View Full Version : Your first PC?

18th September 2008, 09:30
In 1998 I purchased my first new PC. Before this I had been devoted to the Amiga for years and refused to buy one. I had owned PCs before but they were always old second hand ones. I spent the whole summer saving up for the PC working full time for job agencies as I needed a PC for my university work. I also took ages pooring over specs and reading PC magazines to learn as much as I could about current PC hardware and what I should buy.

The PC I eventually purchased was a (state of the art at the time) Pentium 2 400MHz with 256MB ram, 8MB G460 AGP graphics card, Voodoo II 12MB additional graphics card, ISA Soundblaster sound card, Buz SCSI and video capture card, external 56K modem and a huge 12GB HD!!! I remember also purchasing a SCSI A4 flatbed scanner with it, and upgrading the monitor it came with from a 17" one to a 21" one!

That computer with the extra hardware and monitor cost me over 2600!!! The monitor alone added 600 to the price to upgrade it! :blink: I remember at the time thinking what an amazing spec it was. Until this point my main computer had been an A4000 with a 1.3GB HD and just 18MB of Ram. The graphics cards in the new PC had more combined ram than the whole of the Amiga!

And I still remember getting it all home, connecting it up and switching it on. And then installing and running the original Unreal. That game's graphics blew me away!

And now... I've just got rid of that 21" monitor by giving it away for free on freecycle! Mad!

As for the computer. It was used for a few years as my main PC until about 2002 and over that time was upgraded a lot to 512MB ram, G400 Max graphics card, 60GB HD, firewire card, USB2 card, network card etc... And the OS went from Windows 98 to 2000 Pro. And after that it became a testing and download server. And what is it doing now? It's sitting in a cupboard stripped of useful hardware and then all my old obsolete hardware was put into it and it was turned back into a Windows 98 machine with the original 12GB HD, a 32MB TNT2 graphics card, PCI Soundblaster live sound card and network card. The intention was to run old DOS and Win9x games on it, but it has only really been fired up a few times in the last year. For old games I tend to just use DosBox or a virtual machine. Not actually sure what to do with it now. It's taking up space so needs to go, but it works perfectly so I don't want to throw it away.

So what was your first new PC? The first one you personally purchased? What was the spec, price etc? And what is it doing now?

18th September 2008, 10:26
My first PC was a Celeron 433 MHz with a whopping 64 MB SDRAM, and a 32 MB ATi Rage videocard that ran games like shit. I remember being wholly disappointed with its performance, thinking ... 'Eh? Is THIS the best what a PC has to offer?'

18th September 2008, 10:43
It is never good when your first experience of a platform is bad. Luckily that first PC of mine was up to date so managed to run the latest games well at the time.

Any idea what that Celeron cost you back then?

18th September 2008, 10:54
Can't quite remember, but we couldn't afford a Pentium III so went for the more cost-effective Celeron. Still cost quite a bit for the awful performance it gave. The next PC I got had a Pentium III @ 1 GHz, then to a P4 Northwood @ 2.66 GHz, and finally a P4 HT @ 3 GHz which I still use nowadays.

I'll probably be shelling out for a Core 2 Quad one of these days, just to see what PC gaming really has to offer!

18th September 2008, 11:35
My first PC was a Gatway with PIII 500Mhz, 512MB RAM, 64MB graphics card, Soundblaster 128, Internal 56k Modem, 9GB hard drive, DVD, ZIP drive, printer, scanner and 17 inch monitor running Windoze 98SE. I then upgraded to a P4 3 GHZ, 256MB graphics card 1GB RAM, 9GB hard drive, 250 GB hard drive, DVDRW, ZIP drive, windoze XP 14inch TFT monitor which i'm looking to upgrade the RAM to 2GB to give it a bit longer lifespan.

Stephen Coates
18th September 2008, 17:06
The first PC which I 'personally purchased' was a Dell OptiPlex, which I got second hand for about 25 a few years ago. I did have a few ideas for use and it has been quite useful for testing servers and just being a spare PC. I always thought I could sell it after I had finished making use of it but I kept it as it has been. Havn't used it much recently though. Has a 400MHz Celeron and came with about 128 or 256MB RAM.

Other than a slightly rubbish Compaq Presario laptop which I got to replace an identicle one which I made a complete mess of, I have never bought a PC.

I still like the speakers and keyboard on that Presario. The passive matrix screen is crap though.

18th September 2008, 21:58
My first PC was a Pentium 133Mhz with 8mb ram, 1GB ide HD and a Samsung 14'' monitor! paid 1500 (1185), didn't even had a cdrom or sound card :hmmm:!! this was about 1993.

Demon Cleaner
18th September 2008, 22:55
I had a 486 DX2/66 with 16MB RAM, a Diamond Stealth GPU 1MB, Creative Soundblaster 16 and a 540MB HDD.

19th September 2008, 09:27
My first graphics card was a Diamond Stealth too. A G460 8MB one. Was OK for desktop work, and could handle OpenGL sort of OK, but was really crap for DirectX games.

