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The System/23 Datamaster was announced by IBM's General Systems Division in July 1981, only one month before the IBM PC.
The Datamaster is an all-in-one computer with a built-in text mode CRT display, keyboard and two 8-inch floppy disk drives.
The machine was powered by an 8-bit 8085 and had 256KB of memory. A BASIC interpreter was also built into the computer.
The intention of Datamaster was to provide a computer that could be operated without specialists and the machine was designed to be operated by novice users.
The machine came with a choice of two printers and accounting and word processing software. A full function data processing installation, with a single computer and an 80 character-per-second printer cost $9,830, which according to IBM was its "cheapest solution at that time".
In 1981 IBM decided to move beyond the mainframes it had been building for decades and launch its first mass market personal computer, the IBM 5150.
The PC was a success for IBM — particularly in the office market — shipping more than 800,000 units in the two years after it went on sale. What helped drive the machine’s popularity was both the familiarity of the IBM name and the broad range of peripherals and software available for the computer.
The machine spawned a market in IBM-PC clones, known as IBM PC compatibles, made possible by the fact that the machines were built using off the shelf non-IBM hardware and that Microsoft was free to licence DOS for use on third-party machines. The spread of IBM PC compatible machines created a common standard for PCs, simplifying the process of buying a PC by ensuring that any IBM compatible PC would run the same software, no matter which company made it.
The machine's starting price was $1,565, it ran on a 4.77Mhz Intel 8088 microprocessor, came with a keyboard, ran Microsoft DOS, supported up to 256KB of RAM and a colour display, came with an optional 160K floppy disc drive and an optional colour monitor.
This machine is attached to an IBM PC monochrome display and an IBM dot-matrix printer.
The IBM PC monitor, announced in 1981, could output both text and graphics.
It could manage two graphics modes, a resolution of 320 x 200 pixels with up to four colours or 640 x 200 pixels with a monochrome display.
The monitor had four text modes, based on either 40 columns by 25 lines or 80 columns by 25 lines, with up to 16 colours.
It was usually driven by an IBM PC Color/Graphics Adapter (CGA), which included a Motorola MC6845 display controller and 16KB of video memory. It had a 4-bit RGB1 interface.