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(Mental Floss)   How to buy a computer...1993 edition   (mentalfloss.com) divider line 128
    More: Amusing, OS/2, time machines  
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9742 clicks; posted to Geek » on 26 Mar 2013 at 8:33 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-26 08:04:12 AM
From the "where are they now?" files:

That freaky lady at 5:35 is Lisa Biow.  She gave up computers and is now a certified rolfer.
 
2013-03-26 08:16:49 AM
I see your 1993 video and raise you with Bits & Bytes, circa 1983.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VaBYw3swyg
 
2013-03-26 08:42:51 AM
In 1993, I was in high school and doing techie service work on PCs so I could afford one of my own. That year for my birthday I bought myself a dual 486DX/50 (two CPUs and none of that clock multiplied bullshiat), 8MB RAM, a 1768MB SCSI2 drive and a 17" monitor.  That rig was a hair under $4500. I ran OS/2 on it, but I switched to Linux in early 1995 because it was easier to do my CS homework that way.
 
2013-03-26 08:43:23 AM
This "computer" thing is an interesting fad. I don't think it'll catch on, though. There's no reason for anyone to have a computer in their home.

=Smidge=
 
2013-03-26 08:47:57 AM

Babwa Wawa: That freaky lady at 5:35 is Lisa Biow.  She gave up computers and is now a certified rolfer.


I read that as 'Blow' and had an entirely different interpretation of what 'rolfing' was.
 
2013-03-26 08:49:53 AM

likefunbutnot: In 1993, I was in high school and doing techie service work on PCs so I could afford one of my own. That year for my birthday I bought myself a dual 486DX/50 (two CPUs and none of that clock multiplied bullshiat), 8MB RAM, a 1768MB SCSI2 drive and a 17" monitor.  That rig was a hair under $4500. I ran OS/2 on it, but I switched to Linux in early 1995 because it was easier to do my CS homework that way.


Woah there, rich man!

It was probably around the same time I bought my first PC, a 486DX33 w/ 4MB of RAM and a 130MB hard drive.  The one-upsmanship game against my brother had begun!
 
2013-03-26 08:52:58 AM
Think I got my first PC around then.  A 486DX2/50, 4MB RAM, 170MB hard drive and a 1MB VESA local bus video card.  Hot stuff and set me back about £2000 when I threw in a Sound Blaster Pro, joystick, Civilization and X-wing.  Good times.
 
2013-03-26 08:55:06 AM
386 CPUs were already obsolete by 1993. If you were buying an entry-level PC, you were getting at least a 486SX-25, and paying at least $1000 for it.
 
2013-03-26 08:58:56 AM

GoldSpider: It was probably around the same time I bought my first PC, a 486DX33 w/ 4MB of RAM and a 130MB hard drive. The one-upsmanship game against my brother had begun!


I had pretty much the same configuration as my first non-hand-me-down PC. (And geez, what a step up from the 286 I had been using.) It was actually pulled form my college fund; since my parents realized that said fund might pay for about a half-semester of college in 1992, thy just invested about $2200 (ouch) of it into a computer instead. Given that pretty much everyone else on my floor had the college-leased (Steven's Tech required early on that every student have a computer) 386SX,  it was pretty much the last time I actually had something that could run circles around my friends' computers.
 
2013-03-26 09:01:55 AM
Ah yes, memories of my first PC.

Magnavox 386SX 16mhz (with turbo!)
1 MB of RAM (upgraded to 5 MB two years later)
40 MB Hard Drive (doubled with Stacker eventually!)
DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.0
Added a VGA card later and a 14.4 baud modem

Spend countless hours on that thing.  Gamed, learned to program, ran a BBS, etc, etc.  It served me well from '91 to '94.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-03-26 09:11:36 AM
In 1993 (plus or minus a little) I spent way too much money for a fast x86 system to run Unix. Had to write the SCSI driver myself, or at least hack it up. Sold it, used an older Unix workstation for a while, used a less old Sun workstation for a while, bought an expensive used high end Sun off eBay that served me well for many years, bought a used Sun, and now have an AMD based system.
 
