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I > 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).

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


I am looking for a IBM 5100. Any offer welcome.

Sunday 21st November 2021
Achim Baqué (Germany/USA)

In reference to ''John Titor'' and the 5100 - the "IBN 5100" had a leading role in the time travel anime series "Stein$s gate" where the 5100''s APL code was needed to translate the evil ''SERN''s time travel logs. Really good anime BTW.

Wednesday 5th June 2019
Larry (Indonesia)

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)


NAME  5100
TYPE  Professional Computer
YEAR  September 1975
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
COLORS  Monochrome
SOUND  No sound capabilities
I/O PORTS  5103 printer and 5106 external tape drive unit
BUILT IN MEDIA  Built-in 204 KB DC600 tape drive
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply unit
PRICE  From $8975 (BASIC 16 KB) to $19,975 (BASIC+APL 64 KB)

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