Title pretty much says it all. To qualify, the computer must have been manufactured and released. No prototypes or computers that never shipped.

Also, I'm looking for computers used at a home or small business. No mainframes or NASA guidance systems.


  • What about socketed PLCC devices (these are surface mount parts by themselves), or TQFP chips used as display drivers in early laptops? – rackandboneman May 2 '18 at 19:30
  • Another thing to research: Data General One ... board photos on the net are inconclusive as there have been multiple later versions of that machine. – rackandboneman May 2 '18 at 20:51
  • @rackandboneman if the socket is through-hole, it would not count. I hadn't thought about display drivers in portable computers. But I don't see why that wouldn't count. – cbmeeks May 3 '18 at 12:34
  • Display modules tend to be made by specialist vendors and sold as a component, with the driver chips already installed.... then and now... – rackandboneman May 3 '18 at 14:07

The TRS-80 Model 100 (and clones) and the Timex Sinclair 2068, all from 1983, all incorporated surface mount components.

  • 1
    If anybody's sceptical of this, as I was, see e.g. techrepublic.com/pictures/tandy-trs-80-model-100-teardown/26 (a Model 100's LCD driver chip) or atkinsoft.com/images/IMG_0714.JPG (someone's in-progress switchable ROM modification of a Timex Sinclair). – Tommy Apr 22 '17 at 19:24
  • That's a very good entry! It looks like the TRS-80 Model 100, Timex Sinclair 2068 and the TI CC-40 computer all came out in 1983. According to Wikipedia, the TI CC-40 came out in March 1983. Do you know when the others did? Also, not sure if the CC-40 used SMT. – cbmeeks Apr 25 '17 at 15:20

A number of MSX machines started to use the so called "MSX engine" chip, which condensed a number of discrete ICs into one SMD chip, most often a TQFP one. The first MSX Engine was the Toshiba T7775 chip, which was used in the Sanyo MPC-1, as early as 1985.

Solder side of Sanyo MPC-1 showing a SMD chip on the center of the board



The Epson HX20 from 1981 uses an LCD module which uses surface mount driver ICs.


One of the Macs has to be a strong contender; per a 1989 edition of InfoWorld "All the Macs are extremely well-built. There is extensive use of surface-mount technology ..." so at that point it's considered to be worthy of mention. Of the Macs under review there, 1989's SE/30 shows surface-mount components alongside through-hole and socketed, suggesting it is from early in the design transition.

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    Nice entry but I'm pretty sure there were many computers that used SMD before 1989. In fact, I just recently discovered that the 1541-II (floppy drive for C64) has a surface mount chip! Which I believe was in 1987. – cbmeeks Apr 25 '17 at 15:12
  • @cbmeeks yes, this has been thoroughly debunked as a potential answer, by at least six years on the 1980s computer industry hardware development scale. Which in human terms is about thirty centuries. – Tommy Apr 25 '17 at 15:51
  • The MacPlus used memory modules that were populated with surface-mount RAM. That would be 1986. – Whit3rd Apr 28 '17 at 10:45
  • @Whit3rd: Older Mac Plus simms used DIPs. A computer store back around 1990 was giving away 256K simms as key rings, which were pretty popular, but the modules with surface mount chips tended to shed them pretty quickly when used in that fashion. I chose a module with DIPs which lasted pretty well until the board cracked near the hole where the metal ring went through. – supercat Apr 27 '20 at 23:29

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