The IBM PC Turns 30, Let the Spanking Commence!

Can you remember what you were doing 30 years ago? Some of you were in diapers, others were graduating college, and some of you may not have even been born yet (sorry about your social security, kids). IBM, on the other hand, released its very first personal computer on August 12, 1981. It was called the IBM PC 5150, and it could be had for $1,565 if you shopped around. The sales pitch three decades ago went like this:

"This is the computer for just about everyone who has ever wanted a personal system at the office, on the university campus, or at home," said C.B. Rogers, Jr., IBM vice president and group executive, General Business Group. "We believe its performance, reliability, and ease of use make it the most advanced, affordable personal computer in the marketplace."

That $1,565 bought you a barebones machine with an Intel 8088 processor crawling along at 4.77MHz, 16kB of memory, audio tape cassette player, keyboard, and a 12-inch monochrome monitor. You had to spend much more to beef up the system with up to 256kB of memory, single floppy drive, and color display.

The rest, of course, is history, and so is the home computer for that matter, at least according to IBM's Mark Dean, who now serves as CTO for IBM Middle East and Africa. Just two days ago, Dean revealed in a blog post that he has "moved beyond the PC" and his "primary computer now is a tablet." He went on to talk about the post-PC era in some length, noting that IBM sold its PC division to Lenovo in 2005.

But let's not spoil the IBM PC's birthday with such crazy banter. Instead, tell us what's the oldest computer you can remember using. A 486DX66 perhaps? Commodore 64?
Via:  IBM
coolice 3 years ago

Wow... 30 years old. I was born a good 9 years after the first PC came out.

My first computer was an HP Intel Pentium 2, 200mhz i think with 32mb ram, with a black and white monitor running Windows 95 with a 500mb hard drive. eventually got a colored monitor, 15 inches.

My second computer was also an HP Pentium 3 at ~800 mhz, with a whopping 256mb ram, still running win 95, with a top of the class 6gb hdd. later installed a 40gb hard drive

Third computer was Socket A AMD Custom built with an Athlon XP processor, i cant remember the specs, but with 256mb of ram and a 40gb hdd and a seperate OLLD TNT gpu, it was a killer rig, for a few weeks haha.

fourth was a Socket 478 P4 Prescott @1.8 ghz, a full 512mb Ram, a 6600gt, and a 80gb hard drive

fifth: HP: AMD Athlon 3700 , socket 939, 1.5 gbs of ram, 200 gb hard drive, 6600gt

sixth: HP: AMD Athlon x2 3800, 2 gigs of ram, 200gb hard drive, x1600pro

seventh: HP: Heavilty customized over the years: AMD Athlon x2 5000, 3 gigs of ram, 1tb hard drive, Radeon HD5450

Eight computer: HH Winner!! Intel i7 870, 8gigs of ram, xfx 6870/

We've come a LONG LONG LOOOONG way. Thanks for bringing back the memories!

ThunderBird 3 years ago

My grandfather had one of these I remember it vividly it used nothing but a DOS command line but I had fun typing green letters on it anyway.

I also remember the big old floppy disk it used boy how far we have came.

Happy B-day IBM.

rapid1 3 years ago

1) Commodore 64

2)Apple IIE (My Mom got it for work it had the floppy upgrade)

3)Packard Bell Pentium original

4)Acer Pentium 90 if I am remembering right

5)Built myself PII 400 ATI all in wonder pro 80 GB HD Sound Blaster SC it had EDO memory I think (I can't remember how much though)

After I started building systems I have usually kept current!

rrplay 3 years ago

YeeoowZers ! 30 years ago ! Oh-oh  Surprise & was well on my way becoming a favorite uncle to some nieces,and nephews.Even posted a pic in this forum from a prior [rather musical] lifetime elsewhere in this forum.

Was not really into computer at this time in '81 maybe because some previous experience with FORTRAN or Basic seemed a bit > blah . until a few years later PC s became a bit more fun, and I could make some cash with designing kitchens,home remodeling and construction estimates about 90s or so.Just thinking about a PC from even 12 years ago is so dramatic to compare.

Funny how all this time somethings [from my perspective] did not seem to cougar-huntin' ..Sure the environment maybe a bit different but the principles are the same.

Happy Birthday IBM ! Cake

CDeeter 3 years ago

Apple IIc, 386 SX 25, AMD K5 133, AMD K6-2 300, AMD Athlon 1.2 were some of the older systems I've had over the years.

It's amazing how far we've come. lol Video cards have more processing power today than whole computers did back then.

realneil 3 years ago

I had an 8088 IBM clone for my first PC. All told, I had over $3,000.00 invested into it.

It had a Turbo button on it that, when depressed, would jack the system's speed up to twice as fast. (I never could figure out why anyone would ever use one without it being set to Turbo speed)

System memory came delivered in long clear plastic tubes. You had to be careful when you plugged them into the sockets because you may bend a pin. The pins broke easily too.

Mine had two Seagate RLL Hard disk drives in it. They were each 15 Megabytes huge and they cost a small fortune in their day. They had to be connected to a separate, dedicated RLL controller card that was plugged into the motherboard.

I had a five and a quarter inch floppy drive in it too. Three and a half inch floppies were not in existence yet and CD ROM drives were not even thought about back then.

I bought the color monochrome screen after saving up for it for months, it cost me 800 bucks with the better video card that it had to have.

The two programs that I used the most were "QDOS" and "Norton Commander".  I also played Chess with it.

Some of you may wonder what became of my highly expensive little clone. Well, years later I put a heavy-duty plastic bag inside of it and knotted a heavy rope and had that in there too. I filled it with cement and let it dry and then I had a first class Boat Anchor for the lake. The other fishermen just loved the fact that I was using a Computer for a Boat Anchor and they used to cheer when I tossed it into the water.


QDOS Screenshot:

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