Vintage Computer Manuals

Vintage Computer and Classic Computer Manuals Online

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Vintage computer ads

Vintage computer ads
Tag: Gadgets and Funny Posted on 01.13.06 have published a set of classic vintage computer ads. Most of them are really fun including the William Shatner ad for Vic 20 with the wonderful punchline: “The best computer value in the world today. The only computer you’ll need for years to come“.
Vintage computer ads []via [digg]

The Heath company (of Heathkit radio, robot and computer fame) began offering "inexpensive electronic analog computer" kits in 1956. Prices ranged from $495 to $945 - an enormous sum in those days. The computer was "programmed" using a bank of 30 high-precision potentiometer knobs and a visually impressive patch panel covered with plug points and switches - there was no digital circuitry at all. Odd as it may seem, an analog electronic computer has a few advantages over its digital counterparts. Analog electronic calculations are performed almost instantaneously using a network of operational amplifiers that modify continuously variable current. And - in the not-so-distant past - purpose-built analog computing circuits could be built less expensively than comparable digital systems. One classic example of an analog computer in action is the Magnavox Odyssey video game console from 1971, which plays mind-numbingly simple Pong-like games without a microprocessor. Alas, analog electronic computers work best as single-purpose circuits. They're cumbersome and complicated to re-patch and can't match the level of precision offered by even a simple digital calculator (it's hard to get more than 3 or 4 digits of precision). Still, I suspect that the recent arrival of programmable analog chips may signal the rebirth of interest in analog computing. "This is a highly flexible and accurate analog computer, designed to fill requirements not presently met by any commercial computer. Ideal for solving practical problems in industry, and equally valuable for research, or instructional demonstration, in colleges or universities. Because it is a kit, and the labor and overhead costs found in present day computers are eliminated, the Heath Computer can be obtained for use in situations where a computer was ruled out in the past because of cost."

More blogs about vintage computer.

Dilbert Aug 30 , 2006 TechnoPhobe

Vintage Computer - IBM 5100 Pre IBM PC
Vintage Computer Manuals

IBM 5100 Portable IBM PC Turns 25

Insight into IBM PC Turns 25


August 11, 2006

You've come a long way, PC!
Filed under: Hardware

Some Web publications are touting tomorrow, Aug. 12, as the 25th anniversary of the PC. Depending on how you define PC, you may disagree that the IBM Personal Computer Model 5150 was the first.

However, it's certainly fair to say that the system revolutionized the computer market and to give the 5150 some credit for the PC being name Time Magazine's 1982 "Man of the Year."

On Aug. 12, 1981, International Business Machines announced at a press conference in New York the forthcoming IBM 5150, which would ship that fall. (It would come running an OS called MS-DOS, by some outfit called Microsoft. I understand the company has done fairly well since.)

Depending on your generation, the system's specs are likely to elicit guffaws or reminiscent sighs -- or perhaps both.
Processor: 4.7MHz Intel 8088
Co-Processor: Optional 8087 math coprocessor
RAM: 16K - 640K
OS: MS-DOS 1.0, CP/M-86
Standard storage device: Cassette tape
Floppy drive: Optional
I/O ports: Five internal 8-bit ISA slots, monitor, Centronics, cassette
Peripherals: 5, 10, and 20MB hard disks
Display: 12"
Base price: Around $1,565 (around $3,500 in 2006 figures)

Now as I noted, other systems deemed "personal computers" came out before the IBM 5150. The Xerox Alto, for example, came out in 1973. There was also the ever-popular Apple II, introduced in April, 1977. Even IBM had several microcomputers before the 5150.

There were key differences, though, which helped the IBM PC 5150 earn a special place in PC history. First, it was more affordable than its predeces-sors. Second, it was more utilitarian than its older brethren. The 5100, for example, was geared toward engineers, analysts, statisticians, and other problem-solvers. The 5520 Administrative System was ideal for creating, storing, and retrieving documents. The 5150 offered those capabilities in one tidy package, thus broadening its appeal and spawning a new generation of clones.

The IDG News Service has an in-depth look at the impact of the 5150 on the PC market, as well as a look at what the future holds.

Personal Computer World got an exclusive look at the machine when it came out. Here's an abridged version of the magazine's review.

For some images and personal accounts about experience with the IBM 5150, check out Eric Klein's Vintage Computers.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006



Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Peek Inside the Classic Computer Magazine Archive

A Peek Inside the Classic Computer Magazine ArchiveJune 25th, 2006 by RedWolf
Here’s a site worth noting for all you historians out there. For the last ten years, Kevin Savetz has been hard at work transcribing the text of hundreds of vintage computer and video game magazines. Better yet, he’s received full permission from the original magazine publishers to provide the articles for free online. And they’re all available in the Classic Computer Magazine Archive. Kevin’s focus was originally on magazines about Atari consoles and computers, but it’s no surprise since the whole operation started out as the “Digital Antic Project,” whose aim was to put the entire text of the Atari-centric magazine “Antic” online. In September 2000 he met that goal and soon turned his attention to other magazines like the Atari ST-focused “STart” and multiplatform magazines like “Compute!” and “Creative Computing.” Now the site contains articles from nine different publications, either in whole or in part, available for online view.
Kevin loves sending me news of his latest additions (and I’m not complaining), which I’ve meant to tell you about before. Just this morning he wrote: has added the full text of 21 more issues of Compute! magazine: Fall 1979 (the first issue!), January 1981, February 1981, March 1981, April 1981, October 1981, December 1981, February 1982, June 1982, July 1982, October 1982, November 1982, January 1983, March 1983, June 1983, August 1983, September 1983, October 1983, September 1989, November 1990, and December 1990.
Published from 1979 through 1994, Compute! was a multiplatform computer magazine covering Atari, Apple, Commodore, Texas Instruments, Timex/Sinclair, and other early personal computers.
If you’re the kind of collector / historian who likes to delve deep into the news, thoughts, and reviews of the period, I definitely recommend checking the Archive out. I’d also like to thank Kevin Savetz for providing a valuable service and resource for the vintage computing and gaming enthusiast.

Vintage Monster Heathkit Computer

Vintage analog computer kits

The Heath company (of Heathkit radio, robot and computer fame) began offering "inexpensive electronic analog computer" kits in 1956. Prices ranged from $495 to $945 - an enormous sum in those days. The computer was "programmed" using a bank of 30 high-precision potentiometer knobs and a visually impressive patch panel covered with plug points and switches - there was no digital circuitry at all.
Odd as it may seem, an analog electronic computer has a few advantages over its digital counterparts. Analog electronic calculations are performed almost instantaneously using a network of operational amplifiers that modify continuously variable current. And - in the not-so-distant past - purpose-built analog computing circuits could be built less expensively than comparable digital systems. One classic example of an analog computer in action is the Magnavox Odyssey video game console from 1971, which plays mind-numbingly simple Pong-like games without a microprocessor.

Alas, analog electronic computers work best as single-purpose circuits. They're cumbersome and complicated to re-patch and can't match the level of precision offered by even a simple digital calculator (it's hard to get more than 3 or 4 digits of precision). Still, I suspect that the recent arrival of programmable analog chips may signal the rebirth of interest in analog computing.
"This is a highly flexible and accurate analog computer, designed to fill requirements not presently met by any commercial computer. Ideal for solving practical problems in industry, and equally valuable for research, or instructional demonstration, in colleges or universities. Because it is a kit, and the labor and overhead costs found in present day computers are eliminated, the Heath Computer can be obtained for use in situations where a computer was ruled out in the past because of cost."
Heath electronic analog computer brochure [pdf at]
Vintge Computer Computers Manuals

Ventura Publisher Introduces the Gold Series

Ventura Publisher Introduces the Gold Series
It simply does more , any way you look at it .

And now there are several ways to look at it. Because the desktop publisher that does more for you now does it in the three leading PC enviornments.

The Gold Series introduces new Ventura Publisher editions for DOS/GEM , Windows 3.0 and OS/2 Presentation Manager. That means new ease of use and learning as well as compatibility with hundreds more software applications . All three editions can use documents from Ventura Publisher 1.1. and 2.0 .

It does more than ever before

The Gold Series gives you much more than a choice of enviornments. At no extra cost , each edition includes our Professional Extension and Network Server . So you also get such advanced DTP features as interrative table creation and scientific equation editing , cross referencing , and vertical justification.

And you get networking . So several users can edit and proofread simultaneously as well as share stylesheets and network resources . On Nocell , IBM , 3COM , and other Windows - and OS/2 Presentation Manager -compatible networks.

Whether you,re designing a newsletter or publishing a directory , you'll do it faster and more effectively with Ventura Publisher . Unique features give you more flexible steps other programs make you repeat over and over.
Ventura Publisher is the one DTP program that can handle all your publishing and design projects.

If you want to do more in desktop publsihing , doesn't it make more sense to use the program that does the most ? Call today for more information about the new Ventura Pubisher Gold Series . (USA) ( 800) 822-8221; (800) 228-8579 in Canada . For training information , call ( 800) 445-5554 . Ventura Software Inc. , a Xerox company .

Ventura Publisher Gold Series
It simply does more

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Vintage Computers Coco 2 TRS 80


Coco 2 Vintage Computers

Vintage Computer Manuals

TRS 80 Vintage Computer Photos

The CoCo Collector TRS-80 and Tandy Color Computers

The CoCo Collector All about collecting TRS-80 and Tandy Color Computers and their Motorola 6809-based kin.

