The first IBM Personal Computer is released (August 12, 1981) - History Key

The first IBM Personal Computer is released (August 12, 1981)

This day in history in 1981 probably marks the beginning of a new era: the era of computers for personal use. In other words, on August 12, 1981, International Business Machines (IBM) released its first modern computer to the public, the IBM 5150.

An interesting fact is that before the release, IBM computers had about $9 million costs to run a computer. And that is not all. For a computer to run properly, IBM had to use about 60 people and a room that took up a quarter of an acre. The idea to develop a computer for the public was triggered by the competition: Apple, Commodore and Atari. However, it was a difficult challenge because they had to reduce the size of the computers into one that could fit on a desk.

Somehow IBM managed to deal with the impossible and released the computer in short time. Basically IBM PC changed all dimensions of computers.

Later in this article we will present you a few interesting facts about the world’s first computer and the “computer’s race”.

IBM 5150

The first personal computer’s price was around $1,565 (equivalent of $4,150 today). Despite the high price, tens of thousands of computers were sold until 1983. This success made other companies such as Dell and HP to develop their own machines.

IBM PC 5150
IBM PC 5150 © Rama & Musée Bolo/ CC BY-SA 2.0 fr/ Image Source: Wikipedia

Tech Specifications

Above you read that the computer was around $4,150 in today’s price, but we didn’t mention the specifications. So, for $4,150 you had a computer with:

      16KB of RAM (about 0.000016 GB)

      No Hard Drive because it wasn’t supported

      Intel 8088 microprocessor with maximum clock rate of 5 MHz to 10 MHz (0.005 – 0.01 GHz)

      Floppy Drive was optional

The original keyboard for the IBM 5150
The original keyboard for the IBM 5150 © user: steverenouk /CC BY-SA 2.0/ Image Source: Wikipedia

Did you know?

      The first messaging network came out during the early period of Germany’s Third Reich. In 1933, the Telex messaging network used teleprinters (usage in telegraphy). They connected each other over voice telephone lines.

Americans using teleprinters, WWII
Americans using teleprinters, WWII © Image Source: computerhistory.org

      The first hard disk drivers were bigger than a fridge. In the 1950s the computer data were stored on disk drives of about 5MB.

In 1956, IBM’s Data Processing Division in southern San Jose, Ca transported the first hard-drive that only held a whopping 5 megabytes of storage
In 1956, IBM’s Data Processing Division in southern San Jose, Ca transported the first hard-drive that only held a whopping 5 megabytes of storage © Image Source: nextshark.com

      The first electronic computer, ENIAC weighted more than 27 tons

Glen Beck (background) and Betty Snyder (foreground) program ENIAC in BRL building 328
Glen Beck (background) and Betty Snyder (foreground) program ENIAC in BRL building 328 © U.S. Army /Image Source: Wikipedia

      The first 1GB hard disk drive was announced in 1980 which had a price tag of $40,000

Hard Drive assembly 1980s
Hard Drive assembly 1980s© Image Source: aphelis.net

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