2013-03-26 09:23:11 AM

likefunbutnot: In 1993, I was in high school and doing techie service work on PCs so I could afford one of my own. That year for my birthday I bought myself a dual 486DX/50 (two CPUs and none of that clock multiplied bullshiat), 8MB RAM, a 1768MB SCSI2 drive and a 17" monitor.  That rig was a hair under $4500. I ran OS/2 on it, but I switched to Linux in early 1995 because it was easier to do my CS homework that way.


I was an engineer working for a large defense contractor and we bought a computer very similar to this for a black project that I was working on.  We had to keep the computer in a special room and only those working on the project could touch the computer.
 
2013-03-26 09:24:44 AM

YodaBlues: Babwa Wawa: That freaky lady at 5:35 is Lisa Biow.  She gave up computers and is now a certified rolfer.

I read that as 'Blow' and had an entirely different interpretation of what 'rolfing' was.


I read it as "rofling", the reality left me disappointed.
 
2013-03-26 09:25:13 AM
In 1993 Iwas about to go off to college so I bought my my 1st computer from CompUSA a Compudyne 486 SX25 with 8 MB of Ram, 4 MB Video Card, 170 MB Hard Drive 5.25 AND 3.5 High Density Floppy Drives 14 inch Super VGA Monitor, 9600 Baud modem and was running DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.1.  I think I paid around $1700 for that set up and it was a huge step up from the hand me down  XT clone with a 40 MB hard drive, 512k ram, CGA monitor 5.25 and 3.5 Double Density Floppy Drives that my brother bought  had bought in 1989 when he went off to college
 
2013-03-26 09:29:24 AM
I didn't get a computer until 1994.  486SX, 4speed CDROM, 400MB HDD, 2MB of RAM, I forget the monitor size.  Back then that was kick ass.

Comparing the stats of those computers and their prices compared to the laptop I have now and what I paid for it, it's almost comical.
 
2013-03-26 09:29:50 AM

Joe_diGriz: I had pretty much the same configuration as my first non-hand-me-down PC. (And geez, what a step up from the 286 I had been using.) It was actually pulled form my college fund; since my parents realized that said fund might pay for about a half-semester of college in 1992, thy just invested about $2200 (ouch) of it into a computer instead. Given that pretty much everyone else on my floor had the college-leased (Steven's Tech required early on that every student have a computer) 386SX, it was pretty much the last time I actually had something that could run circles around my friends' computers.


Man, what heady days those were!  Kids these days just don't appreciate the joy of getting a weird sound card to work by farking around in autoexec.bat and config.sys, or the balancing act that was futzing with QEMM between making a game work vs. playable...
 
2013-03-26 09:50:48 AM
Here you go.

www.amigahistory.co.uk

Problem solved.
 
2013-03-26 09:52:38 AM
I went to college with a 486-66 in 1993. 250mb hard drive -- would've been another $300 to go up to a 540mb. Before I graduated, I spent less money on a 1.6gb hard drive.

Only guy on my floor with a computer in the dorm room even my sophomore year. Which is also when we noted the cleats on the window frame and the strdy coat road in the closet, and strung a hammock between the cleat and the coat road. If you swung the hammock far enough, you could open the fridge on the first swing, get a beer off the door with the second, and keep writing.
 
2013-03-26 10:02:37 AM

likefunbutnot: In 1993, I was in high school and doing techie service work on PCs so I could afford one of my own. That year for my birthday I bought myself a dual 486DX/50 (two CPUs and none of that clock multiplied bullshiat), 8MB RAM, a 1768MB SCSI2 drive and a 17" monitor.  That rig was a hair under $4500. I ran OS/2 on it, but I switched to Linux in early 1995 because it was easier to do my CS homework that way.


I didn't know a 486 could do SMP.  Did OS/2 (2.1?) support it?
 
2013-03-26 10:02:52 AM
It's been a while since I thought about how much Look Around You (second series) looked like old tech programs.
 
2013-03-26 10:02:55 AM
pfft! My 1st computer. 16k of RAM and I had to hack a cassette tape deck for storage.

