IBM PC 40TH ANNIVERSARY

ibm5150

Today the IBM 5150 PC heralds its 40th Anniversary. The venerable old machine was expensive but at the time it was state of the art.

The machine was slow to gain popularity as the amount of software was very limited for several years. Most who bought one had to use the BASIC interpreter to build applications.

Most machines were shipped with one floppy disk drive but many added a second floppy drive after realising the machine supported dual drive. Dual drives made it possible to copy data from one disk to another easily or to even copy a disk completely.

BASIC programs are small text files and a 360K floppy can hold many programs. User groups quickly formed and BASIC program collections were available on floppy disks for everyone,

Microsoft had MASM available and developing software in Assembler was typical for 8-bt machines and the PC with 64KB of memory was not much better outside of the richer BASIC interpreter. It was almost impossible to use more than 64KB with a program due to the complex segmented memory architecture.

Eventually later versions of PC-DOS became available that better used the hardware but by the time that surfaced the faster IBM PC-AT and Compaq DeskPro 386 machines were available with much more performance.

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