Discussion What Were the CPU and Specs of Your First PC?

jnjnilson6

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Specs of my first computer (year 2001):

  • CPU: Intel Celeron Tualatin @ 1.3 GHz (overclockable to 1.5 GHz)
  • GPU: GeForce2 MX 400 w/ 64 MB memory
  • RAM: 256 MB
  • HDD: 40 GB
  • Operating Systems: Windows 98 SE, Windows 2000 and RedHat Linux 7.3
You may write about your current system specs and CPU, the components you would like to buy in the future and those of the first PC you've ever owned. I would be glad to hear about it.
 

punkncat

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My first computer was a Tandy CoCo 2. I am not even sure what the processor was. Came with a cradle modem, tape (deck) storage as well as cartridge based for game titles. This would have been about the same time as that VIC-20.

I absolutely wish that I knew where it was. I cannot recall if I threw it out or if it's among the stuff my mother has packed around for years. Likely gone. I would love to fire that puppy up just to see the obsolete badness of it.

My first Microsoft PC was a Pentium after 'MMX' came out. Probably W95 or so?
 

Eximo

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My first personal PC:

Zeos 486 with Pentium 83Mhz overdrive installed
I believe I started with 8MB of 72 pin memory, eventually upgraded all the way to 16MB.
Paradise Pipeline 64 + Voodoo 2 12MB
It had a 6.4 GB hard drive, and a smaller one that the OS was on, I want to say 2.1 GB.
ASOUND soundblaster clone
Some 10MB network card
Picked up a 3 1/2" and 5 1/4" floppy from a local auction
Also got a 13" VGA monitor from there

First PC I built was an AMD K6 with a 32MB DIMM and a lot of the parts above.
 

jnjnilson6

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Pretty sad that the times were such. In 2001 my PC'd been on the crest of the wave, but 256 MB RAM had become nothing by 2005-2006. It is like a sardonic joke. In 2011 computers had between 4 and 8 GB RAM and 11 years later that figure has transformed into 16 GB. However, back between 2001 and 2005-2006 the difference had been fourfold as the middleclass had climbed from 256 MB to a soft 1 GB of RAM. So in 4-5 years (from 2001 to 2005 - 2006) we'd gotten an acceleration which did not occur even through the much lengthier spam of 11 years, between 2011 and 2022. I may dare say that enthusiast PCs had pepped up at 2 GB RAM by 2006. And only 5 years earlier everything was so much simpler that 256 MB seemed a huge amount... Sometimes hardware accelerates majorly in a very short span of time and sometimes that takes more than a decade.
 
Spectrum 48k! Ah, them were the days!

Specs:

  • Processor: Z80A (Zilog) with 3,5 MHz tact
  • Memory: 16 KByte ($4000-$7FFF) or 48 KByte ($4000-$FFFF). 16KB models are upgradeable.
  • ROM: 16 KByte ($0-$3FFF)
    • Character set ASCII 32-127 ($3D00-$3FFF) + 21 UDG (User-Defined Graphics)
    • ZX BASIC (about 40 or 8 KByte useable with BASIC)
    • "Floating Point Calculator"
  • Graphics: Own development (Ferranti ULA) (PAL/NTSC version)
    • The only mode is graphics with 256×192 pixel, arranged in 32 (columns) × 24 (lines) colour zones of 8×8 1-bit pixel, corresponding a character. Every colour zone can choose from 8 characters and background colours, as well as BRIGHT (overall brightness) and/or FLASH (regular swapping of character and background colour). It was possible to combine upper case and lower case writing, graphic signs and graphics next to each other without reservation. By the use of BRIGHT up to 15 colours could be displayed.
    • $4000-$57FF matrix
    • $5800-$5AFF colours
  • Sound: 1 voice with 5 octaves, output over a built-in speaker (or external speaker connected to "EAR")
  • Keyboard: 40 keys (QWERTY), programmed with several functions (up to a maximum of 6 functions), amongst others with BASIC commands
  • Interfaces: Mains current (9V direct current, C16 power supply unit useable, negative pole inside!), RF-video output for aerial socket of TV, cassette port input "EAR" and output "MIC" (actually both are input and output, they only differ in the voltage level), one big board connector with all important bus signals (here also joysticks or microdrives are connected over an interface).
  • Miscellaneous: ULA (Uncommitted Logic Arrea) to control the input and output, optionally CP/M can be used as operating system (only in the versions with 128K or higher, as CP/M requires RAM at address 0; the primal version of the spectrum had only ROM there). - Off wiki.
 
