VOGONS


Reply 40 of 52, by digger

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The PC I could afford to buy the parts for back in those days was based on a Texas Instruments 486DLC. This must have been around 1993 or so.

I figured a 386 (even a DX) would be outdated at that point, but I couldn't afford an Intel 486, at least not a DX. The 486DLC (with math coprocessor installed on the motherboard) turned out to be the sweet spot for me at the time, in terms of affordability and performance. I believe it ran at 40MHz, but it may have been 33MHz.

I remember how I meticulously saved up money from my paper route to finally buy the components to build my own PC at that time. My Dad had an XT machine with CGA-compatible graphics and I was eager to upgrade.

Unfortunately, around the time I had saved up enough money to purchase all the components, a factory exploded somewhere in Asia, causing the prices of SIMMs to skyrocket overnight, throwing a bit of a wrench in my budget.

My Dad took me to an indoor computer fair called "PC Dump", which took place monthly in the RAI convention center in Amsterdam. Some of the Dutchies here might still remember the PC Dump days fondly. 😉 One could find some pretty good deals there if one shopped around and compared prices, with lots of competing vendors having their stands there in the same hall.) I managed to buy everything I needed, except for the RAM and a hard drive. Every stand that sold RAM there at a still somewhat reasonable price was sold out. There was one vendor willing to take a backorder for 4MB RAM at the prices he was offering them for at the fair, but we would have to pick up the memory some other time at his store, which I believe was located in Rotterdam.

I'll tell ya, having almost all the components at home except for one missing item, preventing me from being able to boot it up and playing with it, that was quite frustrating.

Anyway, once my Dad had picked up the RAM for me some time later, I could finally assemble a working PC, albeit still without a hard drive.

But at least I could play some games on floppy, in EGA or VGA mode and with a sound card! I would acquire a Conner 250MB IDE hard drive later, for a reasonable price.

Reply 41 of 52, by TMiN

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1989 - "DATATRAIN" 386 SX/16 20MB HDD and 2MB RAM with a 256k Tseng Labs video card, purchased from a Canadian drug/department store called "London Drugs" who oddly enough has always had a specialized computer department.

Reply 42 of 52, by RandomStranger

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I never purchased a 386 or 486 in my life. Back in the late 90's when I was a kid (about 8 ) I got one for free from a recycling center. My father brought that home as he thought "it's good enough for the kid to play". Then later in the early 2000's I got a couple more from the same place. I still have about 2 of which 1 works, the other never did. Now I save them at my workplace when they are about to be thrown out.

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Reply 43 of 52, by chinny22

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2020-12-31, 18:58:

Still got still got the Osbourne branded MS Windows 3.1 disks I got for around a 3rd of the current retail price at the time. Osbourne was quite a popular brand over here in New Zealand as well. Worked fine with DRDos 6 on my 286/16 with 4megs of ram with a 40meg and 240meg ide hdd. Ran some form of Win3.x/Dos combination until 1999 when I got the second hand mini tower IBM PC300GL with MS Windows 98 on it which saw service for around a decade.

Does that version customise the Windows splash screen?
Ours shipped with 3.11 and funny enough the version that came pre-installed on the PC had the original, it wasn't till you used the restore disks (which you had make yourself forma tool on the HDD) that you got a spas screen with Osborne

Reply 44 of 52, by Cyberdyne

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In 1996 a decent 486 was still an expensive thing in Estonia. They imported them used from Scandinavia and Finland. I bought mine a 486SX33 16MB RAM 250MB HDD 14" VGA monitor. And that was it for like 800EUR in todays money, or even more. And a half year later a Sound Blaster 16 plus IDE 8X CD-ROM addon costed like 300EUR in todays money. I just did my calculations myself and verry crude.

I am aroused about any X86 motherboard that has full functional ISA slot. I think i have problem. Not really into that original (Turbo) XT,286,386 and CGA/EGA stuff. So just a DOS nut.

Reply 45 of 52, by Intel486dx33

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The first Multimedia computers for the consumers where being sold in 1993.

They came with:
486-33mhz CPU
4mb ram
ISA motherboard
2x CDROM
Sound Blaster 16 or compatible sound card.

In 1993/94 You could build your own PC with a VLB motherboard , VLB video card, and up to 486dx4-100 Intel overdrive CPU.

Later for Windows-95 an inexpensive upgrade was to upgrade the CPU and ram.
1n 1993 ram was expensive at $100mb
That’s why computers mainly sold with only 4mb.

