top of page

Launch of the IBM XT

I.B.M. Extends it’s Line of Small Computers

March 9, 1983 by Andrew Pollack (NY Times)

The International Business Machines Corporation introduced a more powerful version of its personal computer yesterday and lowered prices on the older model by as much as 15.5 percent.

The new machine, the Personal Computer XT, or “extended,” will sell for about $5,000 in its basic model, which will include 128K bytes (more than 128,000 typed characters) of internal memory, a floppy-disk drive capable of storing 360,000 characters and a fixed hard-disk drive capable of storing 10 million characters. A system with printer and color video display screen would sell for $6,700, I.B.M. officials said.

The existing basic I.B.M. personal computer generally comes with 64,000 characters of internal memory, a lower-capacity floppy disk drive and no hard disk. I.B.M. cut the price of that model yesterday to $1,864, from $2,205, a 15.5 percent reduction. A larger system with two disk drives, a display and a printer will sell for $3,603, or 12.9 percent less than the former price of $4,135.

Expansion Modules

I.B.M. also introduced expansion modules for both the older computer and the XT to allow users to add additional hard-disk storage devices. An expansion module for the existing personal computer containing a hard-disk drive will sell for $3,390. All the new personal computer products are available now. The company also demonstrated a computerized system for dealers that would be used to demonstrate products to customers. Dealers could also use an I.B.M. data communications network to send messages to I.B.M. or to other dealers.

I.B.M., as expected, also introduced several products in the terminal area, including attachments, selling for $3,300 to $4,063, that can turn its popular 3278 terminals into personal computers. Hundreds of thousands of such terminals are in use.

The company also introduced a flat-panel display terminal capable of displaying four screens at once, and a low-priced terminal with a list price of about $1,700. It also announced a new communications controller, the 3725; the device handles a computer’s communications with remote terminals.

The announcements could have a significant impact on several segments of the personal computer market, helping I.B.M. eventually to surpass the market leaders, Apple Computer and the Tandy Corporation. The price reductions could also hurt companies such as Texas Instruments and the Compaq Computer Corporation that are trying to make computers compatible, or nearly compatible, with the I.B.M. machine but less expensive.

The addition of a hard disk and extra internal memory for the new machine will hurt many smaller companies that have thrived by selling such devices for the I.B.M. personal computer.


bottom of page