I’ve been privileged, both directly (with financial and material support from family) and indirectly (in that I’ve been able to work to earn some extra cash). I’ve used those resources for the great credo:
Spend your money where you spend your time
And so I’ve spent significant amounts of money on PCs. I find it enjoyable to keep a record of my previous rigs, so here it is. Older entries were constructed from memory, newer ones are more reliable as they’re created from a “paper” trail.
2017: Intel Core i7-7700K + 32GB RAM + GeForce GTX 1080
My previous PC was great value for money. Unfortunately the video card died, and the other components also showed signs of instability. Since I also wasn’t happy with the virtualization options of the old i5 I decided to upgrade.
- Intel Core i7-7700K (4.2GHz)
- MSI Z270 Gaming Pro
- Ballistix Sport LT 32 GB (4×8) 2400 MHz C16
- EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5X SC Gaming
- Be Quiet! Pure Power 9, 600W
- Be Quiet! Silent Base 800 (black)
- Samsung Evo 512 GB SSD
- Western Digital Black 1 TB HDD
2013: Intel Core i7-4500U (Laptop – Dell XPS-12)
Bought 50% for work, 50% for personal use, this laptop was very useful the first two years. However, it just wasn’t up to serious dev work. This was fine when I bought it, as I did a lot of non-dev stuff, but when I switched jobs the machine kind-of started gathering dust.
Two major downsides to this machine: it was just not really useful as a tablet, and the screen suffered from major burn-in after 2,5 years (as others noted on the web, too).
- Intel Core i7-4500U (3.0GHz)
- Intel HD 4400 Graphics
- 8 GB DDR3 RAM
- 256 GB SSD
2012: Intel Core i5-2500K + 16 GB RAM + GeForce GTX 560 Ti
Great, great value for money. Only regret was getting an i5, since an i7 with proper specs would’ve allowed for a lot more VM experimentation. The hard drives died (HDD) and turned out to be too small (SSD), and got replaced around 2015. They ended up in my 2017 build too (see above).
- Intel Core i5-2500K (3.30GHz)
- MSI P67A-GD65 (B3)
- Corsair Vengeance LP 16 GB (4×4) DDR3
- MSI GeForce Twin Frozr GTX 560 Ti, 1GB
- Seasonic X-760 760 watt PSU
- Nexus Prominent 5 ATX Case (black)
- Lite-On iHAS124 24xDVDRW
- Crucial M4 128 GB SSD
- Seagate (?) 512 GB HDD
2009: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 + 4GB RAM + Radeon HD 4870
A decent computer, although judging from how fast I bought another one after this it wasn’t the best value for money.
- Intel Core 2 Duo 8400 3.00GHz
- Asus P5QL-E
- Kingston DualChannel 4GB (2×2) PC2-640
- Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 1GB
- CoolerMaster Real Power M520
- CoolerMaster Elite 331 (black/silver)
- Lite-On iHAS122 22x DVDRW
- Sony 3,5″Diskdrive 1.44 MB
- Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000, 750 GB, 7200 rpm
2005: Intel Pentium M740 (Laptop – Acer Aspire 1692)
Because I needed to write my master’s thesis at the university, and because I wanted a new gaming PC, it seemed reasonable to buy a “gaming” laptop. Big, big mistake. I will never buy an Acer laptop again: I’ve returned it 7+ times before it was finally replaced by a different one at the store.
- Intel Centrino Pentium M 740 (1.73 GHz)
- ATI Mobility Radeon X700, 128 MB
- 1 GB DDR2 SDRAM
- 100GB HDD
2001: AMD Athlon XP + ?? RAM + GeForce 2
All I can remember is that this machine worked pretty well for a few years. It had a GeForce 2 graphics card, though I can’t remember which one exactly. Used it for my first few years in college, as well as for the entire trilogy of Warcraft 3 games (base + 2 expansions).
1998: AMD K6-2 + ?? RAM + 3Dfx Voodoo2
Remember buying this machine with hard earned money, but ending up being scammed: when we opened the machine (as it didn’t work so well) we found that there were completely different parts than what was promised. Some adult family members went (without me) back to the store, and came back with what was promised, and then some.
1994: Unknown brand 486 (66 MHz) with co-processor + 16 (?) MB RAM
Got a second hand computer from a family member for my birthday, and it was glorious! I think it had around 16 MB of RAM, plenty of HDD space, and even two disk drives. At some point I think I also added a CD-ROM player. Probably spent a few hundred hours playing Warcraft I and II on this machine.
1990: Tulip 286 (10 MHz) + 1 (?) MB RAM
My first PC! A 286 computer with MS-DOS. Cost me 400 guilders of my own savings, and my parents put down another 400 for my birthday. My uncle gave me a monitor and at some point even a SoundBlaster audio card.
Although I can’t precisely remember the specs anymore, I think it had about 640 KB memory plus another 400 KB “extended” memory (wow!), and around 10 MB of hard drive storage.
Most of my time on this PC was spent playing Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Centurion: Defender of Rome, and boatloads of Apogee shareware.
Although my first own PC was the 286 I got in 1990 (I was 8 years old at the time), I did get to play some with older machines. Most notably an Amiga Commodore, which I still have today.