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Thread: How to distinguish Compaq Portable from Plus

  1. #1
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    Default How to distinguish Compaq Portable from Plus

    I'm thinking about picking up an original Compaq Portable but I want the very first one, not the Plus or later models. My understanding from years back is the difference between the very first iteration and the later Plus, was the presence of a hard drive. Now, I know I've seen original units fitted out with hard drives after the fact - is there anything in the serial number, etc that would tell you for sure your machine started its life as an original, not Plus, portable?

  2. #2
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    There are only two differences between a Portable and a Portable plus:

    1- the presence of a hard drive+controller
    2- a different badge.

    Portables were produced at the same time as the plus, so they share all the same parts.

    I'd think that in general just looking at the badge would be enough. Few would have gone to the trouble to change it. Of course the stock hard drive in most Plus units will be long dead.

    Unless you had some evidence the production date was prior to the introduction of the Plus, I wouldn't even worry about it. And even then, parts got swapped all the time.

    Hmmm, I don't know off hand if they used a different serial number sequence for those.

  3. #3
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    The information at [here] suggests that early motherboards had two switch blocks (like the IBM PC). It also provides some serial number information.

    Per [here], revision B of the BIOS does not support BIOS expansion ROM's (as found on cards like the EGA and XT-class hard disk controllers).

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    Thanks guys. I never really had any interest in the older PC clones until Halt and Catch Fire got to me.

    I'm assuming the serial numbers are not sequential from 1 - I see they are 10 digits on the machines I've looked at that appear to be original. Is it safe to assume the relevant numbers, if you're looking for a low serial, are the five right most digits?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by falter View Post
    I'm assuming the serial numbers are not sequential from 1 - I see they are 10 digits on the machines I've looked at that appear to be original. Is it safe to assume the relevant numbers, if you're looking for a low serial, are the five right most digits?
    I do not know. But even with solid serial number information, you will still need to look inside the machine to cater for Portable's that no longer have their original motherboard.

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