Mike’s Antique Computer Collection
(Last update 10/27/11)


The systems are listed in order of age (based upon date made, not when I acquired them), from youngest to the oldest.
 

Latest Updates:
10/27/11 - Added own photos to the Panasonic Executive Partner section (#15)
Latest acquisitions are a Palm Vx (#33),  Apple Macintosh Performa 466 (#25), Apple Macintosh SE (#17).


The specifications for each system are specific to the units I own and are not meant to be a
comprehensive
list of all of the available configurations offered by the manufacturer.
 

All of these systems were still functional when last tested.
 

1. Two (2) Altos MP/M (multi-user CP/M) systems.
    Built circa 1978; purchased used in 1986.

 

           CPU:  Zilog Z80A 4 MHz
           RAM:  From 32 KB to 208 KB

      Storage:  Two 8" floppy drives
 Networking:  Four RS232 serial ports for ASCII terminals
           
O/S:  Digital Research CP/M or MP/M

 

    Notes:  Up to four users could be accommodated
    on these machines, using terminals; each user got
    something like a 48K memory space.  It has been
    difficult to pin-point the exact age of these machines;
    Altos Computer Systems was founded in 1976, and
    these appear to be one of their early models since it
    uses 8” floppy disks, a format that by 1980 was
    considered to be obsolete.  In the machines I have,
    Altos mounted the floppy drives upside down,
    apparently by accident.  The previous owner of these
    machines learned to always insert their floppies
    upside down to match!  I have a small supply of 8”
    floppies that came with these machines. 

 

    Acquired with these machines were two Hazeltine
    terminals and two heavy-duty Texas Instruments
    model 820 line printers.  The Hazeltine terminals
    eventually stopped working and I had to junk them; the
    printers kept  working so I still have them. Amazingly
    almost thirty years later you can still get replacement
    ribbons and service for these printers.

    Historical Notes:  Altos Computer Systems was one
    of the earliest companies making business-oriented
    microcomputers. Founded in 1976, it peaked in the
    mid-Eighties with a popular line of Xenix-based multi-
    user systems.  The company was sold to Acer
    America in 1990.  The Altos name is still being used
    for Acer’s line of file servers.

    The CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers)
    operating system was developed in the early
   
Seventies, almost a decade before MS-DOS. Until MS-
    DOS took over, CP/M was the business operating
    system for microcomputers.  Many popular business
    applications such as
WordStar and dBase were first
    published for the CP/M platform. 
Apple developed a
    Z80 card for the Apple II so it could run CP/M business
    applications; Commodore took the approach of
    building in a Z80 CPU in addition to the usual 6510
    microprocessor in some of it’s more advanced
    machines (see the SX-64 and C128, below).
 

    A typical CP/M screen shot is at right.

    In popular culture, a CP/M machine (the IMSAI 8080)
    was featured in the 1983 movie WarGames.

 

 


 


(An example of Altos's "Packed With Fresh Ideas" advertising)
Larger version


 

2. Atari 800 System. 
    Built 1979, Purchased used in 2002.
 

           CPU:  MOS Technology 6502 1.79 MHz
           RAM:  48 KB

      Storage:  Two internal cartridge slots.

                      Atari 810 external 5.25" floppy drive,
                      180 KB per disk (90 KB
 per side).
                      Atari
410 external cassette tape drive,

                      aprox. 100 KB per 60-minute tape.
    Graphics:  320 x 192 mono or 160 x 192 x 4 colors
         Audio:   Mono, up to 16-bit

           Misc
   Hardware:
 RGB and TV-RF output, bus expansion
                      slots, four joystick ports
            O/S:  Atari DOS (proprietary)


    Along with my model 400s this is the oldest personal
  
 computer in my collection.

    The photo at upper right shows the system and
    peripherals I purchased.  The 800
was the high-end
    system to the lower-end 400 model (see below)
    Unlike the 400, the more expensive 800 featured a
full-
    size regular keyboard and more memory. 
With the
    optional diskette drive this system cost around $1,600
    in 1979 dollars.


