What was your first computer?

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Wed May 16, 2007 5:19 pm

Hello,

The first computer that I owned was a Mac IIcx: 16mHz 68030, 4MB RAM, 80MB hard drive, 13" gray scale monitor -- my girl friend worked at a college, and we got it with a 25% discount = $5,500!!

It lasted 10 years with nary a problem, save a failed floppy drive.

Before that I had used a Compaq 12mHz 286 with math coprocessor, 640KB RAM, 80MB hard drive that was partitioned into four 20MB segments. It had a huge (17", 20"?) CRT, and along with an HP pen plotter and the DataCAD software that ran in MS DOS -- it cost $20,000 or so.

Before that, in the early '70's, I learned BASIC programming on a "teletype" terminal that used tractor drive paper from a box underneath it, with a paper-punch strip writer/reader on the side for saving and reading back in programs that you had written. You rolled up the strip of paper and held it with a small rubber band -- it had rows of up to seven holes across the strip that was the data. :shock: I'm pretty sure your average four function calculator today has more computing power than the mainframe that these were connected to.
Sincerely, Neil
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Re: What was your first computer?

Post by merlin » Wed May 16, 2007 6:54 pm

I guess this could go two directions, the first one I used exclusively without true ownership was the good old IBM convertible, their first laptop!!!
I'm still amazed that it's still one of the FEW laptops ever to come with a built in printer! I have to admit, it was a lot of fun running DOS 3.0 and writing BASIC programs on there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_PC_Convertible

The other answer is my first fully self owned system was a Dell 486 DX2/66 system running DOS 6 and Win 3.1. Pretty sad that system was almost $2000 back in the day.
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Re: What was your first computer?

Post by Beyonder » Wed May 16, 2007 8:55 pm

The first computer my family had was a 386 something-or-other with a cyrix math co-processor, or some junk like that. My dad bought a 125 MB disk drive, and most of his friends were scratching their heads wondering what he was going to do with all that space. :lol:

The first computer I actually bought and owned was an Intel P2-400 with 64 MB of RAM, some crappy trident video card (replaced with an NVidia TNT something-or-other a few months later), and a 10K SCSI drive. It cost me two grand.

I still actually use this computer as a server; with 384 MB of RAM, a modern hard drive, and a slightly newer video card, it's actually a pretty snappy little machine. Upgrading the hard drive and RAM made a huge difference in performance.
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Post by alleycat » Wed May 16, 2007 11:26 pm

My first "computer" was an HP-29C, which was in fact a programmable calculator. It seemed like a computer to me at the time though, and I had many hours of fun with it.

I didn't get a real computer until many years later when I bought a secondhand Mac Plus. It ran System 6 from a floppy, and was otherwise silent, as it contained no fans or other moving parts.

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Post by steevc » Thu May 17, 2007 12:52 am

The first computer I owned was a BBC Micro when I was about 15. I got the lower spec model A as it was 100UKP cheaper than the B. I later upgraded the memory from 16k to 32k. I had loads of fun with that. Played games, including Elite, and wrote lots of programs with the very good Basic it had. All done with a tape deck as a floppy drive cost a lot.

Years later I had some Amigas. First a 500+, then a 1200 that I gradually upgraded to a 68040/33 with 128MB (I think) and 1.7GB hard drive.

Eventually I accepted that the Amiga market was dead and bought a PC (PIII/350). Been through a few upgrades since then. Now planning to get an Athlon X2 4800+.

From 1MHz/16kB to 2x2.5GHz/2GB in 26 years!
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Post by Air2 » Thu May 17, 2007 12:53 am

hi,
my first computer was a ZX81 then onto a Vic20 then Amiga.

switched back to games consoles Atari 2600 (wood effect) then Sega Megadrive.

Moved back to pc when i built me first machine using a Celeron 800 with a massive 16GB hard drive (feel the power).

now getting ready to build my 3rd PC.

all the best to the commodore old school.
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Post by Trekmeister » Thu May 17, 2007 2:45 am

My first computer was a Spectravideo 728
Without any fans and stuff at least it was silent! :D

The first computer I bought and paied for myself was an Amiga 4000 probably still the best computer I've ever had! I still have it here in a shelf. I put an LCD-display (controlled from the parallell port) and blue LEDs (they cost a fortune back then) in the front, long before people had ever heard about "case modding". Oh and for a while I also had it mounted in a highly modified PC-AT tower pimped out with an Overclocked 66MHz 68060, 16bit 48kHz sound, UW SCSI3 disks and CD-writer, 10Mbit Network interface etc etc! :D
A pic of my A4000 and another.

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Post by Ralf Hutter » Thu May 17, 2007 6:25 am

Mine, circa 1970 or so:

Image

No joke.

Actually, I still have it somewhere.

