COMPAQ PORTABLE

The Compaq Portable PC is a 8088 based machine. The MSRP is $3590.

  • 8088
  • 128KB RAM
  • 360K floppy disk drive
  • 9″ green screen
  • 28 lbs

The Compaq Portable was announced in November 1982 and first shipped in March 1983.

Compaq’s efforts were possible because IBM had used mostly off-the-shelf parts for the PC and published full technical documentation for it, and because Microsoft had kept the right to license MS-DOS to other computer manufacturers. The only difficulty was the BIOS, because it contained IBM’s copyrighted code. Compaq solved this problem by producing a clean room workalike that performed all documented functions of the IBM PC BIOS, but was completely written from scratch.

Aside from using DOS 1.x, the Portables are similar to the 16k-64k models of the IBM PC in that the BIOS was limited to 544k of RAM and did not support expansion ROMs, thus making them unable to use EGA/VGA cards, hard disks, or similar hardware.