The Education Consumer

Guide to Some Computers Now Leading the Market

The New York Times

August 21, 1983

FOLLOWING are some of the more popular microcomputer systems and their suggested retail prices, which may be subject to considerable discounts in some stores. Moreover, list prices in the microcomputer market have been declining rapidly, and they are likely to fall even more in the near future as new models are introduced and competition stiffens.

Osborne 1: The price was recently lowered to $1,295, from $1,995. The system includes a screen, two disk drives, as well as word-processing, programming languages and a spread-sheet. The company estimates that this software, bought separately, would cost about $1,700. A big convenience is the Osborne's portability -- it is about the size of most sewing machines -- but the screen, at five inches measured diagonally, is small. The costlier Osborne Executive has a seven-inch screen.

Kaypro II: The $1,595 list price cannot be discounted, the company says. This is also portable -- it comes in an aluminum case and weighs 26 pounds -- and has a nine-inch screen. The system includes two disk drives and about $2,500 in software: two word-processing programs, a spread-sheet, a language and some games.

Commodore 64: "The most computer for the buck," according to one expert, Richard Bevilacqua, a partner in the Computer Tutor Corporation of Wellesley, Mass. With a disk-drive and a printer, the suggested retail price is $1,389, but it may be available for under $1,000. A monitor costs $299. The availability of software is still fairly limited, but the company says more is on the way.

Radio Shack: T.R.S.-80 Model 4. "A very good text-oriented machine," according to Mr. Bevilacqua, that is also fairly compact. With a monitor, a disk drive and a capacity to communicate with other computers, it costs $1,699. With a second disk drive, it costs $1,999. A dotmatrix printer is $399, a modem about $100.

Apple IIe: The computer alone costs $1,395. A "starter system" is sold for $1,995. It includes a monitor, a card to expand the monitor to 80 columns, a stand for the monitor and a disk drive. One of the biggest advantages of owning an Apple, many users say, is the huge assortment of software that is available.

I.B.M. P.C.: With a monitor and a disk drive, it is sold for about $2,544. This machine is coming to be accepted as the standard among microcomputers. It is faster and more powerful than most other microcomputers, and its memory can be expanded from 64K to 512K with additional hardware.

Next month I.B.M.'s is also expected to introduce its "Peanut," which has been presumed to cost between $600 and $1,000. About the same time, Coleco Industries, a maker of video games, is expected to start selling a ready-to-use microcomputer costing about $600.

Copyright 1983 The New York Times Company