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Old, expensive hardware stories...
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sdilley14
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Jun 29, 2012, 01:38 PM
 
It's pretty amazing how far we have come in such a short period of time, not only in what our computers are capable of doing, but how much the gap between price and ability has closed up.

When I was a young'n we bought one of the first (general consumer) Windows 95 machines that was capable of going on the "internet". Bigboy tower, bigboy boat anchor for a monitor, 56k modem, Pentium 1 processor...$3000 out the door.

Before that we had a system that I vaguely remember but I do remember that it ran DOS and we could play Tetris and a couple other primitive games on it...I believe that machine was about $3000 as well.

Both of those machines we're cutting edge consumer electronics at the time.

I can't even begin to think of the type of machine I could get put together for $3000 these days.

Anyone else have similar stories?
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angelmb
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Jun 29, 2012, 04:06 PM
 
My first PC was expensive as well. No branded 486 DX2 with 16 MB RAM, some expensive Matrox AutoCAD certified GPU, Creative SoundBlaster 16, MS Home Mouse (cutest MS mouse ever), ADI 15" display, MS-DOS 6.2 and Windows 3.1… bought Windows 95 with MS Plus! on release day, NT4 as well. Despair. OS/2 Warp 4. Frustration.

And then, I was able to get my hands on a Quadra 840 AV.

Happiness.
     
mduell
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Jun 29, 2012, 05:06 PM
 
The ability to max out a machine on memory has really become economical... not sure if it's more of a comment on the price of memory or the lack of increases in memory capacity.

With 8GB modules at $6/GB, you can max out a modern single-socket consumer system for under $200!
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jun 29, 2012, 05:58 PM
 
I remember paying several hundred dollars to upgrade my Mac SE to 2.5 MB RAM back in 1990...so I could run System 7 and Mark of the Unicorn's Performer.

I also upgraded to a 40 MB hard disk at the time, for absurd money.
     
boy8cookie
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Jun 29, 2012, 08:32 PM
 
We bought some Mac Pros in April...
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jun 29, 2012, 08:41 PM
 
The PowerBook 5300CE I think it was used to retail for £5500. I never had one but I always wanted one.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
sek929
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Jun 30, 2012, 11:03 AM
 
When my sister went to college she bought a PowerMac 7200/120, 17" Apple Monitor, a scanner (can't remember brand), and a Canon Bubblejet printer. Everything came in around 4 grand if I recall.
     
shifuimam
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Jun 30, 2012, 11:42 AM
 
Our first machine was an old Packard Bell 286 than ran DOS 3.1 and didn't have a sound card or a 3.5" floppy. I don't know how much it was - my grandparents gave it to us, much to my mother's chagrin.

Our first machine we bought as a family was an Acer Aspire desktop for $1699 in 1995 - Pentium 100, 16MB RAM, no modem, but it DID have a monitor that was designed to integrate with the desktop, which we thought was pretty cool. We got a video card for it from a friend with a whopping 4MB RAM.
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subego
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Jun 30, 2012, 01:05 PM
 
FireWire card cost me $600 back in the day.
     
Doc HM
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Jun 30, 2012, 01:10 PM
 
I think my original quadra 700was about £5000. I also splurged out on 20MB ram, can't remember how much that cost but it was £00's, probably around £500 and a massive 200MB HDD for about £600 more, probably nearly £7000 all in on the system including a dinky Apple scanner.

It was awesome. I believe MacUser in the UK reviewed it at the time with the (stupid) conclusion that "You'll never need a faster Mac"










I did.
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PB2K
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Jul 1, 2012, 09:42 AM
 
I had my Amiga 500 with 512 mb ram for 1400 guilders. A colorscreen 1084s was 900 guilders. A memory upgrade of 2.5 megs was 360 guilders. It meant i didn't have to swap floppies that much.

My next computer was an iMac bondi blue for 3000 guilders, with 160 megs of ram.

A year later I bought a bronze powerbook 333 mhz with 512 megs of ram for 7000 guilders. It didn't have a dvd drive. But I was able to play Unreal Tournament with spinning boulders in space.
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Dork.
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Jul 1, 2012, 11:31 AM
 
I piled a bunch of money into a desktop computer just before college. I got a Centris 650. (If you do your homework, you can now tell exactly how old I am, since Apple sold the Centris line for all of 5 minutes.) It had a whopping 4 MB of RAM, and had a blazing-fast 25 MHz 68040 on it. I think it was over $2k with the color monitor (millions of colors!) and ADB keyboard and mouse. The CD drive used trays!

In Grad School, I sold that in part to pay for a used PB 5300c. I forgot how much I paid for that. I still have it around somewhere. All it's good for now is playing Diamonds and Shufflepuck Cafe. Astonishingly, the power plug on the logic board hasn't broken yet. I may have the last surviving PB5300....

