Texas Instruments is a highly preferred brand when it comes to scientific graphing calculators. One of the most popular models right now is TI 84 Plus. However, some people are wondering – what is the difference between this model and the predecessor? In this article, we’ll see the comparison between TI 84 Plus vs TI 83 Plus to help you choose.
Should you buy TI 84 Plus or TI 83 Plus? Continue reading below to find out more about:
- The distinctive features of each Texas Instruments model here
- The menu and button layout of each model
- Which TI calculator that is easier and more practical to use
- The hardware of each model
- The performance of TI 84 Plus vs TI 83 Plus
- Which TI calculator that gives the best value for the money
TI 83 Plus was designed in 1999 as an upgrade from TI 83. Since its release, TI 83 Plus has become one of the most popular calculators from the company. At the time around its release, its performance was indeed amazing. It has been armed with the 6 MHz Zilog Z80 microprocessor and 512 KB Flash ROM. These were significant improvements from the predecessor.
TI 83 Plus’s 512 KB Flash Rom has allowed for operating system updates as well as applications to be installed. However, most of the memory is used by the operating system, so the user can only have 160 KB of the memory for files and applications. Nevertheless, this is already sufficient for installing applications that can widen the functionality of the calculator, such as apps for text editing, science and math, organizers, day planners, spreadsheets, and even games.
TI 83 Plus was designed to be used by high school students and college students. However, it is now already used by many middle school students, especially in public schools. This is because TI 83 Plus is now available at a more affordable price than the successor, TI 84 Plus, and it already has all scientific calculator features, graphing capabilities, matrix operations, financial calculations, and programming capabilities using the TI-BASIC or TI Assembly languages.
TI 84 Plus is the successor of TI 83 Plus. This is easily seen from the similar key-by-key correspondence. The displays and button layouts of the two models are very similar. However, the hardware features and capabilities have been greatly improved, especially after the OS 2.53 MP operating system update. TI 84 Plus was released in early 2004.
Interestingly, the company didn’t release a TI 84 calculator. Instead, the company immediately released the TI 84 Plus calculator (and later the TI 84 Plus Silver Edition calculator). Apparently, this is to prevent confusion about the calculator lineage, as TI 84 Plus is a direct successor of TI 83 Plus.
TI 84 Plus is armed with the 15 MHz Zilog Z80 microprocessor – a CPU that is about 2.5 times faster and more powerful than the previous model. TI 84 Plus also comes with a huge upgrade to the Flash ROM. The total memory capacity is 1 MB, and the user-accessible memory capacity is 480 KB. In addition, TI 84 Plus features a USB port with built-in clock functionality. This port is USB OTG compliant, so it supports device-to-device transfers.
At first, TI 84 Plus vs TI 83 Plus calculators may look very different from each other. This is because they use different colors on their cases and buttons. However, after seeing them side by side, you can see that they do share a lot of similarities.
First of all, they have identical display screens. The resolution is 96 x 64 pixels. Each display screen can show up to 16 characters in a line, and up to 8 lines. The display screen is easy to read.
Second, the button layouts are more-or-less similar. On each calculator, there are five buttons right under the display screen. The navigation buttons are on the upper right. The exponent and logarithm buttons are on the left, whereas the trigonometry (sin, cos, tan) buttons are just above the numeric pad. So, if you are already used to the button layout of TI 83 Plus, you can easily adapt to TI 84 Plus within a very short period of time.
The slight difference between TI 84 Plus and TI 83 Plus in terms of button layout is that, the leftmost and rightmost buttons on TI 84 Plus are pulled slightly upwards (the navigation buttons are also placed slightly higher), whereas the buttons of TI 83 Plus are consistent in the same lines. The new design on TI 84 Plus is actually more ergonomic and more comfortable, as it makes it easier for you to reach the lower buttons.
The button colors are different. TI 84 Plus actually looks plain because many of the buttons are either white or light gray. The numeric buttons are white, whereas the arithmetic buttons, the navigation buttons, and the buttons under the display are light gray. On the other hand, though, TI 83 Plus looks very conventional, as the same color scheme has been used by numerous other calculators in the market.
When TI 84 Plus was first released, it didn’t look like a big upgrade from TI 83 Plus – at least in the eyes of ‘light’ users. However, the OS 2.53 MP operating system update has brought the MathPrint mode, which is a big improvement to the user interface. The MathPrint mode changes the formatting so that fractions, exponents, and other functions can be displayed just like in textbooks. This feature affects both inputs and outputs.
Of course, TI 84 Plus allows you to switch between the MathPrint mode and the Classic mode, in case that you prefer the traditional approach of writing a mathematical expression on a single line (such as 3/2 + 5/4). However, most people agree that the MathPrint mode is a lot easier to read and understand. Also, by using the MathPrint mode, you don’t need to remember certain syntaxes when entering some functions.
So, we can say that TI 84 Plus is significantly easier and more practical to use than TI 83 Plus because of the MathPrint mode. When purchasing a new TI 84 Plus calculator, make sure to get the OS 2.53 MP operating system update to benefit from this feature.
Hardware and Features
As mentioned above, the biggest difference between TI 84 Plus vs TI 83 Plus is the hardware. TI 84 Plus comes with several dramatic upgrades on the hardware section compared to TI 83 Plus. These upgrades greatly affect the capabilities, but it is not as dramatic on the performance aspect.
Both calculators use Zilog Z80 microprocessors. Zilog Z80 is an 8-bit microprocessor; it was initially introduced by Zilog in 1976 as the company’s first product. Zilog Z80 was designed as an extension and enhancement of Intel 8080, and hence was mainly aimed to embedded systems like printers, advanced cash registers, intelligent terminals, and other automation products. However, due to the excellent power and performance, it has also been used in early computers, musical equipment, and arcade and video game machines.
