IBM 5150, the PC that democratized the use of technology, reaches 41 years


The world had known about personal computers since the mid-1970s, but their use had not yet been democratized. Since IBM introduced the 5150 in 1981, a new level in access to technology was reached.

This 22-kilogram computer was created by Bill Lowelaboratory director of IBM in Boca Raton, Fla.

The general idea is that IBM only made gigantic machines and with a huge delay time.

Let us remember that the North American company created the Mark I in the 40s, a monster of almost five tons. “For IBM, bringing out a personal computer would be like teaching an elephant to tap dance”said an analyst.

This spurred scientists to develop a machine that was not only accessible to all, but also relatively small by the standards of the day.

Twelve people formed the team led by Lowe to create the IBM 5150, and in twelve months it was ready, faster than any other hardware product in the company’s history to date.

The features of the IBM 5150

The IBM PC 5150 weighed 22 kilograms, and had an Intel 8088 microprocessor which operated in millionths of a second.

It was the size of a portable typewriter, with 40K of read-only memory and 16K of user memory, as well as a built-in speaker for listening to music.

In its five expansion slots you could connect memory, display and print units and game paddles.

His keyboard included functions as advanced for the time as a numeric keypad (!) and 10 special keys that allowed users to type and edit text, calculate accounts, and store data.

The value of the IBM 5150? $1,565.

Until the 1960s, an IBM computer cost $9 million, encompassing a huge air-conditioned room and requiring 60 people to run it.

Now there was an individual, with an affordable price and without the need for a huge custom space. They were the new times.

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