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I > IBM  > Instruments Computer System   

Instruments Computer System

About this strange computer, IBM said that it was "A unique combination of features and a new dimension in small computers".
The 9000 (its reference name) was first presented in June 1982 at the COMDEX show in Atlantic City. The system ans peripherals was manufactured by IBM's instrumentation division in Danbury, Connecticut.
It was first and foremost intended to be used by scientists and engineers for instruments control and data acquisition. Its modular concept made the system to grow easily and allowed the user to adapt it to each particular environment.

The mainframe was equipped with five I/O interfaces allowing it to be connected to a variety of laboratory instruments. Three user-input devices was available: Two programmable sensitive keyboards and a standard PC-type keyboard. A high-resolution display could be supplemented by a 4-color plotter-printer.

The 9000 has been engineered with crowded lab benches in mind: The modules stack vertically to conserve space.

The unit used a specific real time and multitasking operating system custom designed by IBM, as well as standard programming languages: BASIC, PASCAL, FORTRAN. It also ran Xenix, which was a form of UNIX written for Motorola 68000 computers by Microsoft.

Please consider donating your old computer / videogame system to or one of our partners from anywhere in the world (Europe, America, Asia, etc.).


Note that the history of Xenix is quite a bit more nuanced than "Xenix, which was a form of UNIX written for Motorola 68000 computers by Microsoft". See for the full Xenix story.

Wednesday 19th July 2017
Phil Hollenback (United States)


NAME  Instruments Computer System
TYPE  Professional Computer
YEAR  June 1982
KEYBOARD  57 (Mainframe) + 10 (Monitor) programmable soft keys
Full-stroke 86 keys PC-type keyboard
CPU  Motorola 68000
SPEED  8 Mhz.
RAM  128 KB expandable in 256 KB increment up to 5 MB
VRAM  Unknown
ROM  Up to 128 KB
TEXT MODES  80 columns x 30 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  768 x 480 dots
COLORS  Monochrome
SOUND  Beeper
SIZE / WEIGHT  39 Kg with CRT, printer and keyboard
I/O PORTS  Serial RS-232C x 3, IEEE-488, Parallel, Analog,
VERSAbus compatible system bus
BUILT IN MEDIA  Up to 4 x 5.25'' (322 KB) or 8'' (1 MB) F.D.D.
Up to 4 x Winchester disks, 5 or 10 MB each.
OS  IBM specific multitasking O.S.
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply unit
PERIPHERALS  4-color, 200 CPS Plotter-Printer
PRICE  $5,695 (basic version)

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