This computer, unfurled to scientists on Feb. 14, helped launch the computer revolution and the U.S. tech dominance for decades. Few suspected actually what those next 60 years would bring. The evolution of computing devices has come a long way since the days of ENIAC.
Univac was the primary product of the Eckert-Mauchly computer company. Not only was it faster, but it demonstrated the shift from base-ten to binary code. A Univac was used by CBS news to predict the outcome of the 1952 Presidential Election. That event brought computing into the public eye, according to many historians. It wouldn't be long before scientific focus shifted to microprocessors.
1971: Intel 4004 processor
The world's first microprocessor, it condensed the word of six chips into one. Made for a Japanese company, Intel bought the rights back and subsequently became a microprocessor powerhouse. Smaller processors soon led to the nearly unthinkable: desktop computers.
1982: IBM PC
Commodore, Apple and others had PCs on the market first, but IBM got them on top of desks in corporate America. IBM had a version that ran on Motorola chips, but it went with the Intel/Microsoft version. And then, chips really started to feel the power.
1989: Intel 486
The 486 greatly enhanced computing power, thanks in part to an increased numbers of transistors. Computers soon spread from the techie realm and into the hands of the next generation: game players.
Game machines before the Sony PlayStations used lagging-edge technology. Sony designed its own chips for these machines to enhance graphics and performance. Although some predicted these chips would challenge offerings from Intel and AMD, Sony's chips actually only were used in these game consoles. Progress didn't halt at the door of entertainment, of course; big, bad supercomputers were still growing at record paces.
2005: Blue Gene
At 1.7 trillion calculations a second, the Blue Gene/L is the world's fastest computer. It is also far smaller than the Earth Simulator, the former reigning champ. Speaking of small, fast, and pretty...
2006: Mac Book Pro with Intel Core Duo
This notebook costs about $2000 but churns over 2 billion operations a second.