TI-83 vs. TI-84 Plus: What’s the Difference Between These Calculators?

TI-83 vs. TI-84

TI-83 vs. TI-84 Plus: What’s the Difference Between These Calculators?

In a world where powerful computing devices fit into our pockets, there’s still a dedicated place for specialized tools. The battle of TI-83 vs. TI-84 is a testament to that. Both calculators hail from the iconic Texas Instruments line. While they may seem similar at a glance, discerning minds know that each has its unique charm.

Graphing calculators are often still a must-have for high school, college, and even some postgraduate students. So, no matter if you’re a student diving into complex math problems, a professional plotting graphs, or simply someone nostalgic about these devices, understanding the differences between the Ti-83 and TI-84 can be crucial. This article will break down each calculator’s distinct features, functions, and capabilities to help you determine which may be the best choice.

TI-83 vs. TI-84 Plus: Side-by-Side Comparison

CategoryTI-83TI-84 Plus
Processing PowerZilog Z80 (6 MHz)Zilog Z80 (15 MHz)
Display96 x 64 pixels320 x 240 pixels
Memory24 KB RAM + 160 KB Flash ROM24 KB RAM + 480 KB Flash ROM
ConnectivityUSB portUSB port + 2.5mm I/O
Battery4 AAA4 AAA or rechargeable battery
RecommendationGreat for basic graphingBest for advanced functions and storage

TI-83 vs. TI-84 Plus: What’s the Difference?

Ti-83 vs. Ti-84 plus
Graphing calculators are often a must-have for modern high school and college students.

In mathematics, engineering, and various academic pursuits, the graphing calculator has emerged as an indispensable tool. Traditional calculators are primarily designed for arithmetic operations and basic functions while graphing calculators offer an interactive platform that visualizes complex mathematical functions and data sets. By offering both numerical and graphical outputs, these calculators allow users to gain a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts. Plus, they offer a more intuitive way to tackle advanced problems.

The core value of a graphing calculator lies in its ability to plot graphs of functions, systems of equations, and inequalities, which can be viewed on a pixelated screen. This helps students, engineers, and professionals not just compute but also visualize problems. Further, these calculators often come with the ability to handle matrices, statistical functions, calculus operations, and even programmability, offering customized solutions.

What Is the TI-83 Calculator?

Introduced by Texas Instruments in the late 1990s, the TI-83 was conceived to provide a significant upgrade from its predecessors. It came into the scene to aid in more advanced mathematics and cater to the requirements of high school and college students alike. The TI-83 has long since been a staple in classrooms. Since its release, it has provided users with the means to tackle everything from algebraic computations to more advanced calculus problems.

The TI-83 offers a multi-line display where equations and solutions can be viewed simultaneously. Its internal storage allows users to store equations, statistical data, and even small programs. The calculator’s Flash ROM capability ensures that users can upgrade the operating system, enhance functionality, or even install applications tailored to specific coursework or needs.

In terms of usage, the TI-83 is versatile. Its graphing capabilities are robust, allowing users to plot multiple functions, find intersections, and analyze statistical data graphically. Beyond graphing, it provides matrix operations, numerical equation solving, and finance functions, among others. Its user-friendly interface encourages interactive learning, and with programmability features, educators and students can create custom programs to support their mathematical endeavors.

What About the TI-84 Calculator?

Best TI-84 Model
Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE
  •  Color graphing calculator with a 7.5-inch size
  • Features a high-resolution, full-color backlit display
  • Both horizontal and vertical split-screen options
  • Has a rechargeable battery, pre-loaded apps, and fourteen interactive zoom features
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While the TI-83 laid a robust foundation for graphing calculators, the TI-84 Plus came forth as its enhanced successor. Launched in the early 2000s, the TI-84 retained the best elements of the TI-83 and introduced several improvements, both in terms of hardware and software. Designed to empower users with more functionalities and a better user experience, the TI-84 quickly became a favorite among educators and students.

Just like its predecessor, the TI-84 comes with internal storage. Only this time, the TI-84 has been expanded. with additional storage. The extra space allows users to store more applications, data, and custom programs. The TI-84 continues to offer a multi-line display but with enhanced resolution, ensuring clearer graphs and sharper data representation.

Furthermore, the TI-84’s comprehensive graphing capabilities are its standout feature, boasting advanced statistical functions, regressions, and more. The TI-84, versatile as ever, offers an array of preloaded apps, giving students tools for geometry, studying inequalities, or exploring interactive simulations. Overall, the additional features make it a favorite amongst students in data analysis or science courses.

Performance and Speed


Every calculator’s efficiency rests primarily on its processor’s shoulders, dictating the speed and reliability of its functions. The TI-83 is powered by a Zilog Z80 processor operating at 6 MHz. It might not seem much when pitted against modern devices, but in the world of graphing calculators, this was a commendable feat for its time.

In day-to-day tasks, the TI-83 handles basic mathematical operations with ease, rendering accurate results swiftly. When it comes to graphing, the processor ensures that functions are plotted without unnecessary lag, providing users with a relatively smooth experience.

