Your computers throughout the years

I searched the forum and I haven’t found a thread like this before, so let’s see where this goes.

Length alert! Read on at your own risk!

The first computer I ever remember using was my dad’s (now my grandpa’s) Compaq Presario 4550 from about 1995-1996. It was a fairly modest Windows 95 computer for the time, sporting 32MB of RAM, 4GB hard drive, and it even had a sound card and CD drive, which was pretty nice for desktops of the time. I remember playing Junior Field Trips and messing around with WordPad and MS Paint. My dad, of course, used it for other uses, including Web browsing (We had Earthlink at the time, IIRC, and he had Netscape as well as IE.), email and faxes (a lot of which are still on the computer. It is so weird reading faxes he sent to people referring to me as his three-year-old son or referencing job titles he used to hold.)

Then when we moved into the house I live in to this day, he decided to get the top of the line (for the time) Dell Dimension 2400 system. It sported a Pentium 4 processor, 1-2GB of RAM (I can’t remember), 40GB hard drive, two optical drives (one DVD-R, one CD+/-R), floppy drive, and Windows XP/Home. We switched to MSN internet, so I do indeed remember using MSN Explorer for browsing the web for awhile, before we switched to SBC (Southwestern Bell) then finally Time Warner Cable. I remember playing games of all sorts on this thing, including Junior Field Trips, Freddi Fish, Kid Pix Deluxe 3, Rescue Heroes, and Crazy Machines. This is also around the same time I was introduced to Web games like Club Penguin. This was the computer I did all my elementary school projects and things on; saving them to floppy disks because I didn’t have flash drives at the time. It eventually met its fate a few years ago when the hard drive began to fail. By that time it was dual-booting Windows XP Home and openSUSE Linux with GNOME 2.

Now, sometime during the Dimension 2400’s time as our family’s main PC, USAA was liquidating their old computer stock. The old Optiplex GX-110s running Windows 2000 were being replaced with newer Optiplex models running XP Pro, so USAA was literally giving away their old computers for free. They came with their CRT monitors, QuietKey keyboards (from my experiences, they’re anything but) and generic PS2 mice but I remember buying a cheap Radioshack mini optical mouse to replace it since I never liked mechanical mice. The game lineup was largely the same as the 2400 at the time so I could be playing my games while my dad did work on the 2400 upstairs. We also outfitted it with Microsoft Office XP so I could do schoolwork and save it to either floppy disk or a cheapy little 512MB flash drive that I still have to this day. At its peak, it even had its own cheap inkjet printer so I wouldn’t have to use the one upstairs to print my assignments!

Sadly though, it fell out of use after the hard drive decided to fail. A couple of years later however, my parents decided to buy their first laptop, secondhand, off my mom’s coworker. The Dell Inspiron 6000 became the GX-110’s replacement in my mom’s downstairs office, and for awhile we used it as a desktop replacement, plugging in a Microsoft Curve 2000 and Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical. It sported decent specs for the time, with a Centrino (Pentium M) 1.6GHz processor, 80GB HDD, and 1GB of RAM, with Windows XP SP3. All was well for a few years, until my parents decided to give the laptop to me when my dad bought a new Inspiron 5720. I was a lot less gentle with it than my parents were, and I regularly brought it to school. Because of my habit of not shutting the computer down and transporting it in sleep mode, I have a feeling I shortened the HDD’s life by a few years. A few of my older videos were made with this computer before the hard drive completely died. It was time to get a new computer yet again.

Much to my disgruntlement, my new Dell Inspiron 1910 came with Windows 8. I, like many other Windows users, was unhappy with Microsoft’s sudden change to the tablet-style “Metro” interface, especially since the 1910 does not include a touch screen. I went with Win8 for awhile with ClassicShell to at least get the Start Menu back. It was around this time that I started getting into Team Fortress 2, but because of the 1910’s horrible Celeron processor I was never able to do it justice. It didn’t help that this low-end laptop used onboard graphics instead of a mobile graphics card. I eventually got fed up with Windows 8 so much that I made a drastic change and switched to Ubuntu Linux. For about a year it served me well until I did the stupidest of maneuvers… spilled an entire can of Diet Coke onto the keyboard. Boom. Curtains. I’m still kicking myself over it.

So here I am in a pinch. No computer of my own to complete my assignments, and I sure wasn’t about to ask my dad to use his. Luckily, a month or so ago, I acquired a Raspberry Pi for Christmas! I had intended to use it as a home server, but I needed a computer, and it would have to do. 700MHz clock speed and 512MB of RAM would definitely be a huge drawback, and it would certainly test my patience. However, I had an 8GB SD card and various flash drives and USB hubs, so at least I wouldn’t run out of storage space. To this day I still can’t believe I did some of my assignments on LibreOffice 4 on what would have been a top of the line machine back in 1999.

After a few months with that kludgy setup I retired that hot mess in favor of a Lenovo G70 AMD A6 machine, with 4GB of RAM, which I eventually upgraded to 8GB with the RAM card I salvaged from my dead 1910. I decided to give Windows 8 another chance with ClassicShell, and when I eventually upgraded to Windows 10 I no longer had to worry about headache-inducing interfaces that plagued 8. This computer is still in service, though it has since taken a backseat to the Hewlett-Packard Envy 17t I am typing this on now. Both machines have seen use as a dual-monitor setup with my Samsung T22B350 27" monitor/TV. And you of course know my 17T’s specs if you’ve been on that thread.

So, yeah. That’s my computer story. It was far longer than I expected it to be, but I guess I had a lot more to say about these machines than I expected. So what machines have y’all had in your time?