2 of 12Image
An IBM PC! With a hard drive!!
Back in 1983 in Compute magazine, my friend Kathy Yakal wrote, that 1983 "might be the Christmas of the computer." It would be the first holiday season when "the home computer [was] well within the budgets of many American consumers." So, what computing toys did you have to choose from in 1983? Brace yourself: there wasn't a smartphone or tablet to be seen.
You may be too young for this, but one of IBM's best ad campaigns ever featured Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp. And, he was touting IBM's newest PC stars: the IBM PC and the IBM PC XT. The XT came with 4.77MHz 8088 processor, a 10 MB hard drive, 128KB RAM and a 360KB floppy drive. For this top-of-the-line business machine, you only had to pay $5,000.
Apple Lisa: Mac's failed predecessor.
What's that? You don't want a PC? You want an Apple? Well, lucky you, Apple was ready to sell you a Lisa -- complete with Motorola 5MHz 68000, 5MB hard drive, "huge" 1 MB of RAM, and Apple's first graphical operating system, Lisa Operating System. And, you could have all this for "only" $10,000. Yeah, there's a reason why only hard-core Apple fans remember this one. The Mac, introduced in 1984 for $2,500, proved far more popular.
The once, and future, Commodore 64
Apple and IBM too pricey for you? Commodore, with its Commodore 64, a computer inside of a keyboard that required a spare TV for the interface, had the machine for you at $299. It wasn't much of a PC -- 64K of memory was small even by 1983 standards -- but it proved amazingly popular. Indeed, Commodore recently released a 21st century Commodore 64 running Linux.