19th September 2008, 11:54
1st PC I brought was 1700 a Time Machine! :thumbsdown2: It failed in the 1st month and I then spent 6months trying to get my extended warrenty money back! Spec was

AMD K6-2 366mhz
128mb PC133
8mb ATI Rage 128
15" CRT
Epson 640 printer (I think)

I even had to pay 20 for the printer cable. It cam with Lord of the Dance DVD which took a month longer to come after getting the DVD, and loadsa software including lotus suite, games, norton, dragon and a host of other options.

Now, well I got rid of it years ago. I brought it in 1998 and kept it for about 2 or 3 years, and got rid of it just when XP came out. I brought an Evesham Pc with ME after that, as was told to hold off from XP then.

I brought the original Half Life for it. Spent ages playing it, wondering why it looked rubbish, compared to the box images. Wasn't till almost completing it I found out you could change the graphics modes! DOH!

I had been playing it in 640x480 software mode for ages.

19th September 2008, 12:10
A Time Computer breaking after 1 month. They never used to last that long. Unlike most PC manifacturers that use trained monkeys to build their PC's, Time didn't bother with the training and sometimes didn't bother with the monkeys either.;)

19th September 2008, 12:19
Time were definitely crap. There were quite a few budget PC builders around at the time. Now I think we mainly just have Medion left. And sadly even Evesham is gone.

19th September 2008, 12:35
Wow, some of you bought PC's very late down the road apart from Demon Cleaner and JLPedro!

I think for a great WinUAE experience, that PII 400 would have been spot on! I did build a 233MMX a few years back for fun, as I craved such a machine back in the day. That just about ran an old version of WinUAE for A500 emulation with sound.

My first, I bought one much earlier as I needed it for Uni. It was an AMD 586-P75 133Mhz, overclocked to a 40Mhz FSB and a staggering 160Mhz! It had a whopping 16MB ram, a S3 Trio 4MB video card and a ISA SB16 with accompanying CDROM. Win95 had just been released and it ran really well. Still have the chip and cooler in storage. :D

I soon became a DOS expert configuring those AutoExec.bat and Config.sys files for games! Although it did all seem a little backward and ancient in comparison to the plug and play Amiga. F1GP on the PC was great, as too was F1GP2 which I could just about run reasonably.

Pentiums were too expensive at the time, so good old AMD were around to pick up the skint crowd LOL! It wasn't a bad chip - at least it had an FPU and it could run Fellow in DOS - Just! So a little early A500 emulation too, which seemed so fantatstic!

19th September 2008, 12:41
The PII 400 was pretty good at running emulation. It did indeed run WinUAE perfectly well. Especially as I also had 256MB of ram (later upgraded to 512MB). And MAME ran perfectly too. I got in on running MAME very early on just after its initial public release, and actually integrated MAME into my final major project for my degree course! ;)

But the emulator that really blew me away back then was the first N64 emulator, UltraHLE. As I had a Voodoo II card it could be run (as that emulator needed Glide) and it ran games better than a real N64. Mario 64 running in 640x480 with crisp clear textures was quite something. Actually made an N64 owning friend quite annoyed! :lol:

19th September 2008, 13:24
My first PC was as follows:

HP Vectra 500
Intel Pentium 133 Mhz
1.2 GB HDD
Aztec 16-bit Sound Card
14.4K Internal ISA Modem :sick:
Integrated SiS Graphics Adaptor
8X CD-ROM drive
Windows 95B

I got it around 1997 ish time.

By today's standards it's totally laughable :fool: but it was top notch back in the day.

19th September 2008, 13:31
Computers were definitely moving forward at a much faster pace back then compared to today. A 133MHz CPU in 1997 was a year later already replaced with a 450MHz P2. These days most CPUs have been at about the 3GHz mark for a few years now, with more cores being the main advancement.

14.4K modem. Now that is slow! Imagine trying to use that these days.

19th September 2008, 13:58
Computers were definitely moving forward at a much faster pace back then compared to today. A 133MHz CPU in 1997 was a year later already replaced with a 450MHz P2. These days most CPUs have been at about the 3GHz mark for a few years now, with more cores being the main advancement.

14.4K modem. Now that is slow! Imagine trying to use that these days.

Websites back then were so simple too, so they loaded up ok with slower dialup. Pretty much pure HTML. Some were horribly designed, but at least they didn't have performance sucking and electricity chomping flash ads! Pictures were a pain however, as too was downloading your retro collection from the hundreds of sites available at the time and seeing hours of waiting ahead. The late 90's were the golden era of emulation, before sites got taken down. :(

Actually, you're right in what you're saying about CPU advancement, but we're are on the verge of a massive jump in power right now. Exciting times are ahead.

The Intel i7 is about to be released with up to 8 cores, each capable of Hyper Threading and they've borrowed some of AMD's ideas about memory controllers and link-ability between CPUs. Its power is scary. AMD are following up with 12 cores!

