What was your first computer like?

Time to reminisce; to think back to the first proud moment when you finally owned your first computer. Standing there on your desk, most likely ready to offer you knowledge and experience that did definitely affect your life. Maybe even your first trembling step towards becoming a web developer?

My first computer was an IBM PC. It had a Pentium 120 Mhz processor and 12MB of RAM together with an 850 MB hard drive. The RAM was eventually updated to 38MB and the difference was as clear as night compared to day. And to remember that I actually learned Photoshop on this machine! πŸ™‚

What was your first computer like?

66 Comments

  • Box says:

    My first computer was an Amiga 500.

    I bought a used one from a friend of my brother for 4000 SEK, allot back then in 1989.

    It had 512 KB RAM and I got around 50 or so 3.5 Floppy Discs included in the deal.

    A short time after, I got tired of switching Floppy’s when I played my favorite game Pirates by Sid Meier, so I invested in an extra Floppy drive for about 700 SEK.

    A while after that I got really interested in communicating with others "online", so I bought a Modem – don't remember the manufacturer but it had 2400 baud speed (took about an hour or so to get 1 MB).

    Things where easier then, with Bulletin Board Systems just a phone call away (until my parents got the phone bill).

    After my Amiga died in my arms one day, due to a beverage accident on my desk, I got a brand new PC with a Hard drive and 12MB RAM, but that's another story…

  • Well, I've used them since the early 80's. Though the first I brought was; Cyrix/IBM 166+ 32 MB RAM, 2 GB HDD, 15-inch VDU, 8-speed CD Drive and an amazing 2 MB Graphics accelerator.

  • Ã&Acirc says:

    This is my first computer.

    I remember I used to play Football Manager on it, at all times … at a whopping 1.8 MHz

  • Jeff Louella says:

    I actually had a Texas Instruments TI-99. I then Upgraded that to a Commodore Vic 20. A Commodore 64 came in another year or so. From there I had a windows 3.1 computer I built. It had 2 megs of Ram, 200MB hard drive, and a 12 inch screen.

    Recently, My dad found a Toshiba Laptop at his work and gave it to me. It has a 8 inch screen and similar specs to my Windows 3.1 machine above. I Used to keep it on mt desk at work as a gag, but ended up selling it on eBay for $50. It was a tank!

  • Tommy Olsson says:

    The first computer I played with was an Olivetti with a hardcopy terminal and 8-inch floppy disks. πŸ™‚

    Then there was the inevitable (in Sweden) ABC80.

    The first computer I bought for myself was an Atari 1024ST. No hard drive, but an amazing (at the time) 1MB of RAM.

  • ABC80 is RETURN also a Swedish word then?

  • Rimantas says:

    Sinclair ZX Spectrum

  • Gary says:

    I had a ZX81 at first, then with the 16K ram pack. Amazing, it could use about an 8th of the screen.

    Then moved up to an Amstrad CPC464, but green screen unfortunately.

    Then onto the mighty Amiga A500, through an A1200 with 6MB of ram and a 68030 accelerator card.

    Finally onto the dismal and bland PC….

  • Alexander says:

    My first conputer is the russian ZX Spectrum clone, named "Sintez".

  • Whooho, mine was an Amiga 500 too! My father wanted to buy the Amiga 500+ with 1MB RAM but I was really afraid of not having exactly the same as my cousin had. I had stupid feelings about that he wouldn't be able to help me starting, if I had the 500+. But then I was really good in programming in AmigaBASIC when I was 13 ;-).

  • Mine was a Kaypro running CP/M and WordStar. Hey, if it was good enough for Arthur C. Clarke it was good enough for me. πŸ˜‰

  • First working PC was home brew s-100 with a Z80 chip and 8k static ram. (1978) I wired the keyboard matrix, wrote the bios hooks for keyboard and video display. Added a Northstar floppy drive some time later. Never got the Tarbell cassette interface to work for more than a few seconds at a time.