    The photo at right from the Atari Museum web site
    shows a closer view of the external floppy drive.

    This drive was expensive ($600) but much faster than
     the cassette drive for storage
.
 

     One of the big motivations for building this collection
     of antique computers is to able to finally play with the
     many cool machines I couldn't afford back in the day;

     these first Atari computers were high on my list of

     "wish I could have" machines.
    
     I haven't been able to find definitive info on the
     capacity limit of the ROM (Read-Only Memory)
     cartridges; since the 6502 CPU could only address
     64 KB of memory, I'm guessing that was the
     maximum storage capacity of a compatible ROM
     cartridge.  Due to the high cost of that much memory
     in 1979, most cartridges probably contained only 8 to
    16 KB.

 

     Additional Links:
                Atari Museum page on the Atari 800
                Oldcomputers.net page on the Atari 800
                Atari Source - Hardware page
                Inside Atari DOS

 







 Original 1979 Advertisement  Larger version

 

3.  Two (2) Atari 400s.
      Built 1979, Purchased used in 2002.
 

           CPU:  MOS Technology 6502 1.79 MHz
           RAM:  16 KB

      Storage:  One ROM cartridge slot (probable max
                      64 KB of memory per cartridge).
    Graphics:  320 x 192 mono or 160 x 192 x 4 colors
         Audio:  Mono
, up to 16-bit

           Misc
   Hardware:
  RGB and TV-RF output, four joystick ports,

                      came with one Atari joystick.
            O/S:  Atari proprietary


     
Along with my model 800 the oldest personal
    
 computers in my collection.  I have five software
      cartridges (Pacman, Defender, two other games plus
      BASIC).  As you can see from the picture, the
      machine has a nice streamlined case design that still
      looks remarkably modern 23 years later.  Other nice
      features are zero boot time when using the application
      cartridges, and completely silent operation since a
     1.79 MHz processor doesn’t need a cooling fan…


     The keyboard (see photo at right) is a membrane-type,
     designed to be child-proof.

 

     Technology notes: Nine of my antiques are powered
     by 6502-based CPUs; this microprocessor was
     shipped in tens of millions of computers and game
     consoles throughout the Seventies & Eighties and in
     fact is still being used in 2008 for various specialty
     applications (cars, toys, etc.).
    

     Additional Links:
              Wikipedia Atari 8-bit Systems page
              Wikipedia High Resolution Photo of System
            

     





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"Star Wars" for the Atari
 

4. Timex Sinclair ZX81. 
    Built circa 1981, purchased used in 2007.


           CPU: 
Zilog Z80A 3.5 MHz
           RAM:  1 KB internal (expandable to 64 KB with
                      external modules)

      Storage:  Cassette port
    Graphics:  24 lines x 32 characters text or 64 x 48
                      pixel graphics monochrome.
         Audio:   None

           Misc
   Hardware:
 Z80 bus expansion slot, tape port.

                      Sinclair thermal printer
            O/S:  Sinclair ROM BASIC

   

    Notes:  A very popular home computer due to it’s low
    price of only $100.  Over one million were sold before
    it was replaced by a model capable of color output.
    Expansion modules for this computer could be daisy-
    chained together from the side expansion slot.

 

    Additional Links:
          Wikipedia Sinclair ZX81 page
          Old Computers.com page
         
 



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4A. Commodore VIC-20. 
    Built circa 1981, purchased used in 2002.


           CPU: 
MOS Technology 6502 1.0 MHz
           RAM:  5 KB (expandable to at least 32K with
                      an external cartridge)

      Storage:  One ROM cartridge slot
                      Commodore C2N Cassette drive

    Graphics:  22 lines x 23 characters text or 176 x 184
                      pixel graphics with 16 colors.
         Audio:   Mono

           Misc
   Hardware:
 Expansion port, serial port, joystick port
            O/S:  Commodore proprietary ROM BASIC

   

    Notes:  Another popular home computer due to it’s low
    price ($299), in fact at the time it was probably the
    least expensive machine that had a full-size keyboard
    and color graphics and sound.  More than a million
    units were sold during the couple of years that this
    model was available.