Vintage Computer Manuals

Nice Collection of Vintage Computer Website Links

PC World’s article - The 25 Greatest PCs of all time has a nice collection of links to some websites that have information on some of the old computers. These are what I have collected from reading that article -
Erik S. Klein’s Vintage Computer Collection
Apple II History museum
The Digibarn Computer Museum
IBM PC’s debut photo album
Ira Goldklang’s TRS-80 site
Another Apple site -
Thinkpad history
The Apple Museum

Vintage Computer Manuals

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Apple IIe Photos

Vintage Computer Manuals

Apple IIe Repair Guide

Open your computer and take a look at the motherboard. Looks confusing, eh? Not really. The big black things are called integrated circuits, and these are what break down or fail most often. The other things we will not worry about at the moment.
Up and down the left side of the motherboard you will see letters A-F, and along the bottom the numbers 1-14. This is the way Apple locates their chips on the board - much like a city map with grids. Here are the names, and locations, and the approximate costs for each of the chips on the board. Don't let the names of the chips scare you or anything on this chart. It is mainly for information, and you won't need to know anything about the chips on the board (aside from the fact they are broken, which will come later).
IC # Location Approximate $ Description Notes ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 74LS02 B8 0.78 Quad 2-input NOR 74S10 C5 0.78 Triple 3-input NAND 74S109 C1 1.34 Dual JK Flip-flop 74LS125 E1 1.12 Tri-state quad buffer 74LS138 B5 1.22 Expandable 3/8 Encoder 74LS154 C10 2.80 4-16 decoder/multiplexer 74LS166 F5 1.84 8-bit serial in, parallel out shift register 74LS244 B1,B3 2.80 Tri-State octal line driver 74LS245 B2 1.70 Tri-State octal bus receiver 74LS251 C11 1.55 Tri-State 8-input multiplexer 74LS374 D3 1.98 Tri-State octal-D flip-flop NE558 A12 2.00 Quad 555 timer MC741 A11 0.75 Operational Amplifier ULN2003 Analog Card ???? 7-channel input (from Apple) driver LM3146 Analog Card ???? Transistor Array (from Apple) MC3470 Analog Card ???? Floppy disk (from Apple) read amplifier MC3764 F6-F13 20.00 64k x 1 bit RAM 6502B B4 14.00 8 bit microprocessor KB ROM D12 8.00 Keyboard ROM VID ROM F4 12.00 Video ROM CD ROM D10 20.00 Applesoft ROM EF ROM D8 20.00 Monitor ROM HAL D1 56.00 Programmed Array (from Apple) logic IOU D6 56.00 I/O unit (from Apple) MMU D4 56.00 Memory Mgmt Unit (from Apple) AY3600 D14 16.00 Keyboard Decoder
Ok, that's all of the chips on the motherboard, and a few from the Analog card, that is the one inside your disk drive (apple drives only). If you need to order one of these chips from Radio Shack or some other local electronics store, then you ask for the chips by the number in the left hand column. For example, if your paddles were not working and the cables were good, you would need to start with the NE558 chip, and that is what you order. More about that later, though. Don't worry about the big costs of the ROM chips or the CPU. Most computer breakdowns are of the 74LSxxxx series and you will most normally have to deal with those only.
Now, before you go poking around your motherboard popping out chips and sticking them back in, a few tips and reminders to keep your apple running right, and how not to screw anything up...
1) Never touch ANYTHING in or on your computer, including your disk drives, before grounding yourself on something. Static electricity, especially in the wintertime can reach as high as 10,000 volts - enough to fry any of the delicate chips inside your computer.
2) Buy a chip puller. They are cheap, and you will save your fingers from getting pins from the chips stuck in them, and blood all over everything.
3) Always note the orientation of the chip you pull out, so that you can put the new chip in the same way. There is a notch in one end of the chip, or a dot at one end. Either way, be sure the new chip has the notch or dot in the same place as the old one.
4) Use power strips and surge protectors. The surge protector for obvious reasons, and the power strip for preventing wear and tear on the switches. 5) Keep your coke off the keyboard. Liquids can blow every chip they touch. 6) Take special care about static electricity when messing around with the CPU, the ROM chips, the MMU and the IOU chips. These are quite sensitive to static charges.
7) Don't open your monitor. This is stupid, xrays and 30kV's are running around inside and if you don't know what you are doing, you will have radiation damage, or worse yet, your parent will smile when they collect life insurance on you.
8) Don't pull cards out or put cards in when the power is on. You will kill either the card or the computer, I promise.
9) Check everything outside of the computer before you start fiddling around inside. Usually cables, switches or other shit like that are the cause of the problem.
Now: I am dividing up this series into 5 parts as follows:
1) Start-Up Problems 2) Run Problems 3) Display Problems 4) Keyboard Problems 5) Other I/O Problems
And I will release them as I type them. Don't hold your breath, as I am in school and hardly have lots of time...
Part I - Start-Up Problems --------------------------
This section covers all problems that occur at the time you turn the power on, or at start up, including no power, no boot up, no beep and no display...
1) No power light, no beep, drive won't run: Probable defect: 1) 74LS125 at E1 is bad (replace and test) 2) 74S109 at C1 is bad (replace and test) 3) 74S02 at B8 is bad (replace and test)
2) Power light on, no message, no beep: Probable defect: 1) 74S02 at B8 is bad (replace and test) 2) 74S109 at C1 is bad (replace and test)
3) Power light on, message, no beep: Probable defect: 1) (experts only) PAL 16R8/8323T at D1 is bad
4) System won't boot, power light on, drive won't run, garbage on screen: Probable defect: 1) Bad EF ROM at E10 (replace and test) 2) Bad 6502B at C4 (replace and test)
5) System won't boot, power light on, message on screen, drive won't boot: Probable defect: 1) Clean connector pins 2) Clean or replace ribbon cable 3) Bad ULN2003 on analog card (replace and test) 4) Bad regulator on analog card (replace card)
6) System won't boot, everything on, drive keeps running: Probable defect: 1) Reseat disk, check disk, check cable, reseat card. (coming later if this doesn't work)
7) System won't boot, disk drive runs and then stops: Probable defect: 1) Bad DOS 2) Bad Disk 3) Bad RAM chip on motherboard (f6-14) replace and test
8) System boots and then stops, no display: Probable defect: 1) Video cable bad (replace and test) 2) Video connector bad (replace) 3) Brightness knob on monitor? 4) 74LS02 at B8 bad (replace and test) 5) 74LS10 at C5 bad ("""""""""""""""") 6) 74LS166 at F5 bad (replace and test) 7) 74LS374 at D3 bad (replace and test) 8) IOU at E5 bad (replace and test) 9) 2732 ROM at F4 bad (replace and test)
If you need advance help, you can reach me at my board by chat or by mail. If you have questions or suggestions, also call my board.
Part II - Run Problems ----------------------
1) Disk drive will not read (I/O error or disk just runs on and on)
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Bad Disk Replace Disk b) Wrong DOS Try another disk c) Disk not seated Reseat disk d) Read head not reading Replace head e) Cable loose or bad Reseat or replace cable f) Bad chip on analog card Replace Analog Card
2) Disk drive will not write (read is OK)
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Write protected Remove tab b) Protect switch bad Replace switch c) Disk not formatted format disk d) Cable bad or loose Check/Replace cable e) Corroded connectors Clean connectors f) Bad 74LS125 replace (analog card) g) Bad CA3146 replace " " h) Bad MC3470 replace " " i) Bad ULN2003 replace " " j) Bad Write head replace k) head alignment off realign head
3) Disk reads or writes occasionally
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Cable corrosion clean connector pins b) Connector corrosion clean connector pins c) noise interference good luck d) disk tracking off realign head
4) Occasionally keyboard locks up and computer locks up
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Program error debug program b) no keyboard out put coming later c) bad RAM chip replace and test d) bad MMU chip replace and test e) bad CPU at C4 replace and test
Part III - Display Problems ---------------------------
1) No Display - Screen all White
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) shift register latch-up replace 74LS166 at F5 and test b) ROM data hung up replace 2732 character ROM (F4)
2) No Display - No Video
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Bad Cable Replace and test b) low signal adjust brightness c) Bad monitor test monitor d) Bad 74LS02 at E8 replace and test e) Bad 2N3906 at A14 replace and test f) Bad 2N3904 at A14 replace and test g) Bad 74LS10 at C5 replace and test h) Bad 74LS166 at F5 replace and test i) Bad 2732 ROM at F4 replace and test j) Bad 74LS374 at D3 replace and test k) Bad IOU at E5 replace and test l) Bad PAL 16R8 at D1 replace and test
3) No Display - Screen Black
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Brightness bad Adjust b) Bad monitor test monitor c) Bad IOU at E5 replace and test d) Bad 2732 ROM at F4 replace and test
4) No Color
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Bad IOU at E5 replace and test b) Capacitor C32 shorted replace (soldering required) c) Inductor L3 Bad replace (soldering required)
5) No Syncronization
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Bad IOU at E5 replace and test b) Bad monitor replace or repair
6) Bad cursor or no cursor
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Bad EF ROM at E10 replace and test b) Bad 2732 ROM at F4 replace and test
7) Bad inverse or flash
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Bad 2732 ROM at F4 replace and test
8) No text
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Bad 2732 ROM at F4 Replace and test b) Bad IOU ROM at E5 Replace and test
9) Video - Bad color
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Bad HAL at D1 Replace and test
10) Bad Graphics (lo and Hi bad); text ok
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Bad IOU at E5 Replace and test
11) Bad Graphics (HI), low and text ok
Probable Defect: Remedy: --------------- ------- a) Bad IOU at E5 replace and test
Part IV - Keyboard Problems ---------------------------
1) Bad key action - some keys or no keys work
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Bad Key replace key b) Bad or loose cable check and replace cable c) Bad AY3600 at E14 replace and test d) Bad 2716 ROM at E12 replace and test
2) Bad key action - prints wrong characters
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Bad 2716 ROM at E12 replace and test b) Bad AY3600 at E14 replace and test
3) Bad key action - unwanted repeat
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Bad AY3600 at E14 replace and test b) Bad capacitor C71 replace (soldering required)
4) Repeat key won't work
Probable Defect: Remedy: ---------------- ------- a) Bad Key replace and test b) Bad AY3600 at E14 replace and test c) Bad Capacitor C70 replace (soldering required)
5) Key top pops off
Well, just glue that fucker back on or get a new keyboard.
Part V - Other input/output problems ------------------------------------
1) Speaker - volume too low
Probable Cause: Remedy: --------------- ------- a) transistor Q5 marginal replace (soldering required)
2) Speaker - won't click
Probable Cause: Remedy: --------------- ------- a) Bad speaker Replace speaker b) speaker wires bad or loose check or replace c) Bad transistor (Q5) replace (soldering) d) Bad IOU at E5 replace and test
3) Cassette - can't load data
Probable Cause: Remedy: --------------- ------- a) Bad cable Replace and test b) Volume not set pproperly Retry at different volume c) No signal on tape Replace tape d) Bad LM741 at A11 Replace and test e) Bad 74LS251 at C12 Replace and test f) Bad 74LS154 at C10 Replace and test
4) Cassette - Can't write data
Probable Cause: Remedy: --------------- ------- a) No signal to tape reconnect or replace cable b) Tape bad replace tape c) Bad IOU at E5 replace and test
5) Game paddle - does not work at all
Probable Cause: Remedy: --------------- ------- a) Bad cable Replace b) Bad 558 timer at A12 Replace and test c) Bad 74LS251 at C12 Replace and test d) Bad 74LS154 at C10 Replace and test
6) Game paddle button won't work
Probable Cause: Remedy: --------------- ------- a) Button bad Replace button b) Broken wire Replace wire
7) Game Paddle - knob does not work correctly
Probable Cause: Remedy: --------------- ------- a) Bad pot in paddle Replace pot b) Broken wire in cable Replace wire
8) Card in peripheral slot does not work
Probable Cause: Remedy: --------------- ------- a) Bad 74LS138 at B5 replace and test b) Bad 74LS154 at C10 replace and test c) Bad 74LS10 at C5 replace and test
Additional hints: -----------------
Look and smell and feel the chips in your computer for things that seem to be bad or out of place. Feel for hot spots, smell for blown capacitors, etc etc. Notice anything out of the ordinary and replace it if it doesn't look, smell or feel right. You can search for heat-blown chips by cooling each chip one at a time with freon from a can and examining the results on the operation of your computer. I f you find a chip that allows the computer to work cold, but when it warms up, p hooey, replace it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Microsoft Windows 3.0

Vintage Computer Manuals

Microsoft Windows 3.0

Vintage Computer Manuals

Microsoft Windows 3.0 Ad

ComputerWorld July 23 , 1990
Text from Microsoft Ad

Windows 3.0

Now , all it takes is a point and click and you're hooked.

