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Norton, MA
USA

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Computer History

Bits of computer hardware I've owned over the years.

This page is mostly for my own benefit, so I can recall the series of computers I've had over the years, and look back to how little memory or how slow the machines were back then.  I've forgotten various specs over time, especially on the systems in the late 1990s and 2000s that I didn't have in front of me when I updated the list.

The approximate dates listed are when I started using these machines.  In many cases the older machines were either still in use as primary machines (say, I only upgraded my Mac or my Windows machine, so I still used the other), were kept for redundancy, or are kept for nostalgia.  All the old Macs went on eBay, while the PCs were scrapped, sold, or given away.

I still have a functional Amiga 500 with monitor, Commodore 64C with monitor and floppy drive, and TI-99/4A with speech synthesizer, plus the current PCs and Macs that I use on a daily basis.

Computer Systems

Workspace


The 1980s

Early 1980's

  • Texas Instruments TI-99/4A
    Speech Synthesizer
    Audio Cassette Tape Drive
  • Simple desk

My rather dirty Texas Instruments TI-994A


Mid 1980's

  • Commodore 64C
    Commodore 1541 5.25" Floppy Drive
    Commodore 1084S Monitor
    Mouse, Koala Pad tablet
    9600 Baud Modem
    Dot matrix printer
  • Simple desk
My old Commodore 64C with floppy drive and monitor.

My old Commodore 64C with floppy drive and monitor.

Late 1980's

  • Commodore Amiga 500
    Amiga OS 1.2, 1.3, 2.0, 2.1
    Commodore 1084S Monitor
    512 MB RAM Expansion and Real Time Clock
    Clock Doubler (14.28 MHz)
    External 3.5" Floppy Drive
    GVP expansion module with 2 MB of RAM and 40 MB Hard Drive
    Parallel Port Sound Samplers
    NewTek DigiView Still Video Digitizer
    28.8K Modem
    Star NX-1000 color dot matrix printer
  • Simple desk

My old Commodore Amiga 500, mouse and monitor.


The 1990s

Early to Mid 1990's

  • Commodore Amiga 2000
    Amiga OS 2.0, 2.1, 3.1
    GVP GeForce 68040 at 33 HMz with 8 MB of RAM and hard drive; later upgraded to a Phase5 Blizzard 2060 68060 at 50 MHz with 12 MB of RAM and hard drive
    GVP Ram Expansion Card with an additional 4 MB of RAM
    NewTek Video Toaster 4000
    NewTek Video Flyer
    Drive In external drive bay with two 2 GB Seagate Barracuda AV drives for video and a 500 MB Seagate drive for audio
    Picasso II 24 Bit Graphics Card
    Ariadne Ethernet Card
    External 1x SCSI CD-ROM Drive
    56K Modem
    Star NX-1000 color dot matrix printer
  • Other Amigas
    Around this time I also got a number of other Amigas for cheap or free, including another Amiga 2000, an Amiga 3000, an Amiga 4000, and two more Amiga 500s.  A few years later I even found an Amiga 1000 and the original Kickstart disks at a computer recycling event.  My main machines were the two Amiga 2000s, one with 60840 card and a Picasso II, and the other with a 68060 and a Video Toaster/Flyer pair.
  • Simple desk

Mid to Late 1990's

  • DEC Alpha 21164
    Windows NT 4.0 for DEC Alpha
    256 MB of RAM
    ~500 MB hard drive
    24 Bit Graphics Card, Ethernet, Basic Sound Card, etc.

  • Custom Intel Pentium II System
    Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 (dual boot)
    Up to 32 MB of RAM
    Up to 250 MB hard drive
    Windows 95
    24 Bit Graphics Card, Ethernet, Basic Sound Card, etc.
    Color inkjet printer

  • Still using the Amiga 2000 as well.

  • 8' folding table

A folding table with my various computers.  This  picture is from a bit later than the systems listed on the left, but before I got the ring table.

From left to right: Drive In drive tower for the Amiga, two Amiga 2000 computers, DEC Alpha workstation, two Intel based Windows systems. 


