My First Hard Drive Was…

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Headwards is a user on our site who asked what capacity our first hard drive was. My first computer didn’t even have a hard drive in it! The first one I purchased with my own money cost me around $200.00 and it had a couple of 5 1/4″ floppy drives. When I bought it back in 1993, it seemed relatively outdated even then.

I then worked to save around $2200.00 and bought my first real computer. I got a machine with 8MB of RAM and 4MB of video RAM. I think it had 420MB worth of storage! It even had a CD drive that could read at double-speed. Back in the day, that was a pretty good system. It was the best that was out there.

I still have binaries (executables) and media that I downloaded from the newsgroups back then that I had to decode and ultimately put on my system. I remember when I’d see a 100k file and think how big it was. I’d wonder if it would even work on my system. Yes… 100 K. Anything 1MB or more was considered “killer” back then.

What was your first computer, and how big of a hard drive did it have? Who can beat me?

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  1. wait until you see my fathers old hardrive im going send you a video. Its about 1.5ft by 1.5ft its nearly the size of a tire

  2. My first computer in 1996 was an RM NIMBUS 386 with a 40MB IDE hard drive, running DOS/Windows 3.1 – I’m afraid I don’t have the details of the other hardware, but I can be fairly sure it was no super-computer! These days, I’m backed up with several NAS servers totalling to around 5TB of data – for home use.

  3. The first computer I purchased was a Tandy 2000 (used). Best I can say about it is that it had a 1200 baud modem so I could sign into work from home.

    The first new computer was one built by a relatively incompetent home PC shop guy. $1,600 and almost every component died and had to be repaired under warranty.

    The first personal computer I actually used was an Apple IIc in my Pascal class at college. Our class was hot stuff, since the Electrical Engineers still used punch cards in their EE101 class.

    And my pride and joy of early computers…. An IBM PC with a 20mb hard drive *and a print server*!!! While all the other drones in my department had to wait for each line of their pitiful Lotus spreadsheets to print, I could continue working while my printer sang (as long as my print job was 9 pages or less).

  4. My first computer was an XT with an 8086 CPU that ran at about 8 MHz, had a 20 MB (yes, you read it right) harddisk and two 5,25″ floppy disk drives. That was in 1990 and I had MS-DOS 3.2 at the time – Windows 3.0 wasn’t even out yet – actually, I hadn’t heard of Windows yet at all.
    If I remember correctly my second computer (the one I bought with my own hard earned allowance money) was an AT 80286 running at 12 MHz and I believe I had a 40 or 60 MB harddisk then and two 3,5″ floppy disk drives, of course.

    Well, today, about 20 years later, I have the latest 27″ i7 iMac on my desk (with 1 TB of storage inside and another 2,5 TB external), an iPhone 3GS in my pocket and an iPad beside me – it’s been a long way… 😉

    And by the way, my first computer game ever was “Prince of Persia” – the original! – played on a monochrome “Hercules” display…

  5. Well I can’t beat you. Admittedly my first computer also didn’t have a harddrive. An old IBM machine, oh how I miss it. It was my Dad’s but I got it later on. Still love those floppy disks. First the start up disk, then the program disk, then the start up disk, then search for the program on the program disk, then the startup disk, then the program disk and finally run the program.

    I learned about file systems and BASIC at that time. EDIT was my main source for writing papers….if I had a free disk that is. Otherwise it was a pain to write a paper and have the power go out (which it did often in Naples, Italy) Had the old dot-matrix printer with the big box of perforated paper that it would just feed on its own. Wrote my first wish list to Santa on that thing.

    From there I got an old Amiga 1000, 256k memory, 3.5 inch floppy drive built in for storage. 7.14 Mhz processor. That thing was kicking.

    My first computer with an actual harddrive came in 2001. An HP something. Had Windows ME on it. And I think a 20 GB harddrive.

  6. My first computer back when i was a little kid, my dad had brought it to home, it was of only 10GB hard drive and 1GB R.A.M. It was Microsoft Windows 98 and all had a couple of floppy drives and a CD Drive, all this was back in the year 2001.

  7. My first hard drive was a 10 mb (yes, megabyte) model inside a 20 pound “portable” Eagle computer – a clone of the original Compaq circa 1984. It was the greatest thing since hot cheese at the time!

  8. 4 gb, still have it, it is a Packard Bell. Logged onto many a bulletin boards, the web browser was in dos of course. MS 3.1 op sys.

