|Re: OT--TI's SR-60|
Message #6 Posted by David Ramsey on 24 Apr 2012, 11:02 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Matt Agajanian
Since I have an SR-60 and most of the HP desktop calculators of the time, and gave a talk on them at last year's HHC, I'll give my opinion:
The SR-60 was not intended to compete with any HP desktop machine. Although both machines were introduced in 1976, the 9825, programmable in HPL, is a much, much faster and more advanced machine. They really are not even remotely comparable.
Even the 9815 stomps all over the SR-60 performance-wise, as you might expect given that it uses a Motorola 6800 as compared to the little 4-bit calculator CPU in the SR-60.
HP desktops were designed for scientists and engineers. Every one from the 9810 on had expansion capabilities and could be connected to peripheral devices and controllers. The SR-60 was designed for business use, where lower performance was acceptable and connecting plotters and tape drives, or plugging in ROMs with transcendental math routines, simply wasn't a market requirement.
TI called the SR-60 a "programmable prompting calculator", and so it was. You could display alphanumeric messages on its display and take one of 5 different branches depending on whether the user pressed "Yes", "No", "Not Apply", "Not Known", or "Enter"...but it could not input or directly work with alpha data. It was also really, really slow, even by the standards of the time.
The SR-60 is an interesting intermediate step between a purely numeric calculator like, say, the 9810, and a "real computer" like the 9825. TI's ads at the time featured a secretary entering data into an auto insurance calculation, guided by the prompts on the display. It did indeed work well in such applications; I only wish TI had built the SR-60 to the physical standards of the HP machines of the time. It's extremely delicate and filled with custom PMOS circuits that will blow if you jump a spark on the other side of the room.
Edited: 24 Apr 2012, 11:04 p.m.