    Commodore C2N Cassette drive is shown at right.
    This was the only way on the VIC-20 to save programs
    written in Commodore BASIC.

 

    Back in 1982 I briefly borrowed a VIC-20 to practice
    some programming; unfortunately it did not have the
    tape drive, so anything I wrote only lasted until the
    machine was switched off.  Luckily for me, Marin
    County, where I was living at the time, received a large
    amount of money  from an estate trust.  Some of
    these funds were used to equip every county library
    with a brand-new Commodore PET business
    computer complete with cassette drive.  Not being
    able to afford my own computer, I spent many hours
    at the local library learning programming on their
    machine, using a cassette tape I purchased to save
    and retrieve my work.

 

    In 1984 I was finally able to afford to buy my first
    computer, which was an IBM PCjr.  The system cost
    around $1,200.  For an extra $500 the IBM floppy drive
    could be added but I couldn't afford it, so I continued to
    use tape cassettes for storage.  Both the original
    IBM PC and the PCjr were made with tape cassette
    interfaces.

 

    Additional Links:
          Wikipedia Commodore VIC-20 page
          Wikipedia High Resolution Photo of System

         
 



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Video - Commodore VIC-20 Commercial
with William Shatner (circa 1981)

 

5. Two (2) Commodore 64 machines.
     Built circa 1982, purchased used in 2002.

           CPU:  MOS Technology 6510 1.0 MHz
           RAM:  64 KB

      Storage:  Commodore 1541 5¼” 170K external
                      floppy drive
.
                      Game cartridge slot
                      Commodore C2N tape cassette drive

    Graphics:  24 lines x 40 characters text or 320 x 200
                      pixel graphics with 16 colors.
         Audio:   Mono

           Misc
   Hardware:
  Expansion port, serial and parallel ports,
                     2 joystick ports
            O/S:  Commodore proprietary ROM BASIC 2.0

 

    I have only one Commodore tape drive and two floppy
    drives.  However the tape drive can be hooked up to
    any Commodore system of this era and the floppy
    drives to any Commodore from the model 64 or newer,
    so these same peripherals are listed with each system
    they are compatible with.

 

    Historical Notes:  By number of units sold (17 to 22
    million) the 64 is probably the most popular  micro-
    computer ever made.  Cost $595 in 1982.  Under the
    category of  “how the mighty fall”, Commodore went
    from making the best-selling computer on the planet
    and being the first microcomputer company to achieve
    $1 billion dollars in sales, to corporate liquidation only
    twelve years later (in 1994).

 

    Ken Polsson has created a detailed chronology of the
    Commodore 64.
 

    At right is a screen-shot from the Commodore 64
    racing game "Pitstop II".

 

    Additional Links:
            Wikipedia Commodore 64 page
            Wikipedia High Resolution Photo of System


            Video - Commodore 64 Commercial (circa 1982)

  



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6. Commodore SX-64 Executive Portable.

    Built circa 1984; purchased used in 2002.

           CPU:  MOS Technology 6510 1.0 MHz
                      Z80 CPU (on expansion card?)

           RAM:  64 KB

      Storage:  Internal 5¼” 170K floppy drive
                      Internal cartridge slot

                      Commodore 1541 5¼” 170K external
                      floppy drive
.
    Graphics:  Built-in 5" Color CRT
                      24 lines x 40 characters text or 320 x 200
                      pixel graphics with 16 colors.
         Audio:   Mono

           Misc
   Hardware:
  Expansion port, serial and parallel ports,
                     2 joystick ports
            O/S:  Commodore proprietary ROM BASIC 2.0

 

     Notable as the world’s first  portable computer with a
    
color screen.  Due to it's high price (over $1,000 in
     1984 dollars) only a small number were sold; this
     model today is sort-after by collectors.

 

     Notes:  Like the later Commodore 128 (see below), the
     SX-64 had two CPUs; the 6510 to run C64 software
     and the Z80 to run CP/M applications.
 

