Typical PCs Each Year

1988

Models

A budget model looked something like this:

A mid-range model looked something like this:

  • 80286 @ 12 MHz

A premium PC looked like this:

Laptops

This year we saw much more 80286-based and even 80386-based laptop computers hit the market. Luggables like the Compaq Portable 386 were still popular for customers who wanted expansion capability, as it had standard ISA slots. The GRiDCase 1530 was an 80386-based laptop the same size as a Toshiba T3100 that ran at 12.5 MHz. The fastest clock speed is the Compaq which has a 20 MHz 80386 CPU. NEC V20 and V30-powered laptops are commonplace.

Memory is no longer limited to 640 KB. Higher-spec laptops could support up to 8 MB (GrIDCase 1530) or even 10 MB (Compaq).

Whilst some machines still had non-backlit LCD displays on their budget offerings (Toshiba's T1000 for example), these became few and far between in 1988, with backlit supertwist (STN) technology the common option - these were brighter and clearer. Nearly all laptops still only supported CGA, but a few early EGA adopters could be bought, including the Kaypro 2000 Plus (the first ever to support EGA), and DataVue's Smoke 386.

At the high end of the laptop/luggable/portable market were Gas Plasma displays. Compaq, GRiD Systems and Toshiba all providing one or more of their computers with this technology. The downside (apart from higher price tag)? Power consumption. Many portables that use Gas Plasma technology only provide an AC mains option.

Way down on the budget end of the laptop market, 1988 saw Amstrad launch their new 8086-based laptops. The PPC640 was launched for the small sum of just $999 a came with a built-in 2400 baud modem. It had a supertwist LCD display and single 3.5" floppy disk drive. A second floppy drive could be had for a further $100.

Meanwhile, Toshiba launched two high-end models to the range in the form of the T3200 and T5100. The T3200, priced at $5,499, was built around the 12 MHz 80286 processor and came as standard with a 40 MB hard disk. Like its forebear, the T3100, the T3200 was the same in that it came with two internal expansion slots - one full-length 16-bit one, and a half-length 8-bit one. Meanwhile the T5100 which came with a price tag of $6,499, got a 16 MHz 80386 CPU and 2MB RAM, and also came as standard with a 40 MB hard disk as well as the same gas plasma screen of the T3200.

NEC introduced the Multispeed HD, an improved version of its earlier twin-floppy Multispeed. This one came with a 20 MB hard disk and a brand new backlit LCD display that was almost as good as the class-leading Zenith Z-183 at the time. The Multispeed HD came with a blazing NEC V30 CPU running at 9.54 MHz. List price was $3,695. Battery life with moderate disk access was 1 hour 55 minutes.

 

 

Motherboards

Back in 1988...

Printers

 

Monitors

In 1988 ..

Hard Disks

..

Other Stuff

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UK DESKTOP PC Prices

Cheapest/Clearance PCs

     
     
     
     
     

Standard PCs

     
     
     
     
     
     
     

Premium PCs

     
     
     
     
     

 

US DESKTOP PC Prices

Cheapest/Clearance PCs

Noname branded XT 8088-1 CPU running at 4.77 or 12 MHz switchable, 0 wait states, Phoenix BIOS, 640 KB RAM, 8 expansion slots, 1 x 360 KB floppy drive, AT-type keyboard, Multi I/O (ser/par/Clock/calendar with battery backup) with floppy controller, 150W PSU. Base system only (no monitor). Add $120 for Samsung 12" mono amber monitor and mono graphics card, $290 for Samsung 14" RGB color monitor and CGA card, or $440 for Samsung 14" EGA color monitor and EGA card 640x350. $485
Noname branded XT 8088 10 MHz, 640 KB RAM, ERSO BIOS, 150W power supply, one 360 KB floppy drive, floppy disk controller, AT type keyboard (84 keys). 20 MB hard disk and controller card version for $769. For amber 12" monitor/graphics card, add $165. For EGA card and 14" color monitor add $575. $429
CompuAdd Standard Turbo/8 4.77 MHz/8 MHz processing speed, 8 expansion slots, 8088 processor, 360 KB floppy diskette drive with controller, 256 KB RAM, 5060, 5151 or 101-key enhanced keyboard (your choice) $399
CompuAdd Career Starter Kit Standard Turbo/10 computer, 640 KB RAM, 150W PSU, half-height 360 KB floppy drive, 5060-style keyboard and system reset button, monographics video (high-resolution 750x350) amber monochrome monitor with 12" screen, monochrome graphics card and printer port. Star Micronics NX-1000 printer, Professional Zen software MS-DOS and GW-BASIC, 200 sheets continuous form paper, printer cable, and 10 double-sided double density blank diskettes. EGA version with 14" color monitor for $1,195. $795
     

 

Standard PCs

Noname branded 286 80286-10 MHz, 0 wait states. Base system only (no monitor). Add $120 for Samsung 12" mono amber monitor and mono graphics card, $290 for Samsung 14" RGB color monitor and CGA card, or $440 for Samsung 14" EGA color monitor and EGA card 640x350. $875
Noname branded 286 80286-12 MHz, 0 wait states, 512 KB RAM expandable to 1 MB, Phoenix BIOS, Clock/calendar with battery backup, Dual floppy/hard disk controller card, 1.2 MB floppy drive, 101 enhanced keyboard, 200W PSU. Base system only (no monitor). Add $120 for Samsung 12" mono amber monitor and mono graphics card, $290 for Samsung 14" RGB color monitor and CGA card, or $440 for Samsung 14" EGA color monitor and EGA card 640x350. $945
Noname branded 286 80286-16, 640 KB RAM (80ns), Onboard clock/calendar, Eden BIOS (w/ set up software), 200W power supply, one 1.2 MB floppy drive, hard & floppy controller, enhanced capacity keyboard, SI v3.0 18.7. 20 MB HD version = $1,829, 40 MB HD version = $2,039, 60 MB HD version = $2,439. For amber 12" monitor/graphics card, add $165. For EGA card and 14" color monitor add $575. $1,549
CompuAdd Standard 286/12 6 MHz-12 MHz selectable speed, 0 wait states, 80286 processor, 5060, 5151 or 101-key Enhanced keyboard (your choice), 1 MB RAM, Clock/calendar with battery backup, Phoenix BIOS, 200-watt power supply, 1.2MB floppy drive $1,149
     
     
     

Premium PCs

     
     
     
     
     

 

Laptops

Compaq Portable 386 80386-20 MHz, 1 MB RAM, 40 MB hard disk, gas plasma display, full IBM enhanced-style keyboard. Hard disk upgrade option to 100 MB available for a further $4,299. $7,999
Epson Equity LT

NEC V30 @ 4.77 or 10 MHz, 640 KB RAM, Two floppy drives = $1,895 (see display options below).
640 KB RAM, One floppy drive, 20 MB hard disk = $2,995 (see display options below).

Display options: Add Supertwist LCD (non-backlit) for a further $300, or backlit LCD for a further $500.

$1,895
GRiD GRiDCase 1530 80386 @ 12.5 MHz, Magnesium case, Backlit Supertwist LCD or Gas Plasma screen, 10 - 40 MB hard disk options. Up to $7,000
HP Portable Vectra CS 640 KB RAM, with two 1.44 MB floppy drives. One floppy drive can be replaced with a 20 MB hard disk for a further $1,100 (this model is called the Portable Vectra CS 20). $2,495
NEC Multispeed HD    
Toshiba T3100   $3,495
Zenith Z-183