What was your first computer?

Our "pub" where you can post about things completely Off Topic or about non-silent PC issues.

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What was your first computer?

Post by jbw » Tue May 15, 2007 11:32 am


Packard Bell desktop
-- 486SX-25 (later upgraded to DX-33, then to 66)
-- 4MB RAM (to 8MB)
-- 512KB onboard video
-- 170MB hard drive (to 540MB)
-- FM synthesis sound card (broke; PB replaced with wavetable card--wow!)
-- 2400 baud modem (to 14.4 so I could download mosaic from compuserve)
-- 2x speed CD-ROM (to 8x)

-- MS-DOS 6.20 (later 6.22); Windows 3.1 (later '95)
-- bought MS Office Pro which came on 31 floppy disks

-- 14" monitor
-- HP 500c printer (had to swap color/b&w ink manually)

-- sweet Gravis analog pro joystick (for X-Wing)

Cost in 1993: $3300. Worth every penny (of my parents' money).

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Post by floffe » Tue May 15, 2007 12:41 pm

Quite similar to mine:

AST desktop
-- 486SX 33MHz
-- 4 MB RAM
not sure about video
-- 120MB HDD
-- SoundBlaster 16
-- 2X CD-ROM

-- DOS 6.21 + Win 3.11 + MS Works something or other
-- HP Printer

I think it cost us around 15000 SEK (~$2000) for Christmas 1994

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Post by croddie » Tue May 15, 2007 1:05 pm

Acorn RISC PC running RISC OS 3.5. Processor by ARM who make mobile phone processors these days.
8Mb RAM, about 200Mb HDD. I put in a 486 card for running PC stuff.
Great OS at the time, fast as it was in ROM, great GUI, anit-aliased fonts, most applications were "WYSIWYG", nice system to program for too.

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Post by frostedflakes » Tue May 15, 2007 1:21 pm

My family's first PC was something similar, Packard Bell at 33MHz I believe. Can't remember all the specifics, I was pretty young.

My first PC build was an AthlonXP 2500+ @ 3200+. Brings back memories. :D

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Post by cloneman » Tue May 15, 2007 1:36 pm

Packard Bell 16Mhz 386SX.

-5.25" & 3.5" FDDs
-14" SVGA (!) Monitor
-Dos 4 and Win 3.0

Cost: Over 4000$

The system's power button was connected via a metal bar to a button located on the PSU. Only had 1 fan, which was on the PSU. HDD by far the loudest item in there (um, when the 5.25 inch drive wasn't operating :P)

I had an older system before that but we rarely used it, I was <3 years old at when we switched. Some sort of Zenith or something.

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Post by mr. poopyhead » Tue May 15, 2007 1:52 pm

i was too young to know the specs of my first computer... all i remember was that it had a 5.25" floppy drive, monochrome green screen and the floppy drive was really noisy... i used to play a game called decathalon... it was fun... literally a little green stick figure running across the screen. it had sounds and music coming through a PC speaker... good times. for productivity, my dad ran lotus-123, and wordstar. there was also this other game which simulated the life of a trucker, and having to deliver oranges on time before they rot.

my second computer was a 486DX/33MHz with 8MB RAM and trident graphics card with 256K memory. 20MB hard disk, no sound card, no CD-ROM... my dad thought that stuff was frivolous... for fun, i used to play those games that came with qbasic... gorilla, and nibbles... my friend and i used to fiddle with the code in qbasic and make the exploding bananas do crazy stuff, hahaha... we ran dos 5-point-something and sometimes fired up windows 3.1 over it.

those were the days...

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Post by Traciatim » Tue May 15, 2007 2:11 pm

The first computer that was ever actually mine and in my room was way back when I was just a wee one and it was a TRS Model III. Though I had no clue about anything at the time, these sported a 2.03 MHz Z-80 processor.

My dad had programmed me some math games and and ASCII Ski style game.

My first PC that I ever built myself (with help) was a 286, I believe it was somewhere like 8 Mhz.

I think the first one I ever build from scratch without help was a 486 SX/16. Then after that it's all a blur.

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Post by spookmineer » Tue May 15, 2007 2:13 pm

Texas Instruments TI-99/4A
Not a real PC but it was the first one I had which could be called a computer.

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Post by agus_c_o » Tue May 15, 2007 3:13 pm

a VIC 20

It was compatible with atari's joystick. i used to play rat race

then a no branded 486dx 33Mhz 4MB ram 100MB hard disk.
upgraded with a creative multimedia kit (a ISA sound card and a 1x CD-ROM) DOS 5.x windos 3.1
y remember having a lot of bootable 3.5 disks with different memory configuration for each game

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Post by nici » Tue May 15, 2007 3:22 pm

A boring Athlon XP machine.

Up until 1003 when i got that, i used my dads computers.

The first computer i used was a kaypro, and looking at the models in wikipedia it's most likely the Kaypro 286i - A 12 MHz 286 desktop, with a faster clock speed than IBM's machine, a larger hard drive than IBM's configuration and an extensive software package. It featured the motherboard on a bus card, which, like the Zenith Z-series machines, promised upgradability. Dad still has it at work, along with the original Eizo monitor.

