What $8499 Bought in 1989

A nearly loaded Tandy 5000 MC Professional System. At $8499.00, this did not include the monitor or mouse. What do you expect at such rock-bottom prices?

A nearly loaded Tandy 5000 MC Professional System

It’s hard to imagine that the technology we take for granted today has not really been around all that long (in the grand scheme of things). Look at this newspaper ad from 1989 touting the latest and greatest innovation in computing.

And at just $8499.00, the Tandy 5000 MC Pro System was quite the bargain, too! Of course, this did not include the monitor or the mouse. After all, what would you expect for such a rock-bottom price?

My, how we’ve grown in such a short period of time. Computers just keep getting better, faster and cheaper. What will the next couple of decades bring?

See Also:
Tandy Corporation (wikipedia)

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35 Responses to “What $8499 Bought in 1989”

  1. SteviePants
    05/14/10 at 3:01 pm #

    ||What will the next couple of decades bring?

    Pestilence, War, Famine and Death??

  2. Stephen Bailey
    05/14/10 at 3:58 pm #

    And if it comes in the form of a cool new gadget, we’ll all buy it.

  3. Josh
    05/15/10 at 6:42 am #

    pestilence, war, famine and death could come in the next few years let alone decades!

    When all the dust settles though and peace is back i hope to be able to get a macbook pro for a price thats cheaper than a car,
    £100 perhaps??

  4. phil
    05/15/10 at 6:59 am #

    You should note that at this time you could buy a PC clone for a much cheaper price, around $2000, a little bit slower perhaps than this specific model. This is a very fast model for the year.

  5. Robert
    05/15/10 at 7:06 am #

    Wow, that’s about 15k in today’s $. And I thought Apple products were pricey. Ha, ha.

  6. Mike
    05/15/10 at 7:10 am #

    The price is even more amazing when you look at these numbers
    In 2009, $8,499.00 from 1989 is worth:
    $14,700.00 using the Consumer Price Index
    $13,400.00 using the GDP deflator
    $15,400.00 using the unskilled wage
    $15,900.00 using the Production Worker Compensation
    $17,800.00 using the nominal GDP per capita
    $22,100.00 using the relative share of GDP

  7. Oo Dean
    05/15/10 at 7:12 am #

    Wow, a whopping 2 Megs of RAM, I remember those days.


  8. Dr Cheen
    05/15/10 at 7:14 am #

    I think Jesse and the Rippers used this computer to control an audio-animatronic Little Richard on that Emmy-winning episode of Full House early in 1990. Suck that, you puny Mac in the corner of Seinfeld’s apartment.

  9. white
    05/15/10 at 7:35 am #

    well, in 1991 i bought a better pc for about U$1.000,00 with the monitor AND a creative sound blaster pro soundcard. IN BRAZIL. so i dare to say this ad was overpriced.

  10. Fuzzybeard2016
    05/15/10 at 8:03 am #

    “My, how we’ve grown in such a short period of time. Computers just keep getting better, faster and cheaper. What will the next couple of decades bring?”


  11. Jason
    05/15/10 at 8:14 am #

    Wish I still had my old Compaq with a 8088 processor (4.77 mhz, 640k memory), sporting a 9″ monochrome screen and two (!) floppy drives. Running DOS 1.12. Portable too (about 30 pounds and the size of a suitcase). Ah… those were the days.

  12. Jason
    05/15/10 at 8:33 am #

    The year was 1983 and it cost $3590. A bargain.

  13. boo
    05/15/10 at 8:40 am #

    My cell phone is hundreds of time more powerful than that computer with thousands of times more storage. Wild! I remember when Win95 came out and was all the rage and PC’s were going for $3000 but man that thing is expensive.

  14. Hustler
    05/15/10 at 8:48 am #

    Everyday im hustling, every day im hustling, hustling, hustling!

  15. mee
    05/15/10 at 9:08 am #

    Apple overpriced 20 years ago still overpriced today!

  16. Kawazoe
    05/15/10 at 12:59 pm #


    It’s is not a mac…

  17. moo
    05/15/10 at 2:23 pm #

    The future will bring more ugly stupid people with apple products!

  18. Love Revolution
    05/15/10 at 2:48 pm #

    “What will the next couple of decades bring?
    Pestilence, War, Famine and Death??”

    And millions of people don’t even know it’s coming or why.

    viva la New World Order!

  19. Stephen Bailey
    05/15/10 at 3:03 pm #

    Thanks for all the comments, but I have to ask a few of you this; How did this simple observation about an overpriced computer from 1989 turn into a soapbox to declare Armageddon? Lighten up gang.

  20. metasonix
    05/15/10 at 3:23 pm #

    Overpriced is right. Read this rant by a former Tandy engineer.

  21. Cris
    05/15/10 at 4:58 pm #

    2mgs RAM?? And here I am complaining 4gigs ain’t enough, boy I shoulda been born back then… Nice 1 Stephen Bailey, lighten up ppl!

  22. Aaron
    05/15/10 at 7:52 pm #

    This computer was the highest-priced Tandy i386 system available because it had IBM’s MicroChannel architecture licensed for it. As you might imagine, it wasn’t cheap to license that technology.

