The Evolution of Desktop Computers

A computer, generally speaking, is any device that can be used to process information. Desktop computers are one of the most popular types of computers because they are optimized for the average person to use at home or in an office setting.

Desktop computers first became available in the 1960s and were predominantly built by small start-up companies. The first desktop computer was called the “Altair 8800” created by MITS which weighed over 800 pounds.

This computer was the first to solve the problem of cost, size and complexity. Its high price made it impractical for normal use so stores purchased them only to display them.

The first computers were extremely large, cumbersome and difficult to use. Their design allowed for space for memory, power supply, disk drives and peripheral devices such as audio equipment.

Despite their large size however, they were built around their smallest portions that were easy to operate with. These peripherals included keyboards and screens making them very portable despite their size.

The early computers were usually built from a mainframe chassis with a few expansion cards inserted. Adding cards allowed the computer to deal with different tasks.

A typical keyboard and screen size were 9 inches by 14 inches which was used in most early personal computers. The first major manufacturers of computers were Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), which created digital versatile disks (DVDS), and IBM who created magnetic strips for credit card transactions.


The Rise of PCs – More Powerful Systems Started to be Built, Using Higher Costs to Limit Use

The 1980s showed a significant increase in desktop computers. They were becoming cheaper because their design allowed for highly efficient processors to be created.

Supercomputers were used to handle large amounts of data, but these same systems were modified into smaller “personal” computers which could be used to display information at home or in an office.

Modems were also created during this time period. They allowed people to call other computer users by phone to gain access to the internet for free because the internet was still in its infant stages. The modem was the first piece of hardware that allowed people to use their computers across the world.

The evolution of desktop computers continued into the 1990s. The first commercial wireless internet connection was created which allowed users to take their computer equipment everywhere they went.

The Intel 386 processor, which was created in 1985, became the industry standard processor allowing almost anyone to develop desktop applications for their computer. The processing power of this single chip allowed it to run many programs at once resulting in its ability for multimedia, graphics and games.

During the 1990s there were many different developments for the evolution of desktop computers. A new standard was set with the first personal digital assistant (PDA) which combined a high-end computer with a handheld device that could access the internet and other services.

The rise of e-commerce and online shopping benefited PC desktop manufacturers because new software and hardware were needed to run these programs.

The development of Microsoft Windows took over as the main operating system used on all desktop computers. This allowed for any individual to transfer files between their computer and another person who used different software.

Another major development for the evolution of desktop computers was the World Wide Web, which allowed people to view online content at their leisure.

As the twenty-first century dawned, computer technology was growing by leaps and bounds. The power of PCs grew exponentially during this time period allowing them to be used in every aspect of life. They were smaller than ever allowing them to be used in cars, airplanes and other commercial vehicles.

The size of hardware is continuing to grow smaller as more capabilities are added. This allows the PC to run many programs at once without lag time.

The average desktop computer can now run rounds of video games, handle streaming music and movies, handle editing software and do most everything that the average family needs it to do.

Computer hardware is still evolving today. New innovations are being added constantly so it will continue to be used for many years to come without being redefined again.