However, when tasked with more complex calculations or handling larger data sets, users might notice a slight delay in processing. Still, for most high school and early college-level math and science courses, the TI-83’s speed suffices.


Stepping up the game, the TI-84 boasts a Zilog Z80 processor but supercharges it to 15 MHz. This uptick in processor speed, when compared to the TI-83, represents a significant performance upgrade. Ultimately, it helps in making the TI-84 one of the fastest calculators in its class.

The improved speed is evident when conducting complex calculations, graphing intricate functions, or even when running larger programs. The TI-84 is nimble and agile, slicing through tasks quicker than its predecessor.

Whether it’s plotting multiple functions simultaneously, performing regressions on large data sets, or utilizing its in-built applications, the TI-84 ensures minimal wait time. This efficiency is particularly beneficial during timed tests or when performing real-time data analysis.

Display and Graphics


Original TI-83 Plus
Texas Instruments TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator (Renewed)
  • An Amazon renewed product
  • Suited for calculus, engineering, trigonometry, and financial equations
  • Features include a split-screen for viewing graphs and tables simultaneously
  • Approved for use on exams such as SAT, ACT, and AP
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The visual realm of the TI-83 is painted on a monochrome 96 x 64-pixel display. While it might seem quaint by modern standards, this was the go-to display format during its reign. They designed it for clarity and utility, presenting data in a clean, albeit basic, visual format.

For graphing on the TI-83, the display offers enough resolution for standard plotting tasks. The graphs, while not as detailed as on higher-resolution screens, are sufficiently clear for users to discern different functions and intersections. The monochrome display’s simplicity ensures longer battery life and gives many who grew up with these devices a touch of nostalgia.


The TI-84 marks a substantial step forward in display technology, embracing a 320 x 240 pixel screen. This leap in pixel count not only offers a more extensive screen but also drastically enhances clarity and detail, making every number, symbol, and graph crisper and more vivid. When the enhanced resolution of the Ti-84 is put to the test, especially in graphing scenarios, the difference is palpable.

The intricate details of complex graphs are easily discernible. The grid is more refined, allowing for a better distinction between close points. Plus, with the higher resolution, zooming into specific graph sections is smoother, ensuring that users can analyze data points with greater accuracy. This clarity is indispensable for advanced math or science coursework, where the precision of graphical representations can make a world of difference.

So, while comparing the TI-83 vs. TI-84 in terms of display and graphics, it’s evident that the latter provides a substantially enhanced visual experience. The TI-84’s display is not just about aesthetics. Instead, it’s a functional upgrade that aids in better data visualization and interpretation

Memory and Storage


Equipped with 24 KB of RAM, the TI-83 provides a foundation suitable for a range of mathematical operations and graphing needs. Yet, it doesn’t stop there. Its 160 KB Flash ROM is a solid testament to its capability, allowing users to save programs, functions, equations, and data sets.

For a calculator of its era, these numbers reflect a balanced combination. The RAM handles real-time operations, ensuring seamless calculations and graph plotting, while the Flash ROM offers a decent storage space for academic needs. For students and professionals engaged in standard math operations and who occasionally venture into more complex territories, this storage capacity hits a sweet spot.


Great for Advanced Calculus and Stats
Texas Instruments Ti-84 Plus Graphing Calculator
  • Graphing calculator in black with a 2.8-inch screen
  • Calculates real and complex numbers with high precision and can graph multiple types of functions and sequences
  • Advanced matrix operations and statistical analysis
  • Boasts over 200 functions and a multi-line display for versatile computing
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Mirroring the TI-83 in RAM, the TI-84 also offers 24 KB. However, it leaps ahead with a whopping 480 KB of Flash ROM, marking a significant upgrade in storage capacity. This evolution translates to a more versatile calculator ready to meet the demands of modern math challenges.

The 24 KB RAM ensures real-time tasks are managed efficiently. The addition of 480 KB Flash ROM, however, is a game-changer. It means users can store a variety of applications, numerous functions, and expansive data sets. For enthusiasts who engage with intricate computations or enjoy tweaking their calculators with diverse applications, this expanded storage is a boon.

Comparing the two, the TI-83 and TI-84 both show off their strengths in unique ways. While they match in real-time operation with identical RAM, the TI-84’s Flash ROM capacity makes it a front-runner for those needing extensive storage. The TI-83, however, remains a reliable companion for students, providing a combination of RAM and Flash ROM that caters efficiently to everyday mathematical tasks.

Connectivity Options


The TI-83 doesn’t try to be overly flashy, and its connectivity features mirror that sentiment. Equipped with a USB port, it provides users with a direct and uncomplicated way to connect to PCs and other compatible devices. In an era of wireless technologies, it’s easy to dismiss a USB port as rudimentary.

