Geek Trivia

Which Computer is the Best Selling Personal Computer of All Time?

The TRS-80
The Apple II
The Timex Sinclair
The Commodore 64
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Answer: The Commodore 64

Although its glory days are long gone, the Commodore 64 will go down in history as the most popular computer of the burgeoning personal computer age. Rocking a 1 MHz processor, 64k of RAM, and packed with 8-bit fire, the iconic little computer was produced from 1982 until 1994. The Commodore 64 was, and remains, the best selling personal computer of all time.

Thanks to strong marketing that involved sales in retail stores (instead of limiting sales to specialty computer shops) the Commodore 64 enjoyed serious market saturation that eluded other computer producers. Production hit a peak of 400,000 units a month in the mid-1980s and between 1983-1986 over 2,000,000 Commodore 64 units were produced and sold. During the entire life cycle of the computer, over 15,000,000 Commodore units were produced.

In addition to excellent marketing, the Commodore sported an enormous number of commercial titles. Roughly 10,000 software titles were released for the Commodore 64 that covered everything from games to office apps to development tools. Rounding out the Commodore’s powerhouse assault on other computers of the day: hardware compatibility. The Apple IIe was a comparable computer to the Commodore 64 but it had terrible backwards compatibility with earlier Apple models. While both computers had a single internal expansion slot, the Apple IIe’s slot was chewed up by a variety of functions whereas the Commodore had a plethora of ports integrated into the motherboard–this left the expansion slot free. In addition, at it’s release the Commodore’s graphic and sound capabilities were rivaled only by the much pricier Atari personal computers–the Commodore blew the Apple IIe out of the water.There was a final bonus that practically sealed the deal for frugal shoppers: the Commodore 64 could output to a regular television, sparing consumers the expense of buying a dedicated monitor.

By the time the Commodore ceased production in 1994 the computer market had begun to fragment and the Commodore’s status as the best selling personal computer of all time became practically guaranteed as consumers would never again flock to a single computer company in such numbers.