It 's only fair to warn you that exposure to the new Microsoft Windows (Trade Mark) 3.0 has been linked to obsessive and habitual behaviour.

Because with a simple click of the mouse users can connect to the network , and even access and manage network resources. All without cumbresome keyboard commands.

Which means users are now able to share data. Not frustration.

While in the interest of time , the Windows 3.0 graphical user interfae was designed to be easy to learn. Neophytes , not to mention troglodytes will be up and running in no time . With virtually no training.

Now 286 / 386 machines running MS-DOS will no longer be limited to 640k. So there are no impediments.

Users can even enjoy a network connection and and at the same time satisfy the cravings of multiple applications.

And since Windows 3.0 has a modular setup program , a single copy now memorizes every user configuration on the network. Which means , so to speak , one size fits all.

Furthermore , Windows 3.o has redefined its relationship with IBM 3700 emulation programs. Users can now download corporate data and easily share it with Windows applications. Something we have come to call peacefull coexistence.

One last point . Because Windows 3.o has been optimized for machinew sith 1-2 megabytes of memory of RAM , it will go a long way towards protecting your hardware investment.

Call ( 800) 323-3577 , Department L21 , for a backgrounder that outlines
how Microsoft Windows 3.0 could benefit your corporation.

We're certain that you'll agree it's a habit well worth forming.


Making it all make sense

1994 Massive Macintosh Sale Vintage Computer Ad
Vintage Computer
Vintage Computre Manualsborder="0" />

Vintage Computer Manuals

Vintage Mac LC 575 Computer Photos

Vintage Computer

Vintage Computer Ads 1994

High Performance Multi Media
The Amazing All In One Computer System

Macintosh LC 575 ( Low Cost) with Built In CD ROM Drive and Sony Trinitron Monitor

8 Mb Ram
160 Mb (Megabyte ) hard drive
1 Mb (Megabyte ) Video Card
Built in Stereo Speakers
Apple regular keyboard

Includes Compton Encyclopedia and Claris Works (Value over $ 500)

$ 2689

Vintage Computer Ads 1994

High Performance Multi Media
The Amazing All In One Computer System

Macintosh LC 575 ( Low Cost) with Built In CD ROM Drive and Sony Trinitron Monitor

8 Mb Ram
160 Mb (Megabyte ) hard drive
1 Mb (Megabyte ) Video Card
Built in Stereo Speakers
Apple regular keyboard

Includes Compton Encyclopedia and Claris Works (Value over $ 500)

$ 2689

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Chinese woman strips wires from discarded electronics

A Chinese woman strips wires from discarded electronics. Experts say the environmental liabilities far outweigh the money raised from trashed tech gadgets that are made with lead, mercury, and other toxic substances. (Natalie Behring/Greenpeace)

Is America Exporting a Huge Environmental Problem?

Is America Exporting a Huge Environmental Problem?

Old Computers Often End Up in Toxic Heaps in Developing Countries

Jan. 6, 2006 — - Americans bought an estimated $125 billion worth of consumer electronics -- computers, monitors, cell phones, televisions -- this past year. With hundreds of millions of them becoming obsolete every year in this country, what happens to all the stuff we don't want any more?

Some of us just hang on to it, or pass it on as hand-me-downs to friends or family. And some of us donate our old tech gadgets and computers to charity.

But the hard truth is that your old clunker of a computer may be more of a burden than a blessing to many charities.

"I've tried to give the equipment to the Salvation Army -- they don't take it anymore," one man told "20/20."

The reality is much of the stuff ends up in the garbage.

E-Waste Is Hazardous Waste

But there's a dirty little secret piling up with those electronics thrown into the garbage. This "e-waste" is tainted with hazardous contaminants.

The average computer monitor contains more than five pounds of lead. Computers can also contain mercury and cadmium. When you multiply that by the millions of outdated computers and monitors, you've got lots of toxins that you don't want to put back into the earth.

It's environmentally unsafe for individuals to just throw out computers and monitors, but federal law prohibits businesses from doing it.

Businesses usually pay electronic recyclers to haul away the old equipment and pull it apart, and if it's done right, pretty much everything can be reused.

Unfortunately, it's not always done right. That's dirty little secret No. 2: Some recyclers may not be recycling everything. Actually, some experts say most recyclers aren't recycling everything.

"Eighty percent of all the scrap electronics in the United States end up offshore and usually in Third World countries," said Bob Glavin of Chicago, who runs one of the biggest recycling plants in the country.

"I honestly believe there's a secret brotherhood that ships this stuff over there late at night when no one's watching, because none of our competitors do it, but it's all over there," he said.

Waste Dumped Abroad Is Rarely Recyclable or Reusable

Glavin and his son used to export some of their scrap to China, until they went there and saw for themselves what happened to it.

"There was no environmental regulations. There's no safety regulations. There's no data security, because it's not being recycled over there. It's being dumped over there," he said.

"We don't send our trash to China. Why should we send the electronic trash to China?" his son, Jim added.

Jim Puckett, coordinator of a group called Basel Action Network, which monitors exports of hazardous waste, also saw what was happening in China firsthand. Three years ago he documented it in a video called "Exporting Harm."

"What we witnessed was these former farmers cooking circuit boards over little wok-type operations over little coal fires and melting the chips so they could pull them off. These chips would then go to acid strippers using very dangerous acids, dumping all the waste from the process into the river, and that acid process was to extract the tiny bit of gold that was in those chips. It was quite a cyber-age nightmare," he said.

Much of this stuff came from the United States, yet U.S. authorities did nothing. Frustrated, Puckett's group released a second report this past year, this time from Nigeria, where they found the same thing.

"Everywhere there's space -- empty lots, swampy areas -- they'll throw the cathode-ray tubes, the computer carcasses, the plastic housings and routinely set them ablaze," Puckett said.

Puckett says his group saw dusty warehouses piled high with computers and components exported from the United States and Europe, supposedly bought for Nigerians to fix and use.

According to Puckett, however, "About 75 percent of what they were receiving was not repairable, not usable and was simply dumped and burned in the landfills of Africa."

That's what's happening to many of the old computers we get rid of. They're sent overseas. We're simply exporting a huge environmental problem.

"The recyclers that are shipping over there certainly know what's going on, and it's good business," said Lauren Roman, an electronics recycler and an expert on the hazardous chemicals found in household electronics.

Still, some recycling brokers "20/20" talked to insisted that sending the machines abroad helped get computers into the hands of societies that need them.

Roman disagrees with that. She said lots of companies should call themselves waste exporters instead of recyclers. And she showed "20/20" just how easy it is to pass yourself off as a responsible recycler.

You can simply print out a certificate declaring yourself an Environmental Protection Agency-certified recycler.

It's that simple, according to Roman, "because there's no such thing, but you can claim it because most of the recyclers out there are."

Personal Data Often Remains on Discarded Computers

And there's one more thing you should worry about when you throw out your old computer. Call it dirty little secret No. 3. And this one affects you very personally.

Everything that's been on your computer's hard drive -- unless you know how to wipe it clean -- is still there. And it will be there if you donate it to charity, or give it to a friend, or throw it out or recycle it.

When Puckett's group was in Nigeria, they bought hard drives that they discovered had a wealth of private information on them.

"One of these hard drives had documents from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family services, another from the World Bank. So even if you are not concerned about the environment, you should be concerned about your very, very private data," he said.

But there are some solutions to the mounting e-waste problem. Let's start with hard drives. One good way to trash your hard drive is literally to trash your hard drive. Smash it by taking a hammer to it.

There are also less barbaric ways, especially if you want someone else to be able to use it. There are programs you can buy or download that will truly get rid of everything.

The growing recycling problem is a bit more complicated. Roman and other advocates say we should do with computers and television monitors and fax machines what we do with soda pop bottles or cans: Pay a fee up front that is returnable to you when you get rid of your electronics properly.

Roman says Europe is far ahead of the United States in this regard. Indeed, in Europe it is the manufacturers who are responsible for taking back and properly recycling old computers.

Here's the bottom line: Now that you know you can't -- or at least you shouldn't -- ignore this problem, don't throw out your computers. Look into participating in -- or starting a community-based electronics recycling drive.

FYI: Selling old PCs to anyone on the web could be costly!

FYI: Selling old PCs to anyone on the web could be costly!

A recent ABC News 20/20 episode featured a report* on the issues relative to disposing of old IT. In this featured report, they indicated that disposed IT was being sent to China, whereby the assumption (on the part of the customer) was that the product was being recycled (in China). In reality, these products are ending up in a land fill and no precautions taken relative to Data Security. Thus, it is incumbent upon you to select a reputable vendor for IT asset disposal.

IBM Asset Recovery Solutions

IBM Asset Recovery Solutions

No Charge Transportation!

Offering description

Eligible Products

End dates


Additional information

Offering description

Effective August 15, 2006 through December 15, 2006 clients who enter into new contracts for Fixed Price Take-out and Revenue Share Asset Recovery Solutions will be entitled to transportation at no charge for selected PC assets (Desktops, Notebooks and Intel based servers) returned to IBM by December 31, 2006. This offer is available directly to clients shipping a minimum of 10 assets from one location per shipment. Those clients that do not reach the minimum clip level of 10 systems per shipment will be responsible for the applicable transportation charges either by opting to utilize ARS transportation services or by handling their own transportation. It is the client's responsibility to pack the IT systems in preparation for shipping; Asset Recovery Solutions does provide packing services for a fee.

Back to top
Eligible Products

  • IBM and non-IBM PC Notebooks, Desktops. Intel based servers.
  • Displays and printers are not eligible for this offer, although these devices can be included in pickup with other PC assets that meet the minimum requirement of 10 systems (per pickup location). One display or printer per qualifying PC will be allowed for the no-charge promotional offer. For example, if the client has 15 qualifying PCs, they can also return 15 displays OR 10 displays and 5 printers.
  • Selected equipment must be in good working order.
  • Available for Fixed Price Take-out & Revenue Share Asset Recovery Solutions. This offer is not available for clients seeking our scrap services.
Back to top
End dates

  • Asset Recovery Solutions contracts signed beginning August 15, 2006 through December 15, 2006.
  • Minimum of 10 assets need to be consolidated at one pickup location on one pickup date and received at the IBM designated location by December 31, 2006 in order to qualify.


United States (including Puerto Rico) and Canada

link :

Apple Macintosh LC ( Low Cost ) 475

Vintage Computer Manuals.

Massive Macintosh Computer Sale Aug 1994

Massive Macintosh Sale Aug 1994

Macintosh LC475

All in One Computer System
"Powre PC UPGRADEABLE + Extended Keyboard

68040 Performance For the Student and Home Office


- 68040 processor
- 4 Mb Ram
- 80 Mb (Megabyte ) harddrive
- Built in Stereo
- Apple regular keyboard
- Apple 14 inch monitor
- 1 year site warranty

Includes Claris Works Clip Art And At Ease

$ 1679.99

Vintage Computer Manuals.