    First machine I bought was an Osborne II (1981 I think) — the machine that killed Osborne computing. First MSDOS machine was a Leading Edge

  • The first one I owned was a 486 DX with 33Mhz and, uhm, I think 8MB ram.

    The first one I ever started using was probably a Commodore or the Amiga 1200.

  • DEC PDP-8/e, with one VDU, two Teletypes, and a high-speed punched paper tape reader. It wasn't mine of course, it was the school's – bought in 1973, I believe. From the age of 13 (1975) I was a member of the Babbage Society, which meant lots of hanging around the computer room during breaks and after school with the other geeks. If you were first in, you entered the bootstrap code in binary using the toggle switches on the front, the tape reader whirred away for half a minute, and the teletypes suddenly chattered (and the VDU blinked) as they all said "READY" – the multi-user BASIC prompt. Happy days…

  • Kristian Nilsson says:

    Commodore 64 with cassette tapes for storage (A friend of mine had one with floppy disks. That was cool!). I used it mostly for games. Most of the games i actually bought didn't work though…

    Then there was the copying of hundreds of lines of code (mostly peek's and poke's, which I still don't know what they really mean) from a book to get it to make a little sound, like a baby's cry or a gunshot. Oh, those were the days.

  • psilokan says:

    Growing up we had an Atari 600 XL in our house. I was very young, and had better things to do, so I never touched it at the time (though years later I dug it out and did some BASIC programming on it for fun).

    But the first computer I actually sat down on and really started learning with was our Pentium 75mhz. Made by good old Packard Bell (wow, I cant even type that w/o cringing). It had a 1083mb HDD, 8mb onboard RAM, 16 bit soundcard/14.4 modem (yes, this was combined onto one card… what a pleasure that was).

  • Tim says:

    I started with a TRS-80 from Radio Shack. Had a TI-99 as well, but I don't think I ever did anything with it. Then an Apple IIe. Then a PC clone that I put together myself — think it had 640k of RAM and a 20Mb hard drive.

    Man — this is making me feel OLD!

  • Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

  • Henrik says:

    An AST computer – really modern for its time.

    50 MHz, 16 MB of some sort of RAM, no idea about HDD, Windows 3.11. Bought 1994.

  • My first computer was a Sinclair ZX81. After about 10 days of almost continuous use, my dad saw I was 'keen', so he sent it back within the 14 day moneyback guarantee period and we went out and bought an Acorn Atom with a 4 colour (!) expansion card. From that day on, I was hooked πŸ˜‰

  • Ø&Acir says:

    The first one I owned was a 486 DX

  • billg says:

    My first computer was a Commodore VIC-20. At $299, it is the cheapest computer I've ever owned. This was when the 6502-based Apple II was seeling for around $1500.

    Speces: not much — a 1 mHz 6502 CPU; 5K (that's a K, folks) of RAM, of which 1.5K was grabbed by what passed as the OS; a 173×184 video, and a cassette based storage.

    I learned BASIC on it, and wrote a program to analyze responses to a survey of readers done by the newspaper where I worked at the time.

  • billg says:

    Oh, I forgot, at the same time, I was learning UNIX on a minicomputer, one of several where I worked. Quite a contrast with the VIC-20.

  • andr3 says:

    Sinclair Zx Spectrum 128k +2 (Notice the +2!!)

    You have no ideia how much I miss those loading psychadelic lines.. yellow and blue, green and magenta. πŸ˜€ If only they had an emulator that took as long to load a game as the original platform and showed those loading screens………. If games still took half an hour to load we would appreciate them so much more!

    <code>load ""</code>

    *sighs*

  • Patek Philippe says:

    The first one was a commodore 64. Then it was the AMIGA500.

    The first PC i had was a XT with 512k RAM and a 20 Mb hard drive. Oh and it had one of those modern 3.5" floppy drives as well.

