The IBM PC that revolutionized computing turns 40

This week marks 40 years since the IBM 5150 was released to the world.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Commodore and Apple dominated the microcomputer world. IBM, on the other hand, was best known for its high-end business products.

However, when its customers started noticing Apple products, IBM went to market and chose to use standard hardware and software and adopt an open architecture. An important choice.

Intel’s 8088 was chosen over the competition (including IBM’s own RISC processor) and Microsoft was known to have been called upon to provide both PC DOS and BASIC included in the ROM. So now it’s also the 40th anniversary of PC DOS, otherwise known as MS-DOS.

The price of the 5150 started in $1,565, and a fully loaded system added up to more than $3,000.

Users can enjoy high resolution monochrome text through the MDA card or some low resolution graphics (and color tones) through a CGA card (which can be installed simultaneously).

RAM was available in 16 or 64 kB and could be expanded up to 256 kB while the Intel 8088 CPU ran at 4.77 MHz.

Storage came in the form of two 5.25 ″ floppy drives and the ability to connect a cassette tape recorder, an option that was quickly discarded in later models.

There was no hard drive and adding one was a problem: the motherboard and software didn’t support it and the power supply was a little bad. IBM resolved this as the PC evolved.

The motherboard too included slots for expansion, what later became known as the ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) bus when IBM’s PC clones exploded.

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The 5150 was sold as donuts, far exceeding the company’s expectations. Its cost-effectiveness was quite good, considering the quality of its components, such as the keyboard and its 80 columns and, of course, its software and hardware architecture. The 5150 was discontinued in 1987.

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