IBM PC hacking

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at
Tue Sep 13 22:22:04 CDT 2005

On 9/13/05, Scott Stevens <chenmel at> wrote:
> The IBM PC (PC-1) had four banks of 4116 DRAM on the motherboard...

> Just to add more lore:
> The floppy controller and floppy drive were very optional on the early
> PC, and a rather pricey option...

Wasn't the pricing something like minimal equipment for $1695 or
$1895, but about $5K with maxed memory and two floppies?

I worked at Bruce and James Publishing when they released "WordVision"
for the PC - I still have my free copy - the back of the package says
"96K of RAM required.  PC-DOS 1.0 or higher required.  Floppy drive
required."  They felt it was necessary to tell the potential customer
that they'd need a disk drive to use software distributed on disk.

The real "problem" with WordVision is that it uses a software timing
loop for key repeat.  I ran into someone about 10 years ago selling
ancient copies of it at a HamFest, along with a patch to disable key
repeat.  With that patch, it works fine on newer machines and newer
versions of DOS.  I _think_ it works OK on 386s and DOS 3.3, perhaps
newer than that.  Of course, without the patch, even breathing on a
key fills the screen with unwanted keystrokes.  Works great on a 256K
5150, though.


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