Important Events in the Development of Computers

 Other timelines:  Semiconductor Industry Association,  ComputerHistory.OrgHistory of Digital Storage, Micron [PDF],




ENIAC, First Digital, Electronic Computer Completed.  Price:  $486,804.22.  The project contracted by the Army for ballistic missle calculations to for use in World War II, but the project wasn't completed until the war was over.


Univac, First Commercial Computer.  Prices vary from $159,00 to 1,500,000.  One was purchased in 1954 by John Hancock Insutrance for about $1,500,000.


IBM Sells First Hard Drive, 5 MB for $50,000, $10,000 per megabyte.  Developed at IBM labs in San Jose, CA.


Tennis for Two, First Video Game Developed at Brookhaven National Laboratory


Moore’s Law Published, predicting significant cost reductions related to about a doubling of

Moore's Law 40th Anniversary

transitors per chip every one to two years.  In the video at right, Gordon Moore, a founder of Intel, talks about the manufacturing process and factors driving cost reductions in the computer industry.  The Moore's Law page at Intel presents innovations driving the industry and a graph of the number of transistors per chip.  The wikipedia article notes that the name Moore's Law was coined by Caltech Professor Carver Mead.  This link to the Intel on-line museum shows some of the original long-term average cost curves sketched by Gordon Moore that became the basis for Moore's Law.


George Meilmeir develops the first modern LCD display at RCA’s David Sarnoff Research Center


Intel’s first processor (4004) introduced for the calculator market with 2,300 transistors and running at 400 KHz.  Cost a little less than $100 when marketed, about 4.4 cents per transistor.  Developed at Intel in Santa Clara, CA.


Release of the first commercial video games,Magnavox Odessy followed by Atari Pong.  Video game timeline


IBM's Winchester Hard Disk Drive introduced (named after the project manager’s gun), the first closed environment drive


Adventure, First Computer Game Software



Apple I Introduced for $666, An Early Personal Computer

Woz Shows First Computers



Intel introduces the first processor for the personal computer marketthe 8086 running a 5 MHz with 29,000 transistors andpriced at $360, about 1.2 cents ($0.012414) per   transistor (see Computer Chronicles sponsored by Oracle for this and other information about the years 1972 to 1981)


Microsoft introduces Flight Simulator software (link to Youtube Video showing screen of early Flight Simulator)


3COM (company history) ships the first Ethernet Network Interface Card (NIC).

 Robert Metcalf, who worked at Xerox Parc, gets most of the credit for the idea of developing a simple, cheap networking technolgoy to connect Xerox copying machines.  The idea didn't catch on a Xerox, so Metcalf formed his own company.  At right are images of an early ethernet card and sketches for the ethernet network.   Technical ethernet history.



Intel introduces the second generation personal computer processor 80286,

running at 6 MHz with 134,000 transistors, priced at $360 (also see).


Intel introduces the third generation personal computer processor, the 80386 running at 16 MHz with 275,000 transistors, priced at $299


Intel introduces the fourth generation processor, the 80486

 running at 25 MHz with 900,000 transistors


Intel introduces the fifth general personal computer processor,

the 80586 (the Pentium) running at 66 MHz with 3.1 million transistors.


Panasonic introduces a four foot plasma display for $22,000.


Intel introduces the eight generation personal computer processors (Pentium 4), running at 1.5 GHz with 42 million transistors.


In an unsuccessful attempt to depart from the X86 standard,

Intel introduces the Itanium processor running at 800 MHz with 25 million transistors


Intel fails to deliver on its promised 4GHz processor,

citing heating problems.


Western Digital introduces a one terabyte drive for personal computers

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