가정용 컴퓨터 또는 홈 컴퓨터(home computer)는 가정에서 주로 사용될 목적으로 만들어진 컴퓨터를 일반적으로 지칭하는 말이다.
오늘날 사업용 컴퓨터와 가정용 컴퓨터 시장의 차이는 완전히 사라졌는데, 이는 이 두 부류의 컴퓨터들이 일반적으로 동일한 프로세서 구조, 주변기기, 운영 체제, 응용 프로그램을 사용하고 있기 때문이다. 가정용 컴퓨터 시대에서의 또다른 변화는 가정용 컴퓨터를 이용할 때 자신만의 소프트웨어 프로그램을 기록하려는 노력을 거의 들일 필요가 없다는 점이다.
가정용 컴퓨터의 5파동: 1976년부터 1986년까지:
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- In 1978 a Z80 based home computer called the Exidy Sorcerer was introduced, starting at $895. It was similar to the TRS-80 but ran the industry standard CP/M operating system. Also in 1978, in Japan, Sharp introduced its Sharp MZ computer aimed at consumers. It was the first of a series of Z80 machines which sold well in Europe. Later in 1982 Sharp launched its similar but more advanced X1. Another early and (relatively) inexpensive Z80 computer was the Heathkit H89 first available in 1979. It cost $2295 preassembled or $1595 as a kit. It used its own OS called HDOS but later CP/M became standard.
- In late 1979 Apple upgraded its Apple II with the II Plus. Tandy/Radio Shack replaced its Model I with the shielded, all-in-one Model III, which added a few new features. This period is unique because for the first time used computers became available, as owners upgraded to newer models. Users satisfied with older technology but interested in saving money could find bargains not only for the computers but also for peripherals. Technically savvy individuals often found that newer technology could be retrofitted to obsolete computers. In the Netherlands in 1982, a small firm called MCP (Music Computer Products) made a hybrid Model III-CP/M computer they called the Aster CT-80, which was notably advanced.
- In October 1983 the Coleco Adam was developed from the Colecovision game console. It caused a commotion in the market with advanced features (Z80 chip with 64KB memory and CP/M capability, color graphics, decent keyboard and letter-quality printer), an existing large library of game programs, and an affordable price, but suffered from major technical deficiencies. The Commodore 16 was a low-end machine meant to compete against the TI, Mattel Aquarius, and Timex/Sinclair computers. It lost importance when these competitors were withdrawn. Further, it was technically related to the failed business-oriented Commodore Plus/4 and was incompatible with the VIC-20 and C-64, which doomed it to obscurity. Atari also produced the 600XL, a smaller companion to the 800XL. It had 16 KB RAM but was otherwise similar. Tandy/Radio Shack also produced the ultra-cheap lesser-known MC-10. In the UK, Acorn produced its Electron, which was a budget version of the BBC Micro, and Dragon Data in Wales produced a Color Computer workalike based on the 6809, the Dragon 32. In Japan, Fujitsu marketed the Coco-like FM-7.
- See text below for descriptions of other popular PCs for the home market: Epson Equity, Leading Edge Models M and D, Hyundai Blue Chip, Amstrad PC-1512, Zenith eaZy PC, and Commodore and Atari PC-compatibles. Also during this period Apple introduced its Apple IIc and Tandy/Radio Shack the last of its Z80 powered line, the TRS-80 Model 4D.
- In late 1990 Apple produced its Macintosh LC (Low Cost), which was meant to compete with cheap PCs for the home and small business markets. It was priced around $3000 with a color monitor. The Commodore 64 was repackaged as the C-64C, the Atari 800XL was repackaged as the Atari 65XE, and an enhanced version with 128 KB of banked RAM was produced as the Atari 130XE. The Atari STs evolved into the 32-bit TT030 and Falcon, and Amigas likewise grew into various models (A600, A1200, A2000, A3000, A4000) with 32-bit 680x0 CPUs with faster clock rates and megabytes of RAM. In Japan, in 1987 Sharp produced its advanced X68000 strictly for the Japanese market. All these updated computer lines, 8-, 16-, and 32-bit, continued to sell into the early 1990s.