 

    Additional Links:
                 Wikipedia Commodore SX-64 page
                 Oldcomputers.net page on the SX-64
                 Zimmers.net page on the SX-64

                 Video - Commodore SX-64 Commercial
 



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7.  Quasar HK-2600TE Hand Held Computer.
     Built circa 1983, purchased used in 2007.

           CPU:  6502 1 MHz
           RAM:  4 KB

      Storage:  Three sockets for ROM expansion, ROMS
                      can be up to 16 KB each.

      Display:   Built-in LCD,  1 lines x 26 characters text
         Audio:   None

Networking:  Optional modem
          Misc
  Hardware:
  Thermal printer, expansion port.
            O/S:  SNAP / ROM BASIC

 

  This computer was also sold under the Panasonic
  brand name.  You could make custom ROMs for it;

  insurance companies and others burned their own
  special programs on to the ROM chips for their
  representatives to use in the field.

 

  This system and my Epson Geneva (see below) are
  the earliest systems in my collection with Liquid Crystal
  Displays ("LCD"s).

 

 Additional Links:
 Oldcomputers.net page on the Panasonic / Quasar HHC


 

 


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8.  Epson Geneva PX-8. 
     Built circa 1983, purchased used in 2002.

           CPU:  Z80 4 MHz
           RAM:  128 KB

      Storage:  Interchangable internal ROM application
                      chips (have chips for WordStar and Calc).
                      Internal
Microcassette drive (10 KB to 30 KB
                      per tape).
                      Epson PF-10 external battery-powered
                      floppy drive.
      Display:   Built-in LCD,  8 lines x 80 characters text,
                      graphics
480 x 64 pixels.
         Audio:   Built-in speaker, can play audio recorded
                      on microcassette tape.

Networking:  300 baud modem expansion base
          Misc
  Hardware:
  Serial port, audio in/out
            O/S:  CP/M 2.2

 

      This was a cool machine for it's time, with a multi-line
      flip-up screen, built-in micro-cassette drive that could
      be used to record both data and audio, and advanced
      peripherals like the battery-powered floppy drive.
 

      There's a small community of folks that still use this
      system; one of them,
Fred Jan Fraan, maintains an
      excellent  web-site devoted to the PX-8. 

 

      The ROM application WordStar included with this
      machine was at the time the dominant word
      processor program.  The publisher was MicroPro;
      I visited their headquarters in San Rafael back the
      early Eighties.  They had a large and impressive
      operation with multiple sites and hundreds of
      employees. However, in just a few short years
      MicroPro’s fortunes declined as users switched from
      WordStar to a new market-leader, WordPerfect.  San
      Rafael
in the early Eighties was one of the centers of
      the microcomputer software industry; within walking
      distance of MicroPro was Broderbund software, where
      I was employed for a short time as a temp packaging
      game software (I did a lot of odd jobs before
      embarking on a career as a programmer).
 

      Additional Links:
                 Wikipedia Epson PX-8 page

     






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9. Texas Instruments TI-99/4A
     Built circa 1983, purchased used in 2007.

           CPU:  Texas Instruments TMS9900 16-bit 3.0 MHz
           RAM:  16 KB

      Storage:  Cartridge slot
    Graphics:  24 lines x 32 characters text or 192 x 256
                      pixel graphics with 16 colors.
         Audio:   Mono

          Misc
   Hardware:
  Cartridge port, cassette port, Joystick port
                      and bus expansion slot.
            O/S:  Proprietary ROM BASIC

 

 This was the second home computer that Texas
 Instruments made.  It was popular with over two million
 sold during it's lifetime.  Originally introduced in 1981 with
 a black and silver case, I have the cheaper beige version
 that came out in 1983 and was priced at $99.

 A fairly unique feature was the proprietary CPU; while
 most computer makers were using third-party chips,
 Texas Instruments used their own CPUs, which were
 based upon the company's mini-computer chips.

 At one time Texas Instruments was selling TI-99
 computers at the rate of 150,000 per month; but after
 a money-losing price war with Commodore and other
 competitors, TI left the home computer market in 1984
 and never returned.

 Additional Links:
            Wikipedia Texas Instruments TI-99/4A page

 








Screenshot from "Popeye" for the TI -99/4A.

