My First PC was Less Powerful than a Watch and a Light Bulb

My First PC was Less Powerful than a Watch and a Light Bulb

Ryan Shelley

10 April 2013

Everyone remembers their first bike, barbie doll or puppy. I remember vividly my first PC. It was Christmas 1991 and there was nothing more I wanted than to have two huge boxes of aluminium, glass, silicon and transistors sitting on my desk. These two boxes, the CRT monitor and the PC case, were huge and took up most of the desk! But what was on the inside? Could my PC have been less powerful than a light globe?

How about this for brute computing power?

  • Intel 386sx processor clocking in at 25Mhz (and that was with the turbo button pushed in!)
  • 1MB RAM
  • 42MB Seagate Hard Disk Drive
  • 512KB VGA graphics card. That’s right, we’re talking Mega… Not Giga… and definitely not Terra!

With that computing power, I could scream around the race track in the Indianapolis 500; take to the skies in Chuck Yeager’s air combat; or escape from the evil wizard Manannan in Kings Quest 3! Gaming aside, this is where I learnt to use DOS (C:\… C:\DOS… C:\DOS\RUN) and later Windows 3.1. It’s also where my school assignments were printed on an ever so noisy dot matrix printer that shook the house when it printed.

So how much for all that fun, education and productivity I hear you ask? How about $1,585.00. In today’s value, the RBA tells me that’s $2,700! Put another way, that’s a $1,100 Dell XPS Ultrabook, $800 iPhone 5 and a hell of an Android Tablet! And all of these devices are specified in Gigas and Terras!

Was a PC less powerful than a light bulb?

So what of the watch and the light bulb? Well that colossus desktop that gave me a suntan when I sat in front of the CRT for too long ain’t got nothing on today’s wrist watches and light bulbs. The Pebble Watch and the LIFX wireless lightbulb are all cheaper and all with more oomph!

Yes indeed. My first PC was less powerful than a light globe. Still, I’ll always fondly remember my first PC and be ever thankful to my big brother for his guiding hand and my parents for investing in my love of technology!

I could talk forever on all things tech. If you could too, maybe it’s time pepperit did some work with you?