Vintage Macintosh LC 475 Computer Interior

Vintage Macintosh LC 475 Computer Interior
note : 80 Mb ( Megabyte ) hard drive

Vintage Computer Manuals.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006



Vintage Computer Manuals

www.vintagecompVintage Computer Manuals.

GEOS - Never and Always (Do's and Dont's )

Learning GEOS

GEOS - Never and Always (Do's and Dont's )

- when you are not using your disks, keep them in their sleeves and away from all electronic or magenetic equipment. do not lay them on top of the monitor or computer power supply.

- always close the disk drive after inserting any disk into the disk drive

- never remove a disk from the disk drive on the desktop , or while you are using an application . without first closing the disk ( unless you are specifically
asked to do so by a dialog box )

- Always create and use work disks . Use the System disk only for booting or to rearrange your default files.

- Never create a document on an original disk ( i.e. one that comes with your GEOS package ). Copy the applications onto work disks and create your documents from there. If however , you do inadvertenly create a document on an applications disk follow this procedure .

1) Copy the document to a work disk (if you wish to save it ).
2) Remove the document from there to the applications disk by dragging it to the border , depositing it there , then dragging it to the waste
basket to delete it

- Always make backup disks containing your document files in case your disk becomes damaged .

- never give two disks the same name : it is too easy for you and your computer to confuse the two. If one disk is to be a backup , vary its name slightly . For example , the backup for a disk called "Limericks" could be named Limericks 2" or "Limerick Backup".

- Never turn off your computer or reboot it if you are in application .
Go to the deskTop and close the disk before you exit the GEOS system.

learning GEOS

full Learning GEOS Graphic Environment and Operating System 2.0 Version

Vintage Computer Manuals
Vintage Computer Manuals.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Vintage Computer Manuals

IBM PC Advanced Troubleshooting & Repair


IBM PC Advanced Troubleshooting and Repair

IBM PC Advanced Troubleshooting and Repair

When IBM unveiled the IBM Personal Computer (PC) during the summer of 1981 , it was a dream come true for many aspiring microcomputer manufacturers . The decision for " Big Blue" to enter the microcomputer market made these machines credible and acceptable by businesses everywhere. The legitimizing of microcomputers in the office enviornment by the introduction of the IBM PC produced an impact on business that has been felt around the globe.

Almost overnight , Fortune 500 companies sat up and took a serious look at uses of the microcomputer in their enviornment. And applications were discovered that seemed impossible ( at least for a desktop computer).

Suddenly the "in thing" was to own a PC. Sales of IBM PCs skyrocketed . So did sales of none-IVM computers. And the personal computer revolution was on .

IBM's professional approach to design , manufacturing , marketing , sales and support ensured that the PC would have a long and usefull life. Six years after the first PC was sold , over 3 million are still in use.

Documentation is an important are of support for the success of any new product , and over a dozen books have been published on the IBM PC. Most books cover the use of the machine from a software operation perspective. To meet the needs of understanding the hardware of the PC IBM developed the Technical Reference Manual and the Hardware Maintenance and Service Manual .

While these were ( and still are) usefull reference documents , more information was requested by the consumer. Howard W. Sams & Co. published the IBM PC Troubleshooting & Repair Guide in early1986. Thus book was closely followed by the IBM Model 5150 Computerfacts . The former book served as a bridge between the owner's manual that came with the machine and the service center schematics found in the COMPUTERFACTS.
Yet. this did not completly answer the needs of the user. What was needed was an immediate to advanced book that described the detail found in the IBM PC COMPUTERFACTS for computer service technicians , advanced hobbyists , and educational institutions.

Meanwhile , schools , universities teaching microcomputer repair needed a text that would guide the student through troubleshooting an repair based on a well-known and widely known machine - The IBM PC.

This book was developed to meet this needs . It is intended to complement both the Sams COMPUTERFACT and the IBM PC Troubleshooting & Repair Guide. This advanced technical book complements the COMPUTERFACT service data with descriptive fact and expanded troubleshooting and repair service explanations . it is written to complete the documentation requirements of the using public and all the service centers and repair shops that troubleshoot and repair this marvellous machine. It can be used as a text for a course in microcomputer troubleshooting and repair. It is intent to make a better repair technician out of us all.

Three types of service center technicians can be found in industry today:

- Mechanics
- Bulldozers
- Professionals

The "mechanic" examines the circuit boards looking for a visual cause for the problem. This person performs only the preliminary steps in the troubleshooting and then seeks a way to fix the failure. This is the type of individual who will bang the side of the chassis to see if this corrects the problem , or who does a 3-foot drop to see if that will that will produce a failure.

If often does , although it typically causes a new failure without changing the original problem. This is the same person who apparently sprays the circuit board components with cool spray , then applies the heat gun which heats chips until the failure changes or goes away. This person is totally unaware of the operating life of most of the components that have been frozed and then overheated has been significantly reduced .

The "bulldozer" observes the symptoms , isolates the problem to a failing system to a failing subsystem , and then replaces every related part in that subsystem . That is certainly not a professional approach to troubleshooting and repair.

The "Professional" follows a carefull , methodical process to identify and isolate a problem. Much like a detective , this person reads all the available technical documentation , has the necessary information in view , and uses all the right equipment and tools to recognize the clues and follow the indications that lead to a failure that can be surgically corrected.

This book was written to help you to become known by your actions - to help you become a professional technician.

The book begins with a systems overview of the IBM PC. Each major part of the machine is described in general tools.

Chapter 2 is a detailed description of the operation of the PC system. Many schematic subsets of the IBM PC COMPUTERFACTS are included to give you an in-depth understanding of the signals and circuitry associated with with each major signal , address , clock and data. The book is intended to supplement the Sams COMPUTERFACTS so you will get both the broad macro view and close-up and close-up microscopic view of the circuitry.

In Chapter 3 , you are guided through the techniques and tricks used used by service technicians to troubleshoot , when the technician has no idea of the problem , which instructs you in ways to isolate the problem to a specific area. Use of these tools of the trade is also covered in this chapter.

Preliminary service checks are addressed in Chapter 4 . It's here that the troubleshooter confirms that the problem is not an operator error or a software malfunction and isolates a symptom to a particular area of circuitry.

Once the area of the problem has been isolated , Chapter 5 guides the technician through the detailed circuit troubleshooting analysis that leads to indentification of the failed part. This chapter covers problems in the power supply , the system board , the monochrome monitor /printer adapter board , the color graphics adapter board , the keyboard , and the disk drive adapter board.

Comprehensive appendices cover disassembly and reassembly , adjustments to the system and power boards , notes regarding the schematics , switch and jumper settings and a list of the safety precautions and warnings found in the text.

Troubleshooting can be be very frustrating if you are left to struggle through the process by yourself without a good guide. This book provides the techniques for quick and easy troubleshooting and repair manuals.

The full contents of the book will be placed at a later date
at the Vintage Computer Manuals website

link :

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Computer firm IBM made technological history on 12 August 1981 with the announcement of a personal computer - the IBM 5150.

Twenty five years of the IBM PC
Computer firm IBM made technological history on 12 August 1981 with the announcement of a personal computer - the IBM 5150.

Costing $1,565, the 5150 had just 16K of memory - scarcely more than a couple of modest e-mails worth.

The machine was not the first attempt to popularise computing but it soon came to define the global standard.

It altered the way business was done forever and sparked a revolution in home computing.

"It's hard to imagine what people used to do with computers in those days because by modern standards they really couldn't do anything," said Tom Standage, the Economist magazine's business editor told the World Service's Analysis programme.

"But there were still things you could do with a computer that you couldn't do without it like spreadsheets and word processing."

Global impact

Everything from automated spreadsheets to desktop publishing and the rise of the internet have since become possible.

The term PC had been in use long before IBM released its machine - but the success of the 5150 led to the use of the term to mean a machine compatible with IBM's specifications.

The machine was developed by a team of 12 engineers, led by Don Estridge, who was known as the "father of the IBM PC".

Development took under a year and was achieved by building a machine using "off the shelf" parts from a variety of manufacturers.

The machine had an "open architecture" which meant other firms could produce compatible machines. IBM banked on being able to charge a license for using the BIOS - the software which controls the heart of the machine.

But other companies reverse engineered the BIOS and were able to produce clones of the machine without having to pay IBM a penny.

That open architecture sparked an explosion in PC sales and also paved the way for common standards - something business had craved.

Since then the PC has come to dominate the home and the office and led the move to the online era with cheap global communication, e-commerce and for consumers the ability to find the answer to almost any question on the web.

Roger Kay, president of computer consultancy firm Endpoint, said the impact of the PC on all aspects our lives cannot be over-stated.

"I have for example an archive of correspondence from people that I diligently wrote letters to and all of a sudden that just stops," he said.

"I don't think I've got a personal letter for five years."

Moving this revolution forward are the one billion PCs that are now in use around the world.

In many ways, the PC has become in the developed world, an essential tool in our everyday lives.

End of an era?

But for how much longer?

Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect, told the firm's shareholders last month the PC era was coming to an end.

"We're now in a new era, an era in which the internet is at the centre of so much that we do now with our PCs," he told them.

"And it's important to start then from a different vantage point."

With the lion's share of the Microsoft global software empire founded on the success of the PC, Mr Ozzie's statement was a significant admission.

Mr Standage said Microsoft has come to recognise that it will inevitably have to move with the times.

He said: "The problem is that Microsoft has most to lose from the shift towards internet-based software and that means it has the least incentive to do anything about it because it likes the status quo.

"But if it doesn't switch to this new model other people will."

PC supremacy

The move towards internet based software calls into question the supremacy of the PC itself.

Vying to knock the PC off its pedestal are a new generation of media PCs that hook up to televisions and hand-held computer devices, from phones to pocket PCs.

With all this small mobile technology and the growth of wireless internet, will people on the move bother owning a PC at all?

Reports of the PC's demise may be a little premature. While the market may not be growing anymore, it remains an industry generating some $200bn a year.

In developing countries such as China and Latin America, the PC market is still expanding at double digit growth rates.

But the development of mobile technology may enable the developing world to leapfrog the PC era altogether.

Mr Standage said mobile technology is key to sharing the benefits of the PC age with developing countries.

"I think that adding features to mobile phones is probably a better way to democratise computing," he said.

IBM PC 25th Anniversary

IBM PC 25th Anniversary

IBM PC 25th Anniversary

Saturday August 12, 2006 marks the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the IBM Personal Computer.

The IBM PC was clearly one of the most significant systems ever introduced. It had a dramatic impact on the industry at the time, some of it real and some only perceived. It did, however, ultimately change the landscape and force an industry consolidation around PC compatibles, Intel chips and Microsoft operating systems.

Ultimately the PC killed the S-100 bus, CP/M and a host of companies that had tied their fortunes to those technologies.

Love it or hate it, the PC architecture and legacy lives on in virtually every windows box sold today.

In celebration of this milestone The Digibarn has put up a tribute page containing tons of PC information. IBM has an exhibit covering the debut of the IBM PC as well.