  • Aschlasch! says:

    The year 1985 my dad bought us a Goldstar FC-200 (MSX), ahh… those where the days! Me and my brother had a lot of fun with this one, add a 12" Sony TV and we where kings among our friends! I mean 3,58 MHz that's serious speed!

  • Jens Wedin says:

    C64 was my first computer.

    10 Print "Hello world"

    20 goto 10

  • Marco says:

    My firsts computer was a machine hardly anyone will know. A comx 35. It was fun to play with and I actually wrote my first programs on it. After that I got a Sony HitBit MSX computer with 64kb RAM That thing rocked because Konami, Namco and other kick ass Japanese game studios were cranking out games for this system. The games from these guys kicked most Commodore 64 games' ass in my opinion.

    After this there were a lot of PC's until I finally switched to using macs in 2001. (I have my third mac now)

  • Jens Meiert says:

    XT PC, 8 MHz processor, 16 MB hard drive, and 640 KB RAM. Gosh πŸ˜‰

  • Robin says:

    First computer I ever owned was a Dan (remember them?) 486DX/33 with 8mb of ram and a 250mb HD. It later got a double speed CD drive, a Soundblaster Pro, and another 340mb HD.

    First computer we had in the house though was a Dell 286/8mhz with 2mb of ram, a 40mb HD, and an EGA card. Cost £2000 without a monitor.

  • Jules says:

    The first computer I used was the one I on which wrote my first research publication (#30 in the list): it was Dr. Lynn's IBM XT with WordStar. It had two floppy disks and a 5MB HDD (massive and expensive!!!). I can't find the first computer I personally owned but, judging by the pictures I have seen others link to, it might have been an Epson (<abbr title="circa">ca.</abbr> 1988). I also had used an Apple IIe, Apple IIe+ and a Commodore PET in the mid-1980's.

    My brother-in-law's first computer was an AST 386-20MHz with a 20MB HDD just as they came out with them: he paid a fortune for it, $8,000. I don't know that you can pay that much for a desktop computer these days (computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse).

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Everyone,

    Thanks a lot for sharing your memories! πŸ™‚

  • Do you mind if I continue this thread with my three first computers?

    The first computers I used was the ABC80 and a little later Commodore Vic 20. I was too young to do anything useful with them at the time.

    The first computer i bought myself was a Commodore 64 with a cassette recorder in the early eighties. I remember just before I bought it when I saw the wonderful game "Ghosts and Goblins" for the first time. The graphics just blew me away! (imagine that). After a while I bought a disc drive and finally got rid of cassettes for data storage.

    I used the C64 mostly for games, but I also learned some basic. The first time I got my sprite to move around with the joystick was a magical moment. I also started with graphics using joystick and the program Koala Painter (and some other program I can't remember the name of).

    When the Commodore Amiga 500 was released it was the obvious "must have". About a year after I had the money to buy it. And what graphics I could create: 320*256 pixels and 32 colours from a 4096 colour palette. Wow! I also started to make a little music along with the graphics.

    After that I bought an Amiga 1200. I still have it in my closet. 4 MB of extra memory and an internal 2.5" 20MB harddrive. I think I payed 4000SEK for the computer (or was it 5000?) and some months later 2600SEK for the HD.

    Those were the days! *dreamy eyes*

  • Carl says:

    Ah, you never forget your first.

    I did some programming on an Atari 800 in high school, but nothing major. In college, outside of classes, I programmed mainly on my TI59 calculator. After starting my job at IBM, I purchased a Macintosh SE with an amazing 512K RAM. I remember the day because driving home from the computer store, my car caught fire and burned up — right there on Blossom Hill Road in San Jose. Fire fighters rescued the Mac from the flames.

  • I wish I remembered which came first, because I actually think at one point I downgraded, somewhere in there was an amiga, and a TRS-80 II, but I think the first I really got into (other than games) was an old 486 with Win 3.11, it had golf, and mavis beacon teaches typing.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Ola,

    No problem at all, thans for sharing!

