Compaq Computer Corp. (Houston, Tex.)

Founded in February 1982, Compaq had over $111 million in sales in 1983, making it the most successful first year for any company up to that point. It did so on the strength of its Compaq Portable and Compaq Plus models.

Compaq’s Portable put the company on the PC map, and the Portable series was by far the most successful luggable PC design. Compaq shipped more than 28,000 Portables in the first nine months of 1983 alone. Damaged cases, non-working drives, and faulty displays are common ailments in systems found today. Be careful taking Portables and Pluses apart. The case is held in place by tabs on the sides that snap into the chassis. You need to find these tabs and press to release them.

In 1985, Compaq introduced the TeleCompaq, a modified Portable design for use in telephone communications. It had a separate Z80 processor for communications tasks and a phone handset. Compaq thought enough of the TeleCompaq’s potential to form a subsidiary to market it and other communications products, but it was short-lived and an uncommon find today.

The PC AT-compatible version of the Portable was a good seller for Compaq, at least until the Portable II became available. The Portable II was smaller, improved version of the PC AT-class Portable 286.

A change of form factor came with the Portable III. The so-called sewing machine format was replaced by the smaller “lunchbox” shape. The Portable III came in three versions. The Model 1 had a single floppy drive, and the Model 20 and Model 40 had 20MB and 40MB hard drives, respectively. The Portable 386 used similar model designations, but offered a 100MB Model 100 and no 20MB model.

The Deskpro was Compaq’s first desktop computer, and it soon established itself as one of the best made and most IBM-compatible PCs on the market. Many Deskpros saw years of business use, and examples in excellent condition are unusual. The PC AT-compatible Deskpro 286 appealed to power users in part because of its expandability. It could accommodate up to 8.2MB RAM by using expansion boards. The Deskpro 286 model was upgraded to a 12MHz 80286 in early 1987. The new model also had faster memory and more mass storage options.

The Deskpro 386 was one of the first 386 systems, and it was a hot seller. In September 1987, Compaq introduced the Deskpro 386/20 with a 20MHz 80386 CPU. The 386/20 incorporated Compaq’s then-new Flex Architecture, which featured improved memory caching and a combined memory and I/O bus. Compaq assigned Deskpro model numbers according to the size of the hard drive.

Compaq Deskpro (June 1984, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $2,495 to $7,195
Base Configuration: 7.14MHz 8086 CPU, MS-DOS 2.11, six ISA slots, 128K RAM (640K max), 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, 12-inch monochrome Dual Mode Monitor, RF modulator, composite and RGB video ports, keyboard/keypad, parallel and serial ports
Video: 25-line x 80-column text, 720 x 350 graphics
Size/Weight: 5 x 19 x 16 inches, 40 lbs.
Important Options: Unix, 10- or 30MB hard disk drive, tape backup drive

Compaq Deskpro 286 (April 1985, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $4,244
Base Configuration: 8MHz 80286 CPU, MS-DOS, seven ISA slots, 256K RAM (2.1MB max), 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, keyboard/keypad, serial and parallel ports
Video: EGA, 16 colors
Size/Weight: 19.8 x 6.4 x 16.5 inches
Important Options: 20MB or 40MB hard disk drive, Compaq Color or Dual Mode Monitor, Compact EGA or Video Display Controller card, technical reference

Compaq Deskpro 386 (Sept. 1986, desktop PC)
Original Retail Price: $6,499 to $8,799
Base Configuration: 16MHz 80386 CPU, MS-DOS 3.0, three ISA slots, 1MB RAM (10MB max), 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, keyboard/keypad, serial and parallel ports
Video: CGA Size/Weight: 19.8 x 6.4 x 16.5 inches
Important Options: Xenix System V/286, 40MB or 130MB hard disk drive, Compaq Color or Dual Mode Monitor, Compaq EGA or Video Display Controller card, technical reference

Compaq Portable/Compaq Plus (Jan. 1983 [Portable]/Oct. 1983 [Plus], transportable PC)
Original Retail Price: $2,995 to $3,590 (Portable)/$4,995 (Plus)
Base Configuration: 4.77MHz 8088, MS-DOS 2.0, two (Plus) or three (Portable) ISA slots, 128K RAM (640K max), one (Plus) or two (Portable) 5.25-inch floppy disk drives, 10MB hard disk drive (Plus),integral 9-inch monochrome CRT display, keyboard/keypad, parallel and RGB and composite video ports, operations manual
Video: 25-line x 80-column text
Size/Weight: 8.5 x 20 x 16 inches, 28 lbs., off-white
Important Options: serial port, internal modem, carrying case, technical reference

Compaq Portable 286 (April 1985, transportable PC)
Original Retail Price: $5,499 to $6,199
Base Configuration: 8MHz 80286 CPU, MS-DOS, three ISA slots, 256K RAM (2.6MB max), 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, 20MB hard disk drive, integral 9-inch monochrome CRT, RF modulator, RGB and composite video ports, keyboard/keypad, serial and parallel ports
Size/Weight: 20 x 8.5 x 16 inches, 30.5 lbs

Compaq Portable II (Feb. 1986, transportable PC)
Original Retail Price: $3,499 to $4,799
Base Configuration: 8MHz 80286 CPU, MS-DOS 3.0, two ISA slots, 256K RAM (640K max), 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, RGB and composite video ports, integral 9-inch monochrome CRT, keyboard/keypad, serial and parallel ports, BASIC
Video: 25-line x 80-column text, 640 x 200 graphics
Size/Weight: 17.7 x 7.5 x 13.9 inches, 23.6 lbs.
Important Options: second 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, 10MB hard disk drive, internal modem, carrying case

Compaq Portable III (1987, transportable PC)
Base Configuration: 12MHz 80286 CPU, MS-DOS, 640K RAM (6.6MB max), 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, RGB video port, monochrome gas plasma display, keyboard/keypad, serial and parallel ports, owner’s manual
Video: 640 x 400 graphics
Size/Weight: 9.8 x 16 x 7.8 inches, 18 lbs.
Important Options: expansion unit, 20- or 40MB hard disk drive, internal modem, carrying case, technical reference

Compaq Portable 386 (transportable PC)
Original Retail Price: $7,999 to $9,999
Base Configuration: 20MHz 80386 CPU, MS-DOS, 1MB RAM (10MB max), 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, 40MB hard disk drive, RGB video port, monochrome gas plasma display, keyboard/keypad, serial and parallel ports, owner’s manual
Size/Weight: 20 lbs.
Important Options: expansion unit, 100MB hard disk drive, internal modem, nylon or leather carrying case, technical reference

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