I am reading the article about the CP/M operating system and wonder which computers are displayed in this picture. I have recognized the "IBM PC" only - in the middle.

CP/M GRAPHICS ad with three computers pictured.

  • 4
    The advert can be seen in its original setting on the Internet Archive. Jun 19, 2018 at 17:04
  • Good question! It got me rummaging around, trying to identify the plotter. :-)
    – Mick
    Jun 19, 2018 at 17:53
  • @StephenKitt Unfortunately link is broken now :-/ Sep 29, 2022 at 13:07
  • Ah yes, thanks @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen, PC Magazine, InfoWorld etc. have been taken down from the IA; they’re on Google Books, here’s the ad there. Sep 29, 2022 at 13:11

3 Answers 3


From left to right:

  • DEC VT100 family terminal, which may have been connected to some other system or in VT180 form, which was a VT100 with a card that turned it into a standalone computer.

  • IBM PC 5150


  • 1
    It is most likely a VT180 - nearly identical to a VT100 form factor with floppy drives in an separate case. I used to have one. A rather ordinary machine for its time, not at all speedy in any way, but I did a lot of work on DEC equipment back then so I was quite comfortable with it. I have to say, I don't remember it having a color display … but it's possible I suppose … or it could be advertiser's license, as suggested by Stephen Kitt in a comment on Alex Hajnal's answer.
    – davidbak
    Jun 19, 2018 at 21:34
  • 1
    Interesting that DRI was spending money on full-page ads in 1983 to get people to run CP/M on the IBM PC. With hindsight that seems quixotic. I guess they were desperate and their next-generation successor to CP/M was not yet ready for market.
    – user4766
    Jun 19, 2018 at 23:01
  • @BenCrowell By the time that ad would have been prepped for publication (late summer, 1982), CP/M-80 was still very much a thing, the PC had been on the market for about a year and enough other systems were adopting the 8086 that it looked like CP/M-86 could have taken off.
    – Blrfl
    Jun 20, 2018 at 13:22

Left-to-right it looks like a DEC VT125 1, IBM 5150, and NEC APC. One of the objects in the background appears to be an HP 7470A plotter (thanks to Mick for pointing that out).

1 The VT125 had color bitmap capability.

  • 2
    The "printer" in the background looks like a pen plotter (and the guy is holding the output). Probably an HP 7470A.
    – Mick
    Jun 19, 2018 at 17:36
  • 1
    I think you're right on that. Had a hunch it would be given that the ad's selling a graphics library. Jun 19, 2018 at 17:39
  • 2
    Back then it was common for images on screens in pictures to be added to the photo after the fact, because it was very hard to get a pleasing result by photographing on-screen images; so it’s quite possible that the colour chart doesn’t reflect the actual capabilities of the devices portrayed. The DEC device could be a VT125, or a VT180, or... Jun 19, 2018 at 20:33
  • 1
    The screen on the right looks like a cut-and-paste of the screen on the left!
    – amI
    Jun 19, 2018 at 22:16
  • 1
    definitely a 7470A: simple two-pen A4/Letter gritwheel plotter. I have one. It's pretty neat, in a very simplistic way.
    – scruss
    Jun 20, 2018 at 2:35

The right one looks like a NEC APC or N5200.

The middle, as you rightly say, is an IBM PC.

The left one, isn't even a computer - looks like a DEC VT100 terminal to me.

So, the computers in the picture would only run CP/M 86. No "classic" CP/M 80, unfortunately, and no CP/M 68k.

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