    Carl,

    No, you never do forget… πŸ™‚

    Damien,

    So it's all a haze then? πŸ™‚

  • Nigel Whitehead says:

    Amstrad CPC 464 with the joys of loading from tape πŸ˜€

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Nigel,

    Thanks, although tape is really scary to me! πŸ™‚

  • Olly says:

    It was a Commodore Amiga A500Plus, with 2mb RAM and an A590 20mb SCSI hard drive. That thing 100% of rocked. Deluxe Paint IV was my weapon of choice.

    Later I bought an A1200 with a mahoosive 420mb hard drive, a huge 32mb of ram and a monster 68030 processor at a blistering 50mhz (not forgetting the 68882 co-processor). With that I graduated from Deluxe Paint into the world of Brilliance, ImageFX, AdPro and Photogenics. Such fun…

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Olly,

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Cristià says:

    Hi, Robert…

    My first "computer", was an ODYSSEY 2 PHILIPS (was really a console, but had educative software)

    After that, an ATARI 800XL with the XF-551 drive.

    And my PC life, started with a 386SX, 85MB HD, 512KB Video, 1MB RAM….

    Saludos….great site.

    PD: Why the MOAIS theme?….

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Cristián,

    Thank you! πŸ™‚

    The Moais theme is out of my love for Easter Island and its mysterious ambience.

  • Rowan Lewis says:

    My first computer was an AMD 386 with 4MB of ram and two 20MB hard drives, and two floppy drives, it ran DOS/Win3.1 and later RedHat Linux 5.2, with which I managed to damage both hard drives beyond repair…

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Rowan,

    So you're a reckless guy then? πŸ™‚

  • Ecki Rotte says:

    Bought a second hand ATARI 520 ST in 1990 or so.

    Four years later, in 1994 i had my first Internet experience: Checking E-Mail via telnet and pine on the server of the University of Bremen with an 2400 bps Modem, wow!

    Check out GLTerminal to get an impression of this little adventure πŸ˜‰

  • Philip Meadows says:

    First computer I owned was a PCs Limited 286/8. Small Texas based computer company run by some kid named Michael Dell.

  • Tompa says:

    My first computer was a Sinclair ZX Spectrum, astonishing 48 kB RAM and a speaker at the 'bottom' of the plastic box that holds both the computer and the the rubber-keys on top of it. Sounded almost as good as the 7.1 systems available today.

    Data flow was driven by an old tape recorder (just any will do as long as you have clean read/write head in it).

    Had it connected to a black&white portable 12" TV of house-wagon model.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Ecki,

    Thanks for sharing and for the link! πŸ™‚

    Philip,

    Good story! πŸ™‚

    Tompa,

    Sounds like a perfect setup! πŸ™‚

  • Reine says:

    Around 1983 I got a MSX computer with a Z80 inside and a whopping 64k. The name came from the built-in basic interpreter, "MicroSoft eXtended Basic". Oh my, this means I used Microsoft technologies for programming even 23 years ago! But luckily it's quite a difference between MSX Basic and ASP.NET.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Reine,

    Thanks for sharing! I definitely wasn't programming back then, but yeah, I can imagine it's a vast difference! πŸ™‚

  • Mauri says:

    A Commodore Vic 20 back in 1983 (less than 1MHz processor, 3.5 k RAM … beat this one! πŸ˜€

    The 1981 Commodore Vic20

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Mauri,

    Ah, I remember the Vic20 commercials on the back of comic magazines when I was little… πŸ™‚

  • Shane says:

    My first machine was an Acorn Electron, circa 1985/86.

    I remember struggling to get a 2 line program to run. I eventually cracked it with:

    10 PRINT "HELLO SHANE"

    20 GOTO 10

    Ever since then, I've been programming. I remember the electron so fondly. I've been tempted to buy one on ebay, but I think that the reality may not match the memory.