/whats a cassette?

encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com
 
2013-03-26 10:08:12 AM
Thanks to hindsight, that $2000 invested in a PC in 1993 should have been put into MSFT, which traded around $2.50 that year. It's split five times since then and paid dividends since 2003...

Not as great as if you'd spent $2k on MSFT in 1986. You could live a nice life on that one. Now everyone IPO's their stock as overvalued companies that'll never justify their opening price and the only way to make good money in the market is taking options on who they'll crash next.

/Okay, maybe the cynical note's from a pulled muscle.
 
2013-03-26 10:17:22 AM

wildcardjack: Thanks to hindsight, that $2000 invested in a PC in 1993 should have been put into MSFT, which traded around $2.50 that year. It's split five times since then and paid dividends since 2003...

Not as great as if you'd spent $2k on MSFT in 1986. You could live a nice life on that one. Now everyone IPO's their stock as overvalued companies that'll never justify their opening price and the only way to make good money in the market is taking options on who they'll crash next.

/Okay, maybe the cynical note's from a pulled muscle.


But you couldn't play Wolfenstein 3d on a stock certificate, priorities man.
 
2013-03-26 10:18:46 AM
packard bell 486 DX4-100

$3000

yes, I bought it
 
2013-03-26 10:19:07 AM

FaygoMaster: I didn't know a 486 could do SMP. Did OS/2 (2.1?) support it?


It did, actually. So did NT 3.1, actually, though I didn't have enough RAM to make NT run (NT needed 12MB RAM, even back then).

FreeBSD didn't have SMP at that time, but I was probably an early tester for Linux SMP kernels. I remember being REALLY excited at getting an 80% performance improvement with gcc on two CPUs.

One of the guys I went to college with still has his 486 and I think he still submits code for keeping Linux 2.4 running on it.

GoldSpider: Woah there, rich man!


If it makes you feel any better, I spent about three years saving up for that machine. It's just that I was doing it back when people would hand me $50 to type in CHS data so their hard drives would be recognized by their BIOS or, as previously mentioned, configure config.sys so they could have a working sound card AND modem AND serial mouse.
 
2013-03-26 10:19:39 AM
Had a 486dx 33mhz, 4 meg. Helped roommate build a 16meg machine and we were excited that we could load Ultima Underworld completely into ram.
 
2013-03-26 10:22:14 AM
i837.photobucket.com
 
2013-03-26 10:22:43 AM
I bought my first PC upon my return from the First Gulf War. With the cash, I got a 386DX, 33Mhz, math co-processor, 4 MB RAM and a whopping 42 MB HD. Got it for flight sim stuff. Spent many hours playing X-Wing and Falcon 3.0.
 
2013-03-26 10:26:36 AM

I_Am_Weasel: I see your 1993 video and raise you with Bits & Bytes, circa 1983.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VaBYw3swyg


Big bonus for Luba Goy and Billy Van.

When that series aired, I was just about on my 2nd computer- I started with an apple ][ clone (orange) that I self-assembled and had plastic velcro panels for a case.  It was roughly equivalent to a 2 plus in horsepower (4k 6502 8 bit processor, 64k ram).  I would upgrade to an Apple //c the following year.  By the time 1993 rolled around, I was on computer #4 or 5, somewhere between my SX25 and DX40.

/NERDS!
 
2013-03-26 10:36:58 AM
In '93 or thereabouts my dad bought our first real computer, an Acer 486 SX/25 with 4MB of RAM and a 140ish MB drive.

Within a year, he spent $200 doubling the RAM to 8MB so Doom and SimCity 2000 would run better.
 
2013-03-26 10:43:40 AM

sammyk: pfft! My 1st computer. 16k of RAM and I had to hack a cassette tape deck for storage.

/whats a cassette?

[encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com image 295x171]


My dad brought one of these home from K-Mart in the early 80's and that was one of the happiest memories of my childhood.  Learned BASIC on that thing and played the hell out of 4 or 5 cartridge games we had.  Munch Man FTW!
 
2013-03-26 10:53:18 AM

sammyk: pfft! My 1st computer. 16k of RAM and I had to hack a cassette tape deck for storage.

