Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

iFixit's Retro Console Teardowns

Magnavox Odyssey 100

iFixit usually takes apart and photographs expensive new devices that most of us would never dream of disassembling for kicks - smartphones, computers and the like.

This week, they're on a retro kick. They started on Monday with the Magnavox Odyssey 100 (a typical pong/hockey game from 1975), then dismembered an RCA Studio II, Atari 2600 and a Nintendo Famicom.

There's something comforting about mid-1970s technology. The Odyssey 100, for example, incorporates a spacious circuit board populated with discrete components and a simple Texas Instrument "pong" chipset. The presence of a half dozen jumper wires hints at how quickly this design was brought to market - getting the unit into stores before Christmas was more important than a perfect circuit board design. There's very little mystery here, unlike the highly integrated silicon innards of today's "magical" entertainment devices.

The simplicity of the Atari 2600

Even the venerable Atari 2600 -- which sold more than 30 million units -- is strikingly spartan inside. That's because Atari had to cut quite a few corners to hit a $199 price point in 1977 ($700 in 2009 dollars). The machine was built around three core chips -- a MOS Technology 6507 microprocessor running at 1.19 MHz, an I/O and timer chip that held 128 bytes of RAM, and a custom Atari TIA video chip with only 20 bits of internal pixel memory that had to be updated for each raster line.

I'm looking forward to seeing what retro treat iFixit has in store for us on Friday.


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