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1980s Computers Explanation of terms

The HP Integral PC

Integral PC


Hewlett-Packard (US)


Integral PC

Date Launched

Early 1985


Mouse £152 extra

Microprocessor type

Motorola 68000 @ 8 MHz

ROM size

256 kilobytes

Standard RAM

512 kilobytes

Maximum RAM

1.5 megabytes internally.
5 megabytes with external card.

Keyboard type

Good quality typewriter style with 90 keys, including function keys and numeric pad.

Supplied language

HP Technical BASIC.
Operating system was HP Unix, stored in ROM.

Text resolution

80 columns x 24 lines.
Used a flat, monochrome electroluminescent display.

Graphics resolution

512 x 255 pixels

Colours available

Monochrome (black on amber)


None ?

Cassette load speed

Had a built-in 3½ inch floppy disk drive of 710 kilobytes capacity.

Dimensions (mm)
Weight (grams)

330 x 430 x 215 (closed up)

Special features

A portable machine, measuring 8½x13x17 inches when packed away, but requiring mains power.
Included a built-in inkjet printer.
Had a HP-1B interface intended for connecting scientific equipment.

Good points

High build quality.
The HP Integral was one of the few desktop computers running the Unix operating system. This permitted full multitasking, at a time when the much more common MS-DOS was strictly single-tasking.
Also had a graphical, window-based user interface.

Bad points

Extremely expensive, even considering its hardware specification.
Had no standard (none-HP) peripheral interfaces, not even a serial port. I/O cards and external hard disk drives had to connect via the proprietary expansion ports.
Only a limited range of 'business' software was available.

How successful?

Apart from a review in Personal Computer World magazine I have seen no mention of the HP Integral.


With its flat screen display, printer built in to the top, multitasking operating system and windows/mouse interface the Integral PC was technically advanced for 1985. However the lack of an internal hard disk drive and the need for mains power to operate it limited its usefulness as a portable computer.
The Integral was a relatively cheap way of running Unix, which was normally only available on mainframes, but it did not include the usual multi-user features of Unix.
The high price and lack of software killed its chances in the general business wordprocessor/spreadsheet market.

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