There are $2,000 computers, and then there are extremely expensive computers that could easily snuff out your life savings in an instant. For this top 10 list, we list down the most expensive computers ever created. The list is mainly composed of old computers and insanely expensive modern gaming PCs with top-of-the-line parts.
10. Programma 101 (1965)
Manufactured by Italian company Olivetti, the Programma 101 was the first programmable desktop computer, made available commercially in 1965. It was invented by Pier Giorgio Perotto. In addition to the four basic arithmetic functions, the Programma 101 – or P101 – was able to calculate square roots, absolute values, and fractional parts.
The P101 was originally available for $3,200 before Olivetti raised the price to $3,500, which is around $24,000 today, in 1968. The revolutionary machine is known for playing a part in the Apollo 11 mission. NASA bought about 10 units to help plan the famous moon landing mission. Overall, Olivetti sold about 44,000 units of the P101.
9. Macintosh Portable (1989)
The Macintosh Portable is a portable computer first released by Apple in 1989 and was available until 1991. It featured a black and white active matrix LCD screen with a clamshell design, which covered the keyboard similar to modern laptops. Aside from the keyboard, the unit also included a trackball for input.
The Macintosh Portable used a 16 MHz 68000 CPU. It came with up to 9 MB of SRAM, a 256 KB ROM, a 1.4 MB double-sided floppy drive, and a 40 MB Conner hard drive. Despite the “portable” moniker, the Macintosh Portable wasn’t the easiest computer to carry around, no thanks to the 16-pound bulky build. It was initially offered for $7,300, which is around $14,000 today, with the hard drive included.
8. Apple Lisa (1983)
Released in 1983 by Apple, the Apple Lisa was the predecessor to the Macintosh and was one of the first desktop computers to include a GUI. The unit included a Motorola 68000 CPU clocked at 5 MHz, up to 2 MB of RAM, and a pair of double-sided floppy disk drives, each with 871 KB of capacity.
But like the Macintosh Portable, the Apple Lisa was a commercial failure. Its below-average performance compared to other products at the time and the unreliable floppy disk drives had a lot to do with it. The real killer was the $9,995 price tag, which would be around $24,000 today. Apple was only able to sell 100,000 units of the Apple Lisa.
7. Maingear Epic Force Superstock X99
First available in 2015, the Maingear Epic Force Superstock X99 is not only one of the most powerful pre-built custom PCs in the world, it’s also one of the most expensive. PCMag once tested a setup worth $12,000, concluding that while the specifications are top-notch, the price is hardly accessible to most consumers.
The $12,000 setup that PCMag tested includes an Intel Core i7-5960X overclocked to a maximum 4.4 GHz, an Asus Rampage V Extreme motherboard, and a Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB RAM. It has three Samsung 850 Pro 512 GB SSD in Raid 0 and a Seagate Barracuda XT 2 TB for storage. But the real highlight is the pair of specially built versions of the AMD Radeon R9 295X2, which originally went for $1,500 a pop.
Like most other pre-built custom PCs, the Maingear Epic Force Superstock X99 can be configured to different specifications at the request of customers, which affects the final product price.
6. Cromemco System Three (1979)
Founded by Stanford University students Harry Garland and Roger Melen, Cromemco – named after Crothers Memorial, the dormitory where the founders resided at the time – was a major player in the high-end computers market back in the day.
The Cromemco System Three was one of the company’s most powerful and most expensive creations. It was designed for multi-user professional use, featuring a Z80 CPU and up to 512 KB of RAM. The full setup – which included the maximum allowable RAM, a 1.2 MB floppy disk for storage, and a 5 MB hard drive for even more storage – cost $12,495. That would be around $42,000 now when adjusted for inflation.
5. Yoyotech XDNA Aurum 24K
Released in 2013, the XDNA Aurum 24K is a product of a partnership between Asus UK and Yoyotech, a UK-based PC retailer. It’s a powerful gaming PC with a fancy black-and-gold outfit, easily making it one of the best-looking computers in the market. It was priced at $13,000 at launch.
Inside the modified Corsair 900D Full Tower chassis is a water-cooled Intel Core i7 4960X overclocked to at least 4.4 GHz, an Asus X79 Deluxe Socket 2011 motherboard, and a Corsair Vengeance Pro Gold 64 GB RAM. It features a pair of water-cooled Nvidia GTX TITAN in SLI, which was a highly sought after video card at the time. For storage, the XDNA Aurum 24K has a Samsung 840 Pro 512 GB SSD and a Seagate 2 TB SSHD.
