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What were the specs of your first computer?

Apr 20, 2008
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As a child I received both a Compaq Prolinea 590 and a Macintosh SE when I was 10 years old.



Prolinea 590 specs:
Pentium 90mhz
16MB Ram
No Sound Card
1.44MB FDD
2x CD Rom
1GB IDE Quantum Fireball HDD
13" SVGA CRT



Macintosh SE
8Mhz 68000 CPU
1MB of Ram
Dual 800KB FDD
20MB HDD
9" Monochrome CRT

I also received a Tandy 2000 and a regular 33/66mhz 486 computer a few months later and had a whole cache of computers.

 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
61,098
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www.uovalor.com
First computer I ever used was a 486 DX2 66MHz with 8GB of ram and a 512MB HDD if I recall. OS was windows 3.11. Was really my sister's computer but it was setup in the house for a bit before she went to university. I was only a kid so I just played in mspaint and stuff and did not actually know anything about computers. The only thing I did learn is how to rage at Windows being slow and freezing.

Our first family computer was a Pentium 3 450Mhz with a 10GB hard drive. I think it had 128MB of ram. Had windows 98. That's really where I got more into computers and learned more. I eventually upgraded it with a 40GB hard drive. I recall opening it once to see how it looks like inside. Around that same time I actually got my sister's old 486 to play with. It did not work. Turns out it was just the CMOS battery but I only found that out very far into troubleshooting phase. I kinda feel bad as I basically parted out that computer and eventually trashed it after using it as a test bed for all sorts of physical modding etc. Should have kept it going in proper order given it was basically the first computer I ever used.

Fast forward to when I found the P3 was too slow, I knew enough to build my own so I did, with someone's help. Was an AMD2000+. Oddly I don't really recall any of the other specs. I think the hard drive was 60GB as I still have a 60GB drive lying around and pretty sure it was my first drive. Ram would have probably been like 512MB.

I kinda miss those days tbh, now when I build a computer I don't quite get the same level of excitement as I had before, probably because I mostly just take it for granted now.
 
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BambiBoom

Junior Member
Dec 29, 2016
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Scholzpdx,

My father was involved in computers in the 1960's when they still ran on vacuum tubes, so computers were familiar things. In the early-70's we had a terminal at home that could access a mainframe (IBM 360) by setting a telephone receiver in a cradle. Sort of the pre-Internet. This was the first computer I ever used. It was magic to me a little kid Imagine in 1973, signing in on the big teletype-style keyboard that returns a "Good Morning [Insert your name here]. Shades of "War Games" What would like to do today. would you like to play a game?." The thing that made this even more magic was that I never saw the actual computer - it was "out there" somewhere- science fiction stuff. They sometimes ran a game to test the sign on. The IBM 360 ran off of tape drives and punch cards but later had one of the first disk drives. These used a stack of 18" platters and for 5MB, the cost was about $50,000. OK, here beginneth the frightening math: if 1MB = $10,000, 1GB = $10,000,000, and 1TB = (gulp) 10,000,000,000- ten Billion Dollars.

In the 70's I went to a demonstration of some early personal computers and particularly rememeber a Wang with about a an 8" monitor that ran programs off a cassette tape drive

So, from this third party contact, at some level I was used to computers as sort of normal things. Still, as computers cost $Millions then, the prognostication promising that someday a computer could fit in an ordinary room seemed far off.

And, for me it was twenty years later.
In 1993 I was delivering a paper at a symposium in Italy and as this would be published, the paper was required to be submitted in Word. I had planned to buy a computer for business use. I was shocked at the cost of Apple systems that colleagues used- some had spent more than $8,000, so I looked at PC's. Eventually I settled on an IBM 486 DX2-50, that's a CPU running at 25MHz but that is doubled by the addition of a math coprocessor to 50MHz. For economy I did not jump to the fastest CPU then made, the 486 DX2-66. It looked like this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-486DX2-66mhz-16mb-639mb-3-5-034-1-44mb-floppy-NIC-DOS-6-22-win-3-1-PC-/253159568196?hash=item3af17c7344:g:H7kAAOSwHZ1ZvvMP&nma=true&si=CTWeDZnUom7PMfL%2F9TgEn8tvcK4%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

This system ran Windows 3.1 over DOS 6. It had the minimum 1MB of RAM and I bought the smallest drive, thinking it would take a very long time to fill- 85MB. with a 12" color monitor, the cost was about $2,.900. I purchased WordPerfect 6.1 which was the first WordPerfect with a WYSIWYG "Wizzywig" meant "What You See Is What You Get" : graphical interface I thought being able to select fonts was magic! Soon after I added and Corel Graphics- was it version X3?.and AutoCad 10 for DOS, which I think arrived on one or two 1.44MB floppy disk and cost something in the realm of $600.

Soon after using the system the system I realized that I would need more RAM and bought 2X 1MB modules for $340. That = $170 per MB, meaning that one GB at that price would cost $170,000. At that rate, the 64GB of RAM would have cost - take a deep breath here: $10,880,000. Also, the vast 85MB HD was filled in three months- realize that a WordPerfect Document could be 7K and an AutoCad drawing 100K- so I decided to buy the largest HD that Windows could recognize. Windows could see up to 528MB and the drives were listed as "540MB". That drive purchased was an IBM and it cost $570 or about $1.06 per MB. That means that the 4TB in my current system would cost - another deep breath - $42,400,000.

