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Updated 22 Feb 2016 (What’s New?)

Differences among TI-83s and TI-84s

Copyright © 2006–2017 by Stan Brown

Summary: Texas Instruments’ popular line of TI-83 and TI-84 calculators includes seven models, of which five are listed on TI’s Web site (though one is no longer available). What do you get by choosing one model over another?

Contents:

Quick Overview of Current Models

TI-83 Plus TI-84 Plus TI-84 Silver C TI-84 Plus CE
Year introduced 1999 2004 2013 2015
Screen Black&white, ambient light 16-bit color, backlit
Screen resolution 96×64
(95×63 usable)
320×240
(265×165 usable)
Text() command 0 ≤ r ≤ 57, 0 ≤ c ≤ 94 0 ≤ r ≤ 164, 0 ≤ c ≤ 264
Output() command 1 ≤ r ≤ 8, 1 ≤ c ≤ 16 1 ≤ r ≤ 10, 1 ≤ c ≤ 26
CPU Z80, 6 MHz Z80, 15 MHz Z80, 15 MHz eZ80, 48 MHz
Batteries 4×AAA + 1 “button” backup Rechargeable Li ion
Connectors I/O I/O, USB I/O, USB USB
Connect to
computer with ★
TI-Graph Link TI Connect CE
or TI Connect
or TI-Graph Link
TI Connect CE
or TI Connect
TI Connect CE
★ All can be downloaded from this page at TI’s site.

From Black&White TI-84s to Color TI-84s

The TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition (TI84+CSE for short) was released in 2013. It adds color and higher screen resolution to the TI-84 Plus. Part of that screen resolution goes for a two-line bar at the top: the first row shows selected mode settings and battery charge; the second row sometimes shows context-sensitive help. All the math and statistical functions and graphs carry forward from the black&white TI-84 Plus, and there are some enhancements.

The TI-84 Plus CE (TI84+CE for short), new in 2015, is about half the thickness of all the earlier TI-83s and TI-84s, a bit more rectangular, and 30% lighter (201 g versus 287 g). It has almost exactly the same menus as the TI84+CSE, but a new processor and memory-mapped LCD make it much faster — up to 300% faster, according to the review at Cemetech.net. It’s got more than six times the RAM of the TI84+CSE, which means greater capacity for programs and data.

I can’t see any reason to buy a new TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition. Despite lacking the “Silver” moniker, the TI-84 Plus CE is faster and cheaper than the TI84+CSE, and it has much more capacity too.

Documentation for Color TI-84s

TI’s site has Getting Started books for both calculators, but the full Guidebook (reference manual) only for the TI84+CSE. This isn’t a huge problem, as the differences are minor, but still it’s surprising since the TI84+CE has been out for about a year.

Where Is Color Used?

Menu Changes from Black&White TI-84s

TI84+CSETI84+CEFeature
  Keys and labels are in lower case, a nice change that improves readability in my opinion.
Catalog Help is available on all menus: press [+] for help on the selected menu item.
[MODE] screen: For function plots, CONNECTED has become THICK, DOT has become DOT-THICK, and THIN and DOT-THIN are new. (It’s possible to set those other modes for individual equations in black&white TI-84s, on the [Y=] screen.)
  [MODE] screen: select fractional answers. (The CSE has only automatic and decimal, but you can always press [math] [1] [enter] to convert an answer to a fraction.)
  [MODE] screen: go to graph format screen. This is a useless feature in my opinion, since [2nd zoom makes format] works on every TI-83/84 model.
[2nd ZOOM makes FORMAT] screen: grid lines. The black&white models have only GridOn and GridOff; the color models give you a three-way choice of GridOff, GridDot (equivalent to the old GridOn), and GridLine. There’s also a new GridColor choice, with 15 options.
graph with Detect Asymptotes turned on graph with Detect Asymptotes turned off [2nd ZOOM makes FORMAT] screen: Detect Asymptotes does a much better job with some graphs. Compare these two graphs of (x−11)/[(x−7)(x+2)]. Detect Asymptotes definitely slows down the graphing, but it’s worth it to have accurate graphs.
The [MATH] menu has a new sub-menu, FRAC, that duplicates the last four items of the [MATH] NUM sub-menu.
[STAT] CALC menu: QuickPlot&Fit-EQ is new: drop points on a graph screen and do a regression on the fly.
The [WINDOW] screen lets you set TraceStep explicitly.
The [VARS] menu has a new sub-menu, COLOR.

