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I > IBM  > 5100   


IBM
5100

In September 1975, IBM announced its smallest and first portable computer (If you consider a 28 Kgs. computer portable, that is), the IBM 5100, no bigger than one of IBM's typewriters.

Developed in Rochester, it used the same operating system as IBM's /370 line of main frames. Thus it could accommodate the same APL interpreter, permitting the use of APL programs. A BASIC interpreter was also available, depending of the 5100 version chosen.

This was the first widely marketed and supported personal computer, and definitely the first useful all-in-one, portable computer system. However, it was a very primitive machine that was largely unsuccessful due to its high price tag (basic version costed $8,975) and limited expansion capabilities.

It had a built-in tape drive and a small 5" 64 character display. A special display mode allowed the user to select right or left bigger 32 chars. of each line.
The tape drive used a 1/4 inch DC300 tape cartridge and stored 204 KB of data.
The 5100 didn't feature a microprocessor chip, but a card called PALM (Put All Logic in Microcode) which acted as a 16-bit microprocessor.

Notice that the 5100 is the first serial number of IBM "Personal Computer" range that will later include the 5110, 5120, 5150 (IBM-PC) and 5160 (PC-XT).

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Last time I looked the Smithsonian had the development prototype of the 5100. It was called Scamp or Mercury, depending on the phase of development. The one at the Smithsonian was made of wood and had a nine inch screen. It was given to them by Dr. Paul Friedl, one of the early inventors at the IBM Scientific Center in Palo Alto, California.

          
Friday 4th September 2015
Alvin Ginsburg (United States)

This is the computer time traveler John Titor claimed to have retrieved in 1975 traveling back from his time in 2036 to help rebuild their world.

          
Sunday 1st June 2014
Fliver (United States)

Some asked about PALM. It stood for "program all logic in memory." I recall it as an 8 bit machine, though.

          
Tuesday 19th February 2013
Alvin (usa)

 

NAME  5100
MANUFACTURER  IBM
TYPE  Professional Computer
ORIGIN  U.S.A.
YEAR  September 1975
END OF PRODUCTION  1978
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  BASIC or APL or both
KEYBOARD  Full stroke 74 keys with numeric keypad and arrow keys
CPU  IBM circuit module
SPEED  1.9 MHz.
RAM  16 KB to 64 KB by 16 KB steps
ROM  32 KB to 64 KB
TEXT MODES  64 chars. x 16 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  None
COLORS  Monochrome
SOUND  No sound capabilities
SIZE / WEIGHT  24 Kg.
I/O PORTS  5103 printer and 5106 external tape drive unit
BUILT IN MEDIA  Built-in 204 KB DC600 tape drive
OS  APL or BASIC
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply unit
PRICE  From $8975 (BASIC 16 KB) to $19,975 (BASIC+APL 64 KB)


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