PCGH Special: The 12 most important companies of PC history

Author: Henner Schröder (Jul 09, 2008)
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PCGH takes a look at the history of the personal computer – and introduces twelve companies, whose inventions made the PC what it is today.
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PCGH takes a look at the history of the personal computer – and introduces twelve companies, whose inventions made the PC what it is today.
12th place: Commodore – founded in 1954, bankruptcy in 1994. Newly founded in 2007 as Commodore Gaming, a producer of gaming PCs.
(12th place: Commodore) This is what brought the computer to common households: The C64 of 1982. Compared to the IBM PC it was cheap and introduced a whole generation to the world of computers. Furthermore the C64 established gaming on the computer, which became very popular on the PC later on. (picture:
(12th place: Commodore) The Amiga 1000 of 1985, which was developed by former Atari engineers and published by Commodore, is said to be the first “real” multimedia computer – because of the superior video and audio quality.
11th place: Nvidia – founded in 1993. Mainly developing graphics accelerators and motherboard chipsets.
(11th place: Nvidia) In 1999 Nvidia released a milestone of 3D techniques with the first Geforce chip: With its T&L unit it was possible to take some geometry calculation away from the CPU for the first time. This created the base for modern shader programming. Later on Nvidia became the precursor of shifting other features, in the course of the GP-GPU initiative, to the GPU. (picture:
10th place: Creative Labs – founded in 1981. Today mainly produces soundcards, PC audio systems and MP3 players.
9th place: 3dfx – founded 1994, bankruptcy in 2002. Parts of 3dfx were acquired by Nvidia.
(9th place: 3dfx) A revolution for the gaming market: The 3dfx Voodoo Graphics of 1996. In combination with the Glide interface this chip accelerated 3D images with until then unknown speed and quality. It ultimately made the PC a high-end gaming platform and invoked a 3D Boom, which altered the gaming environment. Later 3dfx introduced other techniques like the combination of multiple graphics cards (SLI) or Anti Aliasing.
8th place: AMD – founded 1969. Since the absorption of Ati, AMD produces graphics cards in addition to processors and chip sets.
(8th place: AMD) AMD delivered the first important extension of the x86 instruction set, which was not supplied by Intel: The 64 bit technology – introduced with the Opteron in 2003, which also delivered an integrated memory controller to the x86-world. Before that, AMD established DDR-RAM, while Intel preferred the expensive Rambus memory. The tough competition between the two companies is one of the driving forces in the evolutionary process of the PC and causes dropping prices all the time.
7th place: Sony – founded 1946. Today Sony mainly produces entertainment systems, music, movies and video games.
(7th place: Sony) The 5.25 inch disc wasn’t up to date anymore – too big on the outside and too small on the inside. In 1982 Sony introduced the 3.5 inch format, which, with the support of Atari and Commodore, became established and was used in almost every PC, right into the 21st Century. (picture:
(7th place: Sony) In 1982 Sony in cooperation with Philips developed the Audio CD – in 1985 it was introduced, by Sony and Philips again, as CD-ROM for the PC, too. There the CD soon became the default media for games and applications. Later on Sony helped to establish the DVD. (picture:
(7th place: Sony) The DVD became too small, especially for HD videos – lead-managed by Sony the Blu-Ray-Disc was established as a successor, although it hasn’t been fully adapted in the PC area. (picture:
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