Typical PCs Each Year

1987

Models

A budget model looked something like this:

  • Intel 8086 CPU @ 4.77 or 8 MHz
  • 512 KB or 640 KB RAM
  • Single low-density floppy disk drive (360 KB)
  • Hercules graphics and a 12" monochrome monitor (green, white or amber)

A 4.77 MHz computer would run at about 0.33 MIPS (million instuctions per second), or 0.6 MIPS for an 8 MHz microprocessor.

A premium PC looked like this:

  • Intel 80386 CPU @ 16 MHz or 20 MHz
  • 1 MB or 2 MB RAM
  • 20 - 70 MB hard disk
  • EGA graphics with a multisync monitor

A 386 running at 16 MHz scored a MIPS rating of 5. These premium PCs would often come with Windows.

Motherboards

Back in 1987 it was more rare to buy a motherboard, people tended to buy the whole computer (or at least the system unit with no monitor or keyboard), since there were many third party companies churning out XT- and AT- compatibles for decently low prices.

Still, some places did sell motherboards. Here are some prices:

Super Turbo XT 4.77/8 MHz with up to 640 KB RAM support = £149
Small Footprint PC/AT compatible 6/8/10 MHz = £499

Printers

Dot matrix printers continued to be all the rage in 1987 - all still monochrome. Epson ruled the roost, with printers as fast as 300 cps (characters per second). The highest quality dot matrix printers were those with 24 pins, while more budget-oriented models continued to have just 9 pins.

Anyone with a bigger budget would opt for a laser printer, which could print at up to 8 ppm (pages per minute). The biggest sellers were HP, but Canon and Epson also had laser printer offerings.

At the cheapest end of the printer market was the Panasonic 1081, which printed at 120 cps and sold for just £155. For those who needed speed without graphics, daisywheel printers were stll around. Juki sold their models 6100, 6200 and 6300 (different speeds) for £275, £425 and £635 respectively.

Epson's LX800 was a NLQ (Near Letter-Quality) printer that could print at 150 cps, and had a typical price of £195. Mid-range ones with speeds of 200 cps like the Epson FX800 were £305. To get 300 cps but still NLQ, the Epson EX800 sold for £395. These were all 9-pin dot matrix printers. To get LQ (Letter Quality) you had to plum for the Epson LQ1000 which was £555 or the LQ2500 (faster) for £725.

On the laser printer front, HP's Series 2 sold for £1,895. Canon's LBP Series 2 sold for a little less at £1,595, whilst Epson's GQ3500 (6 ppm) sold for £1,495.

Other printer brands available in 1987 included Star, Oki with their Microline range, Diconix who did portable inkjet printers, Citizen, Brother and NEC (Pinwriter range).

Monitors

In 1987 the choices of graphics cards and monitors was expanding. Graphics capabilities ranged from Hercules monochrome up to CGA and EGA. Monitors started at 10" and 14" was top of the range.

Low-end monitors were 10" diagonal. Philips 7513 monochrome monitor sold for £69. Their CGA-compatible one, model 8833 which supported up to 640x200 resolution sold for £225.

If you wanted a typical EGA (non-multisync) monitor, Mitsubishi's 1440 Enhanced Colour Monitor sold for £425.

An NEC Multisync monitor would set you back £460.
Taxan MultiScan monitors were £550.
Sony Multiscan was up at £625.

But you could get cheap multi-scan EGA monitors such as the Eizo ER8042H 14" ultra-high res EGA colour monitor which would set you back just £336.

Hercules as a company were doing very well still in 1987. They sold their "Mono Graphics Plus" card for £189, whilst their "InColor" sold for £290. ATI's EGA Wonder was considered quite a premium card at the time - this sold for £249.

Hard Disks

Both hard disks and hard "cards" (hard disk physically mounted side-on on the hard disk controller expansion card) were available in 1987. Dyson, Miniscribe, Western Digital and Seagate were the big players. You could buy 20 MB of storage on a hard disk for £225 (Seagate ST-225 including controller and cables). For a hard card equivalent if you didn't have free drive bays were usually more: a Plus 20 MB hardcard cost £525 and for 40 MB is was a whopping £850, but for the budget-conscious a Dyson 20 MB "File Card" was just £279, A Miniscribe 32 MB hard disk was £289 or you could go for the Seagate ST-251 40 MB hard disk for £350 (drive only). The best hard disks provided 28ms access times, but many were still 40ms.

