Here's a face-off between the top six personal computers such as the Apple ][, Atari 800 and IBM PC. It was originally published 25 years ago in Popular Mechanics, and has been scanned in by Modern Mechanix.
In those days, 40-character screens were common and you often needed a second monitor (and sometimes a hardware upgrade) to get colour graphics. Many systems didn't have built-in floppies, and I remember paying about £300 ($600) each for floppy drives. Many people still used cassette tapes.
Since this was an American publication, the selection didn't include the Acorn BBC Model B, which was a home and education machine roughly equivalent to the Apple II in the US. (In the UK, the Apple II was sold as a business system at ludicrous prices.)
But this was really the end of the beginning. The IBM PC had only just come out, and Popular Mechanics hadn't really twigged its importance. It was far better than the Apple II and I was delighted to switch from an Apple IIe to an IBM PC/XT with a much sharper 80-column screen and a huge 10MB hard drive.
And, of course, the IBM PC set a standard that was widely imitated and thus created a vast infrastructure of software, hardware, peripherals, books, magazines and services at ever-decreasing prices.
I had three of these machines, and used all six. However, I've only got one of them now, the Atari 800, mainly because of the great cartridge-loading games: my infant son used it for years, until I upgraded him to an Amiga 500. Also, well, one day I might want to play Star Raiders or Defender or write something in Pilot. You never know.
Link from Boing Boing.
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