At that time i thought it was fun to type in the neighbors names in the command prompt and i remember calling dad to ask which commands i need to start a specific game.. like Sopwith or Digger :P

After that it was a bunch of press machines until we got a fujitsu siemens scaleo with a 100 MHz pentium which had just been released, then a 400 MHz PII with Voodoo2 as it had just been released, later swapped to a riva TNT because the voodoo died, and used that until 2003 when i bought the Athlon XP machine.

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Post by JimX » Tue May 15, 2007 3:57 pm

NCR Decision Mate V from 1983.

I played Pac-Man on it! It's in my PC room, still works.
The 10MB hard disk.

After that, the Atari 800, fully loaded. I gave it away in 1993, still get VERY upset about it...

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Post by Erssa » Tue May 15, 2007 4:01 pm

Commodore 64. It was the first one I used, not the first one I bought. The first computer I bought with my own money would be something I assembled myself: Athlon 1700+ xp, 80gb 5400rpm samsung hard drive, ati radeon 7500, epox 8kha+ mobo, 512mb ddr266, sound blaster and a 19" samsung 96P display. It cost 1500 euros back in march 2002...

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Home Built, 1978

Post by fri2219 » Tue May 15, 2007 4:04 pm

The first computer I ever owned was a home-build I did in High School- Rockwell AIM-65

Code: Select all

Released: 1977
Price:    US $375 w/1K RAM
CPU:      Rockwell 6502 @ 1MHz
RAM:      1K or 4K
Ports:    Two edge-card expansion ports
Display:  20-digit alpha-numeric LED
          Built-in thermal printer
Storage:  External audio cassette
OS:      "Monitor" built-in

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Post by BrianE » Tue May 15, 2007 4:34 pm

Commodore 64 here too. I was actually my father's computer. He got a second floppy drive unit for it and one of those Fast Load cartidges which he modded with a reset button... cool stuff. I had some great times with that computer and my friend had one as well. I fire up CCS64 emulator once in a blue moon when I feel nostalgic because some of those games are still fun to play!

The first computer that I actually bought myself was one of those famous Celeron 300A's that I could (and did!) overclock to 450MHz easy as pie. Funny this topic came up because just the other day I saw the old reciept I had for this beast and I paid the lowball price of $270 for a 13GB HD back then. :shock: :shock: :shock:

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Post by beboop » Tue May 15, 2007 5:46 pm

Sinclair ZX81 -- it didn't do much by current standards, but it was fun. 1K, BASIC in rom, and a useful printed manual. I wish I still had it. well, ok, no I don't -- but I do miss the days when it was all new, when computer magazines were mostly code examples and DIY mods.

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Post by IsaacKuo » Tue May 15, 2007 5:46 pm

My first computer was a Vic-20. It still works. It's not what I'd call a "quiet" computer, because the keyboard is LOUD. Even when it was new, the key springs had an annoying twangy noise. The keyboard didn't feel nice, either. You had to mash down on the keys hard and there was no "clicky" feedback. Mind you, the keyboard was nowhere near as bad as a Zed-X or an Atari 400.

But the Commodore 64's keyboard was a joyous pleasure after the Vic-20. The original brown model C64's had the best Commodore keyboards ever. Perfectly curved, just the right amount of key pressure, and just the right amount of "clicky" feedback. The font of the labels were pleasant, and even the color of the keys was nice. The later C128 and Amiga keyboards just weren't as good.

Oh, the first computer I bought myself was an Amiga 1200. Wonderful machine. It still works also, but honestly the Vic-20 is "cooler". Unfortunately, my two C64s died. The Vic-20's still solid, though!

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Post by beboop » Tue May 15, 2007 6:27 pm

IsaacKuo wrote:. Mind you, the keyboard was nowhere near as bad as a Zed-X or an Atari 400.
yeah, the Atari 400 was truly vile, my first experience with tendinitis. At least the ZX had some simple keystroke combinations for BASIC commands.

heh. remember when stuff was built to last? Typing now on an at least fifteen year old Dell keyboard (more or less an IBM Model M clone but not quite as clicky as the real thing). Made In USA!

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Post by noee » Tue May 15, 2007 6:31 pm

My dad worked for DEC in the late 70's and early 80's and my first computer was really two computers: DEC Professional 350 and the venerable DEC Rainbow 100. Each dual-booted DOS and CP/M and each had a 5Mb hard drive. Built like tanks, those old DECs. Of course, the PDPs and VAXs were built well too....

