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Computer #1 (IBM PC2 [5150]; 1983-1987)

Computer #1 (purchased for $7,100!) was an IBM  PC2 (Rev 2 of the original IBM PC 4MHz 8088 and precursor to the XT) with a whopping 256kb RAM, one 5.25" 360 kb floppy, monochrome (green) monitor with a whiz-bang Hercules Graphics card (720 x 648 resolution in 2 colors - green & black), a new-fangled bootable Maynard 10 MB hard drive (85ms access time - I paid $1,100 alone for that puppy), a zippy 1200 baud Hayes modem, and a 9-pin Okidata MicroLine 92 dot matrix printer.

I paid for the entire (substantial) down payment on our first house doing contract programming on this machine for a now-defunct international money exchange analysis company called Kentec Corporation. We built a system that did data analysis on exchange rates for for all the major currencies, predicting possible gains or losses in currencies for international corporations. The application, residing on an IBM PC, would download currency exchange rate data over phone lines at night using 1200 Baud modems and modem-controlling software that we wrote, crunch the numbers using the algorithm software we wrote and display it using the (at-the-time) impressive "hi-res" graphics capabilities of the Hercules graphics card using display software that we also wrote.

It is interesting to note that, even way back then, there were lots and lots of 3rd party vendors doing real good work and making very innovative products for the PC.

Let's think about that 10 MB hard drive for a moment. I've bought a number of hard drives over the years; the first one was that $1,100 10 MB Maynard hard drive for the IBM PC2. In 2005 I bought a 250 GB replacement drive for $68.00. The most recent purchase was a 1 TB (1,000 GB) additional drive for under $50, and advertised better prices have been seen since. If we compare the cost per megabyte, we have:

10 MB
250 GB (250,000 MB)
1 TB (1,000,000 MB)
(8 THOUSANDTHS of a cent per MB)
2 TB

(59 TEN THOUSANDTHS of a cent per MB)

1 TB
(49 TEN THOUSANDTHS of a cent per MB)
2 TB
(4 THOUSANDTHS of a cent per MB)
1.5 TB
3.0 TB

Quite a drop!


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