HP 9830A Calculator/Computer

The HP 9830A (HP 9800 Model 30) is the most powerful calculator in the HP 9800 series and may be considered to be the very first personal computer.

At the time, the device and other early computers were marketed as “calculators” for companies to sell them easier.

The device was part of the HP 9800 series, which was developed by Calculator Products Division and later Desktop Computer Division.

It was introduced in 1972, before microprocessor chips were created.

It comes with:

  • 3,520 bytes of RAM
  • an AX and BX general processor register
  • a QWERTY keyboard
  • a 32-character, single line, red LED, and alphanumeric display
  • a cassette tape drive that lets users load and store programs and 64K of data
  • a built-in BASIC language

It has a total of 12 slots:

  • four external slots for the interface
  • three internal slots for ROM modules
  • five external slots for ROM modules

The cassette has a search speed of 26 ips and a read speed of 10 ips. It can be operated using the control keys on the keyboard.

The language BASIC is similar to and simpler than the language FORTRAN. When extended with ROMS, users can do graphics plotting, matrix math, and string variables with the 9830A.

The 9800 series was eventually replaced in the marketplace by computers that were created from standard microcomputer components, which became more favored by households and offices.


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