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Going deep with the Book 8088, the brand-new laptop that runs like it’s 1981

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The Book 8088, a strange homebrewed curio that recalls the earliest days of x86 PCs.

Enlarge / The Book 8088, a strange homebrewed curio that recalls the earliest days of x86 PCs. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

The words you're reading are time travelers.

They were written on a laptop that is technically brand new, in the sense that it was only released recently. But everything from the word processor this text was written in to the CPU that ran it is decades old.

I am writing this on the Book 8088, an utterly bizarre $200-ish imported system that uses a processor from 1984, a custom motherboard design, and a bunch of cobbled-together parts to approximate the specs of the original IBM PC 5150 from 1981. It's running at a blazing-fast speed of 4.77 MHz, at least when it's not in TURBO MODE, and it has a generous helping of 640KB (yes, kilobytes) of system memory. (If you can't buy one now, keep an eye on the listing because it has blinked into and out of stock a few times over the last few weeks).

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