IBM Personal Computer

From TheAlmightyGuru
Jump to: navigation, search
An IBM Personal Computer model 5150.

The IBM Personal Computer, more commonly referred to as the IBM PC, is a line of desktop computers developed by Don Estridge and a team of engineers at IBM and first sold on 1981-08-12. Although this wasn't IBM's first foray into the home computer market, it became their first hugely successful home computer line which allowed them to wrest control from companies like Commodore Business Machines, Apple, and Atari who had dominated the market up until that point. This allowed IBM to become the front-runner of home computers, despite the fact that their computers were inferior by most metrics. However, upon gaining much of the market, other companies began to produce cloned hardware, and, by the start of the 1990s, the IBM PC was just one of many companies producing essentially the same computer.

IBM PCs were primary designed for business use, and, because of that, the base model lacked graphic capabilities, color monitors, and sound beyond the PC speaker. However, they shipped with an Intel 8080 CPU which was much more powerful than the competitors, but they also cost three times as much!

The IBM Personal Computer replaced IBM's Datamaster model, and was superseded by the PS/2 line.


I used a couple of IBM PCs in my youth. The one I remember using most was owned by a friend from middle school. We usually played on his SNES, but, we usually played single-player RPGs, so the other person would get bored and play on the PC at the same time. I think it was an XT model with an EGA card and MS-DOS 5.0. I remember writing simple QBASIC programs on it.


I do not own, nor have I ever owned an IBM PC.


IBM kept a continuous release of new models, all called "PCs," so there is no official demarcation for when the model ends, but I like to group the original PC with the AT and XT models. Below are the base models, but each featured a variety of upgrades to the CPU, RAM, drives, and display capabilities.

Model Model Number Released CPU RAM Hard Disk Drives Display
PC (Personal Computer) 5150 1981-08-12 8088 4.77 MHz 16 KB None None Monochrome
XT (Extended Technology) 5160 1983-03-08 8088 4.77 MHz 128 KB 10 MB 5.25" floppy disk, 360 KB double-sided Monochrome
AT (Advanced Technology) 5170 1984-08-14 80286 6 MHz 256 KB 20 MB 5.25" floppy disk, 1.2 MB high density Monochrome


To support the PC, IBM developed an assortment of hardware including: