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Keatah

What was your first microcomputer upgrade?

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I had a CoCo.
Joysticks were probably the first thing. Not very interesting.
The disk drive was next, quickly followed by a 64K upgrade (soldering was involved) because 16K and a disk drive leaves little RAM for code.

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As a kid and a teen I never had the money or means to upgrade my 8-bit home computers, so the Atari STe I had for college was my true upgradable computer. It was the first time I was able to use a modem and a printer without having to buy any interface box.

 

If "upgrades" mean opening the computer up, then mine was the 4 Mb. SIMM chips I bought from someone at a users group. He was selling them for $5 a board with a total of $20 for all four so I bought them. They came from an IBM PS/2 so yeah it was a little weird having IBM brand chips in an Atari computer. :)

 

But it was still worth it... Since the non-multitasking programs I had wouldn't use more then 1 Mb I used a reset-proof RAMdisk for storing files while I switch programs by rebooting. I would download GIFs and WAV samples off the Internet (text only shell account) to a RAMdisk and reboot to run a program that views/plays it. Plus I used another RAMdisk that would copy all the files from a non-protected disk for a large game and run it quicker than booting it off the disk.

 

If I had a working hard drive at the time then I could run a multitasking program like Geneva.

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Mine was also the C2N tape drive for my VIC-20. It was the old style looking one and not the 'soap bar' one.

 

Yep. Same here.

 

And we had to drive for miles to find one, as it seemed in 1982 Commodore UK had imported a large shipment of VIC20s from West Germany, but forgot to order any C2N tape decks. My memory tells me the dealer my Dad found was based out of a warehouse in a trading estate, not a high street retailer as became popular later on. We got the C2N and a compilation tape game from Audiogenic called "Magnificent 7" - seven games for the VIC20, but two of them required a 3K expansion, and I didn't have one! Arghhh.....

 

That place was also where I first caught glimpse of this strange thing called an Atari 400.

 

Later an Adman VIC 8K RAM expansion, then a Vixen switchable 16K one, then a Super Expander, and I was debating spending money on a 4-slot expansion board and a Programmer's Aid Cartridge when I had an epiphany and settled on the next upgrade I wanted; an Atari 800XL.

 

Got one for Christmas 1984.

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I had a Packard Bell Legend in 1995. I remember the specs at the time.

 

Pentium 75 MHZ Processor

8MB of RAM (gee how nice)

56k modem (loud noises ahhh!)

2X CD ROM (gee sonic the hedgehog can beat that!)

it came bundled with DOS 6.22, Windows 3.11 and Packard Bells Navigator software.

 

I played the crap out of this computer since it was a family computer, even though my parents were scared of it because they didn't understand it.

 

Anyways the only upgrade I did was take the RAM from 8MB to 64MB.

What prompted me to upgrade was I was pissed that the demo of Mortal Kombat 3 crashed because I didn't have 16MB of ram at the time.

Once I upgraded geez windows 3.11 and dos games flew at warp speed.

 

To be fair most games and applications didn't need more than 8MB of ram back then.

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My 1st was this Fastload cart for my C64 to improve speed on my 1541 drive, 2nd upgrade was to get a 1571, lol.

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About 35 years ago I upgraded my TI-99/4A console with the huge expensive and heavy silver expansion unit.

(pictured in this old photograph behind the old style phone)

 

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Actually that stereo was a piece of ([email protected] The component system in the living room rocked though. Now in my old age I don't even listen to the stereo much, except for maybe Hair Nation and Ozzy's Boneyard on Sirius/XM in the car.

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Actually that stereo was a piece of ([email protected] The component system in the living room rocked though. Now in my old age I don't even listen to the stereo much, except for maybe Hair Nation and Ozzy's Boneyard on Sirius/XM in the car.

 

I've got records spinning even now. I grew up to Mom cleaning the house daily to Alice Cooper- Killers, or KISS's debut album. Can't say I'm much different, lol.

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Records? Wow, I didn't know you were into antiques from the last century! ;)

 

:P

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My first peripheral was a 1541 disk drive for my C64. The first time I opened a computer to tinker with it was installing a serial card in my 386 so I could use a mouse (and therefore Windows 3.0)

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My first computer (with a keyboard, at least) was the IBM PC. My dad spent $$$ on it... got it with TWO 360K disk drives, and a whopping 256K of memory (all that would fit on the MB for that model). It also had a CGA card and monitor. I could display an enviable 320x200 in 4 colors! <sarcasm> First upgrade, I think, was a joystick card and accompanying joystick. Later we got a Hardcard, which was a hard drive built onto an expansion card for a whopping 10MB of storage. Later, the floppy controller was replaced with a newer one that could run the 1.2MB floppy drives, a hard drive controller for a 35MB drive, and an expansion card with the rest of the 640K of RAM, a battery-backup real time clock.

 

I remember later adding a 1.44MB 3.5" drive, but having trouble with interoperability with other people's 3.5" drives. By the time the whole system was obsolete, I took a closer look at the controller card and found a set of jumpers... for drive type. All this time, it was running the 3.5" drive as if it were the 5.25" drive. <facepalm>

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The first was probably the 80287 co-processor. It was really nervous installing that thing. It made a huge difference though. Well worth it.

 

Other notables were:

 

Adding RAM to a Color Computer 3 to bring it to 512K.

 

Adding Genoa's top-of-the-line EGA card (this was the easiest of the three upgrades, by far). Oooh. All 16 colors. Not very impressive, but certainly better than CGA.

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Not sure how I remember this but it was the Commodore 64 Super Expander.

 

Thrilling times back in those early 1980's with new add-on's and peripherals for our little computers coming out regularly.

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A 410 program recorder to go with my new 600XL. For some reason, the matching 1010 recorder was not available anywhere.

 

My first upgrade involving opening a computer was to install 64kb RAM in the 600XL, a scary exercise for a 15 year old with no soldering experience.

 

I had a cassette game, The Crypts of Plumbous, that wouldn't run on 16kb. I quickly realized that a 16k Atari had a severely limited library.

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Upgrading my 4K TRS-80 to 16K!

 

Then upgrading Tiny BASIC and a Tape drive to Level II BASIC and a disk drive (drive needed Level II).

 

Something interesting I observed later - the 4K and Tiny BASIC setup with the tape drive was more fun and more challenging and thought provoking than Level II and the disk drive.

 

People who were part of the home computer revolution experiment with smaller memory sizes and more limited featuresets learned more - folks who had a larger footprint (most notably the C64 fits this category) were more likely to be entertained and less likely to learn.

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That's right. And people with mega-memory tablets & phones learn shit.. They're not even being entertained. They're being made into zombies!

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That's right. And people with mega-memory tablets & phones learn shit.. They're not even being entertained. They're being made into zombies!

 

Yes smart phones and add-driven operating systems are the other extreme -

I'm amazed the way so many people vanish into their cell phones even when crossing a busy street.

 

Our search engines have gone this route as well with push-content completion of the users thoughts - I suggest trying Blackle instead of Google. That version doesn't just save energy but allows you to finish composing your thoughts instead of completing your sentences.

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My first upgrade was Extended Basic on my Colour Computer II. Being young and stupid, I thought it would give me higher resolution graphics, not just add Basic commands to program existing graphics modes. I later realized that it was a bloody rip-off to pay $99 plus installation fees (I think another $50, and taxes) just to upgrade the Basic that should have already been installed in the computer. (it was available for at least 2 years before and came standard shortly after)

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Something interesting I observed later - the 4K and Tiny BASIC setup with the tape drive was more fun and more challenging and thought provoking than Level II and the disk drive.

 

People who were part of the home computer revolution experiment with smaller memory sizes and more limited featuresets learned more - folks who had a larger footprint (most notably the C64 fits this category) were more likely to be entertained and less likely to learn.

It's true in my case. I was writing simple BASIC programs and saving them to cassette for over a year before figuring out how to put more memory in my 600XL.

Having 64kb opened up the bulk of Atari's game library and I spent most of my time thereafter on that. Buying a floppy drive opened the door to even more games!

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