Talk:History of computing hardware (1960s–present)

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for History of computing hardware (1960s–present):

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Article requests : Talk more about main-stream evolution of computers, solid-state takeover from tubes and cores, effect of SSI and VLSI ICs, supercomputers,main frames, minicomputers, and microcomputers. Move the individual brand microcomputer histories to their respective articles as they aren't relevant to an overall history of computers. Mention history of IBM and its competitors. As always,more in-line references.


I'm no designer, but would it be possible to clean up the table for the "History of Computing" series. It is a bit of an eye sore. --Small business 18:21, 4 May 2004 (UTC)

Should something be said in this article about the rudimentary quantum computers being built today? Just a thought. Lupin 22:16, 15 Jun 2004 (UTC)

"15-inch printed circuit board": Is inches a standard measurment of circut board sizes? A link to a page that explains how to convert from this archaic measurment system would be helpfull. Rakshasa 10:36, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Reworked the Apple II section. It sounded great but was wildly inaccurate. Alatari 11:23, 22 June 2007 (UTC)


With the development of storage area networks and server farms of thousands of servers, by the year 2000 the minicomputer had all but disappeared, and mainframes were largely restricted to specialised uses. The Google server farm is thought to be the largest, with a total calculation rate three times that of Earth Simulator or Blue Gene, as of 2004.

This is bull-shit. Mainframe is still IBM's most profitable branch (literally billions of dollars earned), because banks and governments would never accept the inherent unreliability of PC-farms. Also, PC based clusters simply cannot have the vast I/O performance, traditional to mainframes, which these big brothers require. Without tremendous I/O bandwidht (e.g. serve 15,000 interactive users and six fully loaded ATM circuits at the same time) the CPU power is of little real-world use. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:00, 25 January 2005

Amen. Definition of mainframe: an obsolete device still used by thousands of obsolete companies serving billions of obsolete customers and making huge obsolete profits for their obsolete shareholders. And this year's run twice as fast as last year's. Signed, an enterprise architect for one of the US's largest banks. 03:59, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Tandy's Dominance[edit]

I worked in a software store in Saint Louis Missouri from 1979 to 1981 and the TRS-80 was the dominant business machine. Small businesses were paying $300-$500 1979 dollars for database and accounting packages plus $50 per hour for custom programming for their TRS-80. TRS-80's success in the custom business accounting and database markets got IBM's attention. Review the article on TRS-80 and it's contiuation even into emulators being written for Windows. The number of clones also testifies to it's success making it the foreshadow of what was to come in the IBM market. We need national sales figures for Apple and TRS-80 cited and figures for total sales of software products for both machines. Working on a separate section for TRS-80 Alatari 13:58, 20 June 2007 (UTC)


Clipped the details of the cloning legal challenge and reverse engineering... interesting stuff, but in essence a digression:

"Because they expected a well-funded legal counter-attack, Compaq engineers developed a special reverse-engineering method called "clean-room" development, in which all reverse-engineered code was provably written from an English specification, and therefore could not possibly be an illegal copy of the copyrighted IBM code.

Legal battles established the legitimacy of the machines, and the lower prices made them popular. Some introduced new features that the popular brands didn't have — the Franklin, for example, had lowercase display that the Apple II lacked, and Compaq's first machines were portable (or "luggable" in the terminology later developed to distinguish their quite heavy suitcase-sized machines from laptops)."

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Nkedel (talkcontribs) 20:41, 7 June 2005 (UTC)


This is something you may find useful for summarising the article (see source to see how it works):

Regards, Samsara contrib talk 15:28, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

An invitation/plea[edit]

To contributing authors of this article, I'm currently working on rewriting personal computer to make it something respectable. My hope is that it can be a featured article in the near future. This article has a pretty good history of the home computer and personal computer, and any editors who worked on it that would like to help on personal computer would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance! -- uberpenguin 19:21, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Working on that article Alatari 11:22, 22 June 2007 (UTC)


Which was the first computer to utilise a cathode-ray tube to display information? (I discount the Williams tube used by the Manchester 'Baby' (SSEM) because in that machine the CRT was actually the random-access memory device.) When I first started using computers in the late 60s, results were always output either on punched tape, punched card or paper printout. The idea of hooking up a TV screen, now so obvious, was very rare. -- 16:13, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

In the early sixties we in the Marconi Radar Division designed a generator system for use in air defence systems that displayed alphanumeric characters at the writing rate of 50000 per sec on both PPIs as target tags and a separate tabular display as rows and columns of data. There was also a scan conversion system for output to TV projection units.

