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See below for specifications and information on this system.
Specifications and information
|Key Dates:||January, 1975 Announcement (cover of Popular
April, 1975 General Availability
May, 1977 MITS sold to Pertec
June, 1978 Altair production discontinued
|Original Price:||Altair 8800 computer: $439 kit, $621 assembled
(includes CPU board, front panel control board, power
supply, and expander board)
Expander board (adds 4 slots), $16 kit, $31 assembled
1K static RAM: $97 kit, $139 assembled
2K static RAM: $145 kit, $195 assembled
4K dynamic RAM: $195 kit, $275 assembled
SIOA serial interface: $119 kit, $139 assembled
PIO parallel interface: $92 kit, $114 assembled
Cassette interface: $128 kit, $175 assembled
|CPU:||S-100 card (MITS Intel 8080 card installed)|
|Memory:||S-100 card (4K RAM installed)|
|Input/Output:||S-100 card (MITS serial port card)|
|Bus:||S-100 (a.k.a. Altair bus)|
|Other Items in Collection:||Second machine|
|Items Needed:||Disk units|
The MITS Altair 8800 is widely known as the first real personal computer.
Additional Altair 8800 Photos
Here are some more detailed photos of the Altair 8800. Click a thumbnail to see a larger version of the picture!
|Full Exterior View. Note that Unit #2 does not have the logo trim strip along the bottom front edge. This was an optional item.|
|Interior view. Note the upgraded power supply on Unit #1 versus the stock 8800 power supply on Unit #2.|
|3/4 perspective interior views. There's a lot of empty space with only the basic 4-slot motherboard installed in Unit #2.|
|Closeup of the 4-slot motherboard in unit #2. Note the individually hand-wired bus connections.|
|The Altair 8800 CPU board Rev 0|
|Unit #2 in operation, low light shows the glowing LEDs!|
|Rear panels. Unit #1 has the optional fan.|
|Serial number labels. MITS' serial numbers are notorious for not following any logical progression.|
For more Altair photos, see the Altair 8800b and Altair 8800b Turnkey pages!
Here are some classic advertisements for the Altair. Click a thumbnail to see a larger version of the picture!
|In Christmas of 1975, if you had been very good, Santa might bring you an Altair! December 1975|
|"If Napoleon had owned an Altair. Things might have turned out differently." February 1976|
|"The MITS Altair 8800. (It's showing up in some of the most unusual places.)" April 1976|
|This text-free ad echoes old Russian propaganda posters. May 1976|
|Here's an ad featuring the Altair "family" circa October 1976: the 680, 8800b, and 8800a|
Altair 8800 Model Comparison
Here's a rundown of the feature differences between the four Altair 8800 models.
|Introduced||January 1975||October 1976||August 1976||October 1977|
|Power Supply||Unspecified||8 amps||18 amps||18 amps|
|Motherboard||4-slot, expandable||Single-piece 18-slot||Single-piece 18-slot||Single-piece 18-slot|
|Front Panel Switches||Short & round||Long & flat||Long & flat||Only 2 switches|
|Front Panel Connection||Harness||Harness||Edge connectors||Small ribbon cable|
Altair 8800b Turnkey
IBM 5100 (also launched in 1975)
Collection Index of S-100 Bus Machines
Jones Telecommunications & Multimedia Encyclopedia entry on MITS -
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Last modified: April 17, 2003