Published on August 12th, 2011 | by Dan9
>Happy Birthday, PC!
30 years ago IBM introduced a product for businesses, the personal computer (read the press release here from 1981). The rest, as they say, is history. The device may have had beginnings as merely a word processor and productivity device, but now as we know, it’s blossomed into something much greater. Over the years PCs have been used for gaming, for science, discovering cures, advancing physics and mathematics. They’ve helped to run the world around us in almost every way. Lately the PC may be dwindling as a household device, giving way to things like Macs, tablets and smartphones; but for us, for the gamers, for the power users, it is still the pinnacle.
In this post, I’ll take you through my journey into the PC world, and I encourage people to comment on this post with how they got started or specs of their old machines.
I was born in 1983 and back then, the PC was a mere 2 years old. We didn’t have one when Iwas born, but the following year, we got an Apple IIe. Granted, it was an Apple and therefore technically not an PC, it was how I got started. When I was about 4 or 5, I encountered my first actual PC. My dad was teaching at a New York City area college and they had computers at their desks! IBM PCs. My dad let me fiddle in DOS, typing gibberish and an obsession was born.
In 1994 or so we bought our first PC. We had that Apple IIe even up until then. I used to play Number Munchers on that thing for hours. When we bought the PC, with Windows 3.11 on it, I was blown away, after all, I had been using a 10 year old piece of tech. It was a Packard-Bell with some absolutely sick specs:
66 mhz processor
8 mb of ram
90 megabyte HD
Don’t think it even had a video card.
The first game I bought was Doom 2. It came on like 15 floppy discs. I also played Myst and a game called Megarace in heavy rotation. With this PC, also came my first experience with the internet. Prodigy was our first ISP. Beast mode with a 2800 baud modem.
Next we got a family PC in like 1996 or 1997 that was yet another Packard-Bell (who is known as one of the all time worst manufacturers). This thing was sporting a 166 mhz processor. I played all the Blizzard titles on this thing, through Starcraft.
The next step, was of course building my own. I did this in the month before college started in 2001. I built it as an AMD system, with an 800 mhz T-bird processor. I had a video card in it, a Geforce mx something with like 16 mb of Video RAM. Since this system, I’ve built 3 more, progressing to a Barton 3000+, an Athlon 64 x2 (2.2 ghz), and more recently my 965 Black Edition.
The one thing you notice about PCs is that it isn’t really business pushing the hardware. It is the gaming sector. If it weren’t for games, we wouldn’t need the incredible video cards we have, nor the processing power. I went from no video card to seeing the 6990 4gb monster come out. I’ve seen from my 1 mhz Apple IIe to my 3.8 ghz quad core 965. PC Gaming is pushing things forward. Yes, there would be a few enterprise uses of mammoth graphics processors, but overall, the market is for gaming. Business, the original home of the PC, is slowly being taken over by mobile devices, but gaming remains the domain of the PC.
So thank you gaming for keeping the PC alive for these first 30 years. Give your case a reassuring pat on the back, fire up a game and here’s to 30 more years.
image courtesy wikipedia commons