    For the money, you got expansion slots that were 32-bit instead of the 8- and 16-bit ISA slots in other computers. MicroChannel was the predecessor of PCI.

    This computer also included IBM VGA graphics instead of the EGA and CGA graphics that were the standard at the time.

    In short, even for $8500, this computer was WAY ahead of its time.

  23. Adam Weiss
    05/15/10 at 11:06 pm #

    You’d think that at $8499, they’d proofread the ad… 256,000 color VGA graphics? Off by more than a few orders of magnitude.

  24. DNA
    05/15/10 at 11:11 pm #

    We will laugh at the Roombas and AIBOs in another 20 years.

  25. Stephen Bailey
    05/15/10 at 11:29 pm #

    @Adam: Yeah, it sounds pretty outrageous, but it wasn’t a mistake … just a little misleading. What that meant was it could display 256 colors on screen chosen from a 256,000 color palette.

  26. Billy D Kidd
    05/15/10 at 11:42 pm #

    This computer is a rip-off. There’s a shop down the road that’s much cheaper ;)

    The same would have been true back then… This computer was over-priced.

  27. D2CA
    05/16/10 at 12:37 am #

    And just 6 years earlier, in 1983, that same amount of money bought you a fully loaded IBM Personal Computer 8088 similar to the one shown here:


    Except for that money it came with:
    – A monochrome CGA monitor, not a color
    – 2 360K full-height floppy drives, no HD
    – 512K RAM, not 640K
    – No coprocessor
    – No network cards
    – No modem
    – No printer
    – No mouse
    – No Windows (it didn’t exist)

    Now, going the other direction, look at what just $2,200 bought me in 2009:

    A HP Pavilion Elite d5100t (tower only) with:
    – Full-size ATX tower case (4 HD bays)
    – 64-bit motherboard
    – Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83GHz CPU (12MB L2)
    – 8GB DDR2 RAM
    – 750GB SATA II HD
    – SATA II LG 6x BD-RE (Blu-ray BURNER)
    – SATA II 16x DVD-ROM
    – 1GB NVIDIA GeForce 9800GT (shares 2GB sys RAM)
    – Has no IDE bus, no serial or parallel ports
    – Original OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit

    For another $219 I upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. It now rates 7.3 out of 7.9 on the Windows Performance Index for CPU & RAM, 6.8 for both graphics categories, and 5.9 for hard drive performance (the best that SATA II can do).

    That doesn’t include a monitor, printer, speakers, et al.

    This beast can open 13 virtual hard drives in Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 simultaneously and run programs in them. Opening even one VHD on a 32-bit dual-core system brings it to its knees. I didn’t put the Windows 7 XP Mode & Windows Virtual PC on it for these reasons:


    OK, enough rambling already… :)

  28. D2CA
    05/16/10 at 12:48 am #

    Comment 2: It’s impolite to try to hot-link to other’s images. Please take the hot-link down, copy the image to your site, and post it there.


    Dan Rose
    Webmaster: Dan’s 20th Century Abandonware

  29. DTM
    05/16/10 at 12:51 am #

    It’s impolite to hot-link to other’s images. Please copy the image to your server and post it there.

    Thank you,

    Dan Rose
    Webmaster: Dan’s 20th Century Abandonware

  30. Stephen Bailey
    05/16/10 at 1:57 am #

    @DTM @D2CA … Um, was that just a clever way to make it seem like the last three comments came from different people? Pretty sneaky, but you probably should have waited for me to approve the first comment before posting the second two comments. Oh and the same I.P. address on all three is a dead giveaway. As is using the same username on two of the three. Nice try though.

  31. me
    05/16/10 at 4:24 am #

    “Wow, a whopping 2 Megs of RAM, I remember those days.”

    Don’t lie you could never afford 2 Megs!

  32. Norman Rogers
    05/21/10 at 4:30 pm #

    Now, that brings back memories.

    We bought 40 Tandy computers back in 1988 for around $6K apiece. They weren’t nearly as nice as this one, and people thought they were the bees knees. Only two ended up stolen!

  33. Savvy Chick
    05/22/10 at 1:32 am #

    Not a bad config for that price in 1989.

  34. Andrew
    05/27/10 at 4:21 pm #

    Haha.. Newspaper.

  35. Jim
    11/03/12 at 3:33 am #

    In 1987 I upgraded from my IBM PC/XT to the brand new IBM PS/2 Model 80 with all the trimmings I paid over $12,000 US. This was a good price because I got a 20% discount since I worked for an IBM reseller. It sounds crazy now.

    Part of that cost was an additional $2,000 for the first ever 1024×768 pixel monitor the IBM 8514/A (14″). Another $2000 of the cost was to upgrade the memory from the standard 2 MegaBytes to 4 MegaBytes, that’s right $2000 for 2 Megabytes of memory.

    On top of the $12,000 I spent $600 for an Intel 80387 floating-point math co-processor, which dramatically improved the speed of my Autocad application.

    That machine was built like a tank. I still have the keyboard that came with it, it will last forever. I sold the Model 80 around 1992 for $2000, which I thought was a great deal for me, it was so outdated by then.

    I really loved that computer, it served me well and the cost was well justified with all the education and work I got out of it.

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