The 2000s

2000 -2004

  • Various 32 Bit Intel Celeron, Intel Pentium and AMD Athlon based systems
    Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0 (dual boot), Windows 2000
    Single core processors (Athlon XP)
    Up to 512 MB of RAM
    Up to 80 GB of hard drive space
    Various Nvidia (GeForce FX 5200), AMD and other brands (FireGL at one point, I believe) of graphics cards, basic sounds cards, 10/100 ethernet, etc.
    24" Sony GDM-FW900 widescreen CRTs running at 2304 x 1440 each.
    NewTek Video Toaster for Windows

  • Apple 15" Titanium Powerbook G4
    OS X 10.1, Puma, 10.2 Jaguar, 10.3 Panther
    667 MHz PowerPC G4
    512 MB of RAM
    30 GB hard drive
    Airport, Gigabit Ethernet
    Spare Battery
    Custom shoulder strap

  • Assorted
    Color inject printer/scanner
    Brother PPF-1900C Fax/Phone/Copier
    LinkSys WRT54G Wifi Access Point
    15 GB iPod
    Motorola V710 Cell Phone

2004-2005

  • Custom AMD Sempron 3000+ Windows System
    AMD Sempron 300+ CPU
    200 GB hard drive
    NVidia graphics card
    1 GB of RAM
    Dual 24" Sony GDM-FW900 widescreen CRTs running at 2304 x 1440 each.
  • Apple 15" Titanium Powerbook G4
    OS X 10.3 Panther, 10.4 Tiger
    1.67 GHz PowerPC G4
    1 GB of RAM
    80 GB Hard Drive (5400 RPM)
    8x Superdrive
    Airport Extreme, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Assorted
    Color inject printer/scanner
    Brother PPF-1900C Fax/Phone/Copier
    LinkSys WRT54G Wifi Access Point
    40 GB iPod Photo
    512 MB iPod Shuffle
    Motorola V710 Cell Phone

The ring table was built for a specific room in my old place in California, and another room was built around it in Vermont.  Eventually this had to be given up due to lack of space when I eventually moved.

2006-2008

  • Shuttle FN85
    Windows 2000
    AMD Athlon 64 processor 2900+ or 3200+ (not sure which anymore)
    512 MB of RAM
    100 GB hard drive
    Dell 3007 widescreen 30" LCD running at 2560 x 1600
  • Apple 15" Aluminum MacBook Pro
    OS X 10.3 Panther, 10.4 Tiger
    Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2.16 GHz
    2 GB of RAM
    120 GB hard drive
    Spare Battery
    Custom shoulder strap
  • Assorted
    LinkSys WRT54G Wifi Access Point
    Color inkjet printer/scanner
    iPhone
    iPod
  • Ring table's top shelf as a desk on its own

In a smaller room, the top shelf and legs of the ring table were repurposed into a new temporary table.

2008-2010

  • Shuttle XPC miniX100
    Windows XP
    Intel Core Duo CPU
    1 GB of RAM
    Upgraded ATI Mobility graphics card
    Dell 3007 widescreen 30" LCD running at 2560 x 1600
  • Apple 13" White MacBook (Late 2009)
    Replaced the Shuttle XBC
    Windows XP via Boot Camp
    Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2.26 GHz
    4 GB RAM
    250 GB Hard Drive
    Dell 3007 widescreen 30" LCD running at 2560 x 1600
  • Apple 15" Aluminum MacBook Pro (2006)
    OS X 10.4 Tiger, 10.5 Leopard, 10.6, Snow Leopard
    Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2.33 GHz
    3 GB of RAM
    200 GB hard drive
    Custom shoulder strap
  • Apple Mac mini (used as a server)
    OS X 10.4 Tiger, 10.5 Leopard, 10.6, Snow Leopard
    Intel Core 2 Duo
    2 GB of RAM
    Firewire drive enclosures with mirrored 500 GB and 250 GB RAIDs for backups and storage
    Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g WiFi
    720p LCD TV as a monitor
  • Assorted
    Apple Airport Base Station
    Color inkjet printer/scanner
    iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4
  • Complete ring table, but it was really too big for the room
  • Glass-top "L" desk

Shuttle XPC (top) and Shuttle FN85 (underneath)

Mac mini, Airport Extreme and four hard drive enclosures configured as mirrored RAIDs


The 2010s

2010-2013

  • Dell XPS 15" Laptop
    Windows 7
    Intel Core i7 Quad with Hyperthreading
    Upgraded screen to 1920x1080 myself
    8 GB of RAM
    ~500 GB hard drive
    Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n
    Dell 3007 widescreen 30" LCD running at 2560 x 1600

  • Apple 15" Unibody Thunderbolt MacBook Pro (Early 2011)
    OS X 10.6 Leopard, Snow Leopard, 10.7 Lion, 10.8 Mountain Lion, 10.9 Mavericks
    16 GB of RAM
    AMD Radeon HD 6850 Graphics with 1 GB of RAM
    Removed the optical drive myself and replaced with a 480 GB SSD
    800 GB hard drive
    Upgraded WiFi/Bluetooth module myself to get Bluetooth LE support on board
    Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n
    Thunderbolt
    15" 1680 x 1050 Laptop Screen
    Replaced Logic Board (recall part)
    Dell U2913WM ultra-wide 29" monitor running at 2560 x 1080
    Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M Document Scanner
    This is the first generation of Thunderbolt MacBook Pros.

