14

IBM, Apple, Commodore, and Atari all released upgraded versions of their popular home/personal computers having "stock" 128KB of RAM around the early 1980's.

What was the order of release (based on approximate shipping dates) for each of these new models? Also, did any other mass-market computer maker beat all of them to market with a "stock" 128KB home/personal computer?

Note: By "stock" I mean minimum 128KB as shipped.

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  • 3
    This sounds quite like asking a list question, doesn't it?
    – Raffzahn
    Jan 12 at 23:25
  • 5
    No. The order is the answer, not the list.
    – Brian H
    Jan 12 at 23:44
  • 10
    How is it possible to conceive an order without listing the items?
    – Raffzahn
    Jan 13 at 0:47
  • 3
    The reasons given to explain why list questions aren’t appropriate apply whether the list is ordered or not. Jan 13 at 15:20
  • 7
    @StephenKitt: The main objections to list questions boil down to being open-ended, and not admitting a definitive answer. This question isn’t so open-ended: it focuses on a small list of major manufacturers, within a limited time-frame, well in the past, and with a clear product criterion. It’s much clearer to see how a definitive answer could be possible for this. Jan 13 at 16:29

3 Answers 3

27

The Apple III came with a minimum of 128K of RAM (expandable to 512K) two years before Commodore had a series of CBM-II computers with 128K minimum and expandable to 896K in 1982 a year before the IBM PC XT and 2 years before the Apple Macintosh and IIc. The IBM PC had 64K minimum.

** The upgrade machines are those not flagged as new.

  • 1980: Apple III (128K-512K, new)
  • 1982: Tandy TRS-80 Model 16 (128K-512K)
  • 1982: Commodore CBM-II 500 / 600 / 700 Series (128K-896K, new)
  • 1983: IBM PC XT (128K-640K)
  • 1983: Apple Lisa (1,024K, new)
  • 1983: Apple III Plus (256K-512K)
  • 1984: Apple Macintosh (128K, new)
  • 1984: Apple IIc (128K-1,152K)
  • 1984: IBM PC AT (512K-16,384K)
  • 1984: Sinclair QL (128K-896K, new)
  • 1985: Amstrad CPC 6128 (128K-576K)
  • 1985: Amstrad PCW 8256 (256K-512K, new)
  • 1985: Atari 130XE (128K)
  • 1985: Atari 520ST (512K, new)
  • 1985: Commodore 128 (128K)
  • 1985: Commodore Amiga [1000] (256K-8,704K), new)
  • 1985: Fujitsu FM 77 AV (128K-192K)
  • 1985: Sinclair ZX Spectrum 128 (128K)
  • 1985: Thomson TO9 (128K)
  • 1985: Enterprise 128 (128K, new)
  • 1986: BBC Master 128 (128K-512K)
  • 1986: Tandy Color Computer 3 (128K-512K)
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  • On the Atari side of things, the 520ST was available (in small quantities) a couple of before the 130XE! Jan 12 at 22:13
  • 1982: Columbia Data Products MPC 1600-1 (128K) Jan 13 at 0:22
  • Oops, “a couple of months before”. The C128 and both Ataris were announced in January 1985 at CES; the 520ST started shipping in April 1985, the 130XE in June. I don’t know about the C128. Jan 13 at 6:18
  • 1984 also saw the Apple Macintosh 512K, only seven months after the 128K release in January, and just one month after the IBM PC/AT.
    – J...
    Jan 13 at 14:05
  • The Apple ///, IIRC, came out in June 1980. And it can qualify as an upgrade to the Apple II, being backwards compatible.
    – Brian H
    Jan 13 at 14:13
15

Soviet:

  • ES PEVM (IBM PC clone) - 1986

  • Okean-240 (128 KB, Intel 8080 class) - 1986

  • UKNC (192 KB, PDP-11 class) - 1987

  • DVK-3M (248 KB, PDP-11 class) - 1987

  • Korvet (112-256 KB, Intel 8080 class) - 1987

  • BK-0011 (128 KB, PDP-11 class) - 1989

  • Poisk (IBM PC clone) - 1989

  • Iskra-1030 (IBM PC clone) - 1989

  • Agat (Apple clone) - 1989

  • Bashkiria-2M (128 KB, Intel 8080 class) - 1989

  • Orion-128 (128-256 KB, Intel 8080 class) - 1990

This list is incomplete, it does not include many ZX Spectrum clones.

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  • 1
    The BK-0011 had 128KB of RAM? AFAIK that would've filled its entire address space. But it also had I/O, so it must've done paging somehow, right?
    – OmarL
    Jan 13 at 9:05
  • 2
    Also, have you considered the various ZX compatibles, such as ZS Scorpion which would've had 128K at least from the beginning.
    – OmarL
    Jan 13 at 9:05
  • 1
    @OmarL Yes, BK-0011(M) used paging. Some extension cards for it had as much as 512 KB additional RAM, which would make a total of 640KB. This list is definitely incomplete. It does not include ZX-clones. There was also Agat, a clone of Apple (1989) and other less known such as en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Besta_(computer).
    – Anixx
    Jan 13 at 10:13
  • 1
    @OmarL the Russian article says it had legally-licensed OS ported by West-German firm Stollmann GmbH and many components were produced by another West-German firm Force Computers GmbH.
    – Anixx
    Jan 13 at 10:31
  • 1
    The 68000 was on the COCOM list, but "could be released by companies under their own discretion". I would assume that later on this was valid for its derivates as well.
    – tofro
    Jan 13 at 10:39
4

This depends quite on the value of the 'minimum 128KB as shipped' footnote.

For the Apple II, it was possible in 1983 to order a IIe with 64 or 128 KiB, but it wasn't until the IIc in 1984 that these 128 KiB were soldered in. Even the very last IIe, the Platimum, which was sold only with 128 KiB, had them factory installed as a (then very small) card in the AUX slot

Same case with the IBM PC. While the original (first) IBM PC motherboard could hold only 16 to 64 KiB, IBM offered the machine with up to 256 KiB, using shop installed ISA cards.

3
  • 5
    I took it to mean “systems which couldn’t be ordered with less than 128KiB of RAM”, which disqualifies the Apple ][ and IBM PC. Jan 13 at 7:47
  • @StephenKitt Wouldn't that make any entry subject to random marketing decisions? Like offering a Platinum IIe with or without the added 64 KiB? The later was in fact possible, but not part of the default offering.
    – Raffzahn
    Jan 13 at 14:41
  • 1
    Indeed, perhaps “systems whose minimal supported configuration had 128KiB of RAM” would be better. Jan 13 at 15:15

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