I admit that I have used public equipment and corporate assets for a decade before I finally "owned" one. They purchased a "laptop" to me, with PC-DOS, a prototype for Ericsson with a floppy drive - 12Kg on the scale at Schiphol where I had to explain what the contraption could be used for. The main application was "Sidekick" to edit C-code and write emails and work as a VT120 terminal.
I started with the same Zx80 at the Design Centre but at that time, I had own "workstations" and my favourite was a Tandberg terminal that we expanded at Regnesentralen (NR/NCC). Others expanded "Mycron" to the marvelous 1MB with shelves of 64K memory cards. I started trying the same but was derailed by Intel presenting the iAPx86. Well, I lost on the addresses but was awarded the DMA interleave. And by then changed work, and at ND we received the first computers from Apple - Lisa and Mac that we placed in the "community area" outside our offices.
At ND I built a Xenix workstation from a Wyse PC, and I purchased this when I left ND in 1992. I bought a PC to run Rational Rose and make "Rose models" during weekends and play games - around 1988. This was for home use only and playing games.
We had good editors for coding, and Norsk Data had superior "LED" compared to what is available even today. If I made things, it was quickly moved to where it could be used. Big things like Oracle could not be worked on a PC, and my private "laptop" was stuck for weeks checking the memory for a buffer overrun. It was very unusual that computers were "private property". The Commodores were gimmick the consultants played with while we held meetings, but the true story is that I never took time. But it started with an IBM 370 and Nord-1. But: I made my own C-compiler.
The first comercial desktop computer. Apple in 1976? Wrong, there is a big forgotten:
The Olivetti Programma 101, also known as Perottina or P101, is the first commercial programmable "desktop computer". Produced by Italian manufacturer Olivetti, based in Ivrea, Piedmont, and invented by the Italian engineer Pier Giorgio Perotto, the P101 has the main features of large computers of that period. It was launched at the 1964 New York World's Fair; volume production started in 1965. A futuristic design for its time, the Programma 101 was priced at $3,200 (equivalent to $25,400 in 2018). About 44,000 units were sold, primarily in the US.
The Programma 101 is able to calculate the basic four arithmetic functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), plus square root, absolute value, and fractional part. It is equipped with memory registers with features such as clear, transfer, and exchange, plus printing and halt for input.
Programming is similar to assembly language, but simpler, as there are fewer options. It directs the exchange between memory registers and calculation registers, and operations in the registers. There are 16 jump instructions and 16 conditional jump instructions. Its features of conditional jump instructions, an alphanumeric programming language, an internal memory, and a data storage system define it as a "computer". Thirty-two label statements were available as destinations for the jump instructions and/or the four start keys (V, W, Y, Z).
The stored programs can be recorded onto plastic cards approximately 10 cm × 20 cm that have a magnetic coating on one side and an area for writing on the other. Each card can be recorded on two stripes, enabling it to store two programs. Five registers are stored on the card; two registers are dedicated to the program code, the other three registers (D, E, F) can be used for the code or for numbers. Instructions occupy one byte, and a magnetic card can hold 120 instructions. In large computers such as the Elea 9003, an instruction occupies 8 bytes, 120 instructions occupy nearly 1 Kbytes; the total memory is 20 Kbytes in basic models.
I had a T/S 2068 for years; got a AERCO DOS and later upgraded to Larken DOS (as a ROM card that used my AERCO equipment). Wrote a letter to ZXComputing once about writing a recursive user-defined function - something you couldn't do on most other home computer BASICs.
The oldest computer I still have up and running is ZX Spectrum +2A which is a late model, made after Sinclair's computer business was acquired by Amstrad, but it's still pretty nice to have and it's as close to the original as I can get. I was using local Eastern European clone is the 90's - early 00's, equipped with Beta Disk interface / TR-DOS 5.04T
Here are a few pictures of my +2A. It's a 100% compatible with earlier games, but otherwise pretty nice. Even an integrated tape deck (datacorder) still works.
In one sense, Acorn won. Updated versions of its CPU, the Acorn RISC Machine or ARM, are used in mobile electronics everywhere. Unfortunately I don't think we ever saw an Archimedes (or even a BBC Micro) "on this side of the pond".
Yes the RISC technology lives on to this very day from the cell phone to the raspberry pi. I believe Russia will be utilizing some ARM technology in its new in-house processors. I hope Russia can make a secure processor so we can get away from GCHQ and NSA spy chips from hell. The Micromen film was fun to watch and brought back fond memories. In my opinion the BBC Micro was trash but the Archimedes was a beast.
If you have high budget, go for i5 or i7 with graphic card (2 cores isn't enough for future); if you have medium budget, go Amd FX series with graphic card; other wise Amd APU with a high performance Ram is a good choice. But I think you should investigate to other part too like power supply, a good power supply save your bill very much (a good power supply can be with you over 10 years); a high grade mother board make your entire system run smooth and effective; a SSHD is good choice for HDD if you don't have a budget for a SSD. Keep balance your PC parts, a high performance Cpu/graphic card only can't bring full potential of your PC, like driving on off road with a F1 car.