Dynabyte Advert - February 1980
From Personal Computer World
Dynabyte - the Business Computer System your customers can afford
If nothing else proved the need for the likes of Commodore's Jack Tramiel or Sinclair's eponymous Clive to come along and build micros that normal people could afford to buy, it must the opening gambit of this advert: "for less cost than a new company car your prospects can own an expandable computer system". Not only that, but the 1980 market was still modest enough for that fact that Dynabyte had - according to the advert - shifted only 600 of these systems in the US to warrant a mention.
The Dynabyte ran CP/M on an S-100 bus with 5.25" or 8" floppy drives with a capacity starting from 650,000 "words" - a computer term that could be quite ambiguous but which is now normally considered to be two eight-bit bytes, so from about 1.3MB. Meanwhile, the cost of a company car at the time would have been in the order of £3,000 - around £17,000 in 2023.
The Dynabyte wasn't actually anywhere near the cost of a car - company or otherwise - the advert is probably taking aim at the minicomputers of the day, which were significantly more expensive. Founder and CEO of Dynabyte Mike Watts writes:
"There were a number of configurations, but I suspect the average price out the door was around $2000 [about £8,520 in 2023], probably less. But many people loaded them up with 64k of RAM (that's all the Z80 could handle) and lots of disks, etc".
The advert was also a bit short on the number of units sold, as Mike suggests "[in 1980] we were probably shipping around 1000 units per month. So I don't know where they got 600. Even 6000 would have been way off - on the low side".
An earlier advert from Dynabyte's UK distributors, as featured in Personal Computer World, August 1979
Dynabyte was based in Milpitas, California, but had set up a European HQ in Scarborough, UK. The company was still around in 1982, when it launched its Model 5605 - still in the same basic box, but with support for eight terminals and a somewhat over-provisioned 16 printers.
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