First Real Computer...

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Last seen: 12 years 4 months ago
Joined: Apr 15 2004 - 22:11
Posts: 142
First Real Computer...

... that you could really dig your hands into and not get into trouble.

For me it was a Generic P1@266 with Win 98, 4x Burner, 100B/t, 4gig HD

I got it after the video card died and my mother decided she wanted a new computer than try to fix it Biggrin

Last seen: 18 years 6 months ago
Joined: Oct 24 2004 - 00:43
Posts: 117
B&W G3

It was a 400 mhz Blue and white G3 tower. It had NEVER been updated. It was OLD compared to my "New G4". I still have it. It is maxed out with ram, ATI 9200 and a SATA PCI card. Also a 16x superdrive and a 1 ghz Sonnet Tech processor. Its pretty fast and can even play Halo pretty well!

coius's picture
Last seen: 9 years 8 months ago
Joined: Aug 25 2004 - 13:56
Posts: 1975
when i was 5

my dad taught me how to build a 386 from scratch (i am 20 if that tells you something.) I was always adding stuff to it. Joypads/sound cards/ISA video cards with 768KB VRAM) i also used to play Descent and Descent 2 on it great little machine.

EDIT: i believe my HD in it was a 120MB drive. also featured a brand new 1x CD-Rom and a 5.25" floppy

iantm's picture
Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
Joined: Apr 2 2005 - 14:01
Posts: 709
My first computer

When I was 8, my father gave me an old Televideo TeleCAT (286 AT clone). It was a pretty sweet machine to me at the time. 4 color cga graphics, 2 5.25" floppies, and a 40 mb MFM Seagate hard drive. I learned DOS, Wordperfect, and great games such as Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego. When I was 10, I got to play with a 486 he brought home from work. Oh man, I remember how exciting the 50 mhz 486DX was. It had 16mb of RAM and a 120mb hard drive. He later got laid off and it had to go back. When I was 11, I got my first real tweaker machine - a 40 mhz AMD 386DX with 8mb of RAM and a pair of Western Digital Caviar 2120 120 mb drives.

It took running the Windows 95 beta on that machine that got me looking at Macs. I got my first mac for free at a Salvation army thrift store at the age of 12. It was a nonfunctional Macintosh Classic. I learned a lot on that old compact mac. I got my first PowerBook at the age of 15, a PowerBook 180 (greyscale).

- iantm

Last seen: 10 years 2 months ago
Joined: Sep 16 2004 - 02:44
Posts: 274
well the first computer i had

well the first computer i had was a pm6100 but it was for the family, but then a few years later my dad got me a performa 640cd dos compatible. Both machines are still running. The 6100 is my dad's company's main machine now and the 640 is sitting in my basement in my stack of computers. The first machine i REALLy could mess with was when we got an imac DV and a dell desktop. I was then able to take apart the performa and upgrade it and learn about the internals of a computer.

chrismeyer6's picture
Last seen: 4 years 6 months ago
Joined: Jan 28 2004 - 12:14
Posts: 40
My first computer I got was 8

My first computer I got was 8 years old it was a IBM PCJr my grandfather got me when I was 8 that was 10 years ago and it's still setup in my room I love to play around with that little machine.

Jon's picture
Last seen: 12 years 6 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 2804
My first machine was a C-64.

My first machine was a C-64. I used it to satiate the gamers addiction until I was about 10. Then, I got my first real machine to work on, an Amiga 500, and several years later my first modem, 2400 baud (Jan. 1994! Fast baby, yeah!)) That was the first machine I ever made a modification/upgrade to. The A500 has 512k Chip RAM (CPU and DMA for graphics/sound/anim) and you could drop in a card really quick for another 512k Fast RAM (CPU only, no special DMA) and a battery backed clock. There was a mod that involved replacing the Agnes chip (graphics/bus controller?) and cutting a trace on the mobo to make it a full 1MB Chip from the split 512k/512k. Then a friend loaned me an accel card to make it run a 68020@14MHz and a 68882@28MHz, and added a SIMM slot for another 4MB RAM. Wow, 5MB RAM, a full 1MB of that was DMA Chip RAM, Amiga DOS 1.3, auto booting a Trumpcard SCSI controller w/ a humongous 40MB Apple Quantum SCSI drive. That kicked all sorts of butt back in the day.

Last seen: 12 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: Apr 22 2004 - 15:37
Posts: 378
Mine would have been

my first PC clone - a Tandy 1000EX I bought "new" back in 1988. You just have to love those proprietary Tandy Expansion slots!

Internal 5.25" floppy, external 3 1/2" floppy, 256kb on board memory, an extra 128kb with the proprietary expansion card allowing two more cards to be added, then an additional 256kb ram on that card for 640kb. Ooooooh! Smile At the time, a 40MB hard disk for this thing was between $300-400. Needless to say, I didn't have one.