EDIT:

After thinking about it for a while, I remembered the first electronic "computer" I ever had. It was a Ti-SR50 that my girlfriend and I shared during college:

Image

This was a hellaciously expensive high school graduation gift from my wealthy uncle.
Last edited by Ralf Hutter on Thu May 17, 2007 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by frostedflakes » Thu May 17, 2007 6:39 am

I don't think slide rule qualifies as a computer. :p
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Post by steevc » Thu May 17, 2007 6:42 am

frostedflakes wrote:I don't think slide rule qualifies as a computer. :p
I believe that in it's original meaning 'computer' was a job title, not a tool. I'm not sure anyone around here is that old.
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Post by DrJ » Thu May 17, 2007 7:36 am

Compupro, in 1980. S100 bus, dual 8085/8088, with an 8087 math co-processor, 256K of static RAM, dual 8" floppies, nine serial ports, three terminals (Heath H-29) and a dot-matrix printer. It ran MP/M (a multiuser version of CP/M), and allowed simultaneous execution of 8 and 16 bit programs.

Utterly reliable. I still have it, and it still works fine.

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Post by IsaacKuo » Thu May 17, 2007 7:37 am

Trekmeister wrote:A pic of my A4000 and another.
Is that a homemade parnet cable at the bottom of that second picture?
Isaac Kuo

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Post by ChrisH » Thu May 17, 2007 12:06 pm

Apple IIe bought in 1984 by my parents. They bought the monochrome green screen and a single 5.25 inch floppy drive. Me and my brothers pooled our money together a few months later and bought a copy of Enchanter, a text adventure game from Infocom. Many nights of fun ensued.

The computer store had just received the brand new Macintosh. We oohed and ahhed over the slick GUI for quite a while. The only programs that we were able to use were MacPaint and MacWrite.

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Texas Instruments SR-51-II

Post by NeilBlanchard » Thu May 17, 2007 5:54 pm

Hello,

In college (1978-1981), I had a Texas Instruments SR-51-II calculator that could graph X/Y charts telling you the slope, the X & Y intersections, standard devation (my graphs were very accurate!), and carried out Pi to 29 decimal places -- which got me in trouble in Physics courses, since everyone else only used 3.14.
Image
It had little red LED display, and was programmable up 50 steps, too. Finally, the power switch failed. :cry:
Sincerely, Neil
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Post by disphenoidal » Thu May 17, 2007 6:45 pm

Let's see how much I can remember (I was young)...
I got it in 1992 or 1993. It's been upgraded several times, and I still have it, although it hasn't been turned on in maybe a decade. Originally, I think the specs were:

486DX at 33MHz
16MB RAM
100MB HD
3.5" floppy
5.25" floppy

Even then I remember it being loud, except back then I thought the sound of the hard disk spinning up was so cool.
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Post by Buddabing » Thu May 17, 2007 8:18 pm

TRS-80 Model 1 circa 1977. It had level 1 BASIC, 4K of RAM, and saved programs at 150 baud to a cassette tape. Eventually it was upgraded to Level 2 BASIC and a whopping 16K of RAM.

My parents still have that computer.

There is no date storage in that computer so it is Y2K compliant.

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Atari XE

Post by vanhelmont » Thu May 17, 2007 8:52 pm

My first computer experience was Fortran programming on punched cards. My commmunity college shared some sort of IBM computer with several local colleges. We had a card reader and printer connected to it over a phone line.

The first computer I owned was an Atari XE, which was an 8-bit machine with everything in two chips, if I remember rightly (I bought it in '86). I got an optional floppy disk, which cost about the same as the computer, and used my TV for a display. The main thing I did on it was a hitchhiker's guide to the universe game, which was completely text, no graphics at all.
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Post by jaldridge6 » Thu May 17, 2007 9:03 pm

Apple IIe, then some sort of color Macintosh. Eventually I wound up with a pentium 100mhz, 8 or 16mb of ram. It ran doom pretty fast compared to my friends 486/33. I wish I still had all those old computers.... the memories.

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Post by ellipse » Fri May 18, 2007 1:22 am

Do programmable calculators count? If yes, my first computer was a Sharp PC 1211 (PC for "Pocket Computer"), one-line LCD, BASIC programmable. If not, an IBM PC-XT, green text-only monitor, 10 MB (not GB...) hard drive, floppy.

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Post by oldabelincoln » Fri May 18, 2007 2:20 am

First slide rule - Dietzgen Maniphase Multiplex - celluloid on mahogany -1958
First computer job (operator) - IBM 650 - tube CPU, drum memory - 1961
First computer programmed - Honeywell 800 - transistor CPU, magnetic core memory - first commercial multitasking system -1961

First computer owned - Gateway DX2-66, w. a full gigabyte of disk - probably 1993 or 1994
First computer built - see sig - 2006
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Post by Trekmeister » Fri May 18, 2007 3:31 am

IsaacKuo wrote:
Trekmeister wrote:A pic of my A4000 and another.
Is that a homemade parnet cable at the bottom of that second picture?
I actually think it is the cable running to my LCD-display in the front. ParNET was great, used it regularly untill I invested in an incredible expensive 10Mbit ethernet card. :)

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Post by Steve_Y » Sat May 19, 2007 4:16 am

The first computer I bought was a ZX81, but to be honest it was little more than a toy. Generally just used to play around with BASIC and run games like 3D Monster Maze (the original 3D survival horror). The novelty wore off pretty quickly and it ended up in the back of a cupboard.

