Altair 8800
Altair 8800 image
Introduced: January 1975
Price: $395 kit, $495 assembled
CPU: 2MHz Intel 8080
Designed by: Ed Roberts and Bill Yates
Manufactured by: MITS

The Altair was the first computer to use the Intel 8080 CPU. The base price bought you a bare-bones system with only 256 bytes of memory, far from what was needed for any kind of serious computing. A functional system, with extra memory and an input-output card for a Teletype, could run well in excess of $1000.

In its design, the Altair was a copy of the minicomputers that were then popular with businesses, but it created an entirely new category, variously called microcomputers, home computers, and personal computers.

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Related Links

The Virtual Altair Museum
An extensive look at the Altair.

Ed Roberts Interview
1996 interview with Historically Brewed magazine.

The Altair story; early days at MITS
Article by Forrest M. Mims III, in Creative Computing, 1984.

DigiBarn's Altair collection
Lots of information on the Altair with links to other Altair resources.


STARTUP Gallery Map, click to view full map
Altair 8800 is currently on display in the It Happened in Albuquerque section of the STARTUP Gallery. Click on the map to explore the whole gallery.