So, it is not a surprise that Texas Instruments has adopted Zilog Z80 to be used in their calculators as well. However, TI 83 Plus is using a lower version of Zilog Z80 which only has a processing speed of 6 MHz. On the other hand, TI 84 Plus is using a higher version of Zilog Z80 with a processing speed of 15 MHz.
TI 83 Plus only has 32 KB of RAM to act as a working memory where the operational data is temporarily stored during the usage. 24 KB of the memory is user-accessible. In other words, most of the memory is dedicated for the user operations and apps. Only a small portion is used by the operating system. TI 83 Plus also has 512 KB of ROM (160 KB is user-accessible) where you can save updates, files, and apps.
TI 84 Plus comes with 128 KB of RAM, the user-accessible portion of the working memory is still 24 KB. In other words, a huge portion of the RAM is dedicated to the operating system. This allows the calculator to work much more quickly and smoothly. TI 84 Plus also boasts 1 MB of ROM (480 KB is user-accessible), so you can store larger files and apps.
TI 83 Plus only has the standard serial I/O port. It uses a special TI connectivity cable to connect to a computer or another compatible TI calculator. This calculator does not have any USB connectivity.
TI 84 Plus is far more advanced because it comes with both the standard serial I/O port and a USB port. It already supports USB OTG. So, you can easily connect this calculator to a wide range of devices, from computers to flash drives to probes. The USB port makes it very easy to download and install updates as well as additional apps.
The improvements on the RAM and ROM not only increase the performance, but also widen the functionality. TI 84 Plus comes with more commands for zoom, time, fractions, stats, and many others. They are very useful for advanced users, such as those in high school and college. However, ‘light’ users who only use the basic functions probably don’t get any real benefit from these new commands.
TI 83 Plus comes with two pre-loaded apps, which are Study Cards and Vernier Eas Data. These are very useful apps. Study Cards basically turns the calculator into a virtual flash card computer, and the official Texas Instruments website has many card stacks for studying various subjects, not only math. There are also test preparation stacks that include questions. Meanwhile, Vernier Easy Data is very handy for data collection, and it supports several probes and sensors.
TI 84 Plus also comes with those two pre-loaded apps, but in addition, it also comes with Cabri Jr. This is basically an interactive geometry app which allows you to construct, transform, and analyze geometric diagrams as well as mathematical models. This is useful for middle school and high school students for learning Euclidean geometry.
Since TI 84 Plus vs TI 83 Plus calculators support programming, you can develop your own apps using either TI-BASIC or TI Assembly. In general, the TI-BASIC programming language is easier to use. On the other hand, the TI Assembly programming language requires an extensive knowledge, but the apps developed in this language can run even more smoothly and quickly. You can also download apps from the Internet and import them to your TI 84 Plus or TI 83 Plus.
Since TI 84 Plus comes with an upgraded CPU and RAM, we may hypothesize that it is dramatically faster than TI 83 Plus. However, many users and some websites have complained that TI 84 Plus is actually much slower than the predecessor. So, what is the problem here?
You can see easily the performance difference when displaying the MODE menu. On TI 83 Plus, the menu is displayed almost instantaneously. However, on TI 84 Plus, it takes almost a full second to display. This makes the calculator very annoying to use.
Some tests have also confirmed that TI 84 Plus is slower than TI 83 Plus by default, especially with the MathPrint mode activated. For example, in a simple loop of displaying integers between 1 and 500, TI 84 Plus takes nearly 2 minutes in the MathPrint mode, whereas TI 83 Plus only takes 35 seconds! However, TI 84 Plus in the Classic mode only takes 33 seconds, which is slightly faster than the predecessor.
Actually, TI 84 Plus is different from most other calculators that it does not refresh the entire screen all the time. It is able to refresh only a specific area of the screen at a time. The effect of this optimization becomes noticeable when you use the “Output” instruction. TI 84 Plus works significantly faster.
So, if you choose to keep using the MathPrint mode on TI 84 Plus, there is some trade-off with the performance. The expressions become easier to read, but the calculator works more slowly. However, if you choose to use the Classic mode, TI 84 Plus can work much faster.
Suitable Courses and Test Allowance
Both TI 84 Plus vs TI 83 Plus are permitted on various tests, including ACT, AP, SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, Praxis, and International Baccalaureate. So, both of the two calculators are ideal for taking these tests. The fact that they come with the StudyCards app makes them even more recommended for preparing these tests.
According to Texas Instruments, both of the two calculators are suitable for various courses, including Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 & 2, Statistics, Trigonometry, Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Business & Finance. However, the additional commands and features on TI 84 Plus also make the new calculator suitable for Geometry and Linear Algebra.
TI 84 Plus vs TI 83 Plus
|Name||TI 84 Plus||TI 83 Plus|
|Key Features||- Real and complex numbers calculated to 14-digit accuracy and displayed with 10 digits plus a 2-digit exponent. Graphs 10 rectangular functions, 6 parametric expressions, 6 polar expressions, and 3 recursively-defined sequences. Up to 10 graphing functions defined, saved, graphed, and analyzed at one time||- Graphing calculator handles calculus, engineering, trigonometric, and financial functions - LCD screen features 64 x 96 pixel resolution for clear, readable display. The TI-83 Plus is approved for use on the following exams:SAT,ACT,PSAT/NMSQT,AP,International Baccalaureate|
|Best Offer||Save Money Please click here||Save Money Please click here|
All in all, TI 84 Plus is indeed more recommended. It comes with upgraded hardware and many new features. The USB connectivity is especially very useful. It also comes with the MathPrint mode, which can make mathematical expressions much easier to read. However, this mode slows down the performance, so you have to switch back to the Classic mode if you think that the performance is more important.