A few years back, I bought a pizza-box Quadra from a friend, to get the ROM off of it and try some emulation (Didn't get too far...) Don't remember the specs, but it was in the same class as that Centris 650 (except without the NuBus(!) slots.) I paid him $20 for it, and since he didn't have change he bought me lunch that day. Computers do depreciate.
( Last edited by Dork.; Jul 1, 2012 at 11:49 AM. )
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jul 1, 2012, 04:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by PB2K View Post
I had my Amiga 500 with 512 mb ram for 1400 guilders. A colorscreen 1084s was 900 guilders. A memory upgrade of 2.5 megs was 360 guilders. It meant i didn't have to swap floppies that much.

My next computer was an iMac bondi blue for 3000 guilders, with 160 megs of ram.

A year later I bought a bronze powerbook 333 mhz with 512 megs of ram for 7000 guilders. It didn't have a dvd drive. But I was able to play Unreal Tournament with spinning boulders in space.
I didn't think the 500s ever took more than 1MB RAM. I still have mine.
I'd still have my 333MHz Lombard PowerBook if it hadn't been stolen in 2006. I had just upgraded it to a G4/466 too. I previously fitted a DVDRW to it but the CPU couldn't keep up with the drive buffer to actually burn a DVD.

I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
ajprice
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Jul 2, 2012, 08:59 AM
 
Not that old compared to other ones here but my first Mac was a Performa 6400 -

200MHz
56MB RAM (32 and 16 sticks, and 8 onboard)
Not sure what the onboard graphics was on that.

Then a G4 tower
867MHz
I think I had 512MB RAM in it
64MB Geforce 2 card

Current Macbook
2.16GHz dual core
4GB RAM (bought it with 2GB)
GMA 950 onboard graphics (uses 256MB RAM as memory, i think??)

It is great when you notice the difference between the old one and a new one, and then you wonder how the hell you did anything before .

It'll be much easier if you just comply.
     
P
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Jul 2, 2012, 10:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by ajprice View Post
Not that old compared to other ones here but my first Mac was a Performa 6400 -

200MHz
56MB RAM (32 and 16 sticks, and 8 onboard)
Not sure what the onboard graphics was on that.
Some early ATi Rage chip.

Originally Posted by ajprice View Post
GMA 950 onboard graphics (uses 256MB RAM as memory, i think??)
ObPointlessKnowledge: Dynamic, max 224 MB. I think OS X defaulted it to 80 MB.

Originally Posted by ajprice View Post
It is great when you notice the difference between the old one and a new one, and then you wonder how the hell you did anything before .
This is mostly noticeable when you go back to the old one after a week or so on the new. It's usually unusable slow by then.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
P
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Jul 2, 2012, 11:17 AM
 
First Mac I ever used was an ancient Mac 512K. Shuffling floppies, and listening to tapes that explained the interface. MacPaint was awesome, and Airborne!

First Mac at home constantly was a Mac SE. [email protected], 1 MB of RAM, which meant that it couldn't run MultiFinder - something that annoyed me no end - and not System 7 either, when it eventually arrived. A 10 MB HD that was constantly full. Don't know what happened to it.

First Mac that was mine was an LC III with System 7.1. [email protected], 4 MB of RAM, which was nowhere near enough to be usable. I eventually installed an 8 MB upgrade that was absolutely crazy expensive at the time, but it made a big difference. That machine must be the most stable Mac I ever had. Eventually trashed while still in working order.

Next was a Performa 5300, [email protected] MHZ, 8 MB of RAM that was immediately upgraded to 16 MB and eventually maxed at 64 MB. Bought mainly because it was on idiot sale at some local electronics store. 7.5.1 (which it came with) was the worst piece of garbage I've ever seen some out from Apple - it routinely crashed when using the physical volume control on the front. The 7.5.3 update - which came on a some 15 virtual floppies to be downloaded over the 14.4 modem (although I used an external 28.8 modem instead) - fixed some things, but highlighted how terrible Apple was at the time. Not only could you update the OS, the networking layer was a separate updated (Open Transport), QuickTime was its own, and various libs such as the infamous ObjectSupportLib also needed to be updated separately. At the end it was brought all the way up to 8.6. Also thrown out while still in working order.

iMac [email protected] MHz, 64 MB RAM (I think?) and eventually brought to 512 MB, OS 9.0 and eventually brought all the way up to 10.4 IIRC. A solid machine, but I felt cheated by the way Apple described the GPU (it was a Rage 128, same as the B&W G3, but nerfed to a 64bit memory bus). Completely silent, except for the DVD and HDD, and I quietened it further by replacing the HDD with a Seagate Barracuda. Had a flaky PSU/analog board from the beginning, and eventually went out with a bang (literally) long after it had been relegated to secondary computer.

iMac [email protected] GHz, 256 MB RAM, eventually upgraded to 2 GB. Came with 10.3, I think, eventually upgraded to 10.5. A strange machine in its way. The display was great and a huge step up from the old CRTs, and the G5 had some real power, but the tiny L2 cache and the weak graphics made performance hit-and-miss, at least at the end of its lifetime. Very noisy, due to the hot GeForce 5200U. Died just a few months ago, again long after being replaced.

iMac 27", [email protected] GHz, 4 GB of RAM, already upgraded to 16 GB. Real balanced power (Radeon 4850M) without being noisy for the first time. Added an SSD - actually considering upgrading it to a 256 GB version just to be able to put more stuff on it.

