Skip to comments.VINTAGE COMPUTER QUESTIONS
Posted on 02/01/2012 8:20:48 PM PST by mamelukesabre
I am trying to find info on 3 different computers. First, the Compaq Desk Pro 386 of 1986...how much did it cost brand new when it was first hit the stores? Second, the same info for the HP Vectra 486 of 1990. And finally, what make of computer offered for sale the very first pentium I 60Mhz computer and what was the model name/number?
Google is your friend my FRiend :-)
good questions, I’ll check back later to see if anyone has the answers
I did that already. That’s why I’m here now. But thanks for your help anyway.
I remember seeing on PCmag, that a 386 was selling for about $5,000.
I hope that helps.
This site has a lot of archived computer advertisements.
I bet you can find the specific models and some may have prices in the ads.
Computerworld of 29th September 1986 lists it at $6499.
I was poor and way behind the technology curve when I bought my used Tandy 386SX with a 33mhz processor, 4MB of RAM and about 100MB of harddrive space. (Windows 3.1) I had to add a 33.6 modem and a sound card to get online. (the ISP felt my pain and send me a floppy with Netscape 1.22, it hadn’t come with a browser).... I think the Pentiums were just on the market. I remember seeing an external CD-burner on sale for something like $999 or the like. Amazing how that price dropped.
how much is that in 2012 dollars?
Infoworld, 23rd April 1990, says $18,296.
Where are you getting these figures? I havn’t been able to find diddly on the internet.
I know Gateway had a Pentium I at 60Mhz, my company got them for all electronic shops when they first came out. Don't know if it was the first though.
I was using a third hand commodore colt(IBM PC copy) with an 8088 CPU and a 4th hand IBM monochrome amber monitor in the early 90s. It had a hard drive, floppy drive and modem, but couldn’t run windows. I used it for wordperfect and quattro pro.
My first Goldstar 286 pc had a 20 meg HD. Today that would fit about 4 mp3s. I paid $2000. :)
My first Goldstar 286 pc had a 20 meg HD. Today that would fit about 4 mp3s. I paid $2000. :)
HP Vectra 486 information.
. I'm in Australia so the links are to the Australian version which I use by default for searches.
Sorry - wrong link for the 486 Vectra
If it’s any help at all my 386 DX40 was about 1400 in 1991. A 486 SX36 2 years earlier would have probably been about 2500 to 3000.
except for the brand name system, you’ll never get an answer. When I built my first system for my self (vs an 8086 at work) a 386 dx, the hard drive and memory were 30% of the price. a scsi card and 500mb drive were ~ $500 and the 1/2meg ram and everx 16bit card was another $500.
The first pc i played with a tandy trs-80 with 64k and duel 5.4” floppy (’78-79) was over $10k then.
Since my dad died just before turkey day, been thinking about trying to find his 4004 hexadecimal system.
I worked for HP and was on the design team for the first Vectra, a 66mhz 486. I’m sure this was the first released. I still have one in the attic I think.
Osborne, Kaypro, Altair, not mentioned here.
Since you brought it up, what was the price of a fully outfitted Altair 8800BT with a hard drive, 8” floppy, keyboard, and functioning monitor? Brand new in 1979?
It appears they went for $13.999 and up that first year they were sold. Do you happen to know how fast that price went down?
My folks bought an Osborne running CP/M for their business in the mid 1980’s. They later upgraded to a Compaq luggable that would run DOS and the first two versions of Windows.
“It appears they went for $13.999 and up that first year they were sold. Do you happen to know how fast that price went down?”
I’m not sure how fast they came down, but fast.
I had some big issues at the time with our product. First was that they deliberately didn’t use the standard mounting for the motherboard. The mounting holes were completely different than the industry standard at the time. Second; the power on signal from the power supply was inverted. It was done to keep people from upgrading. I thought that was stupid.
Everybody on the team ended up with a prototype for home use. I enjoyed it for a while... Then I moved on.
First machine I had was a Seequa Chameleon. It had a 5 mhz 8088, two floppies, but no hard drive. Back about 83. Cost was over $2000.
Actually, I had one of the Timex? Sinclair machines that you plugged into the TV and could write basic programs on. But with those, the only way you could save a program was to use an interface to a tape drive, like a cassette recorder, and it would save the program in tone bursts!
But I’ve been working with computers, Univac and IBM mainframes since 1975, so I practically always had access to one if I felt like doing some play-around programming.
I hear there are clubs keeping the Commodore 64 alive, writing software to get them online and all that. Talk about a strange hobby. :p
My dad bought a Osborn for his business.. dual floppies even. Had a daisy wheel printer.
The Osborn was one of the first laptop (if you didn’t mind a brick sitting on your lap) made.