I'm still on one core LOL!

These will be the first CPUs capable of going back to pure software rendered raytraced games. GPU's are going to play a different role in the future, as once the cores start numbering 16+ games can once again be purely software rendered allowing games designers to control every pixel you see on-screen! Back to the old school days, without 3D acceleration!

The last game to use pure CPU software rendering was Outcast:


It had effects never before seen through 3D acceleration and it would take ages before the 3D cards caught up to displaying the same effects. Raytraced games will offer equal unique effects.

19th September 2008, 14:31
Hell yeah!

I remember download Amstrad CPC ROMs and Amiga ADFs from FTP sites. I used to use the DOS FTP command, so that I didn't have to wait for Windows to 'calculate remaining time' to download. A extra 0.1K gained by typing crap in :lol:

My old P1 ran DOSUAE and Fellow perfectly and WinUAE (back then) worked fine (once I'd upgraded my RAM to 64MB)

Those were the days, websites were stupidly simple. Some where almost plain text!

19th September 2008, 16:00
From 1996 I just used our university connection which was connected directly to the internet backbone. I discovered that whilst the PCs needed you to login to gain access, and so you could only use a single PC, the Macs had no such limitations and the only login was to access your allocated uni email and storage space. So I would pop into one of the Mac computer rooms early in the evening and set a whole row of them downloading stuff. Was great. Each one downloading at 1MB per second. :) I hovered up loads of rom sites back then. :lol: Saved all the files to Zip disks and took them home. So I only really used my home dialup connection for email and web browsing. Was great. :)

20th September 2008, 18:53
I bought my first PC in late '96 / early '97 (it was obviously a un-memorable event!)
It was an AMD equivalent of a P120, which I was rather chuffed with as I only had a P75 at work. Win 95... Can't remember anything else about it, or even the reason I bought it as I had more games on my Amiga. It came with a 14.4K modem. I Played Tomb Raider, Blood (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HUdd9wsRb0) (best FPS ever), Doom II, Magic the Gathering and Quake mostly.

Maybe I bought a PC because at that time it's just the way personal computing was going.

Maybe I bought it just for those games, especially Blood (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7mWIluq-RU).

20th September 2008, 19:01
I can remember when i first saw X-Wing on a PC and that was when i first thought that other computers were going to lose the fight.

21st September 2008, 08:45
Maybe I bought it just for those games, especially Blood (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7mWIluq-RU).

Yeah, that was a great game. Great atmosphere, and nice, vicious gameplay. Wouldn't mind seeing a remake of that, though it'd probably get banned everywhere.

22nd September 2008, 21:57
We bought a Tiny ( :( ) PC, back in 96 I think it was, maybe 95. Just before I went into the first GCSE year.

It was a 133MHz Pentium, 16MB EDO-RAM, a 'pipeline burst cache' 16k I think, 1.3 GB hard drive, 4x CD-ROM and some crappy ATI 3D-Rage card (2MB I think), running windows 95.

It was used a lot for school work, encarta and TONS OF CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGER. It cost around 1100 if I remember rightly. It came with wipeout and mechwarrior (possily 2). We never connected it to the internet, I doubt it even had a modem. It's currently sat in the loft at mum's. It was an OK computer for working and stuff, but for everything else it was pretty shitty and makes me feel a bit sad, we were pretty lucky to have actually got a PC.

Before that we had a 386 with windows 3.1 that dad took form work when it was made obsolete. It had a 20MB hard drive :( :( :(

23rd September 2008, 09:01
I can remember when i first saw X-Wing on a PC and that was when i first thought that other computers were going to lose the fight.

I first remember seeing Wing Commander and thinking how cool it would be to own a PC to be able to play it (but then that came out on the A1200 and CD32). But X-Wing was definitely one of the first games I saw on the PC that blew me away at the time and really made me wish I could afford a PC in 1993.

And as soon as i did have a decent PC I bought the X-Wing and Tie-Fighter Collectors box set and played both games non stop. And even though they were dated slightly by '98 they were still great.

23rd September 2008, 10:38
Still got my X-Wing and Tie-fighter set, which coincidentally was the first game i bought for my PC when i got it.:lol:

23rd September 2008, 11:40
I think I ordered my copy with my PC, so it was for me too. :)

23rd September 2008, 12:48
My first PC was a gift from my father:
phillips 8088
20 MB of HD (20mb ... that was something...!!)
1 - 3.5" floppy drive
1 - 5,1/4 floppy drive
CGA graphics

23rd September 2008, 12:57
3.5" disk drive in a 8088 PC. That was quite good. I only ever saw such old PCs with 5.25" drives.

23rd September 2008, 17:08
My first PC was a gift from my father:
phillips 8088
20 MB of HD (20mb ... that was something...!!)
1 - 3.5" floppy drive
1 - 5,1/4 floppy drive
CGA graphics

Man, that's quite a relic! Do you still have it?