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The HP-86 personal computer offered users more options and expandability than the HP-85, which had been introduced two years earlier. In addition to an interface for an external monitor, the HP-86 also had built-in interfaces for two HP 9130A disc drives and a Centronics-compatible printer for additional system configurations. For video output, users had the choice of a 9-inch or 12-inch monitor, both of which were available from HP. The HP-86 came standard with 64K ROM, which was expandable to 576K, and 48K RAM.
The amount of RAM could be expanded with the HP Model 82900A CP/M System Module, which contained an additional a 64K RAM and plugged into the back panel of the HP-86. Its addition allowed the use of software designed for the CP/M operating system.
The HP-86 contained all the features of the HP-85 but was not portable. A user had the option of using an external monitor via a built-in interface.