IBM PS/1

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Not to be confused with the Sony Playstation video game console, known informally as the PS1, or the PSone, the official name of the redesigned version of the same console.

An IBM Personal System 1 model 2011
IBM PS/1 (model 2011)
Type Personal computer
Release date 1990
Operating system PC DOS 4.01 (in ROM)
CPU Intel 80286 @ 10 MHz
Memory 512 KB ~ 1 MB
IBM PS/1 (model 2121)
Type Personal computer
Release date 1992
Discontinued 1993
Operating system PC DOS 4.01 (in ROM)
CPU Intel 80386SX @ 16 MHz
Memory 2 MB ~ 6 MB
IBM PS/1 (model 2133)
Type Personal computer
Release date 1992
Discontinued 1993
Operating system PC DOS 4.01
CPU Intel 80386SX @ 25 MHz or 80486SX @ 20 MHz or 80486SX @ 25 MHz or 80486DX @ 33 MHz
Memory 2 MB ~ 16 MB (2-4MB on-board)
IBM PS/1 (model 2155)
Type Personal computer
Operating system IBM-DOS / Windows 3.1
CPU Intel 80486SX @ 25 MHz
Memory 2 MB ~ 6 MB

The IBM PS/1 was a brand for a line of personal computers and was IBM's return to the home market in 1990, five years after the IBM PCjr. It was replaced by the IBM Aptiva in September 1994.

Position in IBM's PC brands[edit]

Like the PCjr, the PS/1's name suggested a more limited machine than IBM's business line, the PS/2. However, unlike the PS/2, the PS/1 was based upon architecture closer to the AT and compatibles, such as using ISA, plain VGA, and IDE. The PS/1 line was created for new computer users and was sold in consumer electronics stores alongside comparable offerings from Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Packard Bell, and others. All PS/1 models came with a modem installed so users could access online IBM help services, which were provided by partnerships with Prodigy and Quantum. Although the first models used custom designed components and design, later desktop and tower models used mostly standard components. The earlier models included a ROM with IBM's PC DOS and a graphical shell, however the system was compatible with other DOS implementations and the shell could be installed on the hard-drive. Later models included a feature called "Rapid Resume" which gave the computers the ability to go into standby mode as well as a hibernation function. There were several form factors used during the PS/1's production:

  • 2011 Proprietary design, power supply is within CRT
  • 2121 Proprietary design, power supply is within CRT, up to two available ISA slots
  • 2123 Limited production model. Based on IBM PS/2 model 30 case, three available ISA slots
  • 2133 Desktop case. The 3x3 references the available slots and drive bays.
  • 2155 Desktop case larger than 2133. The 5x5 references the available slots and drive bays. Including a 5.25" bay.
  • 2168 Tower unit. The 6x8 references the available slots and bays. Including 5.25" bays.

The 2133 and 2155 cases were used in several model years with the 2168 tower unit appearing a bit later.

Models 2011 and 2121[edit]

The original PS/1, based on a 10 MHz Intel 80286 CPU, was designed to be easy to set up and use. It featured 1 MB of memory, built-in modem, an optional 30 MB hard disk. IBM also released a 5.25" disk drive unit and an ISA Adapter Card Unit (ACU) to install third-party expansion cards. Some of the lower end PS/1 models suffered from very limited expansion capabilities, since they lacked standard ISA expansion slots.

The 2121 series computers used the same form factor as the 2011 series, but included up to two ISA slots inside the case. Memory could be expanded from 2MiB to 6MiB using a proprietary 4 MiB memory module. The higher-end 2121 featured an Intel 80386SX processor running at 16 MHz. Similar to a few Tandy 1000 models, the early PS/1's had an operating system (PC DOS 4.01) built into ROM, rather than loading it from a hard drive. It was possible to have the computer boot from the hard drive if the operating system was upgraded.

Monitors IBM made the decision to put the DC power supply in the monitor, making use of third-party monitors difficult and essentially impractical and limiting the usefulness of the computer if the monitor needed service (similar to the problems of the Coleco Adam and Amstrad 1512 years earlier). Some models were sold with greyscale VGA monitors. However, some hobbyists could manage to remap the pinouts to allow for third party monitors.

"DOS in ROM" The early 2011 and 2121 series would boot up off the DOS in ROM and load a "4-quad" screen which allowed users to access help, rapidly launch pre-installed software, connect online, and access files on the hard drive.

Model 2133[edit]

The 2133 series PS/1 computers can be split into the following major hardware categories:[1][2]

Model MB FRU CPU RAM VRAM SIMM Hard-Drive
2133-?11 93F2397 Intel 80386SX @ 25 MHz 2 MB 256KB 2×72 Pin FPM 59G9567 (85 MB IDE)
2133-13T 65G3766 Intel 80486SX @ 25 MHz 4 MB 256KB 2×72 Pin FPM 93F2329 (129 MB IDE)
2133-?43 34G1885 Intel 80486SX @ 20 MHz 4 MB 512KB 2×30 Pin FPM 93F2329 (129 MB IDE)
2133-?50 34G1848 Intel 80486SX @ 25 MHz 4 MB 512KB 2×30 Pin FPM 93F2329 (129 MB IDE)
2133-?53 34G1848 Intel 80486SX @ 25 MHz 4 MB 512KB 2×30 Pin FPM 93F2329 (129 MB IDE)
2133-575 Intel 80486DX @ 33 MHz 4 MB 512KB 4×72 Pin FPM 170 MB IDE
2133-594 Intel 80486DX2 @ 66 MHz 4 MB 512KB 4×72 Pin FPM 253 MB IDE

Post "DOS in ROM" models[edit]

On May 11, 1993 IBM introduced a "new generation" of the PS/1 line.[3] Later PS/1s featured standard LPX-architecture motherboard. Many of these later PS/1s shipped from the factory with MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows, rather than IBM's PC DOS or OS/2. An early 2133 model did come preloaded with OS/2 2.1. This was because IBM targeted OS/2 for high-end computing machines with more power.

Discontinuation[edit]

The PS/1 line was discontinued in 1994 and replaced with the Aptiva line, which was architecturally very similar to the later models of the PS/1, but with a more marketing-friendly name. Aptivas were sold in the United States until early 2000, when price pressures made the line unprofitable and IBM withdrew from the retail desktop PC market entirely.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
IBM PCjr
IBM Personal Computers Succeeded by
IBM Aptiva