    Best leave it then.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Shane,

    Yes, sometimes memories should just stay as memories. πŸ™‚

  • Ken Liu says:

    I had a Commodore 128. Yeah, that's right, that's 64 better than the C64. The C128 ran at a whopping 2 MHz, twice as fast as the C64.

    Zillions of cool games. They still don't make them like they used to.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Ken,

    Nah, those are times long gone. πŸ™‚

  • Max says:

    Got my first taste of computers in 1981 with an apple IIe clone purchased in Hong Kong. I think it had 16K ram 2 5 1/4 floppy disks and 9″ or 10″ inch monitor. Eventually we bought a CPM card and dot matrix printer and I thought I was the coolest kid on the block.

    Now that I just took a walk on memory lane I feel like a dinosaur.

    Cheers

    Max

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Max,

    Thanks for sharing!
    Seems like you’ve been around for a while… πŸ™‚

  • Hi,

    I started in 1979 with the TRS-80 Model I, the very first version without the numeric keypad, without floppy, without any expansion at all. Imagine 4K of memory!!! At the time, I was only 8 years old but with good books my father had bought for himself, one year after, I could have told you by heart any poke memory value and it's use.

    I finally got the extension in the next few years and almost every Tandy Corporation computers made in the following 7 years. (My father as it's office at home and was constantly changing computer. Luckily, I was authorize to use them.)

    The funny part happen last year, I found out a TSR-80 emulator that I downloaded. It was crazy to reminisce my young time and I can tell it's like bicycle, It comes back fast. πŸ™‚

    Robert, today it's my first visit of your web site. I have been reading over 20 articles by now, seems I can't get enough! Congratulation for your work, I love it.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Michel,

    Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

    Also, I'm very glad to hear that you like my web site, and I sure hope I will write things good enough to make it worth while coming back here. πŸ™‚

  • Angela says:

    It was an Atari 130XE that my dad bought in 1987. It had a 5 1/4 inch floppy drive, dot matrix printer, and keyboard; you plugged it into a TV for the screen. We used a small (about 12") black and white TV. You could program in Basic on it, and there was a place in the back of the keyboard where you could plug in cartridges to run applications. We had a game cartridge (Jungle Hunt) and a word processor cartridge. We actually still have it and it still works.

    We later got a Tandy computer, I think it was a 286. That one had a hard drive and monitor, and I loved the Paint program on it. It also had a music composer (sounded similar to midi music). Prior to the Atari, my parents had bought a Commodore for their work… all I know about it is that it cost them about $14,000 to buy!!! Can you imagine spending that for ONE computer, even a server?

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Angela,

    Wow, that really was some time ago!

    $14,000, eh? Imagine what you can get for that money nowadays! πŸ™‚

  • My first computer was an Commodore 64. White case. I sold it to buy Amiga 500. I still keep cassette tapes of 64. Also, I keep all flopy diskets of Amiga.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Bruce,

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Matt M. says:

    First computer I owned was given to me by my uncle. It was a Tandy Model 2, with about 8k ram. This computer was a keyboard and monitor housed in a casing, with a bay for a 5 1/4 floppy drive. It did all of black and white, with no real graphics – everything was extended ascii characters. Next computer I had was a Tandy Color Computer 2, with 8kb ram, a 5 1/4 floppy drive with a disk controller that plugged into the cartridge slot, and the computer connected to the TV. It was basically a keyboard with a motherboard underneath, and some ports on the back like for TV out, joystick, and a printer. This computer would do 16 colors, or 256 colors with the 16kb ram upgrade. The OS was ROM-based "Color BASIC", or the disk ROM "Color Disc BASIC", built into the disk controller cartridge if you were using the disk drive. Bootup time took an amazing 1/2 second before you were presented with a flashing multi-color square cursor on a green screen with black text. The cooler thing about this OS was that it was essentially a BASIC interpreter, so it would either take built-in ROM commands for loading files from disk, or it would take lines of BASIC code as input.

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