Early days: Computer Terminal - History of the Desktop

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

In the 1970s up to the 1980s, desktop computer systems were used to input text data in and display data from a larger computer system. Among the earliest terminals were systems created by Computer Terminal Corporation. The pioneering model Datapoint 3300 shipped in 1969 and remained successful for a number of years, even when it was resold by DEC as the VT06 and by HP as the model 2600A. The CRT screen was able to display 25 lines with 72 characters in each line for a total viewing character count of 1,800. Back then, the screen had a refresh rate of 60 Hz, which remained standard even on PC screens deep in to the 1990s. Data entry was simplified via support of magnetic tape memory that could load lines of data. CTC also offered an optional printer that printed 30 characters per second - or about 1 page per minute. It is also noteworthy that the entire system consumed about 130 watts of power, which is comparable to a high-end desktop processor today.

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