PCjr 25 years later


[Trixter], connoisseur of old hardware, is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the PCjr. IBM’s PCjr was killed only 18th months after being revealed and [Trixter] lays out exactly why. Overall, it was designed to be cheap to produce and sell, but many of the choices made it difficult to use. They used the CPU instead of DMA for floppy access; cheaper to make, but you couldn’t do much during disk reads because of it. The video memory scheme left little room for programs that could take advantage of it. It also had compatibility issues that made IBM clones a more attractive choice. [Trixter] ends by pointing out that some good came of it when the Tandy 1000 copyied the good ideas while leaving out the restrictive memory issues. He recommends Mike’s PCjr Page for more information on this classic machine.


  1. hoorah! thanks for posting this up :)

  2. tbh though, that is a rather inefficient use of desk space.

  3. johannes says:

    Cordless keyboard? Funny :-)

  4. fatali says:


    lol, I was thinking the same thing.

  5. Pall.e says:

    I have one of these up in my attic and I am only 24. I remember playing with it a lot growing up. The keyboard is an infrared keyboard and it confused me why later computers didn’t have similar designs. But pretty much the only thing I could get this baby to do (remember I was like 8) was to change screen color, beep in a variety of ways, and play this game where you threw babies out the window onto fireman trampolines.

  6. Pall.e says:

    I don’t know why it inserted a smile there when I said 8, oh well.

  7. jjrh says:

    you wrote 8 then ) so it made the sunglasses thing
    8 ) 8)

  8. sly says:

    heh… I was a lucky one… I had a tandy 1000ex. F-15 strike eagle was the bomb (pun intended) 8)

  9. Kaos says:

    I remember the days. In elementary school, the teachers used apple 2’s to grade scantron test. Moved into High school, they had all the apples in the closet and Ibm pcjr and Pc’s on the desk. I knew how to program from the magazine from those periods. Everyone knew the jr’s were more of a graphics toy that anything else.

  10. colonel says:

    tastes like kfc!

  11. bundy says:

    25 years on and my pc still grinds to a halt when it encounters a hard to read dvd. So much for progress.

  12. Polymath says:

    whats really sad is that I have been in government buildings that were still using these things. Back in August I had to pick up a few birth certificates and there were two of these things in the corner, hell my certificates were printed on tractor fed paper! course… so was my high school diploma. they at least had the courtasy to tear the holes of the sides.

  13. mewse says:

    what a bizarre marketing photo. the machine is in their kitchen, and they are using it on the kitchen island? they’re all dressed in their work clothes? the monitor isn’t sitting on the machine, which is probably to show off the plain grey box.

    it’s kinda obvious that it was from the age that the public were just getting familiar with microcomputers. no marketing department today would try to show this as typical usage.

  14. srw says:

    mewse: of course it was on the kitchen table. we all know what a home computer is good for, right?!?

    (For those younger people among us, the correct answer is “you can keep your recipes on it”)

  15. Crashmaxx says:

    am i the only one that noticed they have a black family in the ad for their cheapest computer?

    seems a little inappropriate.

  16. M H says:

    In the last few years Apple seems to have been paying homage to the PCjr by reintroducing the chicklet keyboard. Others seem to be doing similar keyboards (no dished tops, no click, etc.). Just about like the PCjr. So much for progress.
    (On the other hand IBM built some great PC keyboards, I am using one to type this.)

  17. AlmightyOrb says:

    We had these at my elementary school. We used to rush through our work and fight over who got the Jumpman disk(ette, 5.25″) first.

  18. Mark says:

    Hey kids, before you go off to school, lets use the new PCJnr to download…umm, …upload…ahh, …surf…err, …send…damnit!!

  19. wes says:

    mine is in my parents garage somewhere, maybe one of these days I’ll, in the name of nostalgia, fix the broken power supply.

  20. strider_mt2k says:

    mark, the word you’re looking for is “do”

  21. It’s also the 25th birthday of Microsoft Windows

  22. anon says:

    y are they not sleeping in the barn like normal negroes?

  23. Casanovaf says:

    I always wondered later about the whole thing freezing up when the disk was working! Still, I loved my PCjr!

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