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?