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Specs of the first computer you ever had

Started by Tyler, 2004-11-12T13:44:22-06:00 (Friday)

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I can barely remember when I got my first computer, but I do remember that it had a 20mb hard drive.  It didn't run windows (I forget what it ran--I wasn't quite the nerd I am now).  Then it was the sh*t when we got the new computer that ran Win 3.1.  

The way the performance has gone up while the price has dropped is really quite amazing to me.
Retired CAOS Officer/Overachiever
SIUE Alumni Class of 2005


Sweet.  That last post just increased my ranking!!!
Retired CAOS Officer/Overachiever
SIUE Alumni Class of 2005

bill corcoran

my family has had a computer since before i can remember.  not a year after i was born, my dad bought an original macintosh.  it had 64KB of RAM, and NO hard drive.  since we only had single-sided, low-density floppies at the time (400KB each), we also had an external floppy drive.  the external drive was constantly battling with the imagewriter dot-matrix line-feed printer over who could wake the dead first.  i used to play "airborne", "daleks", "zork" and "missile command" on it and draw robots with macpaint.  it even had "macspeak", a text-to-speech program that was fun to play with.

that was our only computer for over a decade.  i remember telling one of my teachers in third grade that my computer was black and white, and she told me "no, it's just your software."  actually, it seriously has a black and white display.  no shades of gray.  just black or white pixels.

when i was fourteen, i discovered basic and pascal on this computer, and the internet on our hot, newly inherited 486.  it's just gone on from there...

Jarod Neuner

The family's first computer was a Commodore 64. Truly a brilliant device - 64KB of memory, and had both a cartridge drive and a 360KB Floppy drive. The monitor was fed by RCA video, so ya could hook a VCR up to it and watch movies as well. I played Phantasie (an old RPG) for many, many hours on that machine.
My first computer was a 386DX-40 with 2MB of 40-pin RAM. At first all it had was a 5-1/4 Floppy drive, but it was High Density. 1 MB on one disk was amazing. Then in 5th Grade I got my first sound card (a Sound Blaster 8-bit, with a volume wheel on the faceplate) and my father bought me a 3.5 inch floppy drive from a bunch of machines that were being scrapped at work (It only cost him $60 used). It wasn't until Jr High that I got my first HDD - I upgraded a machine for a family friend and they gave me the old 120MB drive as payment. I still have it, and it still works.
Long live DOS

William Grim


Commodore 64's kicked some major ass!  I still have mine.  We owned two of them, and we had two 1541 drives, a tape drive, an actual monitor for it, joysticks, printer, etc.... we had it all pimped out.

Now, unfortunately, we only one of the computers left, and the power supply is bad, but that'd be easy to replace.  It'd be nice to get a 1541 drive for it again... maybe someone has found a way to make 1.44 MB drives work with them, but I bet you'd have to use a piece of software to access the entire drive, being that it only has 64 KB of RAM.

It would be nice to write a useful piece of software for one, just so that you have a reason to keep the system running for long periods.  I don't have a link, but I remember seeing an article on slashdot a few months ago about (I think) a train station still showing boardings using C64's.

Oh, and then for my first IBM-compatible PC, I had an Intel 486-DX2/50Mhz with 8 MB of RAM (later upgraded to 24).  It had a 420 MB hard drive and was pretty kick ass for the time, only being beaten out by 486-66.  This computer had DOS, and after a while, I got rid of Windows in order to make sole use of it.  I was upset when Windows 95 came out and the games started being developed for Windows more and more.

Luckily I have Linux/BSD now.....
William Grim
IT Associate, Morgan Stanley


Mine was a 486sx back in the very early 90's.  It was an absolute pimp machine because the monitor was 13" and it had 8megs of ram so it could run doom with blinding speeed.  It was amazing and only cost $3,000!  :-P
Bryan Grubaugh
Quickly aging alumni with too much time on his hands
Business Systems Analyst, Scripps Networks.

