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Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

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Old 29th Sep 2007, 9:31 pm   #61
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

My first computer was a Dragon 32, for use on RTTY back in around 1982, my reason for getting it was because of my use of an old Creed teleprinter, the noise being disturbing late at night. Second was a Spectrum 48k then later an Atari STe 1020.
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Old 29th Sep 2007, 9:49 pm   #62
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Mine was an Atari 1040 STE and because of a move across the pond to the UK I don't have it anymore, but I have a 240 volt example that is configured the same way.
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Old 1st Oct 2007, 11:57 am   #63
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Mine was a Nascom 2, about 1980 ish
Actually, my Dad bought the kit and I soldered it together - that was the deal.

He bought it from Electrovalue in Manchester.
Having read the warnings in the kit manual about static damage to the MOS devices, we did not have any ESD straps, so we soldered it together in the kitchen with the kettle steaming away to keep the humidity up!

Anyway it did work pretty much first time once we'd set the jumpers up correctly. Learnt Basic then Assembly programming (Zeap assembler). We joined a Nascom club ("MicroPower" I think) in Leeds and submitted a few programs to their newsletter.

This was after the Commodore PET and other kits like the UK101 but just prior to the Sinclair driven boom in home computers.

The kit did not come with a case. My father made a beautiful wooden case for it out of 6mm ply - nicely varnished

We used it with a Philips "Cube" TV which was just the job because it had a cassette tape recorder on the side of the TV - ideal

We've still got the Nascom somewhere.
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Old 4th Jan 2008, 12:56 am   #64
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My first computer though alas I don't have it any more was a Commodore 64. After that an Amiga 500, then an Amiga 1500 and then finally PCs after that. These days I do have a few second hand computers (but not much room!). Right now as I look 'round my room I can see a ZX81, Speccy 48K VIC-20, C64, Acorn A7000 and RiscPC, an Amiga 600, a Apple mac performa 475 and an Acorn A3010!

There's an atari Portfolio around somewhere too, and a Commodore PET 8032 in a cupboard - and no I won't run the killer poke! ( ) .

My current system (I do have other PCs though only 1 is 64-bit) is a 64 bit AMD PC, 512MB Ram, 120GB Hdd (800GB external), DVD writer running Slamd64 (that's a 64-bit version of Slackware).

BTW Most of these old computers have emulators, for example a lot of the 8-bit commodore machines can be emulated with VICE ( ) . Does almost the whole lot --- PET,CBM II, VIC, 64, 128 and +4/C16 !

Right now I have several emulators installed under slamd64. I have installed an apple mac emulator, Acorn emulator (emulating the earlier A3xxx and Risc PC, and also a BBC B/Master emulator), Amstrad PCW Emulator, Amiga emulator and VICE which does most of the commodore 8-bits. Oh yes and dosbox and qemu too!


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Old 7th Jan 2008, 3:39 am   #65
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

some real nostalgia here!

my first computer in the mid 80s was an IBM system/23 - a huge, huge beast - green monitor, keyboard, psu and two massive 7" floppy drives in a console. weighed about the same as a piano! it came complete with an extra double 7" disk drive unit. it was a cast off from my uncle's work where they'd upgraded to a wang 286. i kept it till the early 90s when it would not start up any, more 'system trap' error so i cannibalised it. wish i had kept it, but it was so huge it had to go...

then got a zx spectrum plus 48k in about 1987 second hand, with wobbly interfaces microdrive etc. which I still have. My dad at around this time had an Amstrad PCW 256 which he never really got to use properly, everyone found it unfathomable and the whole family hated it. I recall one dreadful word processor where you pushed a key to go onto a new page or something, the text would scroll up the screen and disappear for good! It was unceremoniously cannibalised in a clearout about 8 years ago.

in about 1992 i got my first 'real' computer -an Amiga 600 with a built in 20 meg harddisk. That was a relevation, and i used it for music, video titling and sampling. upgraded to an Amiga 1200 with 300 meg hard drive bought second hand in 1996 for 200 quid. I remember being told '300 meg? you will never fill that! still use it for music sometimes.

my first PC was a cast off from our uni, an olivetti 386, 4 meg RAM, 20mb hard drive. cost me 20 quid in 1997. shortly after, i got a 486DX2-66 in a charity shop which just needed a new floppy and sound card, that was still in use in the family till about 2004! that was the first pc I went online with from home in 1997.

i now have an AMD 1.8ghz bought in 2003 , it has worked flawlessly after i put it in a well ventilated case. I am about to upgrade it with new memory and 400 gig hard disk.

over the years I have also had (and sold) a zx81, an atari 800, vic20, none of which did anything for me, plus I have accumualted now more spectrums of various vintages.
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Old 14th Jan 2008, 3:59 am   #66
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ZX81 first with the Zilog Z80 chip. You could upgrade with a Z80A chip. I think it had a little more RAM in the chip.

Then added the plug in 1k RAM. I had lots of tapes with my short programs on. Monochrome picture through the TV antenna socket.