I am working on updating my IBM PC page with more information, pictures and other content. I've also updated my Magazines Catalog to include scans of many of the early PC magazines including PC Magazine, PC World Magazine, PC Tech Journal and Personal Computer Age Magazine.

And finally, I've created a rather poorly done video to celebrate the introduction of the PC that can be seen in large/high bandwidth and smaller/lower bandwidth versions. These videos are also being hosted at The Digibarn site.

Windows XP " The Safest Most Secure Windows Ever"

U.S. Warns PC Users of Flaw in Windows
The Department of Homeland Security issued an unusual security alert yesterday, warning users of Windows-based personal computers to patch a flaw in the Microsoft operating system.
On Tuesday, Microsoft issued its monthly list of security flaws, including one that the company rated “critical.” It said an attacker who exploited the vulnerability “could take complete control of an affected system.” That would make it possible to install malicious programs or to change or delete data.
Yesterday the Department of Homeland Security said in a news release that it was urging anyone who used Windows software to install the patch as soon as possible. The department said its Computer Emergency Readiness Team was working with Microsoft to minimize the impact of the vulnerability.
“The department considered it prudent to advise the public using Microsoft operating systems to take this action,” said Russ Knocke, a department spokesman. “It’s a proactive and prudent measure the department has chosen to take.”
Computer security experts said the flaw was similar to one exploited in 2003 by the MSBlast worm, which struck corporate computer systems, brought network traffic to a halt and compromised company data. It was among the most damaging computer viruses to date.
Several computer security software firms said yesterday that they had already begun to see software tool kits that exploited the vulnerability, and Microsoft officials noted that they had seen some limited attacks.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The 25 Greatest PCs of All Time

The 25 Greatest PCs of All Time

The Editors of PC World Fri Aug 11, 4:00 PM ET

IBM's first PC, announced on August 12, 1981, was far from the first personal computer--but when it arrived, there was near-universal agreement that it was likely to be a landmark machine. It was. And 25 years later, it still ranks among the most significant computers ever.

Like the IBM Personal Computer, Model 5150, the greatest systems have always had ambitions to boldly go where no computer has gone before. Without these innovative machines, the PC revolution would have been a lot less...well, revolutionary. So we decided to celebrate the IBM PC's 25th birthday by identifying the 25 PCs that have mattered most--from any manufacturer, and from any era.

No single characteristic makes a computer great. But we managed to boil down an array of winning qualities into four factors, all of which happen to begin with the letter I.

  • Innovation: Did the PC do anything that was genuinely new? Did it incorporate the latest technology?
  • Impact: Was it widely imitated? Did it become part of the cultural zeitgeist?
  • Industrial design: Was it a looker? Did it have clever features that made using it a pleasure?
  • Intangibles: Was there anything else about it that set it apart from the same ol' same ol'?
  • Armed with this scale, we considered dozens of PCs--which meant that we also had to consider the question "What is a PC, exactly?" Ultimately we decided that a PC is anything that's recognizably a desktop or portable computer in design--or, alternatively, anything that runs an operating system originally created for desktops and laptops. After a lot of nostalgic debate, we selected our winners. Which systems we picked--and didn't pick--for our Top 25 may be controversial. If one of your favorites didn't make our roster, check out our list of 25 near-great PCs.

    Just to drum up a little suspense, we'll reveal the Top 25 starting with number 25, and then work our way backward to the single greatest PC of all time. (Spoilsports can skip ahead to number 1; we won't be any the wiser. You can also jump to the complete list of our Top 25 picks.)


    Greatest PCs: 25-23

    25. Non-Linear Systems Kaypro II (1982)

    Non-Linear Systems' Kaypro II didn't break new ground when it appeared toward the end of 1982, but it was a classic case of the right product at the right time. Even more than the Osborne (which had pioneered the concept of the luggable microcomputer), it appealed to a growing group of nongeeks who were awakening to the productivity benefits of personal computers but couldn't afford (or didn't want to spend) several thousand dollars for an Apple or IBM PC along with the necessary software and peripherals (such as a printer).

    Named for NLS founder (and digital voltmeter inventor) Andrew Kay, the Kaypro II--and its series of successors over the ensuing years, including the 4 and the 2x--was a moderately priced alternative. When first released, the Kaypro II cost $1795 and, like the Osborne, came with all the productivity software (word processor, spreadsheet) most people would need. Encased in grey and blue metal, the Kaypro was rugged and utilitarian in design: You could latch the keyboard over the 9-inch monochrome display (far roomier than the Osborne's stingy 5-incher) and carry it like a suitcase. But at 26 pounds, it was a heavy piece of luggage. The Kaypro line also represented the last gasp of the CP/M operating system: By the mid-1980s, MS-DOS was already becoming the lingua franca of non-Apple personal computing.

    The Kaypro's affordability and out-of-the-box usability was very popular with journalists, including myself: In 1984 I took out a $1600 loan to buy a Kaypro 2x--my first computer--and by then the purchase price also got me a daisy-wheel printer. A year or so later, I became a TV critic for a newspaper, which bought me a Hayes Smartmodem that let me electronically transmit my reviews from home (the modem also enabled my introduction to online computing). I used that Kaypro and Hayes modem until 1992, when I took out another loan to buy my first IBM clone. I've never again used the same PC for eight years. Yardena Arar

    24. Toshiba Qosmio G35-AV650 (2006)

    Increasingly, PCs have evolved into sophisticated entertainment devices. And the first truly entertainment-centric notebook to catch our attention was Toshiba's Qosmio, which continues to innovate as a portable entertainment PC two years after its introduction. (Oh, that name? Toshiba says it derived Qosmio, pronounced "kozmio," from cosmos, as in universe, and the Italian word mio, meaning "my.") The latest iteration not only improves on the thoughtful design of its predecessors but is also the first notebook to integrate a blue-laser-based optical drive--in this case, HD DVD--for playback of high-definition entertainment content.

    The current, third-generation Qosmio G35-AV650 packs a slew of features that will make it as at home in your living room as in your home office. A stylish 10.1-pound notebook, this $2999 model's HDMI port supports HDCP and 1080i output, so you can connect it to an HDTV. It also runs

    Windows XP
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    Windows XP Media Center and comes with a TV tuner and remote control, so it can serve as a DVR. The 17-inch wide-screen LCD gets its power from two lamps instead of one, which we found generated greater brightness than competing models. The system features an integrated 1-bit digital amplifier, Harman/Kardon speakers, and Dolby Home Theater enhancements, as well.

    When I first reviewed the Qosmio, I liked its winning combination of looks and design. I have big hands, and I found the notebook easy to navigate. I also appreciated its bright, high-resolution display. The roomy LCD provides plenty of on-screen real estate for when I'm working on spreadsheets, and its audio-visual prowess provides welcome relief after hours.Danny Allen

    23. Apple eMate 300 (1997)

    Over the past three decades, Apple Computer has released a bunch of great PCs that had a huge impact on the marketplace. Here's one that had almost no impact during its short life--aside from its cameo in the film Batman & Robin as Batgirl's (Alicia Silverstone's) PC--but we love it anyway.

    The $799 eMate was idiosyncratic in virtually every way a computer can be idiosyncratic, starting with its target audience: schoolkids. It ran an operating system designed for PDAs (Apple's Newton OS). It didn't have a hard drive, but it did have pen input. It looked vaguely like a notebook, but its industrial design--with a green, curvy case that looked like it had sprung from the mind of science-fiction illustrator H.R. Giger--was utterly unique.

    The eMate attracted a cult audience among business users. But

    Steve Jobs
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    Steve Jobs, who returned to Apple soon after its launch, wasn't a believer: Less than a year after the eMate shipped, he killed it, along with the rest of the Newton line. The cult continues, though--you can even find hacks to overclock the eMate at Stephanie's Newton Web Site.

    Almost a decade later, the eMate feels like an early pass at the kind of innovative, affordable educational PC that the world is still trying to create. Too bad it turned out to be a dead end.

    Greatest PCs: 22-20

    22. Hewlett-Packard 100LX (1993)

    HP's 100LX wasn't the first would-be pocket PC, but it was the first one that nailed both the "pocket" and the "PC" aspects of the equation. (The Poqet PC wasn't really pocketable, and HP's own 95LX had a low-res screen that hobbled compatibility with desktop apps.)

    The $749 100LX managed to squeeze a lot of functionality into its tiny clamshell design. It had a QWERTY keyboard (with a separate numeric keypad!), an 80-by-25-character monochrome display, and Lotus 1-2-3 in ROM. Best of all, it ran DOS 5.0, which meant that it was compatible with thousands of popular programs.

    HP's 200LX, a slightly improved version of the 100LX, was also popular. With the 300LX, however, the company dumped DOS in favor of the then-new Windows CE operating system. Compatibility with desktop software was lost--which might be one reason why the 300LX is forgotten but people are still using its predecessors to this day.

    21. Alienware Area-51 (1998)

    For as long as there have been PCs, there have been PC gamers. In 1996, Sakai of Miami--named after a Japanese warrior--began rethinking how to market its home computers. "The premise was that we could sell gaming PCs, that we could target people like us who were gamers," recalls company cofounder Nelson Gonzalez. In 1997 the company renamed itself Alienware ("I was really into The X-Files and aliens back then, and I was into computer hardware," he says) and launched its first gaming machine, The Blade, with a 3D video graphics card.

    In 1998 that model evolved into the Area-51 (an Intel machine; its AMD counterpart, the Aurora, came out a year later). It was amped up with gaming hardware, including three video cards (one 2D card, plus two 3D add-on cards with 3Dfx's Voodoo chip) and two sound cards (a Sound Blaster 16 for older games and a newer Diamond Monster Sound card, which took advantage of DirectX-capable features like 3D positioning). Back then a high-end system set you back $3799. In 2000, the company added an array of space-age colors to its still-ordinary Area-51 and Aurora case design; it wasn't until 2003 that the vendor introduced its current hallmark design, the sci-fi "Predator" chassis.

    Alienware's innovative and startling design influenced PC cases in general, and gave gaming PCs new street cred (even Dell and HP have produced gaming systems in the years since). The company, which Dell bought last year, continues to refine its distinctive design and to produce top-flight gaming rigs: In May we named the Alienware Aurora 7500 one of the Top 100 Products of 2006, and in July the company introduced an improved alien-motif case design.

    20. Gateway 2000 Destination (1996)

    Back in 1996, when convergence was still more buzzword than reality, Gateway 2000 (the company later dropped the 2000 from its name) launched a system that was the precursor to today's media-centric PC. At its debut, the Destination was priced from $3499 to $4699. But for that hefty cost of admission, you got a system that was ahead of its time: The Destination married a 31-inch CRT monitor with a multimedia PC, a combination designed to replace the gear already filling your entertainment center.

    The PC itself was black and boxy, practically the size of two 1990s-vintage VCRs stacked on top of each other. It included a wireless keyboard and remote control, a TV tuner, and surround-sound speakers. As with today's DVRs, you could browse TV listings--but you couldn't record TV to the hard disk.

