Everyone's already linked to James Fallows' hilarious-in-retrospect 1982 article about how computers are awesome, but check the price -- he paid $4,000 for this machine. That's about $8,500 in contemporary money. For a computer with 48k of RAM.

UPDATE: Similarly: "You have to understand, they told me, it can take five or ten minutes to load a long draft into the computer from tapes, whereas a disk drive (which would add a thousand dollars to the cost) could do the job in seconds."