  • Apple Mac mini (Mid 2011) (used as a server)
    OS X 10.7 Lion, 10.8 Mountain Lion, 10.9 Mavericks
    Intel Core i5 Dual with Hyperthreading, 2.3 GHz
    8 GB of RAM
    500 GB hard drive
    Intel HD Grpahics 3000 with 512 MB of RAM
    Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi
    External Apple SuperDrive
    External Blu-Ray Drive
    27" Asus 1920 x 1080 monitor
    Firewire drive enclosures with mirrored 500 GB, 1.5 TB and 4 TB RAIDs for backups and storage
    This is the first generation of Mac minis that no longer included an optical drive, but an external SuperDrive worked fine.
  • Assorted
    Apple Airport Extreme Base Station
    Laser Printer
    iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S
    iPad, iPad 2
  • IKEA GALANT L desk configuration with extensions and a GeekDesk motorized frame, a second desk with fixed frame as an electronics workstation electronics, and a third for 3D printers and such.

15" Dell XPS laptop, 30" Dell monitor, 16:9 and 21:9 monitors, and 15" MacBook Pro, with Mac mini and drive enclosures under the desk. Also my cat, Neko.

Mac mini, Airport Extreme and four drive enclosures configured as mirrored RAIDs.

Electronics work area to the left of the computer desk.

2014-2017

  • MSI GS70 2OD 17" Gaming Laptop (2013 model)
    Windows 8.1
    Intel Core i7 Quad with Hyperthreading, 2.4 GHz
    16 GB of RAM
    256 GB SSD
    1 TB hard drive
    NVidia GTX 765M Graphics with 4 GB of RAM
    Intel HD Graphics 4600 with 2 GB of RAM
    17" 1920 x1080 Laptop Screen
    50" Seiki UHD TV running at 3840 x 2160 at 30 Hz
    This laptop was purchased with an aye towards driving the UHD display; the fast CPU, SSD and extra RAM were a bonus.

  • Apple 15" Unibody Thunderbolt MacBook Pro (Early 2011) (as described above)
    OS X 10.10 Yosemite, 10.11 El Capitan
    Replaced Logic Board (again)
    LG 34UM95-C 21:9 34" monitor running at 3440 x 1440  

  • Apple Mac mini (Mid 2011) (used as a server) (as described above)
    OWC Thunderbay IV 4 bay Thunderbolt drive enclosure with two 2 TB drives and two 4 TB drives configured into two mirrored RAIDs

  • Assorted
    Apple Airport Extreme Base Station
    Laser Printer
    iPhone 6, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7 Plus
    iPad Air, iPad Air 2

 

  • IKEA GALANT L desk configuration with extensions and a GeekDesk motorized frame, a second desk with fixed frame as an electronics workstation electronics, and a third for 3D printers and such.

17" MSI Laptop, 50" UHD, 27" 16:9 and 29" 21:9 monitor stack, 15" Thumderbolt MacBook Pro.

2017

  • MSI GS70 2OD 17" Gaming Laptop (2013 model) (as described above)
    Curved 55" Samsung UHD TV running at 3840 x 2160 at 30 Hz.  The TV is capable of 60 Hz at that resolution, but the NVidia GTX 765M has to compromise visual fidelity to run at that refresh rate.
  • Apple 15" Unibody Thunderbolt MacBook Pro (Early 2011) (as described above)
    OS X 10.12 Siera
  • Assorted
    Synology RT2600ac Router/WiFi Access Point
    ZyXEL GS1900-16 managed ethernet switch
    Laser Printer
    iPhone 7 Plus
    iPad Air 2
  • IKEA GALANT L desk configuration with extensions and a GeekDesk motorized frame, a second desk with fixed frame as an electronics workstation electronics, and a third for 3D printers and such.