    Along with other proto-Media Center PCs such as Compaq and RCA's PC Theatre, the Destination attracted lots of attention but failed to make its way into many living rooms. However, it did find a niche among businesses and schools as a presentation machine. And the basic idea it pioneered returned in 2002, when PCs based on Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center operating system appeared.

    Greatest PCs: 19-17

    19. Apple iMac, Second Generation (2002)

    The first-generation iMac of 1997 may have been the machine that told the world that Apple, and its recently returned cofounder Steve Jobs, were back. But its second-generation successor was a vastly different, far more inventive computer. And even though it didn't turn out to be an influential one, it remains a high point in PC design history.

    With its dome-shaped base and its flat-panel screen that "floated" on a swivel arm, this iMac was, quite literally, like no computer that came before it. It had a friendly, anthropomorphic feel, in part because it bore a spiritual resemblance to Luxo Jr., the plucky desk-lamp hero of the Oscar-winning short film from Pixar, Steve Jobs's other company.

    The design looked cool, saved space, and provided near-infinite adjustability for the display. But it didn't last long: In 2004 the second-gen iMac was replaced by yet another all-new model, which squeezed the entire computer into the back of the flat-panel monitor. That elegant design is probably more practical than its lamp-like predecessor, but it lacks the older machine's whimsical exuberance.

    18. Hewlett-Packard OmniBook 300 (1993)

    The innovative OmniBook 300 wasn't just one of the first subnotebooks--it was one of the most innovative hardware designs ever, albeit one that didn't prove particularly influential. Weighing 2.9 pounds, the system stored Windows 3.1, Excel 4.0, Word 2.0, and MS-DOS 5.0 in ROM memory rather than on a hard drive; this allowed it to boot up instantly. User storage was solid-state too, on a 40MB PCMCIA Type III hard disk or a 10MB PCMCIA Type II flash-disk drive.

    Productivity was a central theme for the OmniBook, which started at $1950. The unit came with LapLink Remote Access and HP's organizational tools (contacts, appointments, and a financial calculator, same as in the HP 100LX), and provided one-button access to all applications. It also had a unique integrated mouse that popped out of the laptop's right side on a thin piece of plastic; the design eliminated the need for an annoying mouse cable, but the mouse was small and awkward to move about.

    Given the OmniBook's basic 386SXLV CPU, monochrome 9-inch VGA screen, and power-friendly ROM storage, it's not surprising HP gave the notebook a high battery-life rating--up to 9 hours of power for the 10MB flash-disk version. (In a pinch, the unit could run on AA batteries--unheard of for a computer with a full-size keyboard.) Although the solid-state approach to laptop storage didn't catch on at the time, it's back today in products like Samsung's new 16GB and 32GB flash-memory drives. Funny how things come full circle.

    17. Toshiba T1000 (1987)

    Toshiba's wildly popular T1000 brought DOS in a truly lap-friendly portable size. The T1000 measured 12 by 2 by 11 inches and weighed 6.4 pounds--a veritable featherweight compared with suitcase-size luggables, and more than 3.5 pounds lighter than its nearest competitor, the Datavue Spark. It was also cheaper than most laptops of its time.

    The T1000's durable clamshell design accommodated a full-size 82-key keyboard, a 720KB 3.5-inch floppy drive, 512KB of RAM, and an internal modem. The unit embedded MS-DOS 2.11 in ROM--which eliminated the need to have two floppy drives, as some competing notebooks of that era had, but also made it impossible to use certain software (such as WordPerfect Executive, which required two disks to run).

    To achieve its size and cost, the T1000 made some sacrifices in CPU and battery performance. Nonetheless, this model helped catapult Toshiba to the fore of mobile computing, and it paved the way for the next wave of laptops, including number 18 on our list, HP's OmniBook 300 (above). (You can read the T1000 quick-reference guide at this fan site.)

    Greatest PCs: 16-14

    16. Tandy TRS-80 Model I (1977)

    Tandy's TRS-80 Model I lacked the pizzazz of the Apple II, but it was the first computer to be truly marketed to the masses: Over 200,000 of the monochromatic little machines were sold by Radio Shack, an electronics retailer with thousands of locations in an age when almost nobody had ever heard of a computer store.

    For $600, the first iteration of the TRS-80 gave you a measly 4KB of RAM and a rudimentary version of the BASIC language, and it stored programs on sluggish, flaky audiocassette tapes. As with other early PCs, the best way to get it to do something was to write a program from scratch. "There was an almost indescribable joy to be had the first time a program that you wrote yourself actually worked," remembers early owner Craig Landrum.

    Over time the Model I gained more memory, disk drives, networking, and other enhancements; acquired a library of thousands of programs; and saw the debut of progeny such as the TRS-80 Model 100 portable (number 8 on our list). TRS-80 computers were the first to be the subject of magazines devoted entirely to one company's PCs; today, they're impressively documented at Ira Goldklang's

    15. Shuttle SV24 Barebone System (2001)

    For years, the PC was all about the big beige box. But in 2001, Shuttle came up with a toaster-size design for do-it-yourselfers that would push the limits of how much you could pack into a tight space. And it was tight: The case measured just 10.6 by 7.5 by 6.7 inches, and its components were so crammed in that airflow seemed to be an afterthought. To get an idea of just how small it was compared with a standard midsize tower, turn to Anandtech's review of this system.

    The $250 SV24 Barebone System offered the basics, namely a compact Flex ATX motherboard with integrated audio and graphics and a 150-watt power supply, housed in Shuttle's small, aluminum case. You supplied the processor, memory, and storage. Appropriate for home or office use, this tiny system sparked a slew of imitators, all trying to match and improve upon its combination of size, functionality, and style.

    Today, Shuttle not only sells bare-bones systems but also offers fully hatched PCs, like the XPC G5 2100 we recently tested for the value half of our Top 10 Desktop PCs chart. The company's compact models have upped the ante considerably with regard to performance and construction.

    14. Atari 800 (1979)

    Two years after Atari unleashed its first video game console, later dubbed the Atari 2600, the company shipped its first home computers. In many ways the Atari 800--the more advanced of the two models Atari introduced in late 1979--redefined the expectations of what a home computer could do, especially in graphics and sound.

    Part game machine, part productivity enhancer, the $999 Atari 800 was the first home computer to feature a custom video coprocessor in addition to its CPU, which was the same 8-bit 6502 used in the Apple II. This design enabled the Atari 800 to generate 128 colors (256 in later versions) on screen. The system could also display four programmable animated screen objects at once--a boon for action games such as Star Raiders, the system's "killer app"--and it had another custom chip that helped it produce superior sound (four voices, across 3.5 octaves). Two cartridge slots under the hood were available for games and other applications, and four joystick ports were included, too.

    While Atari eventually replaced its 8-bit computers with the 16-bit ST line, designer Jay Miner, who led the team behind the Atari 800's video chips, went on to lead the group that developed the Commodore Amiga 1000's graphics system.

    Like all kids my age, I wanted an Atari 2600 to play games. But my mom thought it would be a good idea to get something that could be educational, so my family decided on an Atari 800. Many a night of head-to-head Star Raiders, Missile Command, and Pac-Man tournaments ensued with my dad (all very educational, of course). But the Atari 800 wasn't entirely about the games; I also used mine to learn BASIC programming and compose my school papers. For years my memory retained AtariWriter's string of control codes--conceptually similar to HTML coding--for such common tasks as making text italic or bold. Little did my mom know then where all of that would lead...Melissa J. Perenson

    Greatest PCs: 13-11

    13. IBM Personal Computer/AT Model 5170 (1984)

    Three years after IBM's first PC shipped, the PC/AT marked both a revolution and an evolution in personal computing. The revolution came in the form of powerful specs; the evolution came in the system's design refinements (no, we're not talking about its honking big beige box). It was another IBM hit, although it also turned out to be the last IBM model to serve as a standards bearer for the entire PC industry--a year later, Compaq's Deskpro 386 ended IBM's stranglehold on PC innovation.

    The $5295 PC/AT was the first system to use Intel's 80286 CPU (first a 6-MHz model and later an 8-MHz model). It also featured a 20MB (or greater) hard disk that was faster than, and had double the capacity of, the PC XT's original hard drive; supported both 8-bit and 16-bit expansion cards; used IBM PC-DOS 3.0, which supported high-density 1.2MB (5.25-inch) floppy disks; and even integrated a battery on the motherboard to power a real-time clock. Its keyboard, meanwhile, introduced the basic layout we still use today, including a number pad (with cursor keys and a key lock) and dedicated function keys. And the system could handle advanced graphics with its optional 16-color Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA) or 256-color Professional Graphics Controller (PGC).

    Like many PC model designations, AT stood for something--and no, it had nothing to do with the Imperial AT-AT walkers featured in The Empire Strikes Back. The term was short for Advanced Technology.

    12. MITS Altair 8800 (1975)

    Computer historians are still squabbling over whether MITS's Altair was the first true personal computer. (Earlier candidates include the Kenbak-1 and Micral-N.) What's undeniable is that it was "the first machine to really capture the imagination of the geek sector in a big way," says Erik Klein of "The fact that other companies quickly jumped onto the bandwagon was proof of its power and allure."

    The Altair started life as a $397 build-it-yourself kit--little more than a box, a board, an Intel 8080 CPU (which MITS bought at a discount because of cosmetic blemishes), and 256 bytes of RAM. At first you needed to program it by flipping switches, until

    Bill Gates
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    Bill Gates and Paul Allen started a tiny company called Micro-soft (yes, with a hyphen) and came up with a version of the BASIC programming language that would work on the system.

    Software from Bill Gates wasn't the only thing the Altair had in common with today's systems. Much of the infrastructure that would support later PCs--from disk-drive manufacturers to software developers to computer stores--sprung up to support it. There were even clones, such as the popular IMSAI 8080.

    The Altair's time as the dominant computing platform was brief, and in 1978 it was discontinued altogether. But what a legacy it left.

    11. Sony VAIO 505GX (1998)

    In late 1997 Sony introduced the VAIO PCG-505 in Japan, proving not only that thin was in, but that being thin no longer meant compromising on computing power. The PCG-505 measured just 0.94 inches thick--amazingly slim for the time--and weighed a mere 3 pounds (the chassis was made of magnesium alloy). And when this notebook first hit the United States in the latter half of 1998 as the Sony VAIO 505GX, it spurred an ultraportable revolution.

    At $2699, the 505GX didn't come cheap. But it packed in a fair amount of functionality for a compact notebook PC, including a roomy, comfy 10-inch-wide keyboard (1 inch wider than the keyboards of competing subnotebooks of its time). The 505GX improved on the Japan-only version with specs that included a Pentium MMX-266 CPU and a 56-kbps modem. In PC World's tests at the time, the notebook's lithium ion battery lasted 4.7 hours, which we deemed "an adequate figure but hardly stellar."

    Sony continued the 505 line with later iterations such as the X505; its current ultraportables, such as the TX line, retain some of the 505's design flair.