I tried to wire an adapter to use standard ISA cards in this machine. It didn't work - killed a $49 serial card in the process!

It's not a case of not getting into trouble - I have always bought my computers, or someone handed them off to me. It's a matter of 'can I do without this if I screw it up'?

Before the Tandy, I had a ColecoVision ADAM - a semi Apple II compatible machine, at least with the BASIC language. I also had a Commodore 128D. I just wasn't comfortable going into them after spending all that money to buy them.

DoctorClu's picture
Last seen: 10 years 5 months ago
Joined: May 3 2005 - 10:15
Posts: 119
Sol Terminal 20

In 1977-1978 my dad had a Sol Terminal. Played hours of Trek80 on it, played music on its 1-bit sound card Smile (have MP3's of some of the music that I converted from tape recordings). This computer was a contempory of the Apple 1, the Heathkits and so forth.

-MY- first computer was the Atari 400 throughout the 80's (the whole decade practically.) Still tinker on an Atari 800 these days. The nineties onward has been of course Macintosh.
So I tip my hat to the C=64 user that was on here earlier. Biggrin

tmtomh's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 568
Powerbook 180, I think

I had an Atari 800XL (1985-88) and a Mac SE FDHD (1988-92), but I knew little about computer hardware at the time. I never even considered getting inside the Atari, and I had no idea how to get inside the SE.

The first computer I got inside of was my Powerbook 180 (1992-97). After having its RAM upgraded by a totally incompetent tech (initially he didn't reconnect the display cable properly, so I had to take it back for him to fix it), I resolved to learn how to get into it myself. I upgraded the HD, and then after awhile I sold it.

After that I got a Power Mac 7300/180 (1997-2002), and I totally ripped it apart top to bottom over the years. I upgraded the CPU twice; upped the RAM in several steps (from 32MB to 448MB IIRC); upgraded the HD, and then added a second HD; installed all sorts of PCI cards; and added a second case fan. It was during this period that I really became a Mac fanatic at my current level, and that I learned everything about Macs, inside and out, from PRAM to open firmware, to SCSI termination, to system bus multipliers, etc.

Ironically, my next - and current - primary use Mac was an iMac G4, which, like that old SE, I am very hesitant to get inside, and which I do not plan on upgrading, aside from the RAM upgrade I did when I purchased it.

Since I got that machine in 2002, I've done lots of tinkering, but it's all been with my hobby Macs, and with Macs I collect, upgrade and sell.


Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Last seen: 6 years 9 months ago
Joined: Jan 20 2005 - 16:03
Posts: 1433
Sanyo MBC 550

1985, Sanyo MBC 550, IBM-clone, but not really. Dos prompts, 5 1/4" floppies--those were the days. Worst part was trying to get the daisy-wheel printer to work--dip switches galore--and when it did work, the whole house would shake. But, like any first love, it still makes the heart go pitter-pat to remember the old doll.

Last seen: 6 years 8 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 455
Atari guy here

My first comptuer was an Atari 400 that I used for many years. Got it in 1981 for around 599 (i think) at Macy's. Well my parents bought it for me after much prodding.

I got the cassete unit for it too.. I must have used that thing for 5 hours a day for a LONG time.

Last seen: 14 years 7 months ago
Joined: May 29 2005 - 22:35
Posts: 284
first real computer

IBM XT 8088 cpu, 640k and a 10meg hard drive with a green screen monitor. What a machine and it had a daisy wheel printer. Man what clunker now but it was state of the art when we bought it

Last seen: 6 years 9 months ago
Joined: Feb 23 2005 - 05:27
Posts: 233
first real computer

my first real computer outside of my dad's growing up and roommates was a k6-2 450 or so. I got it while stuck living in the woods working a crap group home job and it was the only music recording tool i had. I broke it and had to fix it because there was no one around to fix it for me. 2 months later i moved back to the city Couple months after that I was working for a computer shop. One and a half years later I started my own consulting firm.

Last seen: 18 years 5 months ago
Joined: Jun 17 2005 - 11:28
Posts: 3
When I was a child, I would p

When I was a child, I would play with an Apple II+ my dad built. He eventually gave me and my brother an Apple IIe to put in our room. Then my dad brought home a Tandy 1000, that was PC compatible. It was sweet, but at the same time, it was a tie with the Apple IIe. One day when I was like 10 my dad brought home a 386sx with Windows 3.1. My mind was then hooked on PC's and Billy Gate's software. Right now, I have a P4 with 1Gig of ram, and Geforce 6 6800, with a Sound Blaster Live Gamer. I still have my old IIe and have recently bought an Apple IIGS ROM01 computer which I play with on occasion. I even have an Apple IIe emulator on my Windows XP machine!

Last seen: 7 years 7 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 211
Nobody will speak to me again...

