IBM has released the PS/1, as their new home computer is called, in several large cities around the country to be test-marketed. The new name has prompted numerous wags on Usenet to remark that at least this computer will be a whole Personal System, rather than the halved PS/2. The spec sheet reads modestly, starting with a 10 Mhz 80286 CPU, 512K RAM, and a 1.44 megabyte floppy drive, but picks up a bit with a mouse, an internal 2400 baud modem, and VGA graphics. Options include a 30 megabyte hard disk, a 512K RAM upgrade, an AT-style (ISA) expansion box, an audio card, and a joystick. Initially, the lack of a hard disk would seem to be deadly, but the ROMs include the BIOS, DOS, and the DOS shell (we assume DOS version 4.01). The list price for such a beast with a color monitor and the hard disk is $1999, but since IBM is selling through large retail channels, the street price could easily drop to around $1500, which is competitive, if not overwhelmingly inexpensive. We’re not holding our collective breath on this one, if only because even with a DOS shell and everything built into the machine, it still doesn’t make it as an easy home machine for people getting started in basic home computing. Not to be chauvinistic, the Mac doesn’t really fit that bill either, so there is still room for a killer appliance computer that will sell like VCRs, er, hotcakes.
Adam C. Engst — TidBITS editor
IBM spec sheets
PC WEEK — 16-Jul-90, Vol. 7, #28, pg. 24