- Commodore 64
- 12,500,000 unit(s) sold
- Not Applicable ()
The best-selling desktop computer of all time is the Commodore 64, which was manufactured by Commodore International (USA) between August 1982 and April 1994. The exact number of C64s sold is unclear – Commodore founder Jack Tramiel estimated between 22 and 30 million units, Commodore's official estimate was 17 million units while a credible modern estimate puts the figure at around 12.5 million units. The C64 is still the most popular single model of desktop computer, even with the most conservative numbers.
The Commodore 64 (named for its 64 kilobytes of RAM) was a relatively powerful home computer for its time, designed to retail at an original price-point of $595 (equivalent to around $1,600 in 2020 dollars), undercutting many of its competitors. It had several features that made it especially attractive to home users – it could be hooked up to a standard television (no expensive monitor needed), could run both games and productivity software, and accepted a range of peripherals (including disk drives, modems and printers).
Perhaps most importantly for its longevity and sales success, the initial popularity of the Commodore 64 created a robust ecosystem surrounding the machine. C64 owners could easily find manuals and user guides, as well as software and third-party peripherals. It also supported the BASIC programming language, making it a popular machine for hackers and home-brew videogame creators. It was this support structure that kept the machine going long after its hardware was obsolete.