As a teenager I considered buying one of Clive Sinclair's ZX80 kits but I wisely invested the money in a Mercian cycle frame instead. I got more joy from the Mercian bike (which I still own) in six months than I ever would have obtained from a Sinclair.

My first computer purchase occurred ten or so years later. The company for whom I worked had a mixed environment (PDP11/VAX/Mac/Apple II/AT clones) but I needed a PC to run a particular piece of software. XT clones were becoming affordable on the UK market but I turned down a cheap Tandy clone in favour of the then new Amstrad 1512. Horrible, cheap, nasty but we used it to type up a friend's MSc thesis. Twelve months later, I loaned it to a friend and decided at that moment to not ask for it back.

My next computer was a Mac salvaged from a skip (US: dumpster).


How to publish a thesis using an Amstrad 1512, late 1980's style:
1. Type in text using Wordstar 2000 on Amstrad, leaving spaces for equations.
2. Save thesis data onto 360KB 5.25" floppy disk.
3. Catch bus to work office with mates.
4. Using AT clone, transfer contents of 360KB floppy disk to 1.2MB 5.25" floppy disk.
5. Place 1.2MB 5.25" floppy disk in Daynafile drive attached to an SE and copy contents to SE hard disk.
6. Use MacLink software to convert Wordstar format file to WriteNow.
7. Copy WriteNow format thesis files to Mac IIcx using Tops.
8. Sort out format of thesis files in WriteNow.
9. Insert equations using MathType DA.
10. Print thesis.
11. Photocopy and bind thesis.
12. Despatch friend with thesis for delivery at University 150 miles away.
13. Stay at work because it is too late to go home for any sleep...

mudogramx's picture
Last seen: 17 years 3 months ago
Joined: Jun 21 2005 - 13:16
Posts: 34
Macintosh Performa 6116 CD

I got this computer when I was in the 7th grade. It was mind-blowingly fast compared to the other computers I used at the time. I eventually upgraded it to 40mb of ram. I was able to get Mac OS 9 on it. I had to replace the PRAM battery a couple of times, but its 10 yrs old and still runs :).

DrBunsen's picture
Last seen: 9 years 4 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 946

Age 7, playing Strek on a VT-100 terminal connected to a Honeywell mainframe...

Unpacking the Acorn BBC Model B from the airfreight packaging and plugging it into the spare TV...

The first real computer of my very own was a 6100, also the first machine I really opened and did stuff inside, upgrading RAM, HDs, many unsupported hacks, full-height SCSI drives sitting outside the case, null-modem bridge to LAN, etc.

Last seen: 18 years 1 month ago
Joined: May 24 2005 - 18:12
Posts: 61

My first computers was a windoze computer, that I bought from my brother. He sold it to me so that he could buy an ibook. Not ever seeing a mac before, I just went with my gut and bought the wintel box. I guess I got it becausemy dad is a windows programmer, and he hates macs. He has even made his home network mac free, trying to keep my bro's mac out. Once I get a new mac, we are going to start an airport network.

Last seen: 17 years 9 months ago
Joined: Jan 22 2005 - 20:20
Posts: 595
[quote]also featured a brand

also featured a brand new 1x CD-Rom and a 5.25" floppy

Incredible! I've never known of anyone that actually had a 1x CDROM drive. You were one of the pioneers. You were one of those people that was first to board the train heading to the multimedia revolution. Cool!

I had an Atari 800XL (1985-88) and a Mac SE FDHD (1988-92), but I knew little about computer hardware at the time. I never even considered getting inside the Atari, and I had no idea how to get inside the SE.

I had and still have an Atari 800XL. I have several actually. They were nice little machines.

I really liked the look of those machines. The coffee and cream colour scheme with the slick aluminum coloured quasi-function keys on the right hand side seemed somehow industrial to me. That was really attractive, I thought, in the early eighties.

I had a Commodore Pet briefly as well. It was an 8032 with that cool 80-column green monochrome screen. I liked the way the top flipped up so that I could get at the guts of the machine. It made me appreciate how it must have felt to be a mechanic on a big tractor/trailer. I still have fond memories of the honking huge capacitors that adorned the left hand side of the chasis. Don't miss that beast at all.

When I was in high school, a friend and I did a science project together on the subject of computer technology. I remember calling around to a bunch of local industries and just asking for some of their old computer junk. I have to admit, I got quite the haul of stuff.

A technician from DEC gave me all kinds of stuff, including an old DEC dot matrix printer that must have weighed at least eighty pounds or more. That thing was a true beast in every describable fashion.

I also received an acoustic coupler modem. Anybody remember those things? The DEC technician that gave it to me was using it as a reference in designing an interface for a robot that he was building. He was going to control the robot with his home Apple II.

