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Windows 7: History of the Microprocessor and the Personal Computer

19 Sep 2014   #1
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1
 
 
History of the Microprocessor and the Personal Computer

Quote:
The personal computing business as we know it owes itself to an environment of enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and happenstance. Before PCs, the mainframe and minicomputer business model was formed around a single company providing an entire ecosystem; from building the hardware, installation, maintenance, writing the software, and training operators.

This approach would serve its purpose in a world that seemingly required few computers. It made the systems hugely expensive yet highly lucrative for the companies involved since the initial cost and service contract ensured a steady stream of revenue. The "big iron" companies weren't the initial driving force in personal computing because of cost, lack of off-the-shelf software, perceived lack of need for individuals to own computers, and the generous profit margins afforded from mainframe and minicomputer contracts.

It was in this atmosphere that personal computing began with hobbyists looking for creative outlets not offered by their day jobs involving the monolithic systems. The invention of the microprocessor, DRAM, and EPROM integrated circuits would spark the widespread use of the BASIC high-level language variants, which would lead to the introduction of the GUI and bring computing to the mainstream. The resulting standardization and commoditization of hardware would finally make computing relatively affordable for the individual.

Over the next few weeks we'll be taking an extensive look at the history of the microprocessor and the personal computer, from the invention of the transistor to modern day chips powering a multitude of connected devices.
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A Guy
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19 Sep 2014   #2
Arelem

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Grrr, this is why I usually record and watch TV season finales the week before the new season starts, I hate waiting for the next part.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Sep 2014   #3
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1
 
 

History of the Personal Computer, Part 2

Quote:
Like its predecessor the 8008, Intel's 8080 suffered from initial delays in development but would later be recognized as one of the most influential chips in history. Company management focused on the high profit memory business, particularly complete memory systems that were compatible with the lucrative mainframe market.

If you missed part one,
click here to read that first...

Initial development of the 8080 didn't start until mid-1972, some six months after Federico Faggin began lobbying Intel's management for its development. By this time, the potential microprocessor markets had started to present themselves. The prevailing attitude up until now had centered on the microprocessor having to co-exist with or otherwise usurp the more powerful mainframe and minicomputer. Computers were still seen as an expensive business and research tool, and the markets for a new generation of relatively inexpensive personal machines and industrial controllers didn't exist, nor was it imagined in many cases.
Source

A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

05 Oct 2014   #4
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1
 
 

TechSpot: History of the Personal Computer, Part 3: IBM PC Model 5150

Quote:
The only remarkable thing about the product that revolutionized the personal computing business was the fact that IBM built it. If any other company of the era built and marketed the IBM Personal Computer Model 5150, it might be looked back on with fondness but not as a product that changed an industry.
Source

A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Oct 2014   #5
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1
 
 

TechSpot: History of the Personal Computer, Part 4 - 1984 - 1996: Consolidation of Power

Quote:
The infamous quote "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home" by Digital Equipment Corporation founder Ken Olsen in 1977 is a perfect study of the prevailing corporate attitude towards personal computing in the early years.

Computers were mainframes, and minicomputers that could cost up to a million dollars were often sold in single digit numbers (per month), not to mention their initial hardware cost represented only a fraction of the overall upgrade and service contract.

The environment in the decades before the microprocessor revolution were convivial and fraternal regarding the sharing of ideas and inventions. Between the low expectations of the companies involved and the need for early allies to create a broad base of support for the budding industry, the early days of the PC saw a spirit of cooperation that has so completely eroded it is hard to believe it ever existed.
Source

A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Oct 2014   #6
Shimshom

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

There's a movie called "The Pirates of Silicon Valley" about the early years of MS and Apple and the stupidity of some of the corporations at the time which is great viewing
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16 Oct 2014   #7
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1
 
 

TechSpot: History of the Microprocessor and the Personal Computer, Part 5: Computing Goes Mainstream, Mobile, Ubiquitous

Quote:

The microprocessor made personal computing possible by opening the door to more affordable machines with a smaller footprint. The 1970s supplied the hardware base, the 80s introduced economies of scale, while the 90s expanded the range of devices and accessible user interfaces.

The new millennium would bring a closer relationship between people and computers. More portable, customizable devices became the conduit that enabled humans' basic need to connect. It's no surprise that the computer transitioned from productivity tool to indispensable companion as connectivity proliferated.

As the late 1990s drew to a close, a hierarchy had been established in the PC world. OEMs who previously deposed IBM as market leader found that their influence was now curtailed by Intel. With Intel's advertising subsidy for the "Intel Inside" campaign, OEMs had largely lost their own individuality in the marketplace.
Source

A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Oct 2014   #8
Arelem

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

What an absolutely great series. Thanks Guy for bring it to folks attention.
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18 Oct 2014   #9
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Arelem View Post
What an absolutely great series. Thanks Guy for bring it to folks attention.
You're welcome

A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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