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Post by Slaugh » Tue May 15, 2007 11:22 pm

My first computer was also a Commodore VIC-20. It used a MOS 6502 CPU @ 1MHz, had only 5 KB of RAM (but only 3.5 KB available), and came with a very slow tape drive (Commodore 1530 Datassette. But hey, it was enough to run pac-man! :) My next computer was a Commodore 64. Much better! :D

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Post by Willy Higinbotham » Wed May 16, 2007 12:39 am

Another Sinclair ZX81 owner here :)

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Post by Tzupy » Wed May 16, 2007 3:20 am

My first computer was a ZX81 clone, made by Texas Intruments. I also had a 16kB memory card for it. Only programmed in (interpreted) BASIC.
My second was a ZX Spectrum, 48kB and colour output, wow! I did some Z80 assembly and Pascal programming on it.
My first PC was an AMD 286 / 16MHz, 1MB RAM, 40MB Seagate HDD, 3.5" & 5.25" floppys, 512KB Realtek VGA and TECO 14" SVGA (1024x768@86Hz interlaced).
OS was MS-DOS 3.3, with Norton Commander as a desktop manager. Programmed in Pascal and 16-bit X86 assembly on it. Only 1,200$ in November 1991...

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Post by sjoukew » Wed May 16, 2007 5:01 am

AMD Tbird 800, 256mb ram, 20gb hdd, geforce256 ddr. a noisy thing, but I didn't care at that moment ..strangely enough. It is still running, now 24/7 for all kinds of services.

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Post by rpsgc » Wed May 16, 2007 5:22 am

My first one wasn't as "old school" as most of these :P

Intel Pentium MMX 233Mhz (high end at the time :P)
2GB Hard drive
Soundblaster 16 Compatible soundcard
14" CRT monitor

I played DOOM in it :)

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Post by qviri » Wed May 16, 2007 5:29 am

First computer I remember using was either a 386 or a 486. It ran Windows 3.11... oh the memories.

First computer I had significantly for my own use was a Celeron 300. 32 MB of RAM. 8 GB hard drive. Windows 98... I think it was a 300A, actually, but I was far too nub to know what that meant back then. I don't remember the noise level though I'm sure it wasn't quiet. That was in 1999.

Another family computer was a Duron 750, then the first computer that was actually mine came in 2004 in form of an old junker, Pentium 133 MHz, with 96 MB of RAM and a 17 GB hard drive (Seagate 5400 rpm, idle had a high whine but not much beyond that, and since high frequencies are directional I blocked them off and was happy). I booted BeOS and besides the lack of a modern browser (Firefox was way too slow) it was awesome.

Then I upgraded to socket A in 2005... Have yet to leave, though my laptops have gotten to Pentium M since.

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Post by monkiman » Wed May 16, 2007 6:19 am

TI-99/4A here too - all my high school learning was done on TRS-80 Model III though

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Post by Sylph-DS » Wed May 16, 2007 7:50 am

I remember, we had a 286 when I was about 4.. The thing ran on DOS and Windows 3.11, I used to play all kinds of games on it. Outrun, GoldenAxe, Prince of Persia, Paratrooper, Frogger, Pitfall, God of Thunder, some Pacman clone, Patience, and some other silly stuff.. I was quite the gamer back then ;)

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Post by zerok66 » Wed May 16, 2007 7:57 am

My "first" was a ZX Spectrum 80... - you know... TV is your monitor, audio cassets are your data storage... I even wrote Hangman in BASIC and played that for a while.

From there I moved onto a 486 SX33 with 2MB of ram... then a DX66 then a Pentium 75 then an AMD 133 then 300 and on and on.

Those of us who started in the days of MSDos are lucky to have a true appreciation of where life begun on the PC... nowadays... even average techies dont know what an IRQ conflict is, how to write a batch file, how to fully navigate through DOS etc etc

What I learnt in Dos will serve me in Windows for many years to come :)

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Post by jhhoffma » Wed May 16, 2007 9:13 am

Packard Bell 75MHz Pentium (later OC'd to 90MHz via bus)
Ensoniq audio
came with 14" SVGA monitor (640x480 @ 24bit) and a Canon BJ-100 printer.

Used manly for games (even back then) and Wordperfect 5.1 (pirated) and Lotus 1-2-3 (also pirated).

I was the first person in my high-school to have Window95!! As we got this in November after the Win95 event. It took me 2 weeks to figure out how to use the Start bar well, since I was in my computing infancy and had only learned Windows 3.11 for Workgroups.

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Post by flyingsherpa » Wed May 16, 2007 9:18 am

where's all the Apple love?

My family bought an Apple IIc circa 1985, I believe. Color screen AND color monitor (dot matrix), we were high tech. 128k RAM, no hard drive. Used that thing until 1994 for school papers and some programming. We even added a 2400 baud modem at one point, though I never got it to do much.

My own first PC was a Thinkpad with a 486SX/33, 4MB RAM, and 1MB of video RAM. That was late in 1994. I still have it, though it acts funny if you don't backdate it to before Y2K. It's not of much use anymore though, since it's on win3.1, no USB, and the PCMCIA slots fried from a lightning hit so no networking. Can't seem to get rid of it though.

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Post by Bobfantastic » Wed May 16, 2007 9:58 am

I had a BBC Micro system- it was older than me, but I was only young at the time (and yes, it's still older than me) so couldnt be trusted to play with my brothers Sinclair ZX Spectrum.
The Speccy died after our tape deck burned out; the BBC still works, the last time I checked. No idea of the numbers/spec, but they were perfectly silent once they'd finished loading progs- no fans, no HDDs, nothing.
Ah Repton, dearest Dizzy; what memories!

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