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

Published: 2011-08-13
Last Updated: 2011-08-13 17:31:26 UTC
by Rick Wanner (Version: 1)
28 comment(s)

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 - http://namedeplume.blogspot.com/ - Twitter:namedeplume (Protected)

Keywords: IBM PC
28 comment(s)


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!
Sinclair Spectrum 48K with rubber keys was my first PC
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! :-)
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.
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 :)
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX80
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!
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.

Diary Archives