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2
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1answer
112 views

Labor input for manufacture of early personal computers

In the early days of personal computers, manufacturing was not as automated as it later became, and a factory would often consist of people sitting at tables placing components by hand. I'm ...
2
votes
2answers
157 views

Cost of a chiclet keyboard

Early personal computer keyboards could be membrane (Atari 400, ZX80, ZX81), chiclet (PET 2001, ZX Spectrum, Oric, IBM PC Jr) or mechanical/full-travel (later PET, Apple II, TRS-80, Vic-20, and most ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

80286 pricing and availability

Most information online states that the 80286 (or iAPX 286 as it was initially known) was first available in February 1982. But information about it from this time is hard to come by, and famously it ...
3
votes
1answer
256 views

What was the retail price of CP/M?

In the early days of the IBM PC, it was offered with a choice of four different operating systems including PC-DOS for $40 or CP/M for $240. Customers looked at what appeared to be essentially ...
3
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2answers
271 views

Atari 400 vs 800

Apparently when the two Atari 8-bit machines were released, the 400 outsold the 800 2 to 1, which is unsurprising considering they were priced at approximately $500 and $1000 respectively. Indeed, ...
4
votes
0answers
152 views

Cost of Apple II switching power supply

Apple went to the trouble of designing a switching power supply at a time when they were still quite new and not widely used for consumer electronics, perhaps because Steve Jobs liked the aesthetics ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

Why plastic cases?

Early computers of the 'all in one' form factors, such as the Commodore PET, the early IBM microcomputers and later models of the TRS-80, as well as the 'box' form factors such as the Altair, used a ...
5
votes
1answer
128 views

Component cost in historical ads versus wholesale

To get an idea of how much various components such as CPUs, RAM chips, disk drives and monitors historically cost, and therefore how those costs influenced design decisions that were made, a good ...
4
votes
2answers
332 views

Manufacturing cost breakdown for a 16-bit computer

The dynamics of the market, of what platforms end up being used at what times in what contexts, depend not only on what is technically possible, but even more on what can be done for what price, so ...