Favorite PCs of Past

What is your favorite/memorable PC from the past?



A 2009 eMachines laptop, with Windows 7. It was a $199 Walmart Black Friday special laptop!

It was actually a pretty good laptop initially, with a vibrant display and nice full keyboard. It played some games too!

The Athlon TF-20 single core processor, really choked performance, and limited long term use.

Conversation 19 comments

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    11 October, 2021 - 10:15 am

    <p>From design, the Memotech MTX500. From use, the Amiga 1200. Modern PCs just don’t have that little something to really make them stand out.</p><p><br></p><p>My HP Spectre X360 is nice and it has a 4K 360° touch screen, but, meh. My Ryzen 1700 is great, but, meh. Don’t get me wrong, they are both great machines and can run rings around the Memotech and Amiga, but at the time, they were something really special. They pushed what we were used to, the modern PCs, not so much.</p><p><br></p><p>The Memotech came with a machine code monitor and Assembler built in, as well as BASIC. It also had the hardware sprites &amp; sound capabilities to rival the C64, but with the BASIC language similar to the BBC Micro.</p><p><br></p><p>The Amiga came along when we had CGA based IBM PCs with 4 colours and DOS, it had high resolution, multi-colour graphics, with sprites, it had a built-in Genlock, heck, at a time when IBM PCs were struggling to do graphics, the Amiga was being used to do the CGI on Babylon 5, Seaquest DSV and Space Above and Beyond, among other projects. It was like a Mac, only with colour and better.</p><p><br></p><p>Those days of awe, when you open the box and fire it up for the first time are gone. A new PC will start up quicker than the older one, but actually do something groundbreaking and new?</p><p><br></p><p>I think possibly the most fun things I’ve used in the last few years were the Raspberry Pis, but they are "just another Linux PC" at the end of the day. </p><p><br></p><p>Today, I’d say the M1 Macs are probably the pinnacle of "wow, something new", but they are also "just another Mac", at the end of the day – because Apple have done their job so well. It is faster, it is more energy efficient, but it "just runs" macOS at the end of the day.</p>

    • bkkcanuck

      20 October, 2021 - 8:12 pm

      <p>Never had anything other than true blue machines (IBM PC, IBM PC/AT, etc.) back then (my father’s purchases)… but I remember seeing my first Amiga bouncing ball animation on screen and I was completely in love with those machines – I just could not afford to buy my own back then. (I think it was also the effect of the accompanying sound). </p><p><br></p><p>The other computer that I remember having any ’emotional’ response to (other than my Mac Pro 2008) was my purchase of my first UNIX machine the Sparcstation 5 (which thankfully Sun sold to me at a 40% discount).</p><p><br></p><p>That said, I am more functional than nostalgic, when I get a new computer the old one is either repurposed for some other function or it is gone… anything that does not provide some function I don’t bother keeping around the home (makes for a lot less clutter). I know people that collect old Macs or old computers and I just think – what the heck would be the purpose other than collecting dust.</p>

  • Greg Green

    11 October, 2021 - 10:25 am

    <p>A 386/33 amd powered beige monster from Goldstar, early 90s. Steel case still sitting in the garage somewhere, probably with both floppies drives still installed. Windows 3.0.</p><p><br></p><p>the case was so durable I kept reinstalling new motherboards in it. The most memorable rebuild was a Socket 7 with an amd K6 chip. 100 mhz board with a 300 mhz chip. My pc chair needed seatbelts going that fast!</p>

  • StevenLayton

    11 October, 2021 - 10:27 am

    <p>My first computer, an Atari XE, including tape deck, before moving to me Atari ST with 3.5 Floppy drive! My first WIndows PC was a Packard Bell something, running Windows 3.11 for work groups, running on a Pentium 60, 4Mb of RAM and a tiny HDD. For me, that was probably the most exciting times as it was just all so new. Everything after that was just faster and better versions of the same thing.</p>

  • dmclaurin

    11 October, 2021 - 10:57 am

    <p>My TRS-80 Color Computer 2. Maaaan! I loved that little computer and I learned BASIC and to program with it.</p>

    • erichk

      Premium Member
      11 October, 2021 - 11:25 am

      <p>I just bought one off of eBay a couple months ago. I always wanted one one as a kid.</p>

  • mcerdas

    Premium Member
    11 October, 2021 - 12:14 pm

    <p>I fondly remember my C64. I spent many an hour copying a lot of numbers after a PEEK from a blurry magazine</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      13 October, 2021 - 6:01 am

