IBM System 9000

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The IBM System 9000 Instrument Controller (aka CS9000 or S9000) was an IBM workstation that was announced in 1982 for use as a laboratory computer.[1][2] It was based on the Motorola 68000, running at 8 MHz and was one of the few systems that used Motorola's Versabus. Input/output ports included three RS-232 serial ports, an IEEE-488 instrument port plus analog and parallel I/O. It ran a custom operating system called CSOS, standing for Computer System Operating System.[3][4] IBM also offered XENIX on the S9000,[5] but this required at least 640 KB of RAM. The machines shipped with 128 KB RAM as standard, and this was expandable up to 5.2 MB in 256 K increments.[6]

There were two versions of the System 9000. The 9001 was the benchtop (lab) model, while the 9002 was the desktop model[6] without laboratory-specific features.[5]

The 9000 was originally developed by a company that IBM acquired in 1980, which became IBM Instruments, Inc.[7][not in citation given] IBM closed its Instrument division in January 1987, reassigning the approximately 150 employees that had worked for it.[8]


Noting the obscurity of its 1982 release, BYTE in January 1983 called the System 9000 "IBM's 'Secret' Computer" and stated that it was "in its quiet way, one of the most exciting new arrivals on today's microcomputer scene". The magazine speculated that with some changes it would be "a natural candidate for a business or general-purpose computer".[9] A later review by a member of Brandeis University's chemistry department criticized several aspects of the hardware and software, but praised the sophisticated BASIC and IBM's customer service. The reviewer concluded that "the CS-9000 is a very fast and powerful laboratory computer [that is] very affordable".[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Columbia Univ. Computing History
  2. ^ The Enhanced IBM System 9000 Computer IBM ad in Chem. Eng. News, March 26, 1984, 62 (13), pp 17–19
  3. ^ collection
  4. ^ oral history
  5. ^ a b c Clune, Thomas R. (February 1984). "The IBM CS-9000 Lab Computer". BYTE. p. 278. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  6. ^ a b BYTE Guide to the IBM PC, fall 1984, p.26
  7. ^ IBM Corp - Move To Computing
  8. ^ IBM to Shut Instrument Unit, Technology section, New York Times, January 9, 1987
  9. ^ Morgan, Chris (January 1982). "IBM's "Secret" Computer". BYTE. p. 108. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • SHARE paper on S9000 by Marty Sandfelder (IBM)
  • David J. States, "NUMBER CRUNCHING ON IBM'S NEW S9000. IBM joins with MIT's National Magnet Lab to develop spectrometers for imaging systems" in the BYTE Guide to the IBM PC, fall 1984, pp. 218-230 has a fairly extensive review of S9000 used with CSOS