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54

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 running up the tab. Tons (literally) of fried or used components and partial assemblies can go into the junk bin. The specifications then often evolve with the ...


42

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 whole motherboard), the issue is mostly the cost of support components: motherboard chipsets (whether integrated or discrete), memory, etc. By going back to a 16-...


36

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 after they are adjusted for inflation!) PC Magazine only started operations in February of 1982, but there were already several hard drives announced or ...


33

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 time, they're essentially self contained unit with "no user serviceable parts inside". They were not designed to be opened by the consumer, instead having ...


24

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 time. Also looking at the photos of it on wikipedia, there were a lot of components besides valves. There were racks and other cabinets and what looks like a ...


22

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 makes it cheaper to build a small number of cases.


22

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 thus more thru hole connections, but over all, doing a 32 data lines instead of 16 isn't a big deal. It wasn't the data lines themselves, but rather the ...


20

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 good. If 1 in 10,000 of your solder joints is subtly bad, that means that the first time you try to put everything together you will have 5000 bad solders and ...


19

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 'first' is hard, as of course some people always attached drives to their micros way before there wer standard offering - our own Bruce Abbott gives a great ...


15

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 CPU, all accesses must go through the PPU. This limits the extra 8 data lines and 11 address lines (for a 2 KB address space) to a small area of the board, as ...


14

There are a few improvements that made the 800 more valuable Candy Coleen (400) (800) RAM (original design 1979) 4 KiB 8 KiB RAM (first delivered 1980) 8 KiB 16 KiB Maximum RAM (48) KiB 48 KiB (*1) RAM (later models 1982) 16 KiB 48 KiB ROM Slots ...


14

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 with his earlier ZX machines, for example. One example of this influence on the Spectrum line was their membrane keyboard, another was the fact that they were ...


12

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 strong but thick, up to about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. In the basic form, it required painting, but there was a co-extrusion process that would inject at the ...


11

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 and 20 MiB HDD. PC clone manufactures to produce 80286 based AT compatibles would have taken at least until 1985. You can try to find the first ads in PC ...


11

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 1976, page 89 2107 4Kx1 Dynamic: $19.95 (0.49 cents/byte) 2111 256x4 Static: $7.95 (0.77 cents/byte) 1101 256x1 Static: $2.25 (0.89 cents/byte) Byte ...


7

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 286, or polished turnkey systems including some IBM compatibility? If it's about general availability of working boards, it may be as early as late 1982/early ...


7

[...] 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 rest. Keep in mind that it was also about a new machine with a new CPU. There was no existing software base, except for conversions, usually offered for both ...


7

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, because it's quite a bit easier to get to work", you also need to remember that the refresh circuits cost design time, chips, and board space. (No surface-...


7

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 Minnesota the UNIVAC division employed about 10,000 people. Price list for some UNIVAC 1104 components (long page of text, search for "UNIVAC 1004 PRICE LIST&...


6

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 results, along with the historical account provided by Andy Hertzfeld. Historical Apple Computer Inc. financial results indicate a Gross Margin of 50.6% in 1982 and ...


6

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) was introduced, the US home computer industry was in shock. The VC-20 was introduced in 1981 at 300 USD where the ZX81 was just 70 GBP or (at that time) roughly ...


6

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. (Details are on Wikipedia.)


6

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 systems was Liberty Freedom 110, 200, or Freedom ONE terminals. The Freedom terminals emulated several different terminals, such as Wyse 50, ADM 3A, and its own ...


6

In this document there is a mentioning of half a million dollars spent for designing the Z80.


6

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 to interface major components together, such as the CPU to the RAM, storage drives, terminal multiplexers, etc. The cards were considered standard components ...


6

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 5.25" full height form factor and an ST506/412 interface. For interfacing with my machine, I used a SASI-to-ST506 controller plus an ECB-based SASI adapter. ...


5

I don't have exact figures, because as pointed out in the comments it will vary massively between different production lines, machines, and times, and manufacturers weren't eager to publish this kind of information. However, it's likely to be less time than you think. Wave soldering makes assembling an entire board very quick, and was starting to become ...


5

The Vic20 was not the last consumer product to use static ram on the main system board. In the mid 90's a Socket 3 (486 class) motherboard was created by Ocean Technology octek.com - defunct. The HIPPO-DCA2 motherboard which required at least one 4MB 72-pin SIMM of something called DynamiCache RAM in the first 2 slots. DynamiCache was a built from high ...


5

what was the layout of the prime cost of early 8 and 5.25 inch hard drives? From Seagate and competing manufacturers? BOM Cost and retail margins (including relationships with dealer networks), R&D costs and financial burden ... While it may be interesting to those studying manufacturing economics in the 1980's, I don't think think that breaking down ...


4

To the question in the title ("How much...?"), the answer is $1395 for a DEC VT220 in 1983.


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