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.

24 thoughts on “PCjr 25 Years Later

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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”)

    1. Seems brilliant and inclusive. Clear into the 1990s, most computer companies only advertised directly to white males. That, to me, seems inappropriate, and bad business.

  6. 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.)

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.