17 Facts About IBM PC


The specifications of the IBM PC became one of the most popular computer design standards in the world.

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IBM PC had previously produced microcomputers, such as 1975's IBM PC 5100, but targeted them towards businesses; the 5100 had a price tag as high as $20, 000.

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IBM PC chose the 8088 over the similar but superior 8086 because Intel offered a better price for the former and could provide more units, and the 8088's 8-bit bus reduced the cost of the rest of the computer.

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IBM PC debuted on August 12, 1981 after a twelve-month development.

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In 1983, IBM PC sold more than 750, 000 machines, while Digital Equipment Corporation, one of the companies whose success had spurred IBM PC to enter the market, sold only 69, 000.

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Low cost and a quick design turnaround time, the hardware design of the IBM PC used entirely "off-the-shelf" parts from third party manufacturers, rather than unique hardware designed by IBM.

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IBM PC was highly expandable and upgradeable, but the base factory configuration included:.

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IBM PC shipped three versions of the BIOS throughout the PC's lifespan.

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IBM PC sold the 5153 color monitor for this purpose, but it was not available at release and was not released until March 1983.

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At release, IBM PC did not offer any hard disk drive option and adding one was difficult - the PC's stock power supply had inadequate power to run a hard drive, the motherboard did not support BIOS expansion ROMs which was needed to support a hard drive controller, and both PC DOS and the BIOS had no support for hard disks.

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At release, IBM PC provided a Game Control Adapter which offered a 15-pin port intended for the connection of up to two joysticks, each having two analog axes and two buttons.

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IBM PC provided two different options for connecting Centronics-compatible parallel printers.

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Market reacted as IBM PC had intended, and within a year or two of the PC's release the available options for expansion hardware were immense.

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In retrospect, it seems IBM PC stepped into a void that remained, paradoxically, at the center of a crowded market.

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IBM PC sold a number of computers under the "Personal Computer" or "PC" name throughout the 80s.

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IBM PC was based on commodity hardware rather than unique IBM components, and because its operation was extensively documented by IBM, creating machines that were fully compatible with the PC offered few challenges other than the creation of a compatible BIOS ROM.

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Simple duplication of the IBM PC BIOS was a direct violation of copyright law, but soon into the PC's life the BIOS was reverse-engineered by companies like Compaq, Phoenix Software Associates, American Megatrends and Award, who either built their own computers that could run the same software and use the same expansion hardware as the PC, or sold their BIOS code to other manufacturers who wished to build their own machines.

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