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Dell Pentium 90 I think, with a 14 or 15 inch monitor. First generation of Pentiums if I recall correctly?

Paid about 2200 dollars. Probably in 1997. My first and last pre-built.

Can't recall much detail. Well under 1 GB RAM. I remember a friend of mine around that time had just paid 1000 dollars for a GB of RAM for her Mac.

Can't recall hard drive size. Might have been under 1 GB as I remember buying a 2 GB maxtor later as an upgrade.
 
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jnjnilson6

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Sad why?

Hardware changes.
Software changes.
Life marches on.
You're perfectly right! But I mean the transition from having a lot of RAM and needing RAM desperately for everything took only 4-5 years to commence. I always felt the need of RAM with that machine. So it was a little sad that the grandeur of 256 MB RAM passed away so swiftly. I mean, for example, 256 MB in 2001 were something like 16 GB in 2012. 256 MB RAM proved impossibly insufficient by 2005-2006, however, 16 GB would still be perfectly fine in 2016-2017 for doing the same things I so badly wanted to do with the 256 MB stick. It was a bombardment of the phrase 'More RAM!' in my head concerning about every major functionality after the shift of those 4-5 years... But yeah, as you've said, 'Life marches on.' And it is good to remember about the hardware of bygone days.
 

Eximo

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You're perfectly right! But I mean the transition from having a lot of RAM and needing RAM desperately for everything took only 4-5 years to commence. I always felt the need of RAM with that machine. So it was a little sad that the grandeur of 256 MB RAM passed away so swiftly. I mean, for example, 256 MB in 2001 were something like 16 GB in 2012. 256 MB RAM proved impossibly insufficient by 2005-2006, however, 16 GB would still be perfectly fine in 2016-2017 for doing the same things I so badly wanted to do with the 256 MB stick. It was a bombardment of the phrase 'More RAM!' in my head concerning about every major functionality after the shift of those 4-5 years... But yeah, as you've said, 'Life marches on.' And it is good to remember about the hardware of bygone days.
I still run into people that think adding ram will drastically increase the performance of a computer. You do have to go back to those days to get that effect. I made it a habit for a long time to at least double the memory in my systems as I went along. 16MB -> 32MB -> 128MB -> 512MB -> 1GB -> 2GB -> 6GB -> 12GB -> 16GB (DDR3) -> 16GB (DDR4) -> 32GB. Hmm, rather neatly lays out all the systems I have built...
 
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Ameiga can't remember what model tho, I remember it was a little newer than a commodore 64.
After that was a pentium 3 - 733mhz
256mb ram and a 20gb hdd
 
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MEMOFLEX

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First home PC was a 386sx with 1mb of RAM and I think 40mb HDD. Think it was Amstrad.

Looked very similar to the MegaPC they released (PC and Sega Megadrive in one) but without the Megadrive.

Think it was circa 1991-92.
 
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jnjnilson6

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First home PC was a 386sx with 1mb of RAM and I think 40mb HDD. Think it was Amstrad.

Looked very similar to the MegaPC they released (PC and Sega Megadrive in one) but without the Megadrive.

Think it was circa 1991-92.
Had it been a Windows 3.11 (for workgroups) system? What did you mainly use it for? :)
 
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King_V

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Commodore 64, with Datasette. I wanna say this was about 1984 or thereabouts.

