TechSpot Celebrates 30 Years of the PC

By on August 30, 2011, 5:40 AM

Earlier this month the original IBM PC model 5150 celebrated its 30th anniversary. Although it wasn't the first personal computer ever sold, it was largely responsible for shaping the industry in the years to come -- and still to this day -- by eschewing proprietary components in favor of off-the shelf parts. IBM even contracted out its operating system to Microsoft and decided on an open architecture so that other manufacturers could produce and sell compatible software and peripherals. The result was an ever expanding industry and a new model for computer manufacturing.

Many years have passed and plenty of milestones were met along the way, from the first PC clones in 1982, to the Internet revolution in the 90s and the so-called post-PC devices hitting the market today. We didn't want to let the occasion go by without paying our respects to the legacy that the 5150 brought. Here are some of the most important developments in the industry over the last 30+ years.

Read the complete article.

User Comments: 32

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Gars Gars said:

Damn, I'm getting old.. nice review

Guest said:

Floppy disk, PS/2 Keyboard & Mouse, Packard Bell, Intel 80386, Dial-up internet, DOOM, Bulletin Board Systems, Netscape Navigator, Voodoo 3dfx, Windows 3x-98. I never get tired of the old classic PC stuff. ;)

yorro said:

For us Tech geeks, this is news.

Guest said:

My first 5150 cost me a arm and a leg back in 1983 and sported a 10 mb hard drive cannibalized from an HP computer. The drive formatted out to 7mb.


Arris Arris said:

Is the use of Windows 8 tablet interface intentional :P

ddg4005 ddg4005 said:

Ah yes this list brings back memories! One correction though: 3dfx's Voodoo graphics chip launched in October 1996 not December. The first company to build and sell a board powered by one was Orchid Tehcnology with their Righteous 3D card. I ordered one on October 10th just three days after it became available and received it the next day.

Needless to say I've been a PC gamer ever since :-).

Mugsy said:

How, on Earth, do you compile a list like this and leave out the public release of the "Internet" (formerly ArpaNet) in 1992, the release of Mosaic (the first browser), Eudora (the first email program), and even Windows-XP???


oh wow

now i see how old i am i remember 1976

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If this is how far things can get in 30 years, here's to the next 30.

---agissi--- ---agissi---, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I really like how you chose to present the article.

j05hh j05hh said:

Interested in what the next 30 year the "pc" will accomplish.

Guest said:

I think PC's aren't going to disappear. They will transform. Maybe into very small CPU's with huge screens and terrible performance. In that form they may become the home servers working along with tablets an smartphones. Also talking to the freezer, the stove, the windows and even the car and managing the TV (IP or normal cable) I don't know. What I think is for sure, a PC is not going to disappear in a lot of years, and even less as a concept.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Arris said:

Is the use of Windows 8 tablet interface intentional :P

I keep touching the screen but nothing is happening.

Arris Arris said:

I keep touching the screen but nothing is happening.

Authentic isn't it?

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The Apple Macintosh is the 1st commercially successful PC to feature a mouse and GUI.

And to think Apple lovers loathe the word PC, as if it were some sort of diminishing term. Well, guess what? (Southern accent in 3... 2... 1...) That's exactly what you damn are!

I keep touching the screen but nothing is happening.

I knew the upgrade wouldn't be worth it.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

My personal favourites are Wolf 3d and Gmail, I remember when Gmail accounts used to sell for £50 on eBay...

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Double post...?

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

What a neat review indeed. Seeing Jobs sitting with a computer in his lap, then seeing how the iPad is carried with ease, it's sort of impressing in itself. I'll definitely try to visit this article again in 20 years, probably from a pair of eye glasses or something.

nestorius said:

There should have been rememberance of the MITS/Altair and the TRS-80 (Radio Shack Trash 80) as these were both great for starting the hobby of personal computing. We should also pause for a moment and think about the CPM operating system which led to countless systems that have improved the process to where we are today.

My first computer was the TRS-80 that came with 4k of dynamic RAM and BASIC in ROM. I even modified an old TV for the monitor then upgraded my memory to 16K along with adding a cassette tape for a mass storage device. I can fondly remember the evolution from the cassettes to 5 and 8 inch floppys then to hard disks with the unheard of 5 MB storage, WOW.

We've come a long way baby!!!

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Nicely laid out article, I think Win2K deserved an honorable mention, specially after the catastrophic failure of Win ME.

@Loka I already wear glasses, but luckily they are not reading glasses

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

The article has been updated to include many of your suggestions, thank you!

unloco101 said:

Picture of an Apple Computer! Lets post condescending comments with a typed accent!

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Arris said:

I keep touching the screen but nothing is happening.

Authentic isn't it?

Windows 8 is going to suck because pictures resembling the Metro UI do not offer touch screen functionality on Windows 7 and a non-touch enabled monitor. Suck it M$.

raul_bejarano said:

nice... great job trying to put together 30 years of history in an article... save this one and repost it in 10 years to see how far we've come.. cool to see IBM posted several times =)

Guest said:

ok, props to Intel on 386DX (marking the 1st of many lawsuits against AMD for reverse engineering, but i loved my AMD 386DX 40mHz!) 1st 32 bit CPU. 486 DX million transistors and FPU on one die (or if the FPU failed, disable it and sell a 486 SX lol), the Pentium 60/66 and later 100mhz. and i give Intel props for fully disclosing the "Pentium bug" an errata that would have affected a incredibly small portion of people, yet Intel stepped up and took the hit. but c'mon... give AMD props for hitting 1ghz, x64-86 and Dual Core to market before Intel. this despite Intel slamming the later two as un necessary while still touting the P-4 deep pipline, hrmph. and how about MS for investing in Apple? and no Zork, EQ or birth of LAN parties...ahh those were the days... when you would start a DL and leave it all day, surrendering you phone line. remember those?? home phones, with wires??

Guest said:

Steve Jobs didn't resign from Apple, he only resigned as a CEO. He's still working for Apple though.

aj_the_kidd said:

Netscape, wow that died a quiet death, sort of reminds me of Altavista before google showed up and MySpace before Facebook

caravel said:

Netscape, wow that died a quiet death

Not at all...

Guest said:

Why you post it in Win8 theme?

gingerbill said:

WOW , quake , doom and half life definetly deserved a mention , i also think EQ or ultima online deserve a mention , UO was light years ahead of its time and still no modern games have as many features . EQ invented the WOW type of MMO.

Enjoyed the article , nice to have a trip down memory lane

Guest said:

Nice, but you forgot to include the best selling personal computer of all time - The Commodore 64.

Also the Vic 20, The Amiga 500 and Atari.


great review thanks for TechSpot

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