10. Apple IIc. 
      Built circa 1984, purchased used 2002.

           CPU:  WDC 65C02 1.0 MHz
           RAM:  128 KB

      Storage:  Internal 5.25" 140 KB floppy drive
    Graphics:  80 x 24 text, graphics 560 x 192 15 colors
      Display:   Apple 9" monochrome CRT monitor
         Audio:   Built-in speaker

Networking:  300 baud modem expansion base
          Misc
  Hardware:
  Serial ports, mouse/joystick port, floppy port,
                     video expansion port, audio out.
            O/S:  Apple ProDOS


    
The portable version of the Apple II, perhaps most
     famous for being seen in the movie 2010 (the idea that
     an astronaut in the year 2010 would be using what
     would by then be a twenty-six year old computer
     does seem a little far-fetched today).

 

     Note:  While technically a portable, this machine,
     like most “portable” computers of the day, needed to
     be plugged-in to an external power source to run.

    Additional Links:
                 Wikipedia Apple IIc page

 

                 Video - Apple IIc commercial (1984)
 


11. IBM PCjr.
      Built circa 1984, purchased used 2002.
 

           CPU:  Intel 8088 4.77 MHz
           RAM:  640 KB

      Storage:  Two 5.25" 360 KB floppy drives
                      Two ROM cartridge slots
    Graphics:  80 x 25 line text, graphics 320 x 240 x 16
                      colors or 640 x 200 x 4 colors
       Display:  IBM PCjr 13" RGB Color CRT monitor
          Audio:  Music and system sounds

 Networking:  Internal 300 baud modem card
           Misc
   Hardware:
  Infrared wireless keyboard, stackable
                      'Sidecar' expansion modules (I have three
                      sidecars, 512 KB memory expansion,
                      Parallel port and Speech Attachment).
                      Mouse/joystick ports, two IBM joysticks.
             O/S:  IBM PC-DOS 2.1


      IBM’s “home” version of the original PC, introduced
      in 1984.

      The Jr. I acquired was greatly customized by the
      previous owner  to get around the original limitations
      of the Jr.  IBM didn’t want the Jr. to compete with the
      more expensive IBM PC, so it limited the machine to
      one disk drive and a maximum of 128K of RAM.  To
      get around these limitations, the previous owner of this
      system added a second floppy drive mounted in it’s
      own chassis, with special ‘extension’ power and
      signal cables running to it from the main case.  An
      extra 512K of RAM was added using a memory
      sidecar.  Custom system drivers were added to the
      boot floppy to allow DOS to see the second drive and
      the full 640K of RAM.  This system is probably one of
      the most expanded Jr.s in existence;
the modifications
      sound a little funky, but I tested them and they do
      actually work.

       
      A personal historical note: This is actually my second
      PCjr.  The first one I purchased brand new in March
     1984; it was in fact the first computer I actually owned
      (I had borrowed and leased machines earlier).  The
      computer was unfortunately lost in the 1989 San
       Francisco earthquake.

 

      Detailed technical info on the Jr. can be found at
      Michael Brutman’s (a different Mike…) web-site. This
      guy owns three PCJrs.

      Additional Links:
          Wikipedia IBM PCjr page

          Oldcomputers.net IBM PCjr page

         

 



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King's Quest on the PCjr



Video - IBM PCjr Commercial circa 1984

 

12. Two (2) Commodore 128s. 

      Built circa 1985, purchased used in 2002.

           CPU:  MOS Technology 8502 2.0 MHz and
                      Zilog Z80A 4 MHz

           RAM:  128 KB

      Storage:  Commodore 1541 5¼” 170K external
                      floppy drive
.
                      Game cartridge slot
                      Commodore C2N tape cassette drive

    Graphics:  24 lines x 80 characters text or 320 x 200
                      pixel graphics with 16 colors.
         Audio:   Mono

           Misc
   Hardware:
  Expansion port, serial and parallel ports,
                      2 joystick ports
            O/S:  Commodore proprietary ROM BASIC 7.0,
                    
 Digital Research CP/M 3.0,
                      Commodore GEOS (Graphical Environment
                      Operating System).