Later I upgraded to a 1541 5-1/4" floppy drive, and also got a 9-wire dot matrix printer.

Eventually, when issues with a flaky RESTORE key kept plaguing me, the place I bought it from refunded me the original price (even though it was a few years old at that point) and, with an additional $20, I got a Commodore 128.

I used that, predominantly in C64 mode, into the 90s.


My first modern PC was a Dell XPS P133, in 1996:
  • Pentium 133 CPU
  • 16MB RAM
  • 2.5GB HDD
  • 17" monitor
  • SB16 + AWE32 for sound
  • 2MB S3-based PCI video card
Later on, I actually got lesser spec'd systems, slapped together by salvaging parts from the discards closet at work. Further along, I would up getting better spec'd systems from work discards at different jobs, again, by scrounging. For a while, I was content being behind the times, as I'd given up on "modern" gaming for a few years.

Eventually got to the point where I got two Pentium 4-based systems - one of the early ones (I want to say 1.8GHz), and then, some time later, one of the later ones (3.4 or 3.6GHz with hyper-threading), but always something that needed something (the former a hard drive, the latter a new PSU).

I didn't get another completely new PC after that one in 1996 until 2012 - a Dell XPS 8300 with an i5-2320.
 

jnjnilson6

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I still run into people that think adding ram will drastically increase the performance of a computer. You do have to go back to those days to get that effect. I made it a habit for a long time to at least double the memory in my systems as I went along. 16MB -> 32MB -> 128MB -> 512MB -> 1GB -> 2GB -> 6GB -> 12GB -> 16GB (DDR3) -> 16GB (DDR4) -> 32GB. Hmm, rather neatly lays out all the systems I have built...
For me it was 256 MB -> 896 MB -> 4 GB -> 8 GB -> 16 GB -> 20 GB (currently on my laptop, Core i3-8130U, 20 GB DDR4 RAM (2400 MHz), 1 TB SSD (Samsung 850 Pro), GeForce MX130 and Intel UHD 620, Win11). There were variations up and down in between the aforementioned increasing memory values (for example, after my 8 GB machine (Lenovo IdeaPad Y570) I moved to a desktop machine with 2 GB RAM for which I eventually got 16 GB; and between the 896 MB machine I had and the 4 GB one there was a computer with Pentium 4 520J and 1 GB RAM but it constantly froze so I am not counting that memory value in) and by excising them and their regressions from the climbing line, the move forward is definite.
 

jnjnilson6

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Commodore 64, with Datasette. I wanna say this was about 1984 or thereabouts.

Later I upgraded to a 1541 5-1/4" floppy drive, and also got a 9-wire dot matrix printer.

Eventually, when issues with a flaky RESTORE key kept plaguing me, the place I bought it from refunded me the original price (even though it was a few years old at that point) and, with an additional $20, I got a Commodore 128.

I used that, predominantly in C64 mode, into the 90s.


My first modern PC was a Dell XPS P133, in 1996:
  • Pentium 133 CPU
  • 16MB RAM
  • 2.5GB HDD
  • 17" monitor
  • SB16 + AWE32 for sound
  • 2MB S3-based PCI video card
Later on, I actually got lesser spec'd systems, slapped together by salvaging parts from the discards closet at work. Further along, I would up getting better spec'd systems from work discards at different jobs, again, by scrounging. For a while, I was content being behind the times, as I'd given up on "modern" gaming for a few years.

Eventually got to the point where I got two Pentium 4-based systems - one of the early ones (I want to say 1.8GHz), and then, some time later, one of the later ones (3.4 or 3.6GHz with hyper-threading), but always something that needed something (the former a hard drive, the latter a new PSU).