Marconibod 16:44, 1 February 2007 (UTC)


The line - "Throughout the mid 1970s to late 1980s, hundreds of computer hardware companies were founded, most out of business." Wouldn't that line make more sense if it were 'Throughout the mid 1970s to late 1980s, hundreds of computer hardware companies were founded, of which most went out of business.' or something to that affect?

not complete[edit]

The article is not complete. Some computer are still missing e.g. FM Towns

Then be bold and add them yourself. :-) — Wackymacs 08:27, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Triumph of the Nerds[edit]

What does triumph of the Nerds have to do with this article. Who knows maybe it does have something do with this article but Im just not quite sure. -- This unsigned comment was added on 03:25, 2006 September 5 (UTC) by Aceofspades1217 (Talk)

Triumph of the Nerds is a 1996 documentary about the history of the personal computer revolution, it covers quite a bit of old hardware including the Altair, IBM PC, Xerox Alto and Macintosh. — Wackymacs 08:27, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

More than bitty boxes[edit]

We jump right into the Apple II and IBM PC? C'mon, let's make this a litlle more deep - there's a lot of interesting stuff happening in the gradual transition between vacuum tube computers, and discrete transistors to the slow progression in SSI and LSI integrated circuits, and *then* Intel takes over the Earth. That's the trouble with an encyclopedia written by perspective. --Wtshymanski 22:51, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

You referring to the intro paragraph or the entire article? Don't assume everyone watching this page is under 40. Alatari 15:31, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
The whole article needs a tune-up. We have perfectly good articles on home computers and personal computers, we don't need to re-cap them here. We need more about the revolution that solid-state, ICs, and LSI made in big iron. Is there *anyone* over 40 watching the article, or at least someone under 40 who can crack open a book or two? --Wtshymanski 05:38, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree with the assesment. However:

  • I am one of those "just under 40" who has a lot of information but just a tad bit short on that part of the history - while I know what happened, I can't quote or provide verifiable references.
  • In fact, I happen to know a lot about "before" and "after" the "middle ages", but not much about the transition from tubes to transistors.
  • I (slight!) defense of the article, this article is "after" 1960s. There is another article for "before 1960s" that, interestingly enough, includes 60s as well... So some restructuring may be required as well.

--Aleksandar Šušnjar 18:58, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

If the pre-1960 article has 1960 info then it does need cleaning.Alatari (talk) 03:20, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Article clean-up[edit]

I'm organizing by date wherever possible. Especially the pictures. And adding pictures to make the article interesting. Alatari (talk) 03:08, 14 January 2008 (UTC) The Commodore section was a tough choice. Put in their first machine or the best seller of all-time. I went with the most notable. Alatari (talk) 03:20, 14 January 2008 (UTC) If we put in the truly most notable or popular pieces of computer hardware from 1960 till 2000 this article will get very large. We probably should split it into decades. Definitely we should split the 1990's and later off into a new article. Alatari (talk) 04:47, 14 January 2008 (UTC) The Amiga and it's design of a CPU for each audio, video CPU is another milestone that needs adding. Alatari (talk) 06:18, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Histories of individual brands of home computers belong in their respective articles - this article should be more of an overview and should NOT get bogged down describing how the Binford 64 shown at the June CES was replaced by the Binford 128 at the fall Comdex, until the company went bankrupt the following spring. Overview! Important historical developments! Encyclopedia, remember, not trivia manual. This article should acknowledge personal computers as becoming important especially after the mid 1990's but there's a whole lifetime in the period where most people never saw anything closer to a computer than a punch card for thier electric bills. More about big iron, less on gameboxes. --Wtshymanski (talk) 15:16, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Picture call[edit]

Need a 1977 original Apple ][ pic whcich had a tape deck for I/O. The current pic is from 1978. Alatari (talk) 03:08, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

This article[edit]

Is now nearly empty. No mention of landmark machines during the 70's and beyond, no mention of the usage of Cartridges, CD-ROM, DVD, SD cards, etc. There are so many milestones in computing history through the last 2 decades this article should be 100kb in size. The personal computer article is not the History of personal computers article and doesn't have the space for all those landmark machines. I stronlgly disagree with User:Wtshymanski's edits and will have to build some consensus in the WikiProjects discussion page on how to handle this. Alatari (talk) 13:22, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

