Concept

TI-990

Summary
The TI-990 was a series of 16-bit minicomputers sold by Texas Instruments (TI) in the 1970s and 1980s. The TI-990 was a replacement for TI's earlier minicomputer systems, the TI-960 and the TI-980. It had several unique features, and was easier to program than its predecessors. Among its core concepts was the ability to easily support multiprogramming using a software-switchable set of processor registers that allowed it to perform rapid context switches between programs. This was enabled through the use of register values stored in main memory that could be swapped by changing a single pointer. TI later implemented the TI-990 in a single-chip implementation, the TMS9900, among the first 16-bit microprocessors. Intended for use in low-end models of the TI-990, it retained the 990's memory model and main memory register system. This design was ultimately much more widely used in the TI-99/4A, where details of its minicomputer-style memory model presented significant disadvantages.
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