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30th Anniversary of the IBM PC - What was your first?

Yesterday was the 30th Anniversary of the release of the IBM PC.  It was an interesting walk down memory lane going back and reading some of the reviews of the PC.  Over at the ISC  this started the discussion of "What was your first computer?"  The ISC Handlers vary widely in age, so the answers predictably were quite variable. Oddly enough, although some of us worked with the IBM PC, none of us actually owned one, Timex Sinclair, TRS-80, IBM XT, 286 PC clone, Vic-20, Commodore-64, Amiga and Apple II were some of the answers.

Mine was a TRS80 Model I my Dad bought in about 1978. It was a 4K machine with a cassette tape drive. The first programming language I learned was Z80 assembler, followed shortly by Basic. The first real program I wrote was a bad graphical version of poker dice.

I would love to hear about your first...


-- Rick Wanner - rwanner at isc dot sans dot org - - Twitter:namedeplume (Protected)


324 Posts
ISC Handler
Aug 13th 2011
You are forgetting the illustrious Atari which I believe had a larger share of the market than comodore in 1981. Mine was an Atari 400 with membrane keyboard and a cassette player to store and load all of my custom (basic) programs. Oh... and a serial 300 baud modem. :)
The first computer I actually owned was a TRS-80 Model 1 with 8K of RAM. Over time, it became a 24K model (remember the "expansion interface"?) with twin cassette decks, a "stringy floppy" continuous loop tape drive that store something like 100K per tape(!), lower-case mod for the keyboard, etc. By it's end, it probably cost me more than it's successor, a Mac SE with an 800K floppy.
Fun machine, I also became a Z80 assembly hack, and wrote a graphics emulator that used the 128x48 resolution screen as a window into a Commodore 64-sized screen of pixels!

47 Posts
Sinclair Spectrum 48K with rubber keys was my first PC
1 Posts
My first PC[trademark] was an IBM 5-slot with 512K ram! I had a Cromemco Z2D before that with a 2 MHz Z80 and 64K atatic cmos ram. But my very first computer was an IBM 1401 with 8K core. I was a junior in high school. It was 1967. I am presently using my Lenovo w500 running Gentoo Linux with 8 GB ram and a 256 GB SSD. My how we've grown! :-)

133 Posts
Oh yeah, the Lenovo cost less than half what the PC cost, dollar for dollar. If you figured for inflation, it would be well under 1/4 as much. I once spent over $5K for a PC in 1988. It was my first 386, at 20 MHz, 16 MB ram, and a 100 MB SCSI disk drive. I put ISC (Interactive Systems Corporation aka SunSoft) 386/ix on it in 1989, and only run M$ when I have to for client compatibility reasons. I now run winxp under vmware on the w500 when I have to.

133 Posts
1. Sinclair QL
2. C=64
3. Apple II
4. "Turbo" XT (IBM clone), 10MHz, upgraded from 128 to 640kB RAM, 2nd floppy drive at some point exchanged for a 10MB MFM harddisk, 1st floppy drive at some point taken from 360kB 5,25" to 1.44MB 3,5"
First one I used was Commodore 64. First one I used in school was an Apple 2, where I learned how to program in Basic in 3rd grade as part of a small group of kids that were introduced to them. None of the school staff knew how to even work them, so the 6 of us taught them. When in 8th grade my family bought an IBM PC with a whopping 30 MB hard drive that we would "Never fill"!!! Then on to the Micro VAX in high school and Pascal.
My very first "pc" was a ZX80, a very small computer with plastic press keys as keyboard...its hard to explain the keyboard :)

6 Posts
TRS 80 Model 1 with 4K RAM, 4K ROM a cassette drive later upgraded to Level II BASIC with 16K and even later to 64K (total) with the expansion interface. My brother bought it for me at the Baltimore 'launch' so I had mine before the local stores got any!
13 Posts
The Z80 processor in a TRS-80 model 1 has 16bit address registers, limiting it to an addressable range of 64K (total), but the machine also has 16K of ROM and memory mapped devices such as the keyboard and video interfaces. 48K RAM was the maximum offered by Tandy/Radio Shack in a model 1.

760 Posts
An original 8088 IBM with 192K memory, two floppies, and a 10 MB Harddrive. Later upgraded to a Motorola V20, then an Intel inboard 386SX with a 387SX math co-processor. I inherited the original configuration from my grandfather when it was about 1.5 years old and found that the original vendor never enabled the dipswitches to enable the additional 128K of memory, so it was only running 64K when I got it.

57 Posts
The V20 was a NEC chip, not a Motorola chip. The V20 had "clean room" developed microcode to reproduce the 8088 instruction set, but with somewhat better speed at the same clock rate. Intel tried to sue NEC for "stealing" their design. Big legal ruckus.

133 Posts
First one I used in university was an IMSAI 8080 (remember the kid computer in War Game?) computer with 48 KB RAM, a dual Hard-Sector 5,25" floppy and a teletype for input. It was used for control and data acquisition of a RAMAN spectroscopy system. It was fun looking at the LED panel to know were the program was in it data treatment .

Second one was an original IBM PC with 2 floppy. I used it with the cassete port, and an internally dev boad that control external system.

First I owned was an AST Premium 10 MHz 80826 with 2 MB RAM.

7 Posts
IMSAI 8080 with 32 KB RAM, 8" floppy drive, VT100 terminal, 5 MB hard drive (if I recollect)

My 1st non-PC was a PDP-8 with a TTY 33 w/ paper tape reader, but I didn't own it.

18 Posts
Tandy 1000, 4.77 mhz, 640k, 10 Megabyte hard drive, 5 1/4 floppy drive.
1 Posts
I had an SWTPC 6800 (0.9MHz) I soldered together as a kit. It started with 12K ram. I talked to it with an ASR33 teleype, and the first useful program I wrote, in 6800 assembler, punched letters into the paper tape so I could label each one.
1 Posts
My first machine was a Timex/Sinclair 1000, my second was a C64.

My very first PC clone was a Tandy 1200 w/256K RAM, 2 floppy drives and a MS-DOS v2.11 boot floppy (no HDD).

My next upgrade was a Commodore Colt w/ 640K RAM, 1 floppy drive and MS-DOS v3.25 on a SeaGate20 HDD.

(Not to give away my exact age, but I was in my mid-20s when the 8-bit home computer revolution first started. lol)
1 Posts
My first was a Bally game system with the Palo-Alto Tiny BASIC cartridge. Programs were saved to cassette through the 3.5mm jack in the cartridge. It was a Z80 based on an S-100 bus.
G.Scott H.

48 Posts
My first at home was the Sinclair ZX-81. And I got pretty good at remembering hex codes for every single assembler instruction.
Next upgrade was Sinclair QL.

Before that I had used a 3 terminal SC Metric (Alpha/LSI) with LED to show content of current memory location, and hex keypad to enter boot code, to make it load the OS and Comal F-73 programming language from 8" floppy.
Povl H.

79 Posts
My very first computer (the one I learned to program on in BASIC (go ahead and cringe...)) was a Commodore-64 with a 1541 floppy drive. That machine served me well for many years (all through elementary school and up into middle school). It was superceded in high school by an IBM PS/2 model 80, which was possibly the most disappointing machine I've ever owned (two words: Microchannel Architecture; at the time, a 2400 bps internal modem for it ran somewhere around $300us, when you could walk down to your local computer store and buy a 9600 bps ISA modem for a third of the cost).

I still have that Commodore, plugged in and set up in my study. Every once in a while I fire it up to play games or try to call local BBSes (which never stay online for long these days).
No Love.

37 Posts

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