So typically the cost this year is between £8.75 and £12.50 per MB (the more you buy the cheaper each MB is).

 

Other Stuff

You could get an Intel 8087 math co-processor for £95 (5 MHz) to £135 (8 MHz), or an 80287-8 for £185.
The popular AST SixPack Plus 64 KB memory multifunction card was available for £165, or the Intel AboveBoard with zero KB RAM installed was £199.

 

UK DESKTOP PC Prices

Cheapest/Clearance PCs

Tandon PCX20 640 KB RAM, 8086 @ 4.77 MHz, 20 MB HDD, 360 KB floppy, Hercules graphics card, 12" mono monitor (for EGA add £295) £895
Amstrad PC1512HD 8086 @ 8 MHz, 512 KB RAM, 20 MB HDD, 360 KB floppy, 12" mono monitor (to replace mono with CGA add £165) £845
Amstrad PC1640SD 8086 @ 8 MHz, 640 KB RAM, 360 KB floppy, EGA graphics, 12" mono monitor £695
Amstrad PC1640DD 8086 @ 8 MHz, 640 KB RAM, 2 x 360 KB floppy, EGA graphics, 12" mono monitor £795
Amstrad PC1640HD 8086 @ 8 MHz, 640 KB RAM, 20 MB HDD, 360 KB floppy, EGA graphics, 12" mono monitor £995
Tulip PC2 8086 @ 9.5 MHz, 640 KB RAM, 20 MB HDD, 360 KB floppy, EGA graphics, no monitor (for EGA multisync monitor, add £595) £995
Akhter PC 1000 8088 @ 8 MHz, 256 KB RAM, single 360 KB floppy drive, Hercules graphics card, 150W PSU and 8 expansion slots. No monitor. £495
Akhter PC 1500 8088 @ 8 MHz, 256 KB RAM, dual 360 KB floppy drives, Hercules graphics card, 150W PSU and 8 expansion slots. No monitor. £595
Akhter PC 2000 8088 @ 8 MHz, 512 KB RAM, 20 MB HDD, single 360 KB floppy drive, Hercules graphics card, 150W PSU and 8 expansion slots. No monitor. £795
Akhter PC 3000 8088 @ 8 MHz, 512 KB RAM, dual 720 KB 3.5" floppy drives, Hercules graphics card, 150W PSU and 8 expansion slots. No monitor. £645
Elonex PC 88 NEC V20 4.77/8 MHz, 640 KB RAM, 20 MB 65ms hard disk, 360 KB floppy drive, Hercules-compatible mono graphics card, HiRes 12" mono monitor, mouse, professional keyboard, MS-DOS 3.21, GEM collection £795+VAT
Viglen VPC 10M NEC V20 4.77/8 MHz, 256 KB RAM, 360 KB floppy drive, mono monitor. MM-211 Amber monitor option for £86.15. £539
Viglen VPC 100M NEC V20 4.77/8 MHz, 1 MB RAM, 2 x 360 KB floppy drives, 2 parallel and serial ports, game port and a realtime clock. Mono monitor. MM-211 Amber monitor option for £86.15. £679
Viglen VPC 120M NEC V20 4.77/8 MHz, 1 MB RAM, 20 MB hard disk, 360 KB floppy drive, 1 parallel and 2 serial ports, game port and a realtime clock. Mono monitor and MS-DOS 3.2. MM-211R Paper White monitor option for £85.15. £949
Zenith Eazy PC 8088 @ 8 MHz, 640 KB, 20 MB HDD, 3.5" 720K floppy drive, mono monitor. £899
(unbranded) XT-compatible 8088 @ 10 MHz, 512 KB RAM, 2 x 360 KB floppy drives, mono graphics card, 12" hi-res green or amber monitor, 84-key keyboard, MS-DOS 3.1, 8 expansion slots, Phoenix BIOS. £495

