Computers in the 1990s

Computers in the 1990s

Computers in the 1990s, especially at the dawn of the 1990s, were very different from today. Looking back now, it’s easy to see how the 1990s were a pivotal decade for computing. And since GenXers like me live under the delusion that the 1990s just happened, I still remember it well.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about computers in the 1990s is the number of things that didn’t exist prior to 1990. In other cases, they existed, but were terrible, so nobody used them.

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Advantages of 8086 over 8085

Intel had a hit on its hands with the 8080 CPU and its successor, the 8085. But then Zilog came along and stole its thunder with the compatible but superior Z-80. Intel needed to follow up with something a lot better. The 8086 was what they came up with. The advantages of 8086 over 8085 were numerous, and that’s why everyone knows Intel, and few people outside of retro computing enthusiasts and embedded systems engineers ever heard of Zilog.

Here are the major advantages of 8086 over 8085.

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Commodore 64 CPU

Commodore used two different chips as the Commodore 64 CPU during its long lifetime. Both Commodore 64 CPUs were proprietary derivatives of the venerable MOS 6502, but unlike the 6502, Commodore and its MOS subsidiary never licensed either of them to other sources.

Like the Atari 2600 CPU, the 6510 and 8500 were 6502s with some changes. Unlike the 6507, the 6510/8500 added capability, rather than removing it.

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Apple II vs Macintosh

Apple II vs Macintosh

The Apple II was one of the first mass-market computers, one of three released in 1977. It proved successful, and Apple had a hard time following up on it. The Macintosh was the third attempt, and it eventually proved successful. Apple II vs Macintosh ended up not being much of a comparison. But it took a while for the Mac to catch on. Here’s what set the Mac apart from its widely successful predecessor.

The Mac, like most of the computers that followed it in 1985, ushered in a lot of changes from its predecessor. Technologically the Apple II was much closer to its main competitor, the Commodore 64.

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Computers in 1980

Computers in 1980

Computers in 1980 were rather different from computers of today. They could do the fundamental things a computer of today can do, but by modern standards, they were much smaller and less powerful. In the mid 1980s, Commodore Grace Hopper said we had the Model T, computing-wise. In 1980, we weren’t quite at the Model T yet.

Still, computers in 1980 were interesting. We’d never seen anything like them.

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