Michael Kennedy

you poor guy- you guys got sucked into that SX crap? fortunatally my dad did the research and got us a 486DX 33mhz, 50mb hdd, 8mb ram w/ 14" monitor (that i still use in my room right now :) )
"If it ain't busted, don't fix it" is a very sound principal and remains so despite the fact that I have slavishly ignored it all my life. --Douglas Adams, "Salmon of Doubt"

William Grim

William Grim
IT Associate, Morgan Stanley


We had an sx, but then we started living large and got the big mama dx.
Retired CAOS Officer/Overachiever
SIUE Alumni Class of 2005

Gary Mayer

I had an Aquarius which was little more than a glorified keyboard that hooked up to your TV set and had an integrated 4K of memory. I went all out and bought me a 16K expansion pack and a cassette data recorder too.

The very best graphics that you could program was a very pixelated running man with 4 different positions.  :-) :punk:
-- Malekith

The higher, the fewer, Doctor. The higher it goes, the fewer.

Michael Kennedy

i worded that badly- the monitor still works, but the origional motherboard had some capacitor leakage that forced me to retire that system a few years ago.  the monitor still looks more crisp than a lot of new ones my fridns get today.  ive been impressed with this Pionex badboy.
"If it ain't busted, don't fix it" is a very sound principal and remains so despite the fact that I have slavishly ignored it all my life. --Douglas Adams, "Salmon of Doubt"

Gregory Bartholomew

Ha!  Our first family PC was a Commadore 16!

It had:
16KB of memory,
1MHz Processor,
Cassette Drive (load "Gregs Tic-Tac-Toe Game",8,1),
and for hours on end of entertainment - A DASY-WHEEL PRINTER

I spent many hours writing BASIC programs on that computer.  I wrote AI tic tac toe games (I tried to expand it to a four by four grid for a more challenging game and it worked great until the last move when I was finally about to beat the computer, then it cheated and replaced my x with its o - I dicided that my AI programs were too clever for me :)

One of the last programs that I wrote for it was a graphics program something like the modern mspaint.  It didn't have any GUI buttons or anything, just a graphics area on most of the screen and a command area at the bottom where I could interactively enter the type of shape that I wanted (circle, rectangle, etc) and specify attributes like color.  I even programmed in the joystick to move the cursor (a pixel) and support for one level of undo.  I never did figure out how to get basic to save a file though.  Instead, I found I was able to quit the program with the graphic that I had just created still in memory and launch the "monitor" rom program which would allow me to peek and poke at memory addresses in hex (it looked a lot like the kind of stuff that I would latter find in msdos's debug program.  With the monitor program (and the commadore manual which told me what memory addresses stored the color graphics data), I was able to save my graphics from a set of memory address (specified in hex) to a file (on disk at that time we finally invested in one).  I still have a 1541 floating around somewhere.  My graphics program eventually grew to fill the entirety of the commadore's memory and I started learning all the bad programming habits that I have to this day (I learned to use 2 letter variable names because that was all that the program would distinguish anyway (though you could use longer names if you wanted) and I learned that I could save precious memory by removing whitespace and newlines as well.  To this day, I don't waste a newline character to put my opening braces on the line after the function prototype.

The last program that actually wrote for it was a lap counter for my dad's full size slot car track.  He crossed some wires though and ended up sending 12 volts of unlimited, unresisted, current from a car battery through its keyboard controler.



My first computer was a Comadore 128/64. It was backwards compatible with the 64 and ran everything. It even had a GUI. We had everything for it and we still have it all and it still works. The games are sweet for it, but they load slower than pregnant whale on land. :P I think they had BASIC OS or something like that. I remember writing a game for it. I think it was Yahtzee. That was ages ago, and I no longer have that game, but I have all the other games that we brought for it. We even have JANE for it. That was interesting to use. You had to swap out disks everytime you wanted to do something new. I use a Commadore emulator now to run all that stuff a lot faster. ;)
Retired webmaster of CAOS.