  9. Chris,

    My first real computer was an original IBM PC-XT. No hard drive, just two 5 1/4 floppies. That was ca. 1983. Later, we bought a “Hard Card” that plugged into the ISA bus. It was 20MB and we thought we’d never need more than that!

    The Geek

  10. My first machine was a mid 90s Mac Performa. It came with a 1gig SCSI drive that was absurdly fast for the time.

    I remember when the first mp3 apps came out and thought “well this is cool but it sure eats up a lot of space. “

  11. My first hard disk was 64Kb. A QL computer (Quantum Leap) from Sinclair back in 1980 built by Psion I think. A great little computer which had Superbasic, a word processor, a presentation program and a Database that came with it were loaded on ‘Micro-drives’ – small tapes. The computer memory was only 32Kb.

  12. My first PC was an 8Kb Commodore PET with cassette drive, and I progressed up to a 128Kb office machine with twin floppies. Then I “upgraded” to an Olivetti IBM-compatible (what a let down!). I had to move to the IBM world cos that was the sort of mags I was writing for (PC User of fond memory, etc). My first hard drive was a huge 10Mb box. Now I have several Tb of external storage, and I still run out!

  13. My first computer purchased in 1989 was a Panasonic with a 20 MB hard drive. It lasted about 10 days past the 1 year warranty!

  14. In the 80’s I bought as much computer as I could afford. Amber 12″ monitor AND what the salesman assurred me was the biggest hard drive they sold at the time. He said it would hold every part of DOS, and more programs, documents and games than I would ever use. I think the HD added $400 to the $2,000 cost of this locally assembled clone. I was dazzled and extremely proud of my 30 MEGAbyte hard drive!!!

  15. My first computer was an Osborne “portable”. Then I got an external hard drive – 5 MB.

    I later used the power supply to power my ham radio!

  16. Hey chris,

    My first computer was PC-XT (eXtended Technology). It ran on MS DOS and if i ever loaded Win 3.1 then my 20 mb of hard drive would have 1.something mb of free space left. It had 640 kb RAM no graphics card, large floppy disk drive monochrome screen and my dad bought it for me as i was just a 10 yr old back then for INR 110,000 ( approx $2000 USD).

  17. My first hard drive was an IBM 1301 RAMAC unit, attached to an IBM 1410 computer. I was in the Air Force in New Mexico when the device was installed in 1964. Ours was a 2 module unit, each module had 20 – 24″ platters and could store 25 million characters. It had hydraulic actuator arms! The drive was housed in a 5 foot by 5 1/2 foot high box and the controller was in a separate similar sized box. The 1410 itself was quite a piece of work. It was an enhanced 1401 but it still had wired core memory, 40k in our machine but could handle a maximum of 64k.

    Needless to say, I sit here at my desk today with a multi-processor PC, with gigabytes of ram, and terrabytes of hard disk storage, multiple monitors and a laser printer, all housed in a desk smaller than the operators console on the old 1410 and marvel at the advances in technology. I’m not old, technology just moves at a rapid pace!

  18. My first “real” computer was a 286 with 5.25 and 3.5 inch drives and a 20 MB hard drive and a 9600 baud modem. I paid about 2k around 1990 (?) and was upset because I couldn’t afford the 386 which was top of the line at the time I bought it. Can’t remember how much RAM and etc but it was fairly pathetic in comparison…

  19. The first computer I owned that included a hard drive was a second-hand Lisa, Apple’s first graphical interface machine and parent to the Macintosh. My Lisa came with an optional 10 megabyte hard drive. I think there was also a 5 meg hard drive option. The “standard” Lisa at $10,000 list came with two floppy disks and in that configuration was mind numbingly slow, even in those more tolerant days.

  20. My First computer I bought in 1991 was a Packard Bell 486DX 20 Mhz
    had a 5.25 and a 3.5 floppy drives, 2 Mb of RAM built in and 4 slots for 1 Mb Ram Chips (which costs 40.00 per 1 Mb ram chip)
    it came with a 100Mb HDD – cost around $1300 or so. Came with Win 3.1 and DOS 4.0 I believe. Came with a 19200 (?) baud modem – best at the time. I used it for about three years, never used the modem, couldn’t afford the cost at the time. The first computer I used was in 1985 a TS1000, came with 2k RAM and an external 16K Ram chip, used a cassette to save data on. Had to hook up to a TV to program – in basic – took hours to create games like checkers or pong. Wow Fun Days! LOL