IBM 650 (1953)

The Model 650 Magnetic Drum Calculator was announced by IBM in 1953. The 650 used a magnetic drum 4 inches by 16 inches, which turned at 12,500 revolutions per minute. The 650 basic unit sold for about $169,600 (in 1956) and could utilize magnetic tape and disk storage. The base unit could be rented from IBM for about $3,200 (peripherals were extra).

The 650 also used punched cards or typewriters for input/output. Various models were produced up until 1965. The basic unit weighed between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds and was about 5 x 3 x 6 feet in size.

The 650 could perform addition or subtraction functions in 1.6 milliseconds, multiplication in about 13 milliseconds, and division in about 17 milliseconds.

The 650 was extremely successful. About 1,800 model 650's were sold.

Advertisement for the IBM 650. Notice the symbol for nuclear energy in the background. Nuclear power was considered new and innovative during the 1950's, and IBM positioned its machine as fast and powerful.

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