Got the Amstrad PCW 256 with the two disc drives next to the integral screen. I operated a mail order electonics componets business with that comupter in the mid 1980's. I also made a speech sythesizer that worked off it's main bus and programmed in Mallard basic? The Amstrad used CPM as the operating system. I used that until 1989 when the IBMs were rampant, and changed to a 10MB HDD IBM compatible that worked at 10MHz processor speed.

My son has two working ZX Spectrum +2, 128k with boxes of tapes all in working order.
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Old 15th Jan 2008, 10:30 pm   #67
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Find out all about those old systems here;

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Old 21st Jan 2008, 7:19 pm   #68
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I don't have my actual first machine, but recently acquired the same model for old times sake. It was/is a Texas Instruments TI99/4A , which is a rather obscure and quite powerful system for its day.

I remember hooking it up to the Baird TX10 chassis'd affair (with Supersound) and spending hours keying in basic programs from books, only to be greeted with the awful, heart sinking debug error messages at the end, resulting in much code trawling. A fruitless affair on most occasions, but character building!

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Old 5th Feb 2008, 2:07 am   #69
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My first computer came from the family shop. We started selling the Philips
G7000 only because it became available from the same source that we bought all Philips TV sets from. This unit was effectively a rebadged Magnavox Odyssey that came available I think when Philips bought a plant in North Canada back in the late 70's? The games were all on 2K or 4K cartridges that plugged in the top-middle of the unit similar to the Atari.
The games were very expensive. We made roughly 7-10% on Philips. The games retailed for £9.95 up to £16.95 back in the late 70's and some were approaching £40 which was mad.

My parents allowed us kids to have the unit for a Christmas but only if the games played had a educational bias to them. Needless to say that when I started collecting the games again back in the early 90's, I went and focussed on buying all the shoot-em-up games! I'm well pleased that I managed to track down the Chess game that was daftly expensive at the time and had a separate Memory module that is about a foot long and clips on to the rear of the G7000. If you play computer at the highest level (Of which I'm still unlikely to ever beat), it takes so long to make its move that you have to get on and do another job! I've sat waiting for it make its move for over an hour. Perhaps it's designed to try your patience?

I still have the unit and it works fine and I've now bought 95% of the original games available for it.

A nice thing recently was in buying a job lot of games off ebay a couple of years back, our white sticky home-made and hand-written price stickers with my mothers unmistakeable handwriting were still on some of the cartridge cardboard outers. We both shared a chuckle at that.

The favourite game has to be Golf. It's hilarious even now 30 years on and sat with a few beers. The little nephews and nieces love the machine and happily ditch there "DS" things to join in with all of us. Many an evening spent playing it here whilst toasting marshmallows on the fire.

Second computer has reluctantly made it to a shelf in the garage. I only called it a day with the machine in February Last year. It's a Gateway P5 desktop machine with a Pentium1 133mHz processor, a 3.5% floppy, 32 speed CD and a 1.2GB drive and 128 megs (max) of RAM running W95. It cost me I think £1100 back in mid 90's although I could only afford 32 megs of RAM at the time. I replaced a PSU for £15, put in a 3 USB port for £10 and of course upgraded the RAM when I absolutely had to. Still works fine now with W98 but the Trinitron monitor can't be read in daylight and it takes roughly 70seconds for it to display the yahoo homepage via dial-up.

Daft thing is that in the approaching12 years I've owned it, mates have always had a laugh with the "Blimey Rob! Are you still using that old Gateway PC? Why don't you buy another one?" When I challenge a few of them and ask what I could be using a PC for that wont work on my machine and how the new PC will change my life they would sit back and say "Well, I don't know really. I only use mine for buying things, writing emails and storing pics." In that 12 year period a few mates have bought new machines 3 or 4 times. My new PC has 500Gb of drive and 4 gigs of RAM so should last until I start drawing my pension maybe?
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 5:01 pm   #70
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

ZX81 with printer and RAM pack. I used it mostly for hardware experiments, I bought a "proper" keyboard and made analog input/output cards for it.
Then I got a ZX Spectrum, which was modified with keyboard, case and microdrives, and the serial interface to connect it to a Facit printer that cost more than twice the other bits combined.
Closer to the mid 80's I got a second hand Kaypro 2, made a serial cable between the two and wrote a BASIC program that transfered all the data from the Microdrives to the new machine. Record collection inventory, address book, members of the diving club etc. were converted to DBASE II.
A couple of years later, I got a Kaypro 10 with a huge 10 MB harddisk . That one was used mostly for database and wordprocessing until it was replaced by a '486 DX2 PC.
The interresting thing about Kaypro computers is that they were made by the same guy that made the first digital voltmeter.
There are still a few to be bought at ebay, some at fantastic prices, but I still have all my old computers stashed away somewhere.