/whats a cassette?



The scary part about the TI-99 you see there.  That's what my family WAS running circa 1993.  And, yes, you're remembering things correctly... TI pulled out of the computer market in 1984.
The fact that the machine was orphaned meant that my dirt-poor (but nerdy) folks could get one for around $100 in '84 and the disk-drive expansion box for $100 (used) in '85.

After that, until about 1994 or so, we were in a weird Galapagos Island (or Japanese war holdout) end of computers.  There were a few thousand TI-99 people who were still writing software, holding conventions, doing fairly intense desktop publishing and graphics, all on ten-year-defunct weird old machines.  We didn't have the money to upgrade, were in a small town (largely disconnected from the broader computer culture), and so just kept plugging away at the miserable beastie.

Computer Chronicles was a PBS show, so we'd watch it.  All the talk about megabytes of RAM and CD-ROM drives were just sorta mythical... like North Koreans who believe that the rest of the world is rich, but don't even really understand what that means.
 
2013-03-26 10:57:31 AM
csdb.dk
 
2013-03-26 10:57:48 AM
IIRC, we got our first pc right around this time (may have been late '92). 386 dx40, 4 megs of ram, and a whopping 210 mb hd. It was eventually upgraded to a 486 chipset with 8 megs of ram and 720 mb hd (right about the time that IDE hds broke the 1GB barrier). It was a good starter (actually, my starter was an XT that was so ancient that it had a 20 mb hard card and 640k of RAM.. my grandma got it at a surplus sale at work in the early 90s).

A few years later, my grandma got me a monster gateway system that I no longer remember the specs for, but I do know that it cost like $3500. It actually was in service longer than any of the machines since then.
 
2013-03-26 10:58:32 AM
Don't you even think about stepping on my lawn.

www.vintage-computer.com
 
2013-03-26 11:00:49 AM

FuturePastNow: Within a year, he spent $200 doubling the RAM to 8MB so Doom and SimCity 2000 would run better.


Funny you say that, because I remember finally convincing my dad to upgrade our PC to 8MB of ran so SimCity 2000 would run too! First real machine we had was a 486 33MHz, 4MB RAM, 120MB HD, 5.25"/3.5" drives, and a 14" monitor.

//The day we upgraded to an AMD K5-133 / 32MB / 800MB was unbelievable like "who needs this much computer??"
 
2013-03-26 11:10:04 AM
jscustom.theoldcomputer.com
 
2013-03-26 11:11:50 AM
The PC Jr II.  My first childhood experience with computers.  Had one of those big floppy disks for Megaman 3. It would run in black and white at a snails pace.  What power.
 
2013-03-26 11:11:59 AM

dukeblue219: //The day we upgraded to an AMD K5-133 / 32MB / 800MB was unbelievable like "who needs this much computer??"


I'm really sorry... early AMD x86 processors were notoriously temperamental.
 
2013-03-26 11:19:27 AM
My first computer was a 386SX-16 4MB Ram 30MB hard drive. I still have it up in the attic. I have no idea if it would still boot up.
 
2013-03-26 11:24:48 AM
It is interesting how the computers we own define the generation. The leaps in performance and how long we will tolerate/cling to what we know and are comfortable with. For me it is:
1983 - Apple 2e  - this still runs after 30 years
1989 - Amiga 2000  - this still runs after 23 years
1995 - 133mhz Pentium (dead - lightning)
1998 - K6-2 400mhz (dead)
2000 - K7 Thunderbird (obscenely overclocked, given away)
2007 - Core2 duo @3.5ghz (using right now)

I usually get about 6 years out of main computer (I don't count the laptops, tablets, and net-tops I also own, but use occasionally). Probably time to build a new one.
 
2013-03-26 11:26:14 AM
toastytech.com
 
2013-03-26 11:26:44 AM

Lawnchair: sammyk: pfft! My 1st computer. 16k of RAM and I had to hack a cassette tape deck for storage.

/whats a cassette?