If I had to chose, my current model is probably the most well-rounded, but it was also the most expensive. The 5300 was the worst, especially when I received it.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
ajprice
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Jul 2, 2012, 12:04 PM
 
OK, a story instead of a computer history.

Back when I had the Performa, my neighbour had a Classic. It wasn't working, so I said I'd have a look at it for him. Short story is that the motherboard battery was very nearly dead, so when you pressed the power button, it took 20 minutes for the startup bong (or in this case, for some reason, a Fred Flintstone 'Yabba Dabba Doo!' sound). Anyway, a new battery later it was up and running again, and had a look at the system. It had a 40MB hard drive, full of shit like Flintstones sound effects, so I backed it up onto a zip disk and made sure it was all running ok before handing it back. My neighbour is the least techy person I know, and was amazed that I backed up his computer onto a disk. He was happy, I may have been paid in beer.

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knifecarrier2
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Jul 2, 2012, 12:26 PM
 
We had a 6300 I think... flat style mac with a CD tray. What a freaking turd of a machine. Replaced it with a $3000 Performa 6400. I remember getting that big bad tower and wanting to play quake on it, due to it's blazing fast 200mhz chip. Also tried to emulate windows 95 on it, so I could play Interstate 76. It ran at about 1 frame per second.
     
sek929
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Jul 2, 2012, 01:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
iMac [email protected] MHz, 64 MB RAM....Had a flaky PSU/analog board from the beginning, and eventually went out with a bang (literally) long after it had been relegated to secondary computer.
Didn't they all?

My Rev D. iMac suffered the same fate. A series of softer snapping sounds followed by a very large snap, then dead. Luckily it had about two weeks left on AppleCare, unfortunately it came back with a green tinge to the monitor after have the PSU and logic board replaced, no idea why.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jul 2, 2012, 03:34 PM
 
Sounds like they didn't calibrate the CRT (properly).
My complete computing history only including my main usage machines

Sinclair Spectrum ZX+ 48k
Sinclair Spectrum ZX+3 (With floppy drive and light gun!)
Commodore Amiga A500 (Still got it and it runs beautifully)
Apple Macintosh Performa 6200CD (Still got it, maxed out and still running)
Apple PowerBook G3 Lombard
Apple PowerMac G3 B&W built from parts, never ran properly
Apple PowerMac G4 MDD Still runs fine.
Apple PowerBook G4 repaired from write-off but never really owned by me, company machine
Apple iBook G4 repaired from a write-off
Apple MacBook Core Duo built from parts, still runs 24/7 on my coffee table as a torrent machine
Apple Mac Mini 2007 salvaged
Apple MacBook Pro Early 2008 repaired from write-off, not mine either but did me pretty well, only 6 months old when I fixed it up
Apple MacBook Pro Late 2008 repaired from a broken one I bought on eBay, still had 2.5 years APP on it, still my main machine

I picked up a couple of TiBooks, another G4 iBook, a stack of beige PowerMac G3s a G4 Digital Audio and 3 G4 Xserves along the way too.
Are we counting consoles? Sega Megadrive, Game Gear, PS1, PS2 and a couple of Gameboys and a DS. Still got all of those, still working as far as I know.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
subego
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Jul 2, 2012, 04:36 PM
 
Well if this is a list:

Apple ][+
Mac 512Ke, upgraded to plus
Mac II, upgraded to IIfx (now that was a machine)
PowerTowerPro 225
2x iMacDVse (400MHz G3)
"Quicksilver" Mac Pro (dualie 1GHz G4)
12" PowerBook (1GHz G4)
Mini (1.4GHz G4 - what a ****ing dog)
Mini Core Duo
Mini C2D
15" PowerBook (2.3GHz i7)
3x Mini Server (2GHz i7)
     
Doc HM
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Jul 3, 2012, 03:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by knifecarrier2 View Post
We had a 6300 I think... flat style mac with a CD tray. What a freaking turd of a machine. Replaced it with a $3000 Performa 6400. I remember getting that big bad tower and wanting to play quake on it, due to it's blazing fast 200mhz chip. Also tried to emulate windows 95 on it, so I could play Interstate 76. It ran at about 1 frame per second.
My 6400 was awesome. I loved the form factor tower, very funky at the time. It had the best sound I ever remember coming out of a Mac as well.

I had a Peforma 6200 at the same time as well. That really was a pile of crap. It ended up being stuffed full of RAM, 64MB I seem to remember and running as a RIP for my epson colour printer. The £7000 Quadra 700 ended up with an ISDN card installed and ended it's working life shunting files to and from printers and repro houses.
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