Personal System/2


Personal System/2, commonly abbreviated as PS/2, refers to a series of IBM computer models introduced in 1987. The series included new hardware features such as 3.5-inch floppy drives, PS/2 ports for connecting keyboard and mouse, and VGA graphics. Over time, these innovations became industry standards in computer technology.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Personal System/2” is: Pur-suh-nuhl Sis-tuhm/Too

Key Takeaways

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  1. Personal System/2 or PS/2 is a standard created by IBM for their personal computer systems. It was first launched in 1987 and introduced many technological standards that are still widely used today.
  2. The main features introduced by Personal System/2 include VGA graphics, 3.5 inch floppy disk drives, and PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports. These became industry standards that were adopted by other computer manufacturers.
  3. Despite its successes, the PS/2 also had shortcomings. Its Micro Channel Architecture (MCA) bus was technically superior, but failed to gain widespread adoption due to its higher cost and IBM’s licensing practices. Eventually, it was replaced by the PCI bus from Intel.



Personal System/2, often abbreviated as PS/2, holds significant importance in the technology world for several reasons. Introduced by IBM in 1987, the PS/2 series was considerable for its innovative features and designs that greatly influenced future PC development. The most prominent include the introduction of the 3.5-inch floppy disk drive and the PS/2 port which became a standard for connecting keyboards and mice to computers. Moreover, PS/2 popularized the use of a new proprietary architecture, Micro Channel architecture (MCA), which offered several enhancements over the previously used Industry Standard Architecture (ISA). Though its proprietary nature led to decreased popularity, MCA laid the groundwork for the modern-day PCI systems. Therefore, despite being relatively short-lived, the PS/2’s introductions left a lasting impact on computer technology.


The Personal System/2 (PS/2) was a series of personal computers that were introduced by IBM in 1987. The core purpose of these systems was to reclaim control over the PC market by introducing an advanced proprietary architecture. Marked with innovative features like the Micro Channel architecture (MCA), PS/2 was aimed to provide a platform optimized for running complex applications faster and more efficiently.The PS/2 was used primarily for business and office computer tasks. It played a significant role in popularizing the graphical user interface, driving the shift away from purely text-based interfaces. The mouse and keyboard connectors used in the PS/2 series became standard in nearly all PCs and are often still referred to as “PS/2” connectors. Though the PS/2 line of computers eventually lost much of the market to PCs built to be IBM-compatible, they were instrumental in setting new standards for personal computing technology.


Personal System/2 (PS/2) was introduced by IBM in 1987 and refers to a specific line of personal computers. Here are three real-world examples of the term:1. IBM Model 30: It was the entry-level model of the Personal System/2 line featuring an 8086 processor, typically running at 8 MHz, and available with either two 3.5″ floppy drives or a single floppy and a 20 MB hard drive. 2. IBM Model 50 and Model 60: They were mid-range PS/2 models. Both integrated the processor and memory onto a single, replaceable planar board (motherboard). The Model 50 used an 80286 processor, while the Model 60 used an 80386. 3. IBM Model 80: This was a high-end model in the PS/2 series and it was based on the Intel 80386 processor. It provided a platform for running more advanced software applications and was often used in a business or enterprise environment. PS/2 also refers to a certain type of connector for keyboards and mice, which became a standard in many PCs following the release of the IBM Personal System/2.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Q: What is Personal System/2 or PS/2?A: Personal System/2 or PS/2 is a standard for IBM personal computers introduced in the 1980s. It’s both a computer model series and interfaces for keyboards and mice.Q: Who developed the PS/2?A: The PS/2 was developed by International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).Q: What was the purpose of developing the Personal System/2?A: The objective was to regain control of the PC market by introducing an advanced yet proprietary architecture.Q: What are the PS/2 ports?A: PS/2 ports refer to a type of interface for connecting input devices like keyboards and mice to a computer. They have a mini-DIN design and are typically color-coded, green for mice and purple for keyboards.Q: Are PS/2 ports still being used today?A: While PS/2 ports have largely been replaced by USB ports in modern computers, some users prefer PS/2 connections for their ability to provide full n-key rollover, which is important in certain applications like gaming.Q: What operating system does PS/2 use?A: The standard operating system for the PS/2 was IBM’s OS/2. However, they also supported other systems, including the IBM PC DOS and Microsoft Windows.Q: When was the PS/2 introduced?A: IBM introduced the Personal System/2 series on April 2, 1987.Q: Why is it called the Personal System/2 or PS/2?A: The name PS/2 was used to indicate a “second generation” of personal computers, after the original IBM PC models.Q: What is the PS/2’s Micro Channel architecture?A: The Micro Channel architecture is a proprietary bus (data pathway) architecture used in some PS/2 models. It was designed to overcome the limitations of the existing bus architecture used in PCs at the time.Q: Are PS/2 computers still available for purchase?A: Although PS/2 computers aren’t being manufactured any more, it is still possible to find used or refurbished units for sale on online marketplaces. However, bear in mind that these may not be compatible with modern software or peripherals.

Related Tech Terms

  • Micro Channel Architecture
  • IBM PS/2 Mouse
  • OS/2 Operating System
  • IBM Systems Application Architecture
  • PS/2 Keyboard Interface

Sources for More Information

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