[ Retro Scan ] Disemboweled IBM PC 5150

June 30th, 2016 by Benj Edwards

IBM PC 5150 Apart Components Inside Advertisement Scan - 1982Is somebody gonna clean this mess up?

Here we have a biggole two-page IBM PC 5150 advertisement spread from 1982 — published not long after the launch of IBM’s first PC in August 1981.

It looks like IBM is trying to play up the bare-metal technical angle for Byte readers, who likely were building their own PCs from kit parts just a few years prior (and some still were doing it then).

The result, quite frankly, is a huge mess (looks like my workbench). And the advertisement didn’t come out too well in the magazine print run, which makes the image dark and muddy. It’s not my fault, I swear!

I particularly like the phrase “the RS232C interface that gives you the world” in the advertising copy. It implies using the serial port for networking — that is, in connecting to remote computers. It’s funny because back then, that statement was a hyperbolic boast that was not meant literally. Online services were limited to a teeny-tiny fraction of the world population and their capabilities were limited. Today, networking does really give you the world.

[ From Byte Magazine, February 1982, p.24-25 ]

Discussion Topic: Have you ever broken a computer while you were taking it apart? Tell us about it.

14 Responses to “[ Retro Scan ] Disemboweled IBM PC 5150”

  1. V Says:

    Pretty strange discussion topic for the post, but what the heck, I’ll go with Vectorman again. 🙂

  2. Derek Says:

    Maybe Duke Nukem 3D? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9doqwl-U7jU

  3. Benj Edwards Says:

    Sorry guys, I forgot to set the discussion topic after using last week’s Retro Scan post as a template. The correct discussion topic is up now. 🙂

  4. Kouban Says:

    I like how it says “optional diskette drives.” What do they expect you to do without them?

  5. Benj Edwards Says:

    Kouban, the original IBM PC actually came with a cassette drive interface built-in, which IBM thought would allow it (when used with its built-in BASIC in ROM) to serve as a lower-cost home computer (versus just a small business machine). As far as I know, very few people actually used a cassette drive with the IBM PC.

  6. Geoff V. Says:

    ESD is a real threat. I’ve toasted several components due to improper grounding.

  7. Danforth Vista Says:

    I did try working in my University’s computer laboratory and decided to dismantle a brand new personal computer (being a curious me). I was able to build it back, but it’s not working anymore :p Luckily my professor had it fixed that very same day; it should’ve cost me bucks to replace it hahaha.

  8. Geoff V. Says:

    Missed you in July, hoping you’ll be back in August!

  9. Benj Edwards Says:

    Hey Geoff,

    After about 13 years, I finally went on a vacation that lasted more than a couple days. I’m back now, and I hope to put up some more Retro Scans soon.

  10. Geoff V. Says:

    Glad to hear you were able to take a much deserved vacation! Go anywhere fun?

  11. Benj Edwards Says:

    I went to Texas, where my mom is from, with my family. We had a great time.

  12. hofman Says:

    Benj, I enjoyed your tweets about the Olympics commercials.

  13. Benj Edwards Says:

    Thanks hofman. Glad someone was listening. Sometimes Twitter seems like shouting out into the darkness.

  14. Alexander Says:

    I fried a C64 once while I had it open out of curiosity. I dropped a screwdriver on one of the voltage regulators while the computer was running… fried it crispy.

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