The next "personal computer" out of the gate was the IBM 5110 Computing System, announced by GSD in January 1978. Unlike the 5100 — which met the needs of professional and scientific problem-solvers — the 5110 was offered as a full-function computer to virtually all business and industry. Using new system and programs, a business could use the 5110 to automate such applications as general ledger and accounts payable. In addition, the 5110 system could be programmed to provide a variety of reports to help management analyze sales, schedule resources, reduce inventory cost and plan future growth.
The 5110 featured a desktop unit, which housed a central processing unit, a keyboard and a 1,024-character display screen. Main memory held 16K, 32K, 48K or 64K bytes of data, depending on the unit. Offering either magnetic tape or diskette storage, the Model 1 could store as much as 204,000 bytes of information per tape cartridge or 1.2 million bytes on a single diskette; the Model 2 allowed only diskette storage. Up to two IBM 5114 diskette units, each housing a minimum of two diskette drives, could be attached to the 5110 for a total online diskette capacity of 4.8 million bytes.
Shown in the view above (from left) are the IBM 5103 printer, the 5114 diskette unit (the large box on the bottom), the 5106 auxiliary tape unit (the small box on the top) and the processing unit.
Within a week of its January 10 announcement, several hundred orders had already been received for the 5110. The first 5110 was shipped from the GSD's Rochester, Minn., plant on February 2, 1978, to Punxsutawney Electric Repair Company, a small electrical products distributor in Pennsylvania. The customer used the 5110 for billing, inventory control, accounts receivable and sales analysis. Citing the easy use of his new system, Jeff Grube, vice president of Punxsutawney Electric Repair, said: "If you can type and use a hand-held calculator, you have all the skills necessary to operate a 5110."
The 5110 was withdrawn from marketing in March 1982.