This was actually inadequate for a Multimedia computer. They ran slow and the 2x CDROM drives would seek allot.

For Windows-95 the price of fast page mode ram came down a little so people could afford to upgrade their computers with more ram.
And allot of Overdrive CPU’s came out.
By AMD and Intel and Cyrix.

An inexpensive upgrade was the AMD 5x86 CPU which sold at that time for about $50 and was marketed as being made for win-95.

Win-95 runs okay with Amd 5x86-133 CPU and 16mb ram.

But in 1995 computer manufactures started building computers with Intel Pentium CPUs.
The entry level Pentium CPU started at $150

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Reply 46 of 52, by Caluser2000

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chinny22 wrote on 2021-01-04, 13:18:
Caluser2000 wrote on 2020-12-31, 18:58:

Still got still got the Osbourne branded MS Windows 3.1 disks I got for around a 3rd of the current retail price at the time. Osbourne was quite a popular brand over here in New Zealand as well. Worked fine with DRDos 6 on my 286/16 with 4megs of ram with a 40meg and 240meg ide hdd. Ran some form of Win3.x/Dos combination until 1999 when I got the second hand mini tower IBM PC300GL with MS Windows 98 on it which saw service for around a decade.

Does that version customise the Windows splash screen?
Ours shipped with 3.11 and funny enough the version that came pre-installed on the PC had the original, it wasn't till you used the restore disks (which you had make yourself forma tool on the HDD) that you got a spas screen with Osborne

Just the normal Windows 3.1 splash screen.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 47 of 52, by Anonymous Coward

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digger wrote on 2021-01-03, 11:51:

Unfortunately, around the time I had saved up enough money to purchase all the components, a factory exploded somewhere in Asia, causing the prices of SIMMs to skyrocket overnight, throwing a bit of a wrench in my budget.

Yeah, tell me about it! The memory prices were sky high until sometime in 1997 when they finally came back down to reasonable levels. I think DRAM price was probably one of the reasons I just skipped over the Pentium. I figured there was no point if I couldn't have at least 16MB of RAM (which cost an arm or a leg).
Last year I did some digging around for information about the explosion. I believe the name of the company was "Sumitomo Chemical" of Japan. I think they are probably still around. They weren't a DRAM manufacturer but they supplied a chemical needed to make the ICs, and I believe at the time they were one of the world's only suppliers. What I remember is that it happened under very suspicious circumstances, and it was suspected to be a case of industrial sabotage...but, it was never proven.

https://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/05/business/j … -destroyed.html

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 48 of 52, by digger

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Anonymous Coward wrote on 2021-01-04, 15:44:

Yeah, tell me about it! The memory prices were sky high until sometime in 1997 when they finally came back down to reasonable levels. I think DRAM price was probably one of the reasons I just skipped over the Pentium. I figured there was no point if I couldn't have at least 16MB of RAM (which cost an arm or a leg).
Last year I did some digging around for information about the explosion. I believe the name of the company was "Sumitomo Chemical" of Japan. I think they are probably still around. They weren't a DRAM manufacturer but they supplied a chemical needed to make the ICs, and I believe at the time they were one of the world's only suppliers. What I remember is that it happened under very suspicious circumstances, and it was suspected to be a case of industrial sabotage...but, it was never proven.

https://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/05/business/j … -destroyed.html

Thanks for digging up that article. (I thought I was supposed to be the "digger". 😉) The date seems about right. Sad to read that people got hurt and one person even died from the explosion. Here we were, complaining about high memory prices, whereas that poor sap lost his life. It helps put things in perspective. 😕

I remember there being another sudden crazy hike in RAM prices, some years later. I believe this was somewhere between 2000 and 2002, in the Pentium II or III era. I don't remember exactly when, but I was working in a computer store at the time, and it was the only time that we actually had to raise the prices for any of our products multiple times during the same day! And the prices went through the roof. Something like a 5-fold or even 10-fold increase, or something insane like that. I actually felt bad about selling PCs to customers in that period. Like what you described about the 1993 incident, there were also rumours of shenanigans around this sudden massive price increase, possibly collusion between the few DRAM producers to artificially inflate the RAM prices, since they weren't happy with the margins they were making when the prices were low.

