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Dell Turns 30: This Is What A $3,000 PC Was Like Back In 1984

Julie Bort

Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of Dell Computer. By any account, Michael Dell's life is an all-American success story.

In 1984, 19-year-old Michael Dell, a freshman at the University of Texas founded a computer business with $1,000. He called it PC's Limited. He had a game-changing idea to make computers low-cost, sell them through catalogs and (later) over the internet, and let people pick and choose the hardware they want. 

Dell dropped out of college at the end of his freshman year to run his PC business full time. Today he's worth about $18 billion.

Michael Dell 1984

Dell Computer

Michael Dell 1984

The year Dell launched his computer company, this is what a really cool IBM PC was. That slot on the side is for a floppy disk, the storage  that came before thumb drives.



IBM PC AT 1984

In 1984, if you wanted a decent PC you were prepared to pay $3,000. IBM tried to launch a less expensive one, the PCjr, that cost $1,269, but the price didn't include a monitor and it had other problems. It didn't sell well.

1984 IBM PC ad

T.Robert Wyatt.

1984 IBM PC ad

Dell created its own brand of computers and priced them starting at $795.

In 1989, He also created his own laptops. This is Dell's first laptop.

Dell 316LT


Dell's first laptop, the 316LT, 1989

By 1991, at age 26, Dell's company was on the Fortune 100 and he was featured on the cover.

Dell F100 1991


Today you can get a touch-screen laptop like this Dell Inspiron 11 3000, with 4G of RAM, a 500G hard drive, Wi-Fi, a couple of USB slots and HDMI slot for about $350.

Dell Inspiron


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