

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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Stilgar Says:

    What about IBM's word processing software, Display Write 1.0? It's hard to find any good information on this product on the internet. I even remember the name of the executable "dw1" 🙂

  2. Zomg Says:

    What's bizzare and dystopian about teaching people to read? I say it's utopian. Now if they subliminally taught them to only buy IBM or become chimp plant lackeys… that would be dystopian.

  3. Pheasant Under Glass Says:

    I think the author was just showing how limited his/her vocabulary is. …ah, if only they had access to one of those evil IBM enslavement machines during their youth.