Standard PCs

Tandon PCA20 640 KB RAM, 80286 @ 8 MHz, 20 MB HDD, 1.2 MB floppy, Hercules graphics card, 12" mono monitor (for EGA add £295) £1,195
Tandon PCA30` 640 KB RAM, 80286 @ 8 MHz, 30 MB HDD, 1.2 MB floppy, Hercules graphics card, 12" mono monitor (for EGA add £295) £1,495
Tandon PCA40 640 KB RAM, 80286 @ 8 MHz, 40 MB HDD, 1.2 MB floppy, Hercules graphics card, 12" mono monitor (for EGA add £295) £1,695
Tandon PCA70 640 KB RAM, 80286 @ 8 MHz, 70 MB HDD, 1.2 MB floppy, Hercules graphics card, 12" mono monitor (for EGA add £295) £1,995
Apricot Xen i286 80286-10 MHz, 1 MB RAM, 30 MB HDD, 1.2 or 1.44 MB floppy, mono monitor (replace mono with paper white add £145, for EGA £750) £1,895
Tulip AT20 80286 @ 10 MHz, 640 KB RAM, 20 MB HDD, 1.2 MB floppy, EGA graphics, no monitor (for EGA multisync monitor, add £595) £1,495
Tulip AT40 80286 @ 10 MHz, 640 KB RAM, 40 MB HDD, 1.2 MB floppy, EGA graphics, no monitor (for EGA multisync monitor, add £595) £1,795
Akhter PC AT 80286 @ 6/8/10 MHz, 1 MB RAM, 20 MB HDD, EGA graphics card, 102-key enhanced keyboard, MS-DOS and monochrome monitor. £1,295
Elonex PC 286 80286 6/8/10 MHz zero wait state, 640 KB RAM, 40 MB 40ms hard disk, 1.2 MB floppy drive, Hercules-compatible mono graphics card, HiRes 14" mono monitor, mouse, professional keyboard, MS-DOS 3.21, GEM collection £1,295+VAT
Olivetti M24 8086 CPU, 640 KB RAM, 20 MB HDD, Olivetti monitor and keyboard, MS-DOS £1,295
Viglen AT 286iM 80286 6/8/10/12 MHz switchable, 1 MB RAM, 1.2 MB floppy disk drive, 20 MB hard disk, 1 parallel and 2 serial ports. Mono monitor and MS-DOS 3.2. VA-078 EGA card and colour monitor add £449. £1,499.
Zenith Z-286 80286 @ 10 MHz, 512 KB RAM, 20 MB HDD, hi-res monitor, keyboard, MS-DOS, Windows £1,545
(unbranded AT-compatible) 80286 CPU @ 6/10 MHz, 640 KB RAM, 20 MB Seagate HDD, TEAC 1.2 MB floppy drive, mono graphics card, 14" green or amber monitor, 102-key keyboard, MS-DOS 3.1 £1095

Premium PCs

Apricot Xen i286 80286-10 MHz, 1 MB RAM, 45 MB HDD, 1.2 or 1.44 MB floppy, mono monitor (replace mono with paper white add £145, for EGA £750) £2,795
Apricot Xen i386 80386-16 MHz, 1 MB RAM, 30 MB HDD, 1.2 or 1.44 MB floppy, mono monitor (replace mono with paper white add £145, for EGA £750) £2,695
Apricot Xen i386 80386-16 MHz, 2 MB RAM, 45 MB HDD, 1.2 or 1.44 MB floppy, mono monitor (replace mono with paper white add £145, for EGA £750) £3,495
Elonex PC 386 80386-16 MHz, 2 MB RAM, 44 MB 28ms hard disk, 1.2 MB floppy drive, Hercules-compatible mono graphics card, HiRes 14" mono monitor, mouse, professional keyboard, MS-DOS 3.21, GEM collection £2,495+VAT
Tulip AT386 80386 @ 16 MHz, 2 MB RAM, 30 MB HDD, 1.2 MB floppy, EGA graphics, no monitor (for EGA multisync monitor, add £595) £2,595
Viglen AT 386M 80386 6-16 MHz switchable, 2 MB RAM, 1.2 MB floppy disk drive, 1 parallel and 2 serial ports and a clock. Mono monitor, MS-DOS 3.2 and Microsoft Windows with mouse. VA-073 Multiscan monitor add £499. £2,995
Zenith Z-386 80386 @ 16 MHz, 1 MB RAM, 40 MB HDD, colour monitor (£3,495 with no HDD) £3,925