Texas Instruments’ TI 83 Plus is powerful graphing calculator that puts scientific calculations, plotting, and graphic functions in the hands of students and technical professionals.
First introduced by TI in 1996 as an evolution of the popular TI 82, the TI 83 programming calculator supports TI-Basic and Z80 assembly programming languages, providing options and flexibility for users.
In 1999, TI succeeded the TI 83 with the even more powerful TI 83 Plus, while still enhancing the TI 83 with upgrades such as updated shape and elimination of the sloped screen that had been common to TI graphic calculators since the advent of the TI 81.
One of the most significant features of the upgraded TI 83 Plus programming calculator was the addition of Flash ROM. With this 512 kb of flash memory, the new unit allowed for operating system upgrades and downloads of applications. Remaining memory was available for user files and applications, providing even more flexibility and ease of use.
How to Use the TI 83 Plus
TI programming calculators are extremely popular among students at all levels including high school, college, and today even middle school students.
TI 83 plus programming can be done directly on the calculator, although many users write TI Assembly programs on computers, then load them to the calculator for use. TI Assembly is essentially Z80 assembly enhanced with system calls provided by TI.
Many users of the TI 83 Plus develop functions utilizing TI Basic, a language very similar to the standard BASIC programming language that has been in use for decades. The advantage of assembly over basic programming is performance – these programs tend to execute faster, although they are viewed as more difficult to write.
What Can the TI 83 Plus Do?
The TI 83 Plus is crammed full of features that meet the requirements for students engaged in physics, engineering, mathematics, and programming. Some of the significant features include:
- Extensive graphing capabilities including parametric, polar, function, and sequential graphing
- Financial calculations
- On-calculator programming capability
- Matrix operations
- Graph and compare functions
- Update and add applications
TI 83 Plus is one of TI’s most popular programming calculators. It was their first in the series to include built-in support for assembly. Although it has been replaced with newer models such as the TI 83 Plus Silver Edition and the TI 84, some TI 83 models remain available through retailers and online sites such as Amazon.
Physical Characteristics of the TI 83 Plus
TI 83 Plus programming calculators pack a respectable collection of power and technology in a very small, versatile package:
- Zilog Z80 6 MHz CPU, with the Silver Edition including a 15 MHz processor
- ROM consisting of 24 kb on the TI 83, with the TI 83 Plus sporting 512 kb Flash ROM (2MB with Silver Edition)
- RAM – 32 kb RAM – 24 kb usable for user programs and data (128 kb on Silver Edition)
- Text display accommodating 16 x 8 characters
- Graphics display 96 x 64 pixels on monochrome 3” LCD display
- Link Port at 9.6 kbits
- 50-button integrated keypad
Power is provided by 4 AAA batteries, with backup power provided by CR1616 or CR1620 batteries.
Want to know more? Download the TI 83 Plus manual from the TI education technology store.
What Users Say About the TI 83 Plus
With the enormous popularity of the TI 83 and TI 83 Plus programming calculators, there are plenty of opinions and reviews available when considering the purchase of this type of technology.
Text Tutoring includes reviews that include an opinion that the TI 83 Plus may even be preferred by some students or users over more recent evolutions of the device. While newer models such as the TI 84 or even the TI 89 may house faster processors and more features, they may also be overwhelming in their complexity and options. Where the TI 83 models can perform the features you need, they may be your best choice.
Best Top Reviewer Alex Stuart praises the TI 83 Plus for its ease of use, power, and functionality.
Moving Up to the TI 84
There are significant enhancements and reasons to choose the TI 84, depending on the functions you need:
- Increased memory capacity: 480 kb ROM vs. the TI 83’s 160 kb.
- Enhanced capabilities for mathematics such as geometry, linear algebra, and college math
- Z80 15 MHz processor standard
How to Program the TI 84
Programming the TI 84 can be performed with the built-in Basic language support, creating and editing your own programs for use.
TI also provides tools that include TI Connect and TI-Graph Link software, which can be used in conjunction with the TI-Graph Link cable to create programs on your desktop computer, and transfer them the calculator to run.
Making Your Choice
Your choice of a scientific or graphing calculator should be dependent on what you need to do with the device – now and in the future. Compare prices, features, and reviews, then make your choice.
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