4. Kylaralthor Janus 2.0
The Janus 2.0 is a powerful gaming PC built by Kylaralthor, who posted his masterpiece on comparison shopping website PCPartPicker in 2016. The beastly setup includes an Intel Core i7-5960X 3.0 GHz 8-Core, an Asus Rampage V EXT/ U3.1 EATX LGA2011-3 motherboard, and a Corsair Dominator Platinum 64 GB RAM.
Kylaralthor went with a Samsung 850 Pro Series 1 TB and four Western Digital Black Series 4 TB for the storage, and four EVGA GeForce GTX Titan X 12 GB Superclocked for the GPU. The entire setup cost $18,000, which is more than double the price of most high-end gaming PCs.
3. IBM 5100 Portable Computer (1975)
The IBM 5100 Portable Computer is one of the most expensive computers ever created. It launched in September 1975 and was available in different RAM capacities. The most expensive was the 64 KiB, which had an introductory price of $19,975. That’s around $91,000 now when adjusted for inflation.
The IBM 5100 Portable Computer had a 16-bit processor, called the IBM PALM, clocked at 1.9 MHz and also came with up to 64 KiB of ROM. The suitcase-like machine included a keyboard, a 5-inch CRT display, and a tape drive. The CRT display was capable of displaying 16 lines of up to 64 characters. At the time, the IBM 5100 Portable Computer was considered a highly sophisticated piece of technology.
2. Linus Tech Tips PC Builds
In 2016, Canadian YouTube personality Linus Sebastian built two $30,000 gaming PCs capable of supporting multiple players at the same time. The first of which was the now-disassembled “7 Gamers, 1 CPU” PC, which was showcased in January 2016.
Sponsored by Kingston Technology, the massively expensive PC build included two Intel Xeon 14 core E5 2697 v3 processors, seven AMD Radeon R9 Nano GPUs, eight 32 GB ECC DDR4 RAM, eight 1 TB Kingston SSD, and an Asus Z10PE-D8 WS motherboard.
Four months later, Sebastian followed-up the “7 Gamers, 1 CPU” PC with the “8/10 Gamers, 1 CPU” PC, which proved to be even more over-the-top than his previous project. The newer PC build included – take a deep breath, everyone – a Supermicro 4028GR-TRT, two Intel Xeon E5 2699 V4 22 Core processors, eight Kingston 32GB DDR4 ECC RAM, ten 1 TB Kingston KC400 Business SSD, eight Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti Amp Edition GPUs, and two Zotac GTX Titan X GPUs. Whew.
And both PC builds actually worked, with Sebastian providing respective videos showcasing the power of the two super-expensive gaming rigs. Of course, it’s highly unlikely anyone would be willing and crazy enough to cough up $30,000 for an over-the-top, made-for-LAN-parties PC build.
1. 8Pack OrionX
Designed by renowned PC builder Ian “8Pack” Parry and manufactured by Overclockers UK, the OrionX is the most powerful pre-built custom PC available for consumers right now. It’s also the most expensive, launching last January for a whopping $30,000.
Basically, the OrionX is composed of two extremely high-end systems housed in a single chassis. The primary system includes an Intel Core i7-6950X overclocked to at least 4.4 GHz, an Asus X99 Rampage V Extreme Edition 10 motherboard, and a Corsair Dominator Platinum 64 GB RAM.
It has three NVIDIA Titan X Pascal 12GB in Tri-SLI, each overclocked to at least 2000 MHz, with the option to add a fourth. It has an Intel 1.2 TB 750 PCI-EX SSD for primary storage, two Samsung 850 Pro 1 TB SDD in RAID 0 for secondary storage, and a Seagate Barracuda 10 TB HDD for tertiary storage.
The secondary system includes an Intel Core i7-7700K overclocked to at least 5.1 GHz, an Asus ROG Strix Z270I motherboard, and a Corsair Dominator Platinum 16 GB RAM. For graphics, it has a single NVIDIA Titan X Pascal 12 GB. For storage, it has two Samsung 960 Polaris 512 GB NVME in RAID 0 for primary storage and a Seagate Barracuda 10 TB HDD for secondary storage.
Customers can also request to change some of the specifications, which may lower or further drive up the price, depending on the changes made. On the bright side, shipping is free. We went with the OrionX for the top spot on this list because unlike Linus Sebastian’s over-the-top PC builds, 8Pack’s masterpiece is actually available to consumers.
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