I used that system for 4+ years and in 1998 bought what I think of as my first really fast system, a Dell Dimension XPS T700R Pentium III 750MHz, having 768MB of RAM, an Ultra SCSI 66 controller- that's the fantastic rate of 66MB/s and this ran Windows 95. windows 95 was the worst OS- every few months it would lose the Registry structure. Windows 98 solved that and 98 led to the best MS OS- XP PRO 64-bit. I can't remember the original HD drive size- 2 or 4GB?, but it has 30GB and 80GB drives now. The T700R cost $2,400, an NEC 3V 15" color monitor was $550 and an Epson Actionlaser 300DPI printer was $750. I still have it with all the original documentation and disks. I couldn't sell it in 2010 for $100 and in 2012 could not even give it away.


https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzXtPxHilS63RVlBVnlTdk9ZV0U

The T700R was replaced by a 2004 Dell Dimension 8400 P4, then Dell Precision T5400, and etc.

It was interesting to see the early days of practical personal computers but I'm very glad to spend $200 on a HD and not $42,000,000.

BambiBoom
 
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pjmssn

Member
Aug 17, 2017
89
11
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Mine was a 80286, 12.5 MHz, I think it had 640Kb of RAM and a 40MB hard drive. It had an hercules screen (single yellowish color, with pixels on, off or increased brightness).
I remember being able to install Windows 3.0 with that limited screen. I then upgraded to a color VGA monitor. I wish I had kept it as a souvenir!
 

Ketchup

Elite Member
Sep 1, 2002
14,494
220
106
486DX 33 MHz, 4 MB RAM, 120 GB Hard Drive. Came with a "special" menu the computer shop that build it put on it to run Windows 3.1 or other games they pre-installed.
 
Jun 19, 2004
24,135
1,592
126
Heathkit. A mighty 8088 processor with 2 meg of ram soldered to the mb. It came in a box of parts totally unassembled. It had two 5 1/4" Floppies And One 3 1/2" Floppy a green monitor and it was awesome.
 

Rifter

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
11,522
748
126
Commodore 64 here as well, used that old commodore monitor to play PS1 when it was released because it used RCA connections, i sure got good use out of that monitor lol.
 

ElFenix

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Mar 20, 2000
101,667
5,989
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had a mac se with some sort of radius accelerator board which my dad had absconded from BP with
(which was the same story for the mac ii, mac iisi, powerbook, and dell latitude that were 'my' computers growing up).
 

GagHalfrunt

Lifer
Apr 19, 2001
25,297
1,993
126
Apple II+ with 16K ram, a 6502 processor running at a dizzying 1mhz, a monochrome monitor and two, yes, count em, two, 5 1/4" floppy drives. Still got it and it still runs.
 
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Smoblikat

Diamond Member
Nov 19, 2011
5,184
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Compaq presario........somthing. Way faster than some of your guys firsts, it came with an 800mhz (I think) pentium 3, 128mb RAM, a BIG PHAT 40gb HDD, plus I threw in a Radeon 9600SE AGP card, it took about an hour to load but that thing could play gmod at 768P maintaining at least 15fps steady, what a rocket ship.........

My first custom build involved an E5200, a P5Q Pro Turbo, a GT 240 GDDR5!!!!!!, 4gb RAM and a legitimately fast (for its time) WD 640gb black, even tually got a second for RAID0, then upgraded to a pair of spinpoint F3 1tb's.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
52,200
7,041
126
Commodore 64.

Look it up.
Commodore PET (classroom computer in 3rd Grade... does that count).

Chassis had a definite "2010: A Space Odyssey" to it. Had a tape drive for storage.

At home, in middle-school, I think, my Dad bought a Radio Shack Color Computer 2. That was a fun little machine. A little obscure, compared to Apple or Commodore's home computers, but it had the option of a *nix-like OS, "OS 9". (Not MacOS 9.) Basically, the CPU in that thing, was like a mini-68K, and had an OS9 port. I didn't learn that too much, but I knew how to boot floppy-based OS9 games on it, like ... Rogue! Yes, the original, or at least, original micro-computer version.
 

Iron Woode

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 10, 1999
29,236
9,760
136
Commodore PET (classroom computer in 3rd Grade... does that count).

Chassis had a definite "2010: A Space Odyssey" to it. Had a tape drive for storage.

At home, in middle-school, I think, my Dad bought a Radio Shack Color Computer 2. That was a fun little machine. A little obscure, compared to Apple or Commodore's home computers, but it had the option of a *nix-like OS, "OS 9". (Not MacOS 9.) Basically, the CPU in that thing, was like a mini-68K, and had an OS9 port. I didn't learn that too much, but I knew how to boot floppy-based OS9 games on it, like ... Rogue! Yes, the original, or at least, original micro-computer version.
in high-school I got to use Commodore 4032 Pets, CBM80's and even 1 original rom Pet (type wait6502,255 :)).

I also remember the Radio Shack CoCo and Timex/Sinclar and a few other lesser known computers.
 

TStep

Platinum Member
Feb 16, 2003
2,460
10
81
First I used? Pong, Atari, Intellivison if they count. If not, first used was probably a gigantic punch card fortran computer as a kid.

First used as an adult an 286/386 computers in a design office. First purchased was a Pentium Pro 200 for $3000+ when they first came out (1995?). $3000 was a ton of cash back then, a months salary. It was a mail order and it came broken. Technician walked me through fixing it over the phone. After that I knew just enough to be dangerous. Other than for a business venture, never purchased a prebuilt again.
 
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TStep

Platinum Member
Feb 16, 2003
2,460
10
81
Crazy thinking that there were only 4 types back then: Apple, Apple Clone, IBM, IBM Clone
 

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