I didn't get another completely new PC after that one in 1996 until 2012 - a Dell XPS 8300 with an i5-2320.
For some reason I am a big Pentium 4 fan. Despite they joked about the heat of the Prescotts. How was the 1.8 GHz Northwood P4? Did it run pretty cool and fast? Gosh, I remember back in the day how futuristic the P4 logo looked throughout bootup. Those were the days... And the speed in GHz looked very cool with the values sparking up so high for the first time in computer history. They had an effect on the mind. But yeah, I suppose the Pentium 4 era made the Pentium IIIs and my Tualatin Celeron look weak, especially those that harbored Hyper Threading and ran at 2.8 GHz and higher. So, how was the Northwood? And how did it compare to the 3.4 or 3.6 GHz one you got with Hyper Threading? Was it a Prescott? Would be nice if you could tell me. :)
 
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Endre

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My first PC was bought in 2004.

CPU: AMD Duron 950MHz.
Memory: a few MB of SDR SDRAM.
GPU: On-board.
Case: one of those white-beige, butter-like, color cases, with no additional fans.
Monitor: 15" CRT (same color as the case 😁)
 
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King_V

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For some reason I am a big Pentium 4 fan. Despite they joked about the heat of the Prescotts. How was the 1.8 GHz Northwood P4? Did it run pretty cool and fast? Gosh, I remember back in the day how futuristic the P4 logo looked throughout bootup. Those were the days... And the speed in GHz looked very cool with the values sparking up so high for the first time in computer history. They had an effect on the mind. But yeah, I suppose the Pentium 4 era made the Pentium IIIs and my Tualatin Celeron look weak, especially those that harbored Hyper Threading and ran at 2.8 GHz and higher. So, how was the Northwood? And how did it compare to the 3.4 or 3.6 GHz one you got with Hyper Threading? Was it a Prescott? Would be nice if you could tell me. :)
Unfortunately, I got both of those systems secondhand, and they were both pre-builts. The higher-speed one was a Sony Vaio, the lower speed one, I can't recall the OEM involved.

I'm not sure if that 1.8 P4 outdid the fastest of the P3 systems of the time, but as I didn't personally have any P3 machines (I was still running on a Super 7 system, K6-2+ as I recall), I didn't have a point of reference.

The Vaio with the faster CPU, though, the fan would sometimes start spinning up quite dramatically. When I got it, the 4-pin CPU connector was somewhat burnt, both on the PSU and on the motherboard - fortunately, replacing the PSU fixed it, as the burn-damage to the connector on the MB was only superficial.

As to performance, again, I have no real point of reference. I think I got the 1.8GHz P4 system in 2002, and didn't start using it until 2003. The Sony Vaio came somewhat later to me. Sadly, that board would only support a max of 2GB RAM. The most I was doing with them was playing the demo of Half-Life 2. Later, around the 2010-2011 timeframe, a then-girlfriend got me into Borderlands, which ultimately led to me getting a Radeon HD 6450 card, and playing the game, still on a CRT, I believe running it at 1024x768... later upgrading to a proper 1920x1080 monitor, though I had to run at 1280x720 to get things to play nice.

I knew at one point which family the processors were, but, alas, it's been years, and I've forgotten.
 

DSzymborski

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My first PC had an Intel 8088 at 4.7 MHz, but you could hit a key combo after booting and get a blazing fast 8 MHz. It had two 5 1/4-inch floppies, no hard drive, and I had a CGA monitor with it. It was a crazy upgrade some years later when I got a cavernous 10 Mb hard drive and a fancy-pantsed EGA monitor, allowed me to play the original Civilization!

Not sure what happened to it. My Pentium 4 is my oldest platform that I still own and have running.
 
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My first PC was a second hand Acer something-something 486DX/33 with 8MB EDO RAM, 100MB disk (I think?) and 1MB video buffer total. I installed my own sound card and CD-ROM since it didn't come with one after working all summer to buy them. Before that, since we were poor, I just used my friends Atari or PCs to learn how they worked.

I still remember my mother's face when she saw the PC disassembled. Fun times.

Regards.
 

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