Yet, its value in reliability and universal compatibility cannot be overlooked. For users looking to transfer data and programs or simply back up their work, the USB connection on the TI-83 serves the purpose effectively. For a device first released in the late 90s, it is about getting the job done without any unnecessary complexities.


The TI-84 acknowledges the versatility that modern users often seek. While it keeps the USB port synonymous with the TI-83, it takes a step further by adding a 2.5mm I/O port. This addition amplifies the calculator’s potential, making it more adaptive to varied connection needs.

This might seem like a small addition, but the 2.5mm I/O port makes a world of difference. Not only does it enable the calculator to connect with other devices, but it also paves the way for linking multiple TI calculators together. In a classroom setting where students need to share data or programs, the I/O port makes sharing seamless.

Power Source and Longevity


Cheaper Alternative to TI-83
Scientific Calculator with Graphic Functions
  • CATIGA calculator is a scientific tool with graphic functions suitable for high school and college students
  •  Large screen that displays both graphs and equations at once
  • Three operating modes, including Angular Measurement and Calculation
  • Offers over 280 functions
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The TI-83 stays true to a classic approach, deriving its energy from four AAA batteries. A hallmark of many electronic devices of its era, this setup offers the benefit of wide availability and the ease of replacements. Relying on AAA batteries has its advantages.

For one, they’re ubiquitous. You can find them in virtually any store around the globe. When the calculator runs out of juice in the middle of an important exam or fieldwork, simply popping in fresh batteries ensures you’re back in action within seconds. It’s about instant rejuvenation without the wait.


Stepping into the contemporary realm, the TI-84 pivots to a rechargeable battery system. This switch not only aligns with modern power solutions but also serves as a nod to sustainability and user convenience. The merit of a rechargeable battery lies in its longevity and eco-friendliness.

Instead of regularly buying and discarding used batteries, users simply plug in their TI-84 to rejuvenate their power. Over the lifespan of the calculator, this can translate to fewer batteries in landfills and a reduced carbon footprint. Moreover, the convenience of recharging ensures consistent performance without the recurring cost of battery replacements.

TI-83 vs. TI-84 Plus: 5 Must-Know Facts

  1. The TI-84 boasts a significantly higher display resolution than the TI-83.
  2. Both models utilize the Zilog Z80 processor, but the TI-84 operates at over double the speed of the TI-83.
  3. Memory storage is far more expansive on the TI-84, with an additional Flash ROM.
  4. The TI-84 offers more connectivity options with the inclusion of a 2.5mm I/O port.
  5. Unlike the TI-83’s AAA batteries, the TI-84 comes with a rechargeable battery, saving costs and reducing waste.

TI-83 vs. TI-84 Plus: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Choose?

Ti-83 vs. Ti-84
Having the right graphing calculator can set you up for success in more advanced mathematics or statistics courses.

With many different calculators to choose from, picking one as robust as a graphing calculator can seem daunting. With the TI-83 vs. TI-84 front and center in our discussion, making an informed choice becomes a matter of aligning capabilities with requirements. At its core, the TI-83 embodies reliability. For those who are more inclined towards straightforward mathematical operations, basic graphing, and a no-frills experience, the TI-83 is a robust ally.

Transitioning to the TI-84, we find a device that’s evolved to meet contemporary demands. It’s an embodiment of what modern students crave — a crisper display, expansive memory, and enhanced connectivity. For those who find themselves frequently diving into intricate graphs, storing a myriad of functions, or simply valuing the convenience of a rechargeable battery, the TI-84 emerges as a compelling choice.

In the end, the debate isn’t so much about pitting the TI-83 vs. TI-84 in a battle of superiority. Instead, it’s about understanding and respecting their individual strengths. Both calculators are formidable in their own right, catering to distinct sets of needs. The true decision lies in introspection – understanding where you stand, what you require, and which calculator aligns best with your aspirations.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do the processing speeds of the Ti-83 and Ti-84 compare?

The TI-83 is equipped with a processor that operates at 6 MHz, making it suitable for basic calculations and graphing tasks. On the other hand, the TI-84, with its robust 15 MHz speed, ensures smoother performance and quicker response times.

Is the display quality the same for both calculators?

Definitely not. The TI-84 has a distinct edge in this department, offering a vibrant resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. This not only provides clearer visuals but also enhances the user experience when plotting detailed graphs or dealing with intricate data.

Do both calculators have the same memory capacity?

No, there’s a marked difference between the two. The TI-84 is a powerhouse with 24 KB of RAM and a whopping 480 KB Flash ROM. This means users can store more functions, applications, and even games without constantly worrying about running out of space.

Which calculator is more environmentally friendly in terms of battery usage?

The crown here goes to the TI-84. It employs a rechargeable battery, making it a greener choice as it curtails the need for frequent battery replacements.

Do both calculators offer the same connectivity options?

Both calculators are designed with a USB port, enabling connections to PCs and other devices. However, the TI-84 takes it a step further by integrating a 2.5mm I/O port. This addition broadens its connectivity range, facilitating data transfers and interactions with specific external devices or even other calculators.

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