My BBC Micro was the machine that turned me into the local computer geek. That was a much more practical machine than the ZX81; well made, with a decent keyboard, some great features and plenty of excellent productivity software.

Switching from cassette tape to floppy disks instantly made it a much faster and more reliable system to use. You could also burn software onto EPROM and add it into an internal ROM slot for even faster access. For the first time it was quicker to boot up my computer when I wanted to write something, or work out a calculation, than it was to do it with a pen and paper.

Looking back, probably the most impressive BBC application was AMX PageMaker, a very early DTP app that was amazingly usable (considering the hardware limitations). I managed to create newsletters and flyers, with graphics, multiple text columns, different fonts, etc. all on a system with 32K of RAM. It always amazes me that programmers back then could do so much with so little, especially when looking at the hundreds of megabytes eaten up by modern software.

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MORROW MICRO DESIGNS

Post by Greg F. » Sat May 19, 2007 10:57 am

Zilog 80A processor, two 160K floppy discs. I think 64 k memory. green screen. 19k dialup modem, a dot matrix printer. I used it to access a local weather service and bookkeeping. A real POS.

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Post by Chris Chan » Sat May 19, 2007 12:50 pm

This makes me feel really young. I'm only 14. My first computer I used at home was:

AMD K6-2/450
SiS 6326 video
32MB RAM
3GB HDD
Windows 95A.

I set up the printer myself on that box in second grade. Never opened it though.
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Post by YugenM » Sat May 19, 2007 2:30 pm

when I was 8 (this was in 1998):

A pre-built eMachine mATX tower with a Celeron 400MHz, 32MB RAM, 4GB HDD and an extremely loud PSU that was only slightly louder than the 5000000000RPM fan on the Celeron.

Three years later, we replaced it with an Athlon XP system. It felt really fast back then, but now I slap it and swear at it to go faster whenever I'm stuck using it because my mom watches YouTube on my PC.

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Post by xan_user » Sat May 19, 2007 4:40 pm

comadore pet 32k, later got the 64k model!
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audio tape recorder for saving and running progams.
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Post by cmthomson » Sat May 19, 2007 6:01 pm

oldabelincoln wrote:First slide rule - Dietzgen Maniphase Multiplex - celluloid on mahogany -1958
First computer job (operator) - IBM 650 - tube CPU, drum memory - 1961
First computer programmed - Honeywell 800 - transistor CPU, magnetic core memory - first commercial multitasking system -1961

First computer owned - Gateway DX2-66, w. a full gigabyte of disk - probably 1993 or 1994
First computer built - see sig - 2006
Wow, there's actually somebody older than me here! :shock:

My first slide rule was 1964, first programming on an IBM 360/50 in 1969, first personally owned computer was an HP-35 in 1975, etc, etc.

But probably the most interesting is the first one I designed (with lots of help): the Myrias SPS-1 in 1983-87, a parallel processor with 256 CPUs and the necessary OS and compiler support.
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Post by sea2stars » Sat May 19, 2007 9:47 pm

IBM PCjr

Good times, good times

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Post by aristide1 » Tue May 22, 2007 10:11 am

Ralf Hutter wrote:
EDIT:

After thinking about it for a while, I remembered the first electronic "computer" I ever had. It was a Ti-SR50 that my girlfriend and I shared during college:

Image

This was a hellaciously expensive high school graduation gift from my wealthy uncle.
I think it was like $150 dollars in 1974-1975. We're talking days when gas was 50 cents a gallon and breakfast was like a buck.
People who put money and political ideology ahead of truth and ethics are neither patriots nor human beings.

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Post by aristide1 » Tue May 22, 2007 10:18 am

OK you axed for it. <- Who first said this?

Bleeding edge.

Micronics EISA 486/DX33 mobo.
Diamond TSENG4000 ISA card with 1 Meg of video RAMM, whoohoo! 8)
8 sticks of 1MB RAMM, the speedy 60ns stuff. The board had 16SIMM slots.
A Maxtor IDE whopping 200MB.
A Northgate keyboard, the absolute best, $129 worth! Its a tank.
An Idek 17 monitor, and I am still using it but the picture is off to one side.
PC Power and Cooling 270 watt Silencer power supply, it came with 300 watter that was simply awful. PCP&C gave me an even swap. Nice people.

The Maxtor and TSENG were connected on that speedy 8MHz ISA bus. :shock:

An EISA SCSI hardware caching controller came later. :shock: :shock:

Puh-leaze, don't ask me why I bothered.
People who put money and political ideology ahead of truth and ethics are neither patriots nor human beings.

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