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Old 28th Feb 2008, 6:30 pm   #71
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VIC 20

Pile of poo should have bought a spectrum, but it did have better sound than the ZX

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Old 28th Feb 2008, 8:56 pm   #72
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Mine was Amstrad notebook,which is still here and i believe working.After that a ComPaq 486 with builtin monitor cd drive etc and all of 4 megs of ram! It cost £80 to buy another 4.Yesterday bought 2GB of fast Patriot for undr £40 inc citylink.
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 12:42 am   #73
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My first computer was an atari 400 i say mine the kids used it most of the time .it was upgraded to an atari 800 by maplin a massive panel full of memory chips .i wish i could say i had happy memories of using this machine .the loading of programmes from tape was very frustrating .but in its self was a very capable machine exept being an 400 it had that terrible keyboard
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 5:01 pm   #74
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

My first computer was a Sharp MZ80, which was coupled to an IBM golfball.
2nd was an Amstrad 1512, and at roughly the same time, a Sirius.

Then various assorted home made (if one can call shoving boards in slots "making") PC's, starting with a DX 2/33, and ending with a Pentium 4-1.6gHz, which I am using now.

The first computer I saw was Leo, at Lyons.
Loads of lovely valves and relays!
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Old 2nd Mar 2008, 8:58 pm   #75
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

My first was a ZX81.
Hours programming only to knock the power lead and all of it to be lost

Oh the fun I had

Then I had a Commodore Plus 1 (more modern Commodore 16)
Then I gave up, I'm still scared of PC's now LOL.

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Old 8th Mar 2008, 7:42 am   #76
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Interesting replies there, sorry, I'm quite a noobie...

But me being an old computer collector/archivist..

It's very interesting that many members here had a Texas Ti99/4x for their first computer, as that suggests 'out the box' thinking? as they weren't the 'obvious' choice? at the time..

So, as a collector of old systems, and being a 70/80's era.. Commodore console with slider controls, TI99/4A, Acorn Electron, Sega Megadrive, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, Sega Megadrive II, BBC Master (with EVERY add-on imaginable!), Atari ST, Amiga, Amstrad PC2386(?), Philips CDi (best computer EVER!!)

Due to my work at the time, I've worked on systems as posted..8" floppies, and bizarre hdisk systems!

I worked closely with Atari and Amiga corporations, in the day, so anyone with a hdisk or memory/processor upgrade at the time might have come across me..
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Old 9th Mar 2008, 3:35 am   #77
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

So far, we have only two old ones: the analog computer built my Marconi Man and the other post describing his employer's computer which doesn't count.

So, I'll slide in there with the oldest digital computer so far, the MITS Altair 8800 that I bought as a kit in 1974 and built in 1975 since it arrived to me when I was stationed with the U.S. Navy on Okinawa. I had to wait until I was transferred to Pensacola, Florida before I could spread out and put the thing together. It was up and running by early 1975. It cost $500US, which at the time, Intel's 8080, upon which it was based, was also selling for $500. It came with no interfacing to the outside world other than the front panel switches and LEDs. The only thing besides the processor board, front panel board and power supply board was the static RAM board which consisted of 256 bytes of memory. Yes, that's 256 bytes; 0.256KB; 0.000256MB; or in today's worlds of computers, 0.000000256GB. I updated the thing in 1976 with 12KB of static RAM, serial and parallel interfaces, a video monitor board and a keyboard.

And yes, I still have it all, including all the original documentation that came with the kit, advertizing, two copies each of the original Popular Electronics magazines that first introduced the machine and the free PCB layout guides that were available upon request from those original articles.

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Old 7th May 2008, 11:34 pm   #78
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mine was the zx80 followed closely by the spectrum which i learned to programme,i worked with a radio ham at the time ,absolute boffin who was into the early slow scan tv broadcasting for amateurs,helped ( with the hardware ) to build his first sstv camera and programmed his zx80 to send out his call sign and a small graphics picture .wnt on the bbc wth the added ram socket fitted to the side but at work we had a icl with 5 inch floppy but my favourit was an apple which i programmed in basic to do all sorts of work for my department happy days
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Old 8th May 2008, 12:10 am   #79
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It was a ZX81. About 25 years ago, when at Poly., the last of the kits were advertised in PW at £25, I bought one for my Dad & one for me, assembled them , and they worked! I still have it, and think he may, too.
I started my last job in 1988, where they made telemetry equipment based on Z80s and cameras using Vidicons, so was quite comfortable with the technology. It progressed with surface-mount, CCDs, DSP and PICS, but went bust last year.
My new job is repairing equipment, some based on Motorola 68008 CPUs (and even testing the odd small batch of new build of these), amongst other things, plus repairing older gear based on "real" components like BC212Ls, 741s in TO5 cans, relays and mechanical counters, but sadly no electronic valves.
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Old 8th May 2008, 10:37 am   #80
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My first was a Compaq Presario about 2002, second hand from my Sister-she'd already had it a few years!--she set it up for me to go onto the internet, and I became hooked rapidly! Didnt know anything about a computer, and had no prior interest to getting it. Now I use a Sony Vaio laptop. ianj
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