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Old 07-10-2018, 02:35 PM   #8
Super Freak

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Lerida, Spain
Posts: 153

Today I'm gonna talk about the IBM PS/1 line from 1990, and more especifically the 2121 model.

The IBM PS/1.

The first PS/1 model was the 2011, with a 80286 CPU @ 10 Mhz and VGA graphics. It was followed by models 2121, 2133 and 2155, with 386 and 486 CPUs. The PS/1 line was an attempt from IBM to re-conquer the domestic market, something IBM hadn't tried since the flop of the IBM PCjr in 1984.

I haven't found much information on if they were succesful or not, but since the line sold until 1994, when they were replaced by the Aptiva models, I deduce they were.

So, what is so great about this PCs? In my opinion, what makes them especial is the desktop IBM included with them. Is made up of four screens, and through the mouse the user can access several options, from an overview of the system to a tutorial, Microsoft Works and even several on-line services.

This desktop system is built over DOS 4.01 and may have been introduced as an answer to Tandy Deskmate or GEM. As we've seen, other computer manufacturers used those programs as "desktops" for their users.

In some PS/1 models, DOS was loaded from ROM, just as in the Tandy 1000 computers. This makes me think IBM had the Tandy 1000 competition in mind when they released the PS/1.

Another curiosity is that some PS/1 models didn't include ISA expansion slots. For those, IBM marketed a sound device, the PS/1 Audio Card.

It was, of all things, a three channel sound generator similar to the one provided with the IBM PCjr and the early Tandy 1000 computers. Depending on the source, the card could include a DAC for digital sounds. No need to mention, this was a rather outdated device by 1990. By that time both AdLib and Sound Blaster cards were widely available.


You can forget about using regular DOSBox in order to emulate the IBM PS/1, since it doesn't allow for specific computer models except for the IBM PCjr and the Tandy 1000.

However, you can use Ykhwong's DOSBox build, which does emulate the PS/1 Audio Card.

Here's a list of games with support for the PS/1 Audio Card.

If you want the full experience of using a PS/1, you will need to use PCem. And not only that, you'll need the system disks that came with every model. Without them, you'll get the four screens menu, but you will be prompted for a disk everytime you click on any of them.

Personally, I was able to find the system disks for the 2121 model, and that's what you are seeing on the captures.

Last edited by Neville; 09-10-2018 at 05:53 PM.
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