Nuggets from Mini-Micro Systems magazine, Jan-August 1983
I browsed through issues of this magazine from 1983, looking for mentions of Texas Instruments. I found mentions of chips from the TMS9918A and TMS4416, TMS320 DSP to the TMS99110. Along with many other news items you may find interesting. 1983 was an interesting year this far.
Looking through the whole magazine was like a history lesson (biased by the need to market products.) Winchester, TIPC, 990, DEC, CP/M, VisiCalc, and the looming dominance of the IBM PC.
Jan 1983 http://bitsavers.org/magazines/Mini-Micro_Systems/198301.pdf
Computer systems feature mass-storage capabilities
The business system 800 series of multitasking, multi-user mini- computers consists of six packaged computer systems. Data storage capabilities range from 80m bytes of formatted data storage in the system 861 to 238Mbytes in the system 886. The computers use the high-speed 16-bit model 990/12 processor and 512k to 2m bytes of error-correcting memory. Each 800 series system, in its minimum configuration, includes two model 911 video display terminals that feature high-resolution display screens, upper- and lower-case ascii character sets and separate cable-connected keyboards with 10-key numeric pads and special function keys. The business system 800 series supports the DX10 and DNOS operating systems. Both operating systems support COBOL, FORTRAN, BASIC, RPG II and Pascal programming languages. Available utilities include a data dictionary, a database-management system, a query language and word-processing capabilities. Prices range from $51,000 to $86,000 in single-unit quantities. Texas Instruments Inc., P.O. Box 202146, Att: H-636, Dallas, Texas 75220
February 1983 http://bitsavers.org/magazines/Mini-Micro_Systems/198302.pdf
Ads for TIPC. 4 pages ad "When are logic arrays logical for me?" feature "RTC Answermen" on TI logic chip design. TAT002-020 gate array series offer 280 to 2000 gates in LS, S, and AS families. Manufactured from your HDL files.
There are a lot of features on Winchester disks this month. TI is named "second source" for 5.25" Seagate ST502. TI sells it in their model 525/61 (6 MB) and /122 (12MB) for ST412-compatible systems. Their 8-inch WD 800-18M and 43MB are sold only with TI 990 CPU interface.
March 1983 http://bitsavers.org/magazines/Mini-Micro_Systems/198303.pdf
"TI's advanced microprocessor peripherals"
Full pages ad spread for TI's modem on a chip, 99532/3
Also TMS9909 floppy controller, TMS9914A GPIB controller, TMS9918A/28/29, and TMS9937 for EIA RS-170 (security monitors). Next page features 8-bit A/D converters TL520, etc.
On p.146 modem pictures include Racal-Vadic VA212. "Prices range from $760-$1645"
April 1983 http://bitsavers.org/magazines/Mini-Micro_Systems/198304.pdf
pp 59-60. Article covering TI PC introduction. p.22 notes the speech recognition option uses a TMS320. Color ads for TI PC on pp 62-63
An article on p.107 states that in PLC (programmable logic controller) TI is #3 with 11% market share.
An article on minicomputer market ranks vendor by sales from 1981. DEC is #1 with 73,000 minis sold, while TI is #4 with 10,800 units.
May 1983 http://bitsavers.org/magazines/Mini-Micro_Systems/198305.pdf
Concurrent CP/M is announced in OEM versions for 8086 computers. TI is one of the licensees. Suggested price of $350.
p. 87 "this monthly table lists [financials] for computer industries." "Texas Instruments Inc. reports that the only bright spots in its fiscal year were the garnering of large government contracts and increased home computer demand." For 1982, they were #3 in earnings with $144mm, but all are dwarfed by IBM's $4.4 billion.
p.225 Spectra Logic advertisement mentions their disk and tape controllers for TI minis.
June 1983 http://bitsavers.org/magazines/Mini-Micro_Systems/198306.pdf
p. 239 is an article on the myriad uses of bar code technology. Not just for inventory management,
"In consumer electronics, hand-held wands skim across bar-coded booklets with Casio electronic organs, Texas Instruments Inc. talking books for children and HP programmable calculators."
Board for TI Professional runs CP/M programs
The Baby Tex co-processor board for the Texas Instruments Professional Computer enables the computer to run CP/M software application programs under the MS/DOS operating system. The Baby Tex board features a Z80B microprocessor and includes 64K bytes of additional system memory, which is accessible to a user even when Baby Tex is not in use. The Convert program supplied on a 5.25-in. floppy disk with the Baby Tex hardware adds a special header to a user's CP/M program and formats his disk for MS/DOS. When a user runs a converted CP/M program, the header instructs the Professional Computer's 8088 processor to load his CP/M program into Baby Tex and then stand by to handle all keyboard, screen and disk drive functions. Baby Tex's processor then executes the CP/M program and delegates all I/O functions to the Professional Computer's 8088 processor. The result is that both processors execute simultaneously under a single operating system. In single-unit quantities, Baby Tex is priced at $600. Baby Tex is also available bundled with the WordStar, MailMerge, Personal Pearl and WonderCalc programs for $995. Xedex Corp., 222 Route 59, Suffern N. Y. 10901
July 1983 http://bitsavers.org/magazines/Mini-Micro_Systems/198307.pdf
pp.97-100 Ads featuring new TMS4416 in Tektronix 4115B graphics terminal, a 1280x1024x8bpp (24 bit palette) color raster display. In 1983!!! That would be 160 chips to make 1.25 megabytes! "Each TMS4416 replaced four TMS4116". It is also offered in a smaller chip carrier.
TMS4500A DRAM controller refreshes 256K of DRAM. (I guess Tektronix needed several.) TMS4164-120 speed is now available with a single 5V supply. TMS4016 2K static RAM. TMS2150 is a memory cache. With 512x9 array plus external SRAM, it used to eliminate wait states.
An article on Intel CMOS RAM compares TI.
August 1983 http://bitsavers.org/magazines/Mini-Micro_Systems/198308.pdf
p.126 Mention that of course Texas Instruments networks its factory floor PLCs
CPU board features I/O expandability
The TM990/103 microcomputer module includes the 16-bit model TMS99110 microprocessor with macrostore memory. Macrostore is a memory space for frequently used functions or algorithms that can be accessed at full processor speed-167 nsec. at 6 MHz. The lK-byte macrostore ROM located on the TMS99110 chip is programmed with single-precision floating-point instructions that make the TM990/103 well-suited for high-precision, computation-intensive applications. Primarily intended for use as a high-speed process controller, the TM990/103 has 17 interrupts, 15 of which are maskable. It also has two programmable RS232C ports with baud ranges of 110 to 37.4K baud. On-board communications register units provide serial and parallel interfacing. The module features onboard expansion of I/O via two IEEE P959 bus-compatible sockets. The module's memory can be expanded via memory expansion platforms that plug directly into existing RAM, ROM and EPROM sockets. Memory-expansion platforms provide as much as 64K bytes of RAM, 64K bytes of EPROM or macrostore ROM or various combinations of memory on a single platform. The TM990/103 has an 87-member instruction set that includes instructions such as signed multiply and divide. Available software includes the PDOS disk-operating system, the UCSD p-System and TI Microprocessor Pascal. Prices of the TM990/103 start at $1660 in single-unit quantities. Texas Instruments Inc., Semiconductor Group., P.O. Box 401560, Dallas, Texas 75240.