Other Changes from Black&White TI-84s

From TI-83 to TI-84

The black&white TI-84 Plus and TI-84 Plus Silver Edition were released in 2004; there was no “original TI-84”.

TI upgraded the firmware on shipped models in 2010 and again in 2011, without changing the model names. If yours was manufactured before 2012, you can check the firmware version and download new firmware if necessary.

The black&white TI-84 Plus is still being sold, but TI says the black&white TI-84 Plus Silver Edition is “no longer available in retail stores”.

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What does a TI-84 Plus get you, over a TI-83 Plus?

Display

Both the TI-84 Plus and the TI-84 Silver now come with these features:

You can control these features (except as indicated) by pressing [MODE] [].

Keyboard

The keyboards are identical in labeling, but the 84’s design is curved, and all keys except the numeric keypad are smaller.

New in 2.55MP: On the home screen, you can just press [] repeatedly to recall past calculations. When you find the one you want, press [ENTER] it’s pasted to the screen where you can edit it if you wish before pressing [ENTER] again to execute it. ([2nd ENTER makes ENTRY] still works.

The 84 has a clock, which you can view or set by pressing [MODE].

New in 2.55MP: Four new “shortcut menus” claim to offer faster access to existing functions; press [ALPHA F1 makes FRAC], [ALPHA F2 makes FUNC], [ALPHA F3 makes MTRX], [ALPHA F4 makes YVAR]. Of these, [ALPHA F3 makes MTRX] really does seem to make it easier to enter matrices.

There are a few goodies for statistics students:

Catalog Functions

The following catalog functions are in the 84 but not the 83:

The included Catalog Help application doesn’t describe these. Consult Appendix A of the Guidebook for the use of these catalog entries — except for ExecLib and OpenLib, which seem to be undocumented.

TI-84 Plus versus TI-84 Plus Silver Edition

Functionally these are almost identical. I know of only these differences between the plain TI-84 Plus and the Silver Edition:

Upgrading TI-84 Plus and Silver

The black&white TI-84 models go back to 2004, but some firmware upgrades added features:

If you have a black&white TI-84, press [2nd + makes MEM] [1] to check the firmware version. If it’s older than 2.55MP, you can download new firmware to get MathPrint and other features. TI’s search engine doesn’t find the download, but googling for “2.55MP download TI-84” (without quotes) found the OS download and these download instructions.

The TI-83 Models

The original TI-83 was released in 1996, the TI-83 Plus in 1999, and the TI-83 Plus Silver Edition in 2001, according to Wikipedia.

Keyboard differences are few. The TI-83 Plus replaced the original TI-83’s dedicated [MATRX] key with an [APPS] key, moving matrix functions to [2nd x-1 makes MATRX]. The finance functions from [2nd x-1 makes FINANCE] on the original TI-83 were moved to a FINANCE app. All the later TI-83/84 models have the same keyboard as the TI-83 Plus, though the shapes of the keys have changed.

Programming differs a bit between the original TI-83 on the one hand, and all other TI-83/84s on the other. The TI-83 uses 83P program files; the others can run 83P files but natively use 8XP files, which the original TI-83 cannot run. 8XP files added new features, such as letting programs display lower-case letters.

The original TI-83 and TI-83 Silver are no longer listed on TI’s Web site, but the TI-83 Plus is. I don’t see any reason to buy a new TI-83 Plus, because the TI-84 Plus is about the same price and has more speed, more memory, and more features. However, a used TI-83 Plus can be a good buy; just spend a little time to make sure that the character and graph displays are working correctly.

Confusingly, there is a TI-83 Premium CE calculator, released in 2015. This is actually very similar to the TI-84 Plus CE.

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