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55 votes

What accounted for the cost of ENIAC?

R&D stuff isn't manufactured (at first). It's usually partially constructed, ripped up, and redone, multiple times, with long testing and debug cycles in between, all the while with payroll ...
hotpaw2's user avatar
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42 votes
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386SX, NES and how much did data lines really cost anyway?

The situation with the 386(DX) v. 386SX is similar to the situation with the 8086 v. 8088. The big issue isn’t the data lines (although they do have an impact on complexity and cost when routing a ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
36 votes
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How much did the first hard drives for PCs cost?

I looked at trade periodicals from the time in question, because the intended customer for a hard drive in the early 1980's was almost certainly a business or school (look at the prices, particularly ...
ErikF's user avatar
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33 votes
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Why plastic cases?

Cost, both in manufacturing and design. The basic metal cases are simply that -- basic. Even modern PC cases are pretty simplistic being a metal box, with a plastic facade. For home computers of the ...
Will Hartung's user avatar
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28 votes

What accounted for the cost of ENIAC?

So what was the other $478,000 spent on? Paying people to design and build it would have been a fairly big component. People often underestimate the cost of labour, particularly if it is their own ...
JeremyP's user avatar
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25 votes
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What accounted for the cost of ENIAC?

One of the biggest factors is that when you have a machine that requires 5,000,000 successful solder joints to function properly, you need to make sure that all of your solder joints are really really ...
Oscar Smith's user avatar
22 votes

Why plastic cases?

Injection molding has a costly tooling cost but very low per-unit costs. This makes it cheaper to build a large number of cases. Metal cases have a lower tooling cost but higher per-unit cost. This ...
snips-n-snails's user avatar
22 votes

386SX, NES and how much did data lines really cost anyway?

So that indicates extra data lines were very expensive; the difference between a 386SX and 386DX computer came to hundreds of dollars. Not really. Sure, they need to have some room and routing - and ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
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21 votes
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Were cartridge slots cheaper at the back?

Maybe it's just that it was a few cents cheaper to build that way. The company was certainly very focused on cost reduction. Yes, it was. Not much, but there are several small savings: The board ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
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20 votes

How much did the first hard drives for PCs cost?

TL;DR: How much did the first hard drives for the IBM PC or Apple || cost, and how big were they? Ready to use setups started around 3,000+ USD for 5 MiB in 1981 Long (Hi-)Story As usual defining '...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 219k
17 votes
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How did the Sinclair compare on price with the C64 in the UK?

Sinclair certainly competed vigorously on price, and designed their machines to achieve as low a price as possible. The ability to sell a computer for less than £100 was one of Clive Sinclair's goals ...
Kaz's user avatar
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15 votes

386SX, NES and how much did data lines really cost anyway?

It's not just how many data lines, but where you have to route them. While the PPU on the NES does have its own independent RAM, it is connected only to the PPU. To update the tile RAM from the main ...
RETRAC's user avatar
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14 votes
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What were the selling points of the Atari 800 over the 400?

There are a few improvements that made the 800 more valuable Candy Coleen (400) (800) RAM (original design 1979) 4 KiB 8 KiB RAM (...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 219k
14 votes

Were cartridge slots cheaper at the back?

If a machine has a vertical cartridge slot on the top, it's liable to have junk fall into it unless it either has a door, or unless something is left in it. The Odyssey2 video game system simply had ...
supercat's user avatar
  • 35.7k
12 votes

Why plastic cases?

I was designing computer housings back in "the day". Plastic cases were comparatively cheap in volume, but challenging to bring to market. The technology of choice was structural foam. It was ...
cmm's user avatar
  • 747
12 votes

80286 pricing and availability

PC Magazine 11/1984 was first reporting about the PC/AT 5170. They quote a price tag of 3800 USD for the low end configuration with 256 KiB and 5800 USD for the high end configuration with 512 KiB RAM ...
Arne's user avatar
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11 votes
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Cost of dynamic versus static RAM in the early days

I did find some prices in BYTE: November 1975, page 91 2107 4Kx1 Dynamic: $19.95 (0.49 cents/byte) 2111 256x4 Static: -- not listed 1101 256x1 Static: $2.25 (0.89 cents/byte) April ...
Eugene Styer's user avatar
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9 votes
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How much did it cost to develop the Z80 CPU?

In this document there is a mentioning of half a million dollars spent for designing the Z80.
lvd's user avatar
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9 votes
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What was the cost difference between single and double sided 5.25" floppy drives?

TL;DR: First of all it's a matter of timing - with no double sided drives available, there is no choice between either. 5.25 drives were first introduced by Shugart with the SA-400 single sided 35 ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 219k
8 votes

Cost of dynamic versus static RAM in the early days

My firm designed microcomputer boards in the late 1970s to early 1980s, and we often had discussions about whether a particular design was going to use static or dynamic RAM. When you say "static RAM,...
jonathanjo's user avatar
8 votes

What accounted for the cost of ENIAC?

Here's a video about manufacturing UNIVAC 1108 (circa 1965, so a bit later but still illuminating). Notice how much is done by hand, even things like winding coils. According to the University of ...
user3067860's user avatar
7 votes

80286 pricing and availability

When was the 286 first available for purchase by end users Well, this of course depends a lot on the values of 'Available for Purchase' and 'End User'. Is the question about the chip, boards with a ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 219k
7 votes
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What was the retail price of CP/M?

[...] operating systems including PC-DOS for $40 or CP/M for $240. Customers looked at what appeared to be essentially equivalent products, looked at the sixfold price difference, and we all know the ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 219k
7 votes

How much did a serial terminal cost?

Not sure about 1980, but in the early 80's my first job was with a small software company that wrote an accounting package that ran on Unix and MS-DOS systems. Our preferred terminal for the Unix ...
mannaggia's user avatar
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7 votes
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Did ancillary LEDs trade arcade game design for manufacturing cost?

It may be impossible to give a simple answer, as a design is influenced by many parameters. Complexity (and thus price) might being one A notable difference between these three games are the number of ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 219k
6 votes

What was the Macintosh's BOM cost?

The incremental cost, or "BOM cost", of the original 128K Macintosh was approximately $750 at the time. This answer is trivially determined from the 1982-83 Apple Computer Inc. public financial ...
Brian H's user avatar
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6 votes
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C116 vs C64 cost

Chiclet keyboard. (But the full travel keyboard had been considered cheap enough for the Vic-20.) That was not only at a different price level, but also a different time. After the ZX80 (and ZX81) ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 219k
6 votes

What were the selling points of the Atari 800 over the 400?

The Atari 800 allowed a maximum of 48k of RAM, vs the 16k maximum in the Atari 400. After 1980, both models shipped with maximum RAM - so you were getting three times as much memory with the 800. (...
user3486184's user avatar
6 votes

How many hours of labor did it take to assemble a minicomputer?

Most PDP-series machines of this era were built using a large number of cards (with soldered components) connected by a wire-wrap backplane and a series of cables. I think the cables were mostly used ...
Chromatix's user avatar
  • 16.8k
6 votes

How much did the first hard drives for PCs cost?

Disclaimer: I don't recall the exact prices and dates, so it's only rough estimates. For my Z80 CP/M system, around 1984 I bought a 20MB hard drive for 3000DM (~ US$ 1200 by that time). It had the 5....
Ralf Kleberhoff's user avatar

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