The article is hardly empty. As I said above, a trivial roll call of microcomputers is not really in keeping with what an article with the grand title of "History of computing hardware" should have in its contents. The IEEE Encyclopedia of Computer Science devotes 6 pages to the period 1965-1993, and less than 1/4 of that is a recounting of personal computers - one page. We shouldn't be focussing on brand names in this article, but on the fundamental technologies that have been introduced. Introduction of the microprocessor and its impact on making home computers possible is a milestone and deserves discussion; a list of all the 6502 and Z80 and 6809 machines is trivial ( the evolution of word processing from Electric Pencil on a TRS 80 to Word 2008 running on a Windows box is of some interest but not a milestone for inclusion in *this* article). How you get the program into the box (Blu-ray, DVD ROM or cartridge or punched paper tape) is are trivial changes on the theme of the user interacting with the computer.
There were no landmark machines or at least not as many as were in this article - once you've noticed that you can build a $1000 box that conceivably could be sold to a consumer under the pretense it would be useful, the rest of the personal computer development is just different flavors of Coke - marketing, not engineering. The landmark idea was getting the box into the home in the first place.
The article should be about hardware and how the massive decreases in cost have affected the application of computers. This article doesn't even mention Moore's Law! Introduction of a GUI over the character-mode interface is a significant topic, but what flavor of GUI runs on your brand of hardware is not significant for this article. Massively parallel multiple-instruction multiple-data supercomputers are fundamental; a new gadget for a Windows box is not a milestone. Speech recognition may be a milestone though it's still fairly limited. Wide-area networking might be a topic worth a paragraph. Has the desktop personal computer actually improved white-collar productivity? I don't know, anyone have a good scholarly article they'd care to paraphrase for the Wikipedia? The *massive* effect of embedded systems on everyday life is a milestone - you can scarcely flush a toilet today without involving computer power that would have stunned Alan Turing. Cellular telephony was conceived in the '70's but completely impractical until you could run a whole computer on a few hundred microamps at 3 volts - and cell phones have a social impact far greater than ROM cartridge video games. SETI at home. Cryptography as a feature of everyday life. ATMs! Desktop publishing. The Intenet itself, for goodness' sake! Web 2.0 and tis very encyclopedia of which we are all part! C'mon, the *real* milestones are much bigger than the introduction of the Binford 64! --Wtshymanski (talk) 16:11, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
We're not in complete disagreement. That's why I proposed the History of personal computers article because placing all the machines into the Personal computer article (like you have done) is extremely objectionable. What constitutes a landmark is of some debate it seems and I'm not comfortable with us being the only two taking part in a major rewrite of this article. Breaking the article into the time period 1965 to 1993 along the IEEE lines is a possibility. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alatari (talkcontribs) 16:32, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand why putting the history of various personal computers into the personal cmputer history section is objectionable, as opposed to sticking them in *this* article. Personal computers are a branch off the history of computing hardware - yes, an important segment, but not the whole of the computing hardware field. The 1993 end date of the IEEE encyclopedia is meaningless since it happens to be the date the book was printed - I wouldn't suggest that as a demarcation point at all. 1960 has some significance because at that point you coud buy transistorized computers from more than one vendor; 1965 has less significance (early ICs) and I'm not sure what the next significant year would be. The personal computers article doesn't need to have the history of every bitty box brand ever sold, since most of them were unimportant - a few representatives would be sufficient. --Wtshymanski (talk) 17:46, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

I think the idea of establishing a History of personal computers article is the best approach. This article is better with all that pc history detail removed; it needs some more summary material about PCs, but not all that had been here. That detail is also relevant to PC, but really shouldn't overstuff that article either, whose focus should be a light touch over all aspects of PCs, not concentrating on their history. Hence, History of personal computers is very appropriate now that WP has a considerable amount of info on that area. -R. S. Shaw (talk) 21:53, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Go for it. I prefer history in-line with an article and the trivia booted out to a "List of XXXX" format, but a stand alone history article could work. --Wtshymanski (talk) 16:36, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Data General Super Nova.jpg[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 21:20, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Mobile phones[edit]

This article has no section on cellphones. This is a huge omission!--greenrd (talk) 21:26, 26 May 2012 (UTC)


I propose renaming this article from History of computing hardware (1960s–present)History of computing hardware since 1960 as more concise czar  16:42, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

what about the amiga computer? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:22, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

Bias on the Computer Systems and Important Hardware Timeline section[edit]

Hi all, In my opinion the section Computer Systems and Important Hardware Timeline is quite biased towards Apple Inc. It is not true that the main advances on computer systems from 1998 on are only the Apple Inc products. This is section is not neutral. Samsung, LG, Motorola have great products that could be considered as the annual hardware reference as well --Xbosch (talk) 16:10, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Fair point. Feel free to add other processors/hardware to the tables. nagualdesign 19:23, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
Apparently the only advances in computing between 2000 and now are from Apple - how anyone could write that and consider it in the spirit of neutrality is baffling. iPhone releases past the first do not need to be included. New laptop models from Apple do not need to be included. The first release of Android should be. The release of the Raspberry Pi should be. It's not a section for every 'computing' release, it's for significant events. (talk) 01:16, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
It's probably best to try and add other hardware to the list for now, and leave the trimming for later. nagualdesign 02:25, 1 June 2015 (UTC)