Dell Turns 30: This Is What A $US3,000 PC Was Like Back In 1984

Today marks the 30-year anniversary of Dell Computer. By any account, Michael Dell’s life is an all-American success story.

In 1984, a 19-year-old Michael Dell, a freshman at the University of Texas founded a computer business with $US1,000. He called it PC’s Limited. He had a game-changing idea to make computers low-cost, sell them through catalogues 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 $US18 billion.

Michael Dell 1984
Michael Dell 1984 Dell Computer

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
IBM PC AT 1984 www.old


In 1984, if you wanted a decent PC you were prepared to pay $US3,000. IBM tried to launch a less expensive one, the PCjr, that cost $US1,269, but the price didn’t include a monitor and it had other problems. It didn’t sell well.

1984 IBM PC ad
1984 IBM PC ad T.Robert Wyatt.


Dell created its own brand of computers and priced them starting at $US795.

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

Dell 316LT
Dell’s first laptop, the 316LT, 1989 Dell

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 $US350.

Dell Inspiron