      <p>That would have been a POKE. ;-)</p><p><br></p><p>A PEEK looked at the contents of a memory location, a POKE put something into the memory location, in this case, usually machine code or screen data.</p><p><br></p><p>My first day at college, the lecturer wanted to see what level we were at, so we had to write a simple BASIC program on the PET 4000 to take a value and work out the minimum number of coins to give in change. I had the program finished in about 10 minutes, which left an hour to kill.</p><p><br></p><p>I ended up poking machine code into the program. It ended up drawing 2 windows on the screen, the top one for input, the bottom one for output. Instead of typing in the value with an INPUT statement, I used a GET, which scanned the keyboard, the resultant number was then display in an 8×8 block graphic at the top. When the user pressed return, the lower half of the screen filled up with piles of coins.</p><p><br></p><p>The lecturer took one look at the result and exclaimed, "wow, I didn’t know you could do that with a computer!" Oh, brother, and I was supposed to be the one there to learn something! :-P</p>

  • erichk

    Premium Member
    11 October, 2021 - 12:55 pm

    <p>I think the first personal computer I ever had where I actually stood back and said, "Whoa, now this is something" was my Micron Pentium/120. I think it’s because it was so many orders of magnitude more powerful than anything I had before … and with stuff like a CD-ROM drive, a wavetable sound card, and all that stuff, the experience took on a whole new dimension.</p>

  • navarac

    11 October, 2021 - 1:08 pm

    <p>Probably the Spectrum I paid £175 for in 1983. I had microdrives as well. It was all so new, different to anything else and truly a wonder. It had just 48K memory and tape storage (microdrives were mini tapes), but what you could achieve was awesome. So many of us got our coding start on this type of machine. Youngsters of today just don’t know what they missed – the 8-bit micro was an astonishing jaw-dropping marvel at the time, never to be replicated.</p>

  • lwetzel

    Premium Member
    11 October, 2021 - 4:45 pm

    <p>TRS-80 Model 4. Portable, well Luggable and could run at least 5 OS’s including 3 versions of CPM. </p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    11 October, 2021 - 5:23 pm

    <p>Commodore 128. It was a fantastic upgrade over the 64… AND it was a 64 as well! And a CP/M machine too!</p><p><br></p><p>But for all time, my indigo iMac. So many late night chats with my bestie across the state. 20 years later we’re engaged!</p>

  • ringofvoid

    12 October, 2021 - 10:37 pm

    <p>I got a budget whitebox Pentium tower from Comp-USA back in ’97. It came with a Pentium but all the components &amp; case were standard. I replaced the motherboard, power supply &amp; CPU several times all the way up to Pentium III. It hosted Voodoo, Voodoo2 &amp; Voodoo3 graphics cards over it’s lifetime and played games with style. It went from Windows 95&gt;98&gt;2000&gt;XP. I studied for my MCSA &amp; Comptia A+ &amp; Network+ certifications on it, starting my career in IT. It was the little beige box that could.</p>

    • jason_e

      13 October, 2021 - 6:14 pm

      <p>Man I really miss stores like CompUSA.</p>

  • christianwilson

    Premium Member
    13 October, 2021 - 12:29 pm

    <p>I had a non-brand name 486 tower PC that came to mind when I read this. </p><p><br></p><p>It wasn’t my first PC, but it was the first one that I upgraded, broke, fixed, and learned the most from.</p>

  • jason_e

    13 October, 2021 - 6:13 pm

    <p>My first computer was a Timex Sinclair 1000 with a tape deck. Then to a Commodore Vic 20, 64, 128 before moving on to a 286 (Compaq). Used TSR-80’s in high school. Those were awesome. </p>

    • jimchamplin

      Premium Member
      13 October, 2021 - 11:05 pm

      <p>That 286 was a real downgrade from the C128, huh? ;)</p>

      • jason_e

        14 October, 2021 - 2:27 pm

        <p>It was certainly a change.</p>

  • justme

    Premium Member
    14 October, 2021 - 6:17 am

    <p>For me, there are generally three that come to mind: the Atari 800, the Apple ][e, and an Amstrad PPC 640 (with an external hard drive doghouse). The Atari got me interested in coding by helping me learn BASIC. The Apple got me interested in PC gaming (looking at you, Ultima) and solidified my coding interest by helping me learn PASCAL – gaming-wise, I was otherwise an Intellevision and arcade kid, and the Amstrad helped me at university where, at the time, computing resources were thin on the ground. (It would later be supplanted by a Packard Bell 386, and our labs got massively upgraded) I could also lug it to work in the lab I worked nights in.</p><p><br></p><p>Honorable mention? The venerable IBM PS/2 with its microchannel architecture (at least the models I used and worked on) and crazy setup disk. Having used and worked on them at university, I encountered them professionally a few years later and was one of the few people in my shop at the time that knew how to work on them.</p>

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