IBM 5150 personal computer, 1981.
3 4 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 26cm

IBM 5150 personal computer, 1981.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


The IBM Personal Computer System was introduced to the market in early 1981, at a time when IBM was the world's largest mainframe computer manufacturer. Such was IBM's reputation that 200,000 of the PCs were sold in the first year. As a result it set a standard by which every other computer company was to be measured. The microcomputer market had grown from its beginnings in the kit building hobby market to a potential billion-dollar industry. The IBM PC used the Intel 8088 microprocesor, a factor which was also pivotal to Intel's growing succes. The machine used magnetic tape to load data, and featured an optional floppy disk drive. The hard drive did not make an appearance until the release of IBM's XT machine in 1983.

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