    Greatest PCs: 10-8

    10. Apple PowerBook 100 (1991)

    If your first portable computer doesn't succeed, try, try again. That's the lesson of the PowerBook 100, Apple's splendid successor to the famously awful Mac Portable, a machine we named to our list of the 25 worst tech products of all time.

    Along with the higher-end PowerBook 140 and 170, the $2500 100 sported two features that the rest of the industry quickly cribbed. First, the company pushed the keyboard back toward the screen hinge, freeing up space for a wrist-rest area that made typing more comfortable. And in the center of that wrist rest sat a nice, large trackball, the best mobile pointing device of its era. (At the time, folks who ran Windows on portable computers were still futzing with unwieldy clip-on trackballs.) Those were just two of the more striking innovations in a slick laptop design that, according to Jim Carlton's book Apple, took the company from last place to first in laptop sales.

    The PowerBook 100--which was, by the way, manufactured by Sony--was discontinued in 1992. But the PowerBook line went on and on, coming to an end just this year, when the final 12-inch PowerBook was replaced by the MacBook.

    9. Columbia Data Products MPC 1600-1 (1982)

    When IBM created its first PC, it used an Intel 8088 CPU, off-the-shelf parts, and Microsoft's DOS--which meant that other manufacturers could build machines that were at least reasonably compatible with it. They did, and the very first to ship one was Columbia Data Systems.

    The $2995 MPC, whose name was short for "Multi Personal Computer," had double the typical IBM PC's RAM, more expansion slots and ports, and two floppy drives rather than one. At the time, Columbia's Fred Conte told InfoWorld that he didn't see the system going head-to-head with Big Blue. "It is a multibillion dollar marketplace, and if we can pick up a small percentage--say, 2 to 3 percent--it will be a luxury," he said.

    Columbia's PC soon had lots of company. At the COMDEX show in November 1982, a flurry of what were then called "IBM look-alikes" were announced--so many that the show also saw the announcement of the first magazine specifically "For Second-Generation IBM PCs and Compatibles." Its name? PC World.

    By the mid-1980s, Columbia foundered, and though the company still exists, it hasn't built a PC in a long time. But by producing the clone that other clones cloned, the company helped to define the Intel-and-Microsoft platform that dominates to this day.

    8. Tandy TRS-80 Model 100 (1983)

    Though not quite the first notebook computer--Epson's forgotten HX-20 preceded it--Tandy's Model 100 was the first that caught on. (One thing that didn't catch on: Tandy's desire that the machine be known as a MEWS, for Micro Executive Work Station.)

    In a day when most "portable computers" were 25-pound behemoths, the 3.4-pound Model 100 was indeed the size of a notebook, which meant it could go places that computers had never gone before. Yet it packed a 2-by-7.5-inch screen that could display 40 characters across and eight lines of text; a full-size keyboard that's still impressive today; built-in software such as a word processor and spreadsheet; and a 300-bps modem that let you connect to services such as CompuServe.

    Variants of the Model 100 included 1984's Model 200, which introduced the clamshell case that almost every portable computer would eventually adopt. Well into the 1990s, some journalists were still toting these Radio Shack systems--and sites such as Club 100 continue to help people use them.

    Greatest PCs: 7-5

    7. Commodore Amiga 1000 (1985)

    The Commodore 64 may have been the best-selling computer of its time, but its follow-up, developed by a Silicon Valley startup that Commodore acquired, was a vastly better computer. Years ahead of its time, the Amiga was the world's first multimedia, multitasking personal computer (see an early commercial for it on YouTube).

    The $1500 (sans monitor) Amiga came with the same Motorola 68000 CPU used in the Apple

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    Macintosh. But the most innovative thing about its architecture was its three coprocessors--they helped provide the Amiga's graphics and sound, which were stunning for the time. Its main video processor (dubbed Denise) helped Amigas accomplish feats like 3D animation, full-motion video, and fancy TV processing years before other computers. And the four-voice stereo sound chip (Paula) provided speech synthesis, produced more realistic audio than the Commodore 64's famous SID chip, and helped inspire Soundtracker, the first "tracker-style" music sequencing program.

    The original Amiga was rechristened the Amiga 1000 when it was replaced by the Amiga 500 and 2000 in 1987; later Amiga-based products included the Amiga 4000T tower and the CD32, a gaming console. Commodore declared bankruptcy in 1994, and the Amiga name and technologies bounced from owner to owner in subsequent years. Modern iterations of NewTek's Video Toaster and LightWave 3D software continue to be used for major TV and movie productions to this day.

    In 1987 I had sort of lost interest in PCs--until I got my first real job, which happened to be in an office next to a computer store called The Memory Location. I walked by its window and saw an Amiga 500 showing off everything it could do. And what it could do was astonishing, given that garden-variety IBM PCs often didn't do color at the time. I collected enough paychecks to buy an Amiga and stuck with the platform until the IBM world caught up--which took years.Harry McCracken

    6. IBM Personal Computer, Model 5150 (1981)

    Many key moments in PC history weren't identifiable as such when they happened. (Was there any reason to pay much attention when a couple of young guys named Steve decided to start a microcomputer company and name it after a type of fruit?) But when the company that was synonymous with computers announced its first PC on August 12, 1981, everyone knew it was a great milestone in the history of a very young industry.

    Technology-wise, the most interesting thing about IBM's Personal Computer, Model 5150, was its CPU: Intel's 8088, a powerful 16-bit processor in an era when most popular models still used basic 8-bit CPUs. IBM offered the system with several operating systems, including the then-popular CP/M, something called P-System, and a new OS that IBM named PC-DOS but that most people would remember as MS-DOS for versions marketed by publisher Microsoft. (Legendarily, Microsoft's OS was based on QDOS, or "Quick and Dirty Operating System," which it picked up for a song from a small Seattle company.)

    Within 18 months IBM's machine sat at the center of a booming PC ecology, with a bevy of hardware add-ons, third-party software, clones, books, and magazines. Some of IBM's later machines were hits and some were flops, but all of them, like the vast majority of computers on the planet today, were direct descendants of the IBM Personal Computer. (Read IBM's take on its own archives.)

    5. IBM ThinkPad 700C (1992)

    Unveiled at

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    Comdex in 1992, IBM's ThinkPad 700C ushered in a new era for laptop computers: Now, the laptop could be both useful and stylish. The first ThinkPad's distinctive black case and its red TrackPoint pointing device in the middle of the keyboard were striking departures from other notebooks, which tended to be practically interchangeable, chunky, dull gray or beige boxes with trackballs that hung off to the side or sat like a lump below the keyboard.

    One of three ThinkPad models at launch, along with the 300 and 500 (the numbering scheme was reportedly inspired by BMW's car lines) the $4350 ThinkPad 700C was IBM's top-of-the-line system. It came with an eye-catching 256-color, 10.4-inch TFT VGA color screen (large by 1992 standards), a removable 120MB hard drive, a 25-MHz 486SLC processor, and a comfortable touch-typist-friendly keyboard. Current ThinkPads--now manufactured by Lenovo--may be radically more powerful than the 700C, but they retain the black case, TrackPoint, and fine keyboard as major selling points. (See the ThinkPad's evolution at Lenovo's archive.)

    PC World recognized the ThinkPad's significance right away: The product won a World Class award in 1993. In 2004 it became the first--and to date, only--product inducted into the World Class Hall of Fame.

    Greatest PCs: 4-2

    4. Apple Macintosh Plus (1986)

    In 1984 Apple released the original Macintosh, which, while heavily influenced by the Xerox Star, was a breakthrough personal computer. But its 128KB of memory was so skimpy that the machine was virtually unusable. The company really hit the ball out of the park in 1986 with the Macintosh Plus (see the specs of this Apple model and others at

    The $2599 Mac Plus had the same Motorola 68000 processor as the original Mac, but it came with a roomy 1MB of RAM and was upgradeable to 4MB of RAM. It supported the brand-new 800KB double-sided floppy-disk format, and was the first Mac with a SCSI port for fast data transfer to and from an external hard drive. Like earlier Macs, its cute beige all-in-one case housed a monochrome 512-by-342-pixel display and the 3.5-inch floppy drive. It also came with matching beige input devices: a sturdy keyboard with a numeric keypad connected by a coiled cord, and a boxy, rectangular mouse.

    Apple sold the Mac Plus until 1990, making it the longest-selling Mac model ever. By then it had received cult notoriety via a cameo in the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Today, working Mac Plus models sell on eBay for about $25. Nonworking models have found an entirely different afterlife: They've been reincarnated as fish tanks.

    3. Xerox 8010 Information System (1981)

    As Winston Churchill might have put it, rarely have so many computers owed so much to such a flop. The flop in question is Xerox's 8010 Information System (better known as the Star), the computer that commercialized many of the breakthroughs invented in the company's legendary PARC research labs and first seen in the Alto computer (which was never sold as a commercial product).

    Announced in 1981 and shipped in 1982, the Star had a graphical user interface with what-you-see-is-what-you-get graphics and a desktop metaphor (which, as documented at the DigiBarn computing museum, still look impressive today). It used a mouse, a device that was so unfamiliar that Xerox's documentation also called it a "hand-held pointer." It had built-in ethernet networking, and could work with "a 12-ppm laser printer that was three-fourths the size of a washing machine," says Dave Curbow, who joined the Star team as a software engineer in 1983. "There were way too many firsts to enumerate."

    It also had a hefty price tag--$16,500 per unit--that was just the beginning, since the whole idea was that a business would outfit itself with multiple networked workstations, servers, and peripherals. "You couldn't buy one machine and do anything," Curbow explains.

    Given that the notion of buying even a single small computer was so new at the time, it's not startling that Xerox had trouble selling companies on the Star. A couple of years later, Apple's far cheaper, Xerox-influenced $2495 Macintosh found more success. And over time, virtually every one of Xerox's out-there ideas became a core part of the everyday computing experience.

    2. Compaq Deskpro 386 (1986)

    For the first few years of the IBM PC-compatible era, the industry had one undisputed leader--Big Blue itself. Then an odd thing happened: Intel introduced the powerful 80386 CPU, its first 32-bit processor, and it was Compaq, not IBM, that brought a 386 PC to market before anyone else.

    The Deskpro 386's $6499 starting price wasn't as sky-high as it sounds today considering that decent configurations of IBM's AT cost at least $5000 and its high-end RT usually topped $16,000. With a 32-bit bus and 16-MHz clock speed, "on CPU performance alone the Deskpro 386 inhabits another league," PC World wrote at the time.

    In 1986 it wasn't a given that a next-generation PC would run previous-generation software out of the box; the IBM RT, which used a RISC CPU, didn't. And so the fact that the Deskpro ran DOS, Windows, Lotus 1-2-3, and other major applications perfectly was as much of a selling point as the fact it did so with blazing speed.

    The Deskpro 386 wasn't just one of the most powerful, most popular PCs of its time--it was also compelling proof that the PC platform was far bigger than any one company.

    Greatest PCs: Number 1

    1. Apple II (1977)

    The Apple II wasn't the first personal computer, or the most advanced one, or even the best-selling model of its age. But in many ways it was The Machine That Changed Everything. On all four of our criteria--Innovation, Impact, Industrial Design, and Intangibles--it was such a huge winner that it ended up as our Greatest PC of All Time.

