1985 PC’S LIMITED Turbo PC Exhibit

PCS LIMITED Turbo PC - First Dell Computer

This unassuming PC/XT clone computer was donated to Kennett Classic by Stefan Seniuk. What makes it special is that it was the first computer model produced by what was destined to become Dell Computer Corporation. As the story goes, Michael Dell started a phone order PC business selling PC “clones” (Intel 8088 CPU PCs capable of running IBM PC / XT software) from his University of Texas Austin college dorm room. Back then he called his company PC’S LIMITED. Customers could order custom configurations by phone, which was innovative for the mid 1980’s. Dell’s business quickly became successful and Michael left college during his freshman year to manage his company full-time. Dell’s first official model was called the Turbo PC. The first faceplates read: PC’S LIMITED Turbo PC®, in black on a silver label. There was also a small integrated circuit image to the left of the text. There was no serial number or model number plate on the back. Dell sold a generic display produced by BASIC TIME that was not otherwise branded. Soon Dell started advertising his custom computers in the back of PC magazines. At some point in later 1985-early 1986 the logo was changed to use red lettering and a different chassis and more customization options such as a LAN card were added. In 1988 the company went public and was renamed Dell Computer Corporation.

The newest chip dates for the system pictured here are from the 25th week of 1985, confirming that this it a very early model. The earliest motherboards were produced by a company called ARC and this machine has one of those boards.

Additional component photos and technical notes about the restoration of this machine can be found on vintagecomputer.net