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Advice on micros

Library Systems Newsletter [November 1981]

A reader has asked us to identify a group of microcomputers, selling for under $5,000 for a complete system, to be considered by a librarian with only a limited amount of time in which to make a selection. While we are worried about anyone selecting hastily, we believe the following are among those which warrant a close look because they are business computers, rather than personal computers:

  • DEC VT18X
  • Hewlett-Packard 85
  • IBM Personal Computer
  • Intertec Superbrain
  • NEC America PC-8012A
  • Xerox 820
  • Zenith X89

Any one of these systems is available for under $5,000 unless a letter quality printer is included. Each has a primary memory of 64KB (64,000 characters). The IBM stands apart in that it can be upgraded to 256 KB. Each has floppy disc storage (the standard option ranges from 81KB to 285KB). Each also includes a video display of at least 11 1/2" with 24 or 25 lines of display and 80 characters per line. The DEC micro can be installed within the VT100 terminal of which DEC has already installed more than 250,000.

The writer asked specifically about the Osborne 1, which has been widely advertised at under $2,000. While we like the Osborne's capabilities and price, we react very negatively to a 5" screen and a line length of only 52 characters.

Not all of the systems include a printer in their basic system. Those which do, offer a very inexpensive thermal printer. Each of the systems listed supports CP/M, the operating system that has become the de facto standard. (See last month's newsletter.) A considerable amount of business applications software is, therefore, available and one can transfer software from one micro to any one of several others. Unfortunately, not much library applications software is available yet. Many of the available applications software packages have been written for the more limited personal computers such as the TRS 80 and the Apple II. While the latter can be adapted to accept CP/M software for $350, the prc grams written on either of these personal computers cannot be transferred to any other. We recommend pressing dealers and manufacturers for library applications software packages for machines which can support CP/M. Until it is available, libraries which can afford to wait should probably do so.

View Citation
Publication Year:1981
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Library Systems Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 1 Number 05
Issue:November 1981
Publisher:American Library Association
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Notes:Howard S. White, Editor-in-Chief; Richard W. Boss, Contributing Editor
Subject: Microcomputer hardware
Record Number:3747
Last Update:2023-09-20 03:35:33
Date Created:0000-00-00 00:00:00