Terry Stewart's (Tezza's) Classic Computer Collection

IBM 5160 (IBM XT)

IBM X-Tended technology

(Note: I also describe this machine in a YouTube video)

By 1983 the IBM PC was making huge gains in the business market. IBM was, after all, IBM and if IBM felt the microcomputer was a serious business tool, then it must be worth having. Purchasing officers in big companies were ordering fleets of them by the truckload.

The original PC released two year prior was a good start but improvements were needed. First of all, there was only five expansion slots. These could fill up pretty quickly once a few things were connected. Why not go for eight slots. Also, the 63W power supply was pretty pathetic. Why not beef it up to 130. Next, those hard drives were becoming cheaper and they were SO much more convenient than a whole lotta floppies. Why not make one standard? Finally, does anyone actually USE that cassette port? No? Then let's drop it.

So the IBM-XT was born. It had the same speed and 8088 microprocessor as the original PC but with the improvements above. It was a GREAT success. Clone makers quickly positioned themselves to dance in step and the Intel/Microsoft dominance that the PC had started was further strengthened by this timely move.

I owned an XT clone for a few years in the 1980s. It was my second home machine after the Dick Smith System 80 so there are some fond memories associated with it. This one, a 1986 MKII model with the 256/640k motherboard, came as a gift along with a number of other vintage machines. It needed repairs and cleaning but now it's as good as gold. Like my old home machine this one has hercules graphics, comes with a clock/calendar multifunction card and sports a 20MB hard drive. It also has an original keyboard, IBM drives and an IBM-badged faceplate, the latter two being added at a later date. The picture is complete an IBM green-screen display. Sweet!

Decked out with PC-DOS 3.2, the IBM XT is a nice addition to my classics range.

This page last edited 25th July, 2015

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