I remember it was replaced with the original mac and a 10 meg hard drive. Dad paid 1700 for that used.
“I hear there are clubs keeping the Commodore 64 alive, writing software to get them online and all that. Talk about a strange hobby. :p”
Either clones of it have been made or there are plans to do so. This is a strange hobby, but for hard-core programmers, it is refreshing to get “close” to the hardware and make machines do amazing things with very little processing resources. I have a machine that reads and punches paper or mylar tape and runs software written in 1969, on an operating system that has a Y1980 bug!
There was a time when programming was a very demanding mental challenge. Modern computers cover up many inefficiencies in software design with raw speed and power, because that’s cheaper than hiring really good software developers! On the other hand, they have made programming more accessible to more people.
Not counting the Vic-20 I had in the early eighties, I never had a brand new computer until I bought an Acer with an AMD K6-II CPU circa 1999. After that I started building my own computers. For many years I had a used Packard Bell 486 DX-4 with tape backup, two hard drives, two floppy drives, and CDrom drive that I paid 1200 bucks for sans monitor sans keyboard sans mouse sans speakers sans software disks. It came with tons of software on it and no backups or books. I thought it was a steal.
I bought a used machine from a friend I guess it was about 87. Since then, all the machines I’ve had, I’ve built myself, well, except for laptops. There’s a local place in South Seattle called RE-PC that sells old boards, drives, power supplies, cabinets, whatever.
I currently have two desktops, but only use one of those regular, and about 6 laptops. (I did some work at a company that would surplus their laptops as soon as the warranty passed. I’ve seen literally dumpsters full of laptops, most of which still worked fine!)
A typical 486 system was configured as follows:
4 MB RAM
1.2 MB 5.25 FDD
1.44 MB FDD
150 MB HDD
16-bit VGA w/ 512KB
14” CRT Monitor (1024 x 768 capable)
All of that goodness above would set you back $5,000. Assuming a nominal rate of inflation, that computer would cost over $9,000 today.
Intel released the Pentium Processor on March 22 1993. The processor was a 60 MHz processor, incorporated 3.1 million transistors and sold for $878. The first Pentium microprocessor core was code-named “P5”. Its product code was 80501 (80500 for the earliest steppings). And there were actually two versions, specified to operate at 60 MHz and 66 MHz respectively. It also came with an unknown math bug in it, which was finally acknowledged by Intel in 1994 and they issued a recall. The Pentium chips included a floating-point unit (FPU) also know as a math coprocessor, while previous Intel CPUs did all their arithmetic using integers. I have been unable to confirm it, but I think it was the IBM PC and then adopted by the clones.
A good way to find out is to go to
In 2010 (it takes a little while to get their data current), the relative value of $6500 from 1986 ranges from $11,500.00 to $21,200.00.
Methinks this would be a good thread for the GeezerGeek ping list.
Yeah. Spent almost $6,000 for my self built 486DX 50Mhz rig (true intel not cyrix, AMD etc.) in the early 90s, had a whopping 340 MB HD. I was thinking “No way will I ever fill up 340 MB”. Funny how times change. Amazing to consider the beast you could build with 6K today.
IBM PC had an 8088 CPU and came out in the early 80s. So that’s not it.
After reading this thread and the fact that I am in the process of building a new computer (specs below) and installing a home server, just goes to show what happens when the Federal Government stays out of the way.
Intel I5 2500K CPU
AsRock Z98 Pro Gen2 Mother board
16 Gigs of PC1600 DDR3 Memory
ATI Radeon 6870 Video Card
318 Gigs of SSD Drives
3TB of Traditional Hard Drives
3 DVD-R Drives
27 In LED backighted Monitor
HP Proliant NL40 Server
3TB of Enterprise level hard drives
Cyberpower PFC UPS
And I am doing all of this for less than $2000.00
how much is that in 2012 dollars?”
Well, to put it in perspective:
I bought a brand new car in 1986 for 4 bucks less than that.
Quattropro, that brings back memories. Anyone use Geoworks, the GUI that windows copied?
Can we chat about the Jornada 680? Did you have any contact with that product line?
>>My folks bought an Osborne running CP/M for their business in the mid 1980
My first computer:
April 1981 Adam Osborne introduces the Osborne 1 at the West Coast Computer Faire. Features Z80A cpu, 5” display, 64 Kb RAM, keyboard, keypad, modem, (2) 5.25 100 Kb floppy disk drives. Retail price of $1795. Only 24 pounds! Includes $1500 worth of software, including BASIC, CP/M, WordStar, and SuperCalc. Forecasted first year sales 10,000 units and sold that many in the first month
IIRC, my in laws had a HP Vectra 486 (which I later upgraded to a Pentium) and it was around $2800.
$13,338 in 2011 dollars