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Time Warp Computer Prices
Date 4th August 2004
Author James "Agg" Rolfe

Onward, to the 80's!

Two scans from the January 1989 issue of The Australian Commodore and Amiga Review, which for some time featured Dan Rutter. I think this was before his time with them, though. I actually had an Amiga 1000 and then a 2000, before I got my first "IBM-compatible" PC. $599 for a 33MB hard drive (with controller). $398 for a 1200bps modem! Thanks to Ken for these.

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This entry I've seen floating around before, but it was sent in by quite a few people. From the spelling of "colour" and the phrase "an incredible value" I'm assuming it's from an American magazine. So, US$8499 got you a 20MHz 386 with no mouse or monitor back in 1989.

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Tandy's 1988 catalog is the focus of David's first submission. The cover celebrates Australia's bicentennial year, while the inside pages celebrate beige boxes. 7.16MHz of portable computing power weighing only 6.4KG would have been tempting. I wonder if there was an unspoken rule about 1KG per MHz. :) The 768K RAM gives you a tremendous amount of portable-computing power. With 640K addressed by MS-DOS, you'll have 128K left over for a RAM-based disk drive or print spooler.

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Also from 1988 are these scans of the October issue of Australian MacWorld from Stefan. I actually found suprisingly a lot less info about prices in the old magazine then any current magazine. Perhaps they didn't want to scare readers off with big numbers and dollar signs... :P The left scan is an article about the cost-effectiveness of bundled hard-drives.

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Danga sent in three scans from the May 1987 issue of APC. "IBM REVEALS ALL!" on the front cover refers to the April launch of their PS/2 line. These didn't end up being quite the success IBM had hoped for, although some of their features live on. Quite a bargain at $4950 for the HDD-equipped one, all 20MB of it. Naturally, you'd add $995 for a colour monitor instead of the mono one. Actually, the scariest thing of this group is the special on two boxes of 3.5" floppy disks for just $99.50. Add $16 if you want double sided!

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TheWedgie sent in this excerpt from the Sept 1984 issue of a C64 newsletter. I'm not sure of the name, but it seems to be a vendor catalog. $580 for a disk drive, ouch. I like the relaxed attitude towards "breaking" cartridges, too.

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David's second submission is this 1983 TRS-80 catalogue from Tandy Electronics. First up, we have the mighty TRS-80 Model 16. The Model 16 is based around a state-of-the-art 68000 microprocessor that accepts 16-bit data and processes it internally as 32-bit "words." A second microprocessor - the Z80 - handles input/output and other "housekeeping chores". It could even run more than one program at once!

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Of course, after spending $8499 on your TRS-80, you'd want to accessorise it. Acoustic couplers must have been selling like hotcakes in 1983 after Matthew Broderick used one. Or, $5999 gets you an 8.6MB hard drive capable of serving data up at 4.34 megabits/second while drawing 140W of power.

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All original content copyright James Rolfe.
All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.
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