In January 1975 the birth of a special case takes place. The announcement on a front-page of a hackers magazine: Popular Electronics.
The parent of this baby are MITS inc. and we call him Altair 8800. It is 18" x 17" 7 high and weighs the tremendous amount of 256 bytes ( that is a quarter K).It is said that this is the worlds first mini computer to rival commercial models. The Altair 8800 has a Intel 8080 CPU and is sold for 395 U$ or when you want it assembled 498 U$.
The Popular Electronics article is exaggerating enormously with the description of the Altair 8800
full-blown computer that can hold its own against sophisticated minicomputers
now on the market... The Altair 8800 is not a 'demonstrator' or souped-up
calculator... [it] is a complete system."
But they under estimated the burning wanting of the Popular Electronic readers to have their own computer en have it running. MITS receives the expected 400 orders in one afternoon, in three weeks about 250.000! The unit is sold for US$ 375 with kb memory.
|Last Updated on 23 April, 2004||For suggestions please mail the editors|
Footnotes & References
|W. Tom Sanderson's MITS/Pertec Altair Page: www.virtualaltair.com an extensive site on Altair. Definitely worth a visit.|
|Steven Weynrich 1991|
H. Edward Roberts and William Yates, "Altair 8800 Minicomputer, Part 1", POPULAR ELECTRONICS, January 1975, pp. 33, 38. The article is interesting also in some of the terminology that is used. The Altair is described as having "256 eight-bit words" of RAM. Apparently, the term "byte" was not in common use yet.
Tom Sanderson explains this as follows:
The term byte was in common use to describe words. At the time of the
article, 8-bit CPUS were rare, and 16-bit computers were mini-computers.
The common machine was an IBM 360/370 with a 32-bit, four-byte, word.
|2||Steven Levy, HACKERS: HEROES OF THE COMPUTER REVOLUTION, pp. 187-192.|
|pictures: Don Miller; Microsoft Museum and other sites on the internet, source unknown|