Atario Portfolio / DIP Pocket PC

Eight years after the introduction of the bulky heavyweight IBM PC, bringing an impressive 12 kilogramms to the gage, the DIP Pocket PC / Atari Portfolio packed the same specs down into a featherweight 505 gramms.

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Historic Overview

We’ve seen many developments throughout the years in mobile computing, but in 1989, the Atari Portfolio was a small revolution.

Atari Portfolio (Image courtesy to Wikipedia)

Never before we’ve seen a machine as small as this. With a footprint of roughly 20×10 centimeters, an overall weight of 550 gramms, driven by 3 AAA cells, the Portfolio packed in literally everything that made up the original IBM PC from 1981: An Intel 80C86 CPU at 4.9 MHz and 128 KiB of RAM, the latter 4 times as much as its original predecessor.
A 256 KiB permanent ROM was available, serving as the main storage, from which both the proprietary DIP DOS, which was largely MS-DOS 2.0 compatible, and the productivity tools, such as Lotus 1-2-3, ran from.

A module bay stood in as a disk drive expansion. It accepted permanent ROM cards, on which additional commercial software was delivered, and could also be loaded with volatile memory cards with 32 KiB to 4096 KiB capacity. In order to not loose the data on the memory cards, a swappable CR232 cell had to be kept up with.

Optional extension modules, that could plug into the right-hand expansion connector could accomodate for extra device bays, RAM expansion up to 640 KiB, modem, parallel port, and more.

While this device was marketed as the Atari Portfolio, it was actually manufactured by DIP Research, Ltd in the UK. Originally marketed as the DIP Pocket PC, Atari later acquired an exclusive distribution license under it’s own brand.


The PHINTAGE Collection currently holds two of these nuggets. One being the original DIP Pocket PC, and another being an Atari Portfolio. They are largely identical, except for different ROM software versions, and the different brand labelling.

VendorDIP / Atari
ModelPocket PC / Portfolio
Original StreetpriceUS$ 399.95
Dimensions20 cm × 10.5 cm x 2.5 cm
Builtin DisplayYES, non-backlit monochrome LCD,
40 characters × 8 lines
Builtin BatteryNO (powered by 3 ordinary AAA cells)
CPUIntel 80c86, 4.9 MHz
RAM128 KiB
Storage– 256 KiB ROM
– volatile storage using expansion cards 32 – 4096 KiB
Network SupportParallel, Serial, Modem (all as expansion modules)
Video Outputn/a
Operating SystemDIP DOS 2.0
Overall Conditionminor scuffs, overall very good condition
Restoration Parts neededRAM expansion modules, various capacities


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