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Early days: IBM 1620 - History of the Desktop

Slideshow: The Evolution of the Desktop Computer
Early days: IBM 1620 - History of the Desktop

Depending on how generous and forgiving we are, we can find different years as the likely origins of the desktop computer. If we define a personal computer as a computer(mostly) placed on a single table and a user model that sees a single person using the device, then we most likely land at the IBM 1620 (U.S. patents 3,049,295 and 3,199,085), which is also considered to be the grandfather of the workstation. Announced in 1959, the 1620 integrated magnetic core memory that could store 20,000, 40,000 or 60,000 decimal digits. Core memory cycles were 20 microseconds initially. The main controls on the console of the system included a front panel and typewriter, which were used to load programs from punched cards or rolls of paper tape. The 1620 was also considered one of the first more affordable computers, despite its cost of $85,000 (about $670,000 in today's value).

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