Reply 49 of 52, by andrea

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digger wrote on 2021-01-04, 22:34:
Anonymous Coward wrote on 2021-01-04, 15:44:

Yeah, tell me about it! The memory prices were sky high until sometime in 1997 when they finally came back down to reasonable levels. I think DRAM price was probably one of the reasons I just skipped over the Pentium. I figured there was no point if I couldn't have at least 16MB of RAM (which cost an arm or a leg).
Last year I did some digging around for information about the explosion. I believe the name of the company was "Sumitomo Chemical" of Japan. I think they are probably still around. They weren't a DRAM manufacturer but they supplied a chemical needed to make the ICs, and I believe at the time they were one of the world's only suppliers. What I remember is that it happened under very suspicious circumstances, and it was suspected to be a case of industrial sabotage...but, it was never proven.

https://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/05/business/j … -destroyed.html

Thanks for digging up that article. (I thought I was supposed to be the "digger". 😉) The date seems about right. Sad to read that people got hurt and one person even died from the explosion. Here we were, complaining about high memory prices, whereas that poor sap lost his life. It helps put things in perspective. 😕

I remember there being another sudden crazy hike in RAM prices, some years later. I believe this was somewhere between 2000 and 2002, in the Pentium II or III era. I don't remember exactly when, but I was working in a computer store at the time, and it was the only time that we actually had to raise the prices for any of our products multiple times during the same day! And the prices went through the roof. Something like a 5-fold or even 10-fold increase, or something insane like that. I actually felt bad about selling PCs to customers in that period. Like what you described about the 1993 incident, there were also rumours of shenanigans around this sudden massive price increase, possibly collusion between the few DRAM producers to artificially inflate the RAM prices, since they weren't happy with the margins they were making when the prices were low.

I think that was the earthquake in Taiwan in '99.

And the same thing happened for hard drives in 2011 after the floodings in Thailand.

Reply 50 of 52, by Mister Xiado

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Never had a computer until I was living on my own. Bought it from a catalog in October of 1998. 300MHz AMD K6-2, 32MB of RAM, 3.2GB Fujitsu HDD, unbranded CDROM drive, bottom of the barrel PCI 2D video card, Lucent Technologies PCI WinModem (v.90), ISA ESS AudioDrive sound card, 15" CRT, cheap "80W" speakers, cheap mouse and keyboard. $800 +tax, S&H. Surprisingly, I still have the computer, though I've effectively maxed it out. I'm shocked that it survived over the decades as just a motherboard, power supply, and IO plate in a cardboard box with an open top.

Anyway, I'm eternally bitter about not having a computer until I was a working adult. It's stupid irony that my website makes it seem like I was wealthy in the early nineties.

b_ldnt2.gif - Where it's always 1995.
Icons, wallpapers, and typical Oldternet nonsense.

Reply 51 of 52, by CrossBow777

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First 486 was my Packard Bell 486SX-25 I purchased back in spring of 1994. Upgraded the CPU to a 486DX-66 about 6months later as I recall. My previous PC to this 486 was my semi beefy 286-16 AMD based system my folks and I put money together for back in 1988 -89.

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Midi Modules: MT-32 (OLD), MT-200, MT-300, MT-90S, MT-90U, SD-20

Reply 52 of 52, by Lomax

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I had a 386SX "luggable" with a greyscale screen back in 1992, something very similar to this:

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It was not an Amstrad though, or a Toshiba - IIRC the brand was First International Computer, or FIC. It had a massive NiCd battery pack which kept it running for about an hour, and a built in carry handle below the keyboard 😁 Think it had a 20Mb harddrive (it was actually my first computer to have one) and ran Windows 3.11. Even had a copy of Photoshop 2 on it, which given the 640x480 greyscale screen was next to useless - but I was in awe 😀

My first 486 system was an IBM PS/1 486SX that I got shortly after - a far more useable machine which I tinkered extensively with:

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It had a colour screen (yay!) and a MIDI port, which allowed me to run a MIDI sequencer (Cakewalk), and of course Photoshop worked much better in colour 😁 I also got on the Internet for the first time (Trumpet Winsock, Mosaic), with a 14.4k modem I had previously used to run up huge phone bills BBSing (Telix, Terminate).

Then a friend of mine, having been inspired by the music making abilities of my machine, decided to get himself a computer as well and bought a Pentium 90 with Windows 95 and a Turtle Beach soundcard. I of course had to catch up, and built my own Pentium machine in an IBM XT case - yes, I was into retro computing already in 1995!

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Some games I fondly remember from around that time:

  • Little Big Adventure
  • Need for Speed
  • Duke Nukem 3D
  • Sim City 2000
  • XCom: Terror from the Deep
  • Syndicate