International Business Machines Corporation (1911–present). Personal Computer, 1981, Museum of Innovation and Science, Gift of Jerry Scotland, 2002.94. (Photo: miSci)

IBM Personal Computer
1981

This classic computer was the trendsetter for several decades. Almost 40 years ago, IBM introduced the Personal Computer for a base price of $1,600, and it shortly outsold most other machines suitable for home or small businesses. The IBM-PC had a choice of operating systems with most machines running PC DOS, a system developed between IBM and a young company named Microsoft. The IBM-PC established the dominance of Microsoft in the operating system market, and the IBM PC hardware design also became the industry standard for PC-compatible hardware. The computer’s Intel 8080 CPU could perform up to 4.77 million cycles per second, and the computer used up to 640K of memory. Today’s iPhone X has over 2,000 times more processing speed and 4,500 times the memory. Data storage choices included 5.25″ floppy drives, cassette tape, and later hard disks. This is IBM Personal Computer model 5150.