    The 8-bit system came with 4KB of memory, expandable to 48KB. It used a cassette rather than a disk for storage. It cost $1200, about twice the base price of its two biggest competitors, the Tandy TRS-80 Model I and the Commodore PET 2001. It couldn't even display lowercase letters (in the first several years of its existence, anyway). Yet it packed more pure innovation than any other early computer, and was the first PC that deserved to be called a consumer electronics device.

    Born out of the Home Brew Computer Club by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs's tiny Apple Computer in 1977, the Apple II was the company's second PC, but it boasted more than its share of firsts: It was the first color PC (you could even use it with a television), the first to be easily expandable by users, the first to integrate BASIC programming, and the first to run the VisiCalc spreadsheet--proving that these new boxes had a place in business.

    Perhaps its greatest innovation was its design. Jobs wanted the machine to look at home on people's desktops, so he insisted that the Apple II have a sleek look, as opposed to the sheet-metal-and-exposed-wire appearance of most other early PCs. The machine's coolness factor--an Apple trademark to this day--was as important to its long-term success as Wozniak's inventive engineering was.

    And we do mean long-term: From the original Apple II model that debuted at the first West Coast Computer Faire in April 1977 to the discontinuation of the final iteration of the IIe in December 1993 (outlasting the 16-bit IIGS model that was introduced years after it), more than 2 million Apple II-family PCs had been produced. The Apple II line, well documented at Steven Weyhrich's Apple II History site, kept the company going through the Apple Lisa debacle and other turbulent events of the 1980s. By the middle of that decade, though, Apple had turned its attention to that other world-beater, the Macintosh Plus (number 4 on our list). But it was the Apple II that put the personal in the nascent personal computer industry. The rest is history.

    I didn't own the Apple II; I waited for one of its successors, the Apple IIe, a big, big step up from the very first Apple II. My Apple IIe came with a color screen, a floppy drive, and an 80-column display instead of the original's 40-column display. I have fond memories of using the Apple IIe to index and abstract tech articles, although I could fit only four records on each 5.25-inch floppy, which meant I had to carry stacks and stacks of floppies between home and office. I also remember having a love-hate relationship with the integrated keyboard: Its stiff keys made it a pain to use, sometimes literally. Dennis O'Reilly

    The 25 Near-Greatest PCs of All Time (1971-1983)

    As we whittled down our picks for The 25 Greatest PCs of All Time, we realized that some machines that didn't make the cut were still worthy of celebration. Some were breakthroughs hobbled by drawbacks, some were obscure pioneers, some were intriguing one-trick ponies--but all are worth remembering. Here they are, in chronological order.

    Kenbak-1 (1971): Arguably the first personal computer--it was sold for $750 via a tiny ad in Scientific American magazine--this hobbyist kit was so ahead of its time that it had to use TTL (Transistor-Transistor Logic) components, instead of the newly invented microprocessor, to crunch binary code.

    R2E Micral N (1973): Developed in France, this system was the first fully assembled, general-purpose computer built around a microprocessor, Intel's 8-bit 8008 chip. And it featured software written by Philippe Kahn, later founder of the Borland software empire.

    Commodore PET 2001 (1977): Along with the Apple II and TRS-80 Model 1, this was one of 1977's pioneering trio of PCs aimed at the masses, but its weird calculator-like keyboard and kludgy all-in-one case made it the crudest of the group. PET stood for Personal Electronic Transactor; rumor had it that the name was also a nod to the Pet Rock craze of the 1970s.

    Heathkit H-89 (1979): When do-it-yourselfers wanted to build gadgets in the 1970s, they turned to Heathkit, and this $1800 computer kit made assembling your own color TV passé. It ran either H-DOS or CP/M, included a 90KB floppy disk drive, and was also sold in fully assembled form as the Zenith Z-89.

    Epson HX-20 (1981): The forgotten first laptop, Epson's HX-20 even included a tiny printer in a case that was the same size as the similar, far more popular TRS-80 Model 100.

    Osborne 1 (1981): In 1981 the first "luggable" computer was appealingly portable--all 26 pounds of it--and its array of bundled software made it a bargain. Osborne Computer crumbled when it preannounced a new model and customers stopped buying its old ones--a classic business blunder that's known as "The Osborne Effect" to this day.

    Apple Lisa (1983): Call it the proto-Mac: The Lisa sported radical innovations such as a graphical user interface complete with bitmapped fonts, and a mouse. At $10,000 it was more mainstream than the Xerox Star but still too pricey. This model was one of the most important flops ever.

    Compaq Portable (1983): A hugely popular luggable PC, this workhorse put a startup called Compaq on the map--and was the first 100-percent IBM compatible clone.

    IBM PC XT 5160 (1983): IBM's follow-up to the PC was another hit. With its Intel 8086 CPU, it was the first 16-bit personal computer. Unlike the original IBM Personal Computer 5150, which used an 8088 processor for its 16-bit processing and an 8-bit data bus to keep costs down, the XT was 16-bit all the way. And its hard drive, all 10MB of it, helped mass storage go mainstream.

    More Near-Greatest PCs (1984-1989)

    Apple Macintosh (1984): Some people may wonder why the first Mac--the extraordinarily influential system whose development is superbly chronicled at on our list of also-rans rather than at the top of our list of the greatest PCs. Blame its placement on its skimpy 128KB RAM, which made it almost unusable. Apple quickly addressed that shortcoming with a 512KB model (the "Fat Mac"), and 1986's Mac Plus (number 4 on our list of the greatest) made the Mac truly usable.

    Hewlett-Packard HP 110 (1984):HP's first laptop, this 9-pound portable had a flip-up screen, Lotus 1-2-3 and other productivity software stored in read-only-memory, and a whopping (for the time) 272KB of nonvolatile CMOS RAM.

    Atari 520ST (1985): Nicknamed the "Jackintosh" after Atari CEO (and Commodore founder) Jack Tramiel, Atari's first 16-bit PC provided lots of computing power at a low price; its built-in MIDI capabilities made it popular with musicians for years.

    Apple Macintosh II (1987): A Mac that draws inspiration from the IBM PC-compatible world? Yep--the II, aimed at business users, was the first Mac in a PC-like case with internal expansion slots, and the first to come with a full-size PC-like keyboard. And it was the first color Mac.

    IBM PS/2 Series (1987): Though the PS/2 line was entirely software-compatible with previous AT-Architecture PC models, most PS/2s used Big Blue's proprietary Micro Channel Architecture. The new architecture was incompatible with AT add-in cards--a big stumbling block for widespread industry and buyer acceptance. But the list of innovations for the MCA PS/2s is impressive: They were the first 32-bit personal computers, they had a plug-and-play BIOS, and they introduced the PS/2 keyboard and mouse interface still in use today. They also introduced the VGA graphics standard (a huge step up over its EGA predecessor) and the familiar VGA connector port, which remains the standard plug for most CRT and other analog monitors. Unfortunately, all that new technology kept prices high, and IBM's tight licensing policies kept clone makers from helping to create a new standard.

    Atari Portfolio (1989): The first palmtop computer to run MS-DOS, this reasonably priced gadget was about the size of a VHS tape. Atari, foundering at the time, didn't do much with it, but it made a cameo in 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

    NeXT Cube (1989): Steve Jobs's second computer startup after Apple may have failed, but its forward-thinking machine boasted optical storage, a megapixel display, and incredible industrial design--and its operating system evolved into Mac OS X. There's still a market for used Cubes; Black Hole has them starting at $299.

    Still More Near-Greatest PCs (1992-2005)

    GRiD Convertible 2260 (1992): Better in some ways than current Tablet PCs, this well-designed, extremely sturdy portable could work as a clamshell notebook or a tablet.

    SGI Indy (1993): As Unix workstations go, the $5000 Indy was semiaffordable, but it didn't lack for cool features, including a neat pizza-box case, a built-in camera for videoconferencing, and floppies that stored a massive 21MB.

    Canon NoteJet 486 (1994): In 1994 Canon made both printers and notebooks. The NoteJet combined the two, building a surprisingly decent inkjet under the laptop's keyboard. Canon bragged that celebs such as F. Lee Bailey, William F. Buckley, and Peter Max were fans.

    Commodore 64 (1982): In 1982 64KB was a heck of a lot of memory for a home PC, and the C64 had it. That advantage helped make it the most popular system of its era--maybe any era--with about 30 million units sold over its 11-year production run.

    IBM ThinkPad 701C (1995): This subnotebook-like ThinkPad was nicknamed the "Butterfly" because it sported one of the most inventive PC features ever: When you opened it, the keyboard unfolded into a wider size than its small case would otherwise allow for.

    Toshiba Libretto 20 (1996): Toshiba's clever, teeny-tiny notebook had a (barely) touch-typeable keyboard and a pointing device mounted near the LCD screen--and it ran Windows 95, too. Arguably, it's a better ultramobile PC than today's UMPCs.

    Apple iMac (1998): Welcome back, Steve Jobs. The first iMac may not have been a great computer. Its all-in-one design, however, was unique and influential, and it also started the trend toward lollipop-style colors for computer cases. Most important, it marked the Mac brand's return to relevance.

    Apple PowerBook G4, 17-inch model (2003): This 17-inch wide-screen notebook proved that huge was cool, and its classy aluminum case only heightened its appeal.

    Fujitsu LifeBook P1500 (2005): With its touch-sensitive swivel screen and comfortable keyboard, this 2.2-pound featherweight, which runs either Windows XP or Windows XP Tablet Edition, may be the most highly evolved supersmall PC yet.

    The 25 Greatest PCs of All Time, The Complete List

    PC World's list of the top 25 PCs of all time was assembled after we polled our editors for nominations. We then rated the nominated gadgets for innovation, impact, industrial design, and intangibles. Here are the results. (For more on our 25 Greatest PCs project, see the full story.)

  • 1977 Apple II
  • 1986 Compaq Deskpro 386
  • 1981 Xerox 8010 Information System
  • 1986 Apple Macintosh Plus
  • 1992 IBM ThinkPad 700C
  • 1981 IBM Personal Computer, Model 5150
  • 1985 Commodore Amiga 1000
  • 1983 Tandy TRS-80 Model 100
  • 1982 Columbia Data Products MPC 1600-1
  • 1991 Apple PowerBook 100
  • 1998 Sony VAIO 505GX
  • 1975 MITS Altair 8800
  • 1984 IBM Personal Computer/AT Model 5170
  • 1979 Atari 800
  • 2001 Shuttle SV24 Barebone System
  • 1977 Tandy TRS-80 Model I
  • 1987 Toshiba T1000
  • 1993 Hewlett-Packard OmniBook 300
  • 2002 Apple iMac, second generation
  • 1996 Gateway 2000 Destination
  • 1998 Alienware Area-51
  • 1993 Hewlett-Packard 100LX
  • 1997 Apple eMate 300
  • 2006 Toshiba Qosmio G35-AV650
  • 1982 Non-Linear Systems Kaypro II


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