Control Data Corporation produced the first completely transistorised huge computer in 1958, and IBM revealed its similar model in 1959. These were high-priced devices built for large-scale business tasks. By the 1960s, all of the necessary components like the chip and processor of contemporary personal computers (PCs) had been invented. Notably, a computer chip is a non-metallic chunk of silicon with complicated electronic circuits embedded into it. On a single chip, the integrated circuit connects transistors to form a complete circuit. Further, microprocessors are sets of chips that do computation and house a computer’s memory.
The evolution of personal computer began during the 1970s, with the introduction of microprocessors. Unlike mainframe computers, which are typically managed by a group of people, personal computers are designed for individual use. After the development of processors, mass-market PCs became cheaper. In January 1980, Byte magazine announced that the era of personal computers had arrived. Byte magazine stated that a new, 64-K-capable computer with memory already inbuilt and 500 KB of storage capacity could be had for around 6,000 US dollars. By early 1980, most of the mass-produced computers that existed at that time were already out of existence.
The IBM PC
The IBM PC, which debuted in August 1981, was the company’s response to the popularity of Apple II. It was based on an open, card-based architecture, similar to Apple II and S-100 systems, allowing third parties to build for it. The IBM PC was powered by an Intel 8088 CPU with 29,000 transistors and a clock speed of 4.77 MHz.
For external storage, the prototype used an audio cassette and floppy disc option was available, though being priced at an exorbitant amount. The cassette option was never popular and it was eliminated in 1983 with the release of PC XT. Also, XT replaced one of the two floppy drives with a 10MB hard drive and expanded the number of expansion slots from five to eight. While the original PC architecture could only handle 64K on the mainboard, today’s PCs can handle far more.
IBM’s XT, released in 1983, was a gradually enhanced version of the original PC architecture, omitting the cassette support, adding more card ports, and offering a 10 MB hard drive. Although the hard drive was initially required, it was later made optional and a two-floppy disc XT was offered. While the architectural memory limit of 640K remained the same, newer versions could be expanded more easily.
Lisa by Apple
Lisa, the first mass-market microcomputer with a graphical user interface, was released by Apple Computer in 1983. Lisa had a 68000 microprocessor by Motorola, 1 MB of RAM, a 12-inch (300 mm) black-and-white monitor, two 5 and quarter-inch floppy disc drives, and a 5 MB hard drive. Lisa’s commercial failure was due to its poor operating speed and exorbitant price (US$10,000).
After the year 1990
In 1990, the founder of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs, introduced the NeXTstation workstation computer, which he defined as a personal and social computer. The NeXTstation was a new computer for the 1990s which was a less costly counterpart of the former NeXT computer. In spite of implementing OOPs techniques, the NeXTstation was a commercial disappointment, and NeXT ceased producing hardware in 1993.
The Power Macintosh series of premium professional desktop computers for desktop publishing and graphic artists was released by Apple in 1994. As part of the AIM partnership, these modern machines utilised updated Motorola PowerPC processors to replace the previous architecture (Motorola 68000) used for Mac.
Despite its low market share in the 1990s, Mac remained the preferred computer for creative professionals, particularly those in the graphics and publishing industries.
Atari systems, Commodore, and Amiga were no more on the market by the middle of the 1990s, having been pushed out by robust IBM PC replica competition in the market prices. Other competitors, like Amstrad and Sinclair, had abandoned the computer market. Dell grew to high success in business with less competition than ever before, providing low-cost computers aimed at individuals and commercial sectors utilising a direct-sales approach (i.e. selling directly to customers). Dell overtook Compaq, becoming the world’s largest computer manufacturer, a position it held until October 2006.
Compaq was purchased by Hewlett-Packard (HP) in 2002. Tandem Computers and Digital Equipment Corporation were both purchased by Compaq in 1997 and 1998, respectively. HP had become a key participant in computers, laptops, and servers for a variety of markets as a result of this strategy. HP became the world’s largest manufacturer of personal computers after the acquisition until Dell eventually overtook HP.
The 64-bit Microprocessor
Athlon-64 and Opteron, AMD’s 64-bit based CPU family for desktop computers, were released in 2003. Also, IBM announced PowerPC 970, a 64-bit processor for Apple’s high-end Power Mac G5 workstations, in 2003. In response to AMD’s success with 64-bit CPUs, Intel released enhanced versions of its Xeon and Pentium 4 series in 2004. And around 2005, 64-bit processors have steadily displaced 32-bit processors in consumer desktop and laptop systems, starting with high-end systems, servers, and workstations.
Fields like commerce, education, banking, business, and even government or law enforcement, all use computers. Not only political, social, and scientific research but also medicine and law have benefited from it. The manipulation and storage of data have had an impact on everyone. Because of various functions, new technologies, and new linkages to broader networks, the concept of a personal computer has evolved.
A single operator in a library, business, or at his or her own house today uses a personal computer. Most individuals use personal home computers for gaming, accounting, and word processing. They have evolved into a device that gives both information and entertainment. They are inexpensive and anyone can use them. A growing number of people conduct business from home, using their own computers or those given by the employer, and only need to travel to work a few days a week.
The growth of computers in general and personal computers in particular have resulted in enormous developments over the period of the last 40 years. This radical innovation is considered one of the most significant innovations of the 20th century.