I walked away with a huge pile of loot compliments of DEC and that technician. I was so impressed with that haul, that I remember the technicians name to this very day and will probably never forget.

Yeah, it's certainly amazing what you can get if you just ask. A couple of other local industries offered stuff as well. Some just gave us stuff and others loaned us stuff for use in our project. All of them offered their time and expertise in answering questions that we had.

astro_rob's picture
Last seen: 8 years 9 months ago
Joined: Mar 19 2005 - 12:28
Posts: 320
Commodore PC III

I bought that machine in the early 1990's for $14. XT clone.8086/8087, full 640kb RAM, Seagate ST-225 20mb MFM/RLL hard drive, green screen monochrome monitor with extremely persistant phosphors. Ran IBM-DOS 4.01 (cranky that). I purchased it for the express purpose of learning the insides of PC's. Prior to that, I had cut my teeth somewhat with the Commodore 128-D (even added a fan to that one; smart idea!). But the PCIII was pretty durable. I never really counted it as a "working" machine at the time, always a testbed (that and an Epson QX-10 that was both a CP/M and DOS computer; dual processor Z80/8086, also 640kb RAM). After it's ST-225 died (as they were apt to), I converted it to a floppy only machine (wow... was that oh so hard). Sold it for $5 in 1998.
Don't miss it much.

coius's picture
Last seen: 9 years 8 months ago
Joined: Aug 25 2004 - 13:56
Posts: 1975
and that CD-Rom

was slow as hell... Plus, it never worked quite right. It was kinda flaky for being $300 at the time. I'm surprised I held onto it as long as I did. I kept the drive till I got a P 1 200MHz MMX. Then I got a 8x. and on top of that, It was a CD-r drive (did 2x burning). It also came in a caddy style form factor. I hated those things.

The Stores would charge $8 just for one of those caddy trays. and the thing was alway getting stuck in the drive.

Last seen: 17 years 9 months ago
Joined: Jan 22 2005 - 20:20
Posts: 595
[quote]was slow as hell...

was slow as hell... Plus, it never worked quite right. It was kinda flaky for being $300 at the time. I'm surprised I held onto it as long as I did. I kept the drive till I got a P 1 200MHz MMX. Then I got a 8x. and on top of that, It was a CD-r drive (did 2x burning). It also came in a caddy style form factor. I hated those things.

You got me to thinking about an old power supply that I was given by the DEC technician way back when. It was huge, relatively speaking, it had dual toggle switches that were physically bound together. When these dual toggle switches were flipped to the upright position, the "power on" condition was indicated by a glowing red lamp. Yes, an actual lightbulb... not an LED.

The power supply itself was about eight inches high by six inches wide and about two feet long. It had four rather large fans that braced the top of the unit for cooling. The power output was: Hmmm, I forget. I do, however, recall using it to power an old car CB radio that I had played with for awhile.

In all honesty, I just thought that the large black case was cool looking and the sound of the whirring fans was music to my ears.

I don't have much of that stuff left anymore. I think I still have some seven-segment LED displays that I liberated from some controller boards. That's probably about the extent of what remains.

Some of the memory boards I sold to a guy on a local BBS at the time. He was an Amiga user and went by the handle of "boxspring", if I recall correctly.

woogie's picture
Last seen: 6 years 10 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 267
Still Have It

I still ahve my first real computer! And I use it
often for document storage and word processing. Old
computers never die...they just become elctronic

Original Computer

1986 Leading Edge Model D
10mhz (switchable from 4-10mhz) 8088/8087 w/clock! (stock)
2 5 1/4" floppies (stock)
Yellow screen moniter (stock)
Mother board has onboard Mono/CGA capability (stock)
4 expansion slots (stock)
Enhanced XT style 101 key keyboard (stock), (optional)
640K RAM (stock)
Onboard (motherboard) serial and parallel ports (stock)
Original OS was DOS 3.1

I added

40MB Winchester Hard Card HD
1MB VGA video card, 256 colors
Serial Mouse (drives right off the serial port)
3 1/2" floppy drive (swapped out 5 1/4" Drive 2)
640x480 VGA Monitor
2MB Extended Memory Card
Present OS is DOS 6.0 plus various utilities added

The upgrades were made over 10 years ago and every
thing is still working perfectly!

I bought this computer to do work at home as we only
had a couple of Apple IIe computers at work and I
could not get an Apple commercially in my area at the
time. I bought MicroSoft Works and installed it on
the PC and it performs like AppleWorks even displaying
files and screen almost identical to AppleWorks!
Maybe we remember the history of Apple and the involve-
ment of Bill Gates back then? Eerie!

I have since gotten several Apple IIe's which I also
use and even have hooked the PC and IIe together with
a null-modem cable and use Cross-Works to communicate
files back and forth. Neat. I also modded the Apple IIe
for performance.

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