The scary part about the TI-99 you see there.  That's what my family WAS running circa 1993.  And, yes, you're remembering things correctly... TI pulled out of the computer market in 1984.
The fact that the machine was orphaned meant that my dirt-poor (but nerdy) folks could get one for around $100 in '84 and the disk-drive expansion box for $100 (used) in '85.

After that, until about 1994 or so, we were in a weird Galapagos Island (or Japanese war holdout) end of computers.  There were a few thousand TI-99 people who were still writing software, holding conventions, doing fairly intense desktop publishing and graphics, all on ten-year-defunct weird old machines.  We didn't have the money to upgrade, were in a small town (largely disconnected from the broader computer culture), and so just kept plugging away at the miserable beastie.

Computer Chronicles was a PBS show, so we'd watch it.  All the talk about megabytes of RAM and CD-ROM drives were just sorta mythical... like North Koreans who believe that the rest of the world is rich, but don't even really understand what that means.


To this day my Mom says its the best $100 she ever spent. Both my brother and I have very successful IT careers and it all goes back to that primitive little device we got when we were 14-15. We were at the perfect age brimming with curiousity and all we wanted to do is see how far we could push that thing. My childhood hobby became my career and I have not truely worked a day of my life.
 
2013-03-26 11:29:41 AM
In 1993 I had a 286 with two 5" floppy drives, no hard drive. Boot from an OS floppy, then remove, put in application floppy, save files to second floppy. I ran Word, various programming languages and a bullshiat spreadsheet app called VP Planner.
 
2013-03-26 11:33:13 AM

sammyk: To this day my Mom says its the best $100 she ever spent. Both my brother and I have very successful IT careers and it all goes back to that primitive little device we got when we were 14-15. We were at the perfect age brimming with curiousity and all we wanted to do is see how far we could push that thing. My childhood hobby became my career and I have not truely worked a day of my life.


Which explains why I have never dealt with an IT person that does anything right or knows their own systems and networks better than me and I just work in finance.
 
2013-03-26 11:37:04 AM
1993 was right around the time my family got its first computer.  It was a Compaq desktop running Windows 3.1 that we bought at Computer City.

Then in 1999, I got my second computer to take to college with me.  A Gateway laptop running Windows 98 (huge 4 GB hard drive) that I got at the Gateway Country store.

When I graduated college in 2003, I was fed up with dealing with Windows blue-screens for the previous four years.  OS X had been out for a year or so at that point, so I switched over to Mac and never looked back.
 
2013-03-26 11:46:40 AM

H31N0US: In 1993 I had a 286 with two 5" floppy drives, no hard drive. Boot from an OS floppy, then remove, put in application floppy, save files to second floppy. I ran Word, various programming languages and a bullshiat spreadsheet app called VP Planner.


I miss the simple days of booting up a computer via 5"s and having to do everything in DOS command.  Though I still remember being excited about getting a hard drive.
 
2013-03-26 11:47:38 AM
 
2013-03-26 11:49:34 AM

wildcardjack: [toastytech.com image 765x533]


I had a slow-ass 386SX PC that I suffered with. Used it for school stuff that required a PC. Seriously took like 15 minutes to boot up.

Bought an Apple Mac Classic II through my school for $1800 at student pricing, and I thought was a steal. Used it for word processing mainly. Our school had two Apple laser printers hidden in a downstairs lab and around the back of a partition. I was like the only person turning in papers printed with a laser printer while everyone else was still using typewriters or dot matrix printers.

/Dig me, I'm cool.
 
2013-03-26 11:55:40 AM

madgonad: sammyk: To this day my Mom says its the best $100 she ever spent. Both my brother and I have very successful IT careers and it all goes back to that primitive little device we got when we were 14-15. We were at the perfect age brimming with curiousity and all we wanted to do is see how far we could push that thing. My childhood hobby became my career and I have not truely worked a day of my life.

Which explains why I have never dealt with an IT person that does anything right or knows their own systems and networks better than me and I just work in finance.


Which explains why I moved my career to infrastructure. It's a real pain in the ass talking to finance guys that think they know something because they figured out how to setup a home wifi.

What makes everyone think they can do the IT guys job? I've been doing this shiat for +30 years. I forgotten more than you will ever know about computer technology.
 
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