Was the Commodore 64, an IBM, Apple, Amstrad or ZX Spectrum your first home computer way back in the 1980s? Click here to see this list of iconic computers


1. Commodore 64

Were you one of the kids who had the Commodore 64, while your mates had a Spectrum – and swore it was better? Well, it turns out that the Commodore 64 was one of the best selling home computers ever. It had up to 40% of the market for a large chunk of the 1980s, selling millions of computers. The 64 refers to its 64 kilobytes of RAM.

ZXSpectrum48k2. ZX Spectrum

Available from 1982, this gem featured a 3.5MHz CPU, either 16kB or 48kB of RAM – all for the princely sum of £125, much less than many of its competitors.

Ibm_pc_51503. IBM PC 5150

The daddy of PCs, this is the computer that really helped launch the home personal computer market. Sure, there had been others but this computer from IBM set the specification for PCs. It debuted in 1981 and helped establish a multi-billion pound industry.


4. Apple Macintosh

To Apple fans, the Apple Mac was the computer that helped usher in a better time for computer users. A relatively refined graphical user interface (GUI) and the Mac OS that turned into Mac OS X. It had an impressive 0.13MB of memory and a microprocessor speed of 8MHz.

Commodore_VIC-20_-_Retrosystems_2010 (1)

5. Commodore VIC-20

The marketing boffins came up with the phrase “the wonder computer of the 1980s” for this computer in an advert that featured William Shatner. It was launched in Japan in 1980 and in the US and Europe in 1981. It became the first microcomputer to sell one million units.


6. Amstrad CPC 464

As well as colourful keys, this had a tape recorder built in. Launched in 1984, the CPC 464 cost £199 with a green screen monitor and £299 for colour. With 64k of RAM and a Z80 processor, it went on to become a best seller. By the way, CPC apparently stood for Colour Personal Computer.


7. BBC Micro

Once synonymous with school computer “labs” and rooms up and down the UK, the BBC Micro was the first experience of using a computer for many people. It was unveiled in December 1981 with models A and B going on to sell more than 1.5 million units before being discontinued in 1994.


8. ZX Spectrum +2

The first Spectrum made by Amstrad after it bought the brand in 1986. A spring-loaded keyboard, dual joystick ports and the datacorder (the built-in cassette recorder) were among features.

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Article sources
Wikipedia.org, The Independent, The Verge, YouTube, ZDNet, IBM Archives, PCMag.comThe Register, Maximum PC, the centre for computing history

Photo credits
1. Evan-Amos (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
2 and 5 by Bill Betram (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
3 by Ruben de Rijcke (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
4 http://www.allaboutapple.com/ [CC BY-SA 2.5 it (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/it/deed.en), CC BY-SA 2.5 it (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/it/deed.en), GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons)
6 By Soupmeister (Commodore VIC-20) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
7 and 8 by Stuart Brady (own work/public domain)/Wikimedia