The price of computers has dramatically changed over the years. When PCs were first made available for purchase by consumers over 30 years ago, they were hefty machines that cost thousands of dollars each — the technology of the day was expensive to produce, and the cost of computers reflected that. As time went on computer manufacturing became more streamlined, technology improved, and owning a computer became much more affordable. Today, you can buy a new PC or laptop for less than $300, but you couldn’t even get a monitor for that much in the early days of the computer.
However, there are still some models that cost a ton of money either because they contain insane tech or insanely opulent features. A market has emerged in the last decade that caters to the wealthy and individuals who want highly customized PCs or computers with decorations that include precious metals and rare gems. Such PCs match or exceed the price of early computers, and some even cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Here are ten of the most expensive computers ever created.
10. 1989 Macintosh Portable – $6,500
The laptops that started appearing in the 80s aren’t the sleek, speedy, and power packed machines that they are today, but the 1989 Macintosh Portable was still novel for its time. It had a 16MHz Motorola CPU, 1 MB of RAM that could be expanded to 9 MB, and a 40 MB hard drive. The display on this model had a resolution of 640 by 400 and was monochrome, and inside was a lead acid battery that weighed two pounds. The cost for the Macintosh Portable was $6,500 when it debuted, which amounts to $12,500 today.
9. Voodoo Envy 171 – $6,500
When Voodoo set out to design they Envy 171, which was made available for sale in 2007, the company was focused on performance and outshining just about every other notebook manufacturer. The 17 inch widescreen display sports a Dual NVIDIA GeForce Go 7950 graphics chipset. Its other impressive specs include a Core 2 Extreme CPU, 4 GB of RAM, and a 600 GB hard drive capacity that uses three different drives. Those who bought the pricey notebook also had the option to have a custom design on the back of it and could choose the color shell they preferred. The cost for the Voodoo Envy 171 was $6,500.
8. 1983 Apple Lisa – $9,995
Lisa is a 1983 relic from Apple that was significant at the time, and not simply because it was named after Steve Jobs’ daughter. It was the first PC with a mouse that was meant to be marketed to the masses, and as far as old school computers went it was super user friendly. It had a 12 inch monochrome display, 1 MB of RAM, 5MHz Motorola CPU, and buyers had the option to get a 5 MB external hard drive. The astounding thing is that even though Apple’s Lisa was for the average user, it still cost $9,995, which equals nearly $24,000 today.
7. 1979 Cromemco System Three – $12,495
One of the key innovators in the computer world during the 70s and 80s was Cromemco, which was founded by two doctoral students at Stanford. They not only made strides in developing peripherals and graphic cards, but cameras and joysticks as well. The Cromemco System Three was released in 1979 and was a multi-user computer with one to six terminals and a printer attached to its central chassis.
The setup was great for military, government, and large operations, but it wasn’t something meant for the average Joe on the street. Still, the Cromemco System Three could run Z80 Basic and Fortran IV and had a 5 MB external hard drive and 512 KB of RAM. Its retail price was $12,495, or approximately $36,000 in today’s dollars.
6. Yoyotech XDNA Aurum 24K – $13,000
No matter what gaming systems come out purporting to be the latest and the greatest, PC gaming is still widely popular. 3D games have changed the way that computer manufacturers develop their products, and in 2013 Yoyotech unveiled a PC capable of playing any 3D game at 4K: the DNA Aurum 24K. For the price, you get a system with amazing graphic capabilities, and it also has a sophisticated cooling system to keep everything running smoothly. Obviously, this PC was meant for serious gamers willing to shell out thirteen grand rather than casual players.
5. 1975 IBM Portable Computer – $19,975
If you’re looking at the price and wondering what type of incredible technology existed back in the mid-70s to warrant such an expensive price tag, know that the 1975 IBM Portable Computer cost what it did because it was the first “mini computer”. It wasn’t as portable as notebooks are today, but it was aimed at the scientific community, specifically researchers flush with grant money.
The self contained computer had a magnetic tape drive, 5 inch CRT display that could output 16 lines of text with 64 characters each, a cartridge tape hard drive capable of storing 204 KB, and a PALM circuit board processor. If you adjust its 1975 retail price for inflation, the IBM 5100 portable computer would cost about $88,000.
4. Ego for Bentley Notebook – $20,000
As many would guess, anything with the Bentley name attached to it is going to cost a bundle. This laptop, the result of a 2008 collaboration between luxury products company Ego and legendary British automaker Bentley, was made for the wealthy to flaunt their excess. It has diamond stitched Bentley leather, is hand built, and is available in a number of color options. Just 250 of these pricey pieces of tech were made available for sale.
3. 24k Gold MacBook Pro – $30,000
A MacBook Pro by itself is awesome, but this one has an exterior covered in 24 carat gold. To top off the extravagant piece made by Computer Choppers, a bespoke high tech gadget company, the laptop also has an Apple logo encrusted with diamonds in multiple colors.
2. Otazu Ego Diamond – $350,000
Ego’s most expensive laptop to date is shaped like a designer handbag, available in many luxe finishes, and starts at $5,000. If you want to get super fancy, go for the top of the line Otazu Ego Diamond, which contains 470 diamonds and Otazu motifs.
1. The Luvaglio One Million Dollar Laptop – $1 million
When Luvaglio set out to create the world’s most outrageously lavish laptop, they came up with this intriguing PC. At first glance it just looks like an expensive case, but inside is a laptop with a solid state drive, MP3 player, and Blue-Ray player built in. There are also diamonds dotting the PC, including a power button encrusted in diamonds. Many have wondered whether the laptop warrants its price tag, but Luvaglio says the $1 million cost is just right.