 

      An upgrade from the C64 with multiple personalities.
      This system could be run in Commodore 64 mode,
      128 mode ("native") or in CP/M using the built-in
      second CPU, a CP/M-compatible Z80A.
 

      René van Belzen has a good C128 info page here.

 

      In 1986 GEOS was released, a graphical operating
      system which was Commodore's response to the
      Apple Macintosh.  I picked up a copy of GEOS but
      haven't had time yet to try it out.  The screen shot at
      right shows a typical GEOS desktop view.
 

      Additional Links:
                 Wikipedia Commodore 128 page
 

 

 



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13. Commodore Amiga 1000. 
      Built circa 1985, p
urchased used in 1990 with an
      Okidata color printer.  I acquired the official Amiga
      color monitor for it in 2002.

           CPU:  Motorola 68000 7.0 MHz

           RAM:  512 KB (expandable to 8 MB)

      Storage:  Internal 3.5" 880 KB floppy drive
                      External 3.5" 880 KB floppy drive
    Graphics:  320 x 200 with 4,096 color palette
                      or 640 x 400 x 16 colors.
      Display:   Amiga Color CRT 13"
         Audio:  
Stereo 8 bit 28 KHz sampling rate

           Misc
   Hardware:
  System expansion port, serial and parallel
                      ports, 2 joystick/mouse ports.
                     Okidata color printer
            O/S:  Amiga OS 1.x
 

      Historical Notes:  This was the first Amiga model,
      introduced in 1985. It was considered a revolutionary
      machine due to it’s advanced color graphics (see
      screen shot at right).  It had a 4,096 color palette at a
      time when the IBM PC was limited to 16 colors and
      the Mac was monochrome only.  As a result, the
      Amiga developed a large and almost fanatical
      following in it’s time.  Commodore went bust in 1994,
      but fans of this machine and it’s operating system
      continue to try to get the platform resurrected in some
      form.

 

      Additional Links:
                 Wikipedia Amiga 1000 page 

 



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14. Nintendo Entertainment System Game
      Console.

     
Manufactured circa 1985,
purchased used in 2008.
 

         CPU:  Ricoh 2A03 8-bit 1.79 MHz, based upon a
                    MOS Technology 6502 core
.
         RAM:  2 KB internal, could be expanded with
                    additional memory built into a game cartridge,
                    maximum address space 48 KB.
  Graphics:  256 x 224 NTSC resolution, max 25

                    simultaneous colors from 53 color palette.
       Audio:   Mono
    Storage: 
Proprietary game cartridges, usually up to
                    64 KB capacity.

          O/S:  Proprietary

        Misc
 Hardware:  Two game controller ports.
                    Two controllers, plus also the NES Zapper
                    light gun (see photo).


  Notes:  Probably the most popular console
of the
  Eighties, with over 62 million machines sold.  The
  platform was finally discontinued in 1995.

  Along with a first-generation machine I also acquired the
  official light gun and seven game cartridges as shown
  in the photo. 

 

  The game cartridges are huge, each one is close to
  the size and weight of a modern-day Sony Playstation
  Portable. 
A NES cartridge usually contains two ROM
  chips - one for the game program itself and the second
  for the game's graphics.  For the more elaborate games
  bank-switching could be used to get around the 48 KB
  memory limit.  Further info on the cartridges and
  instructions on how to hack one can be found here.

                  
  Additional Info: 
         
Wikipedia Nintendo Entertainment System Page
          Raphael Assenat's NES Stuff Page
 
           



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Game "Super Mario Bros 3"

 

 15. Panasonic Executive Partner portable
        suitcase computer. 
Purchased new in 1986.

 

           CPU:  Intel 8086 7.0 MHz

           RAM:  640 KB

      Storage:  Internal 5.25" 320 KB floppy drive
                      Internal Seagate 20 MB hard drive
    Graphics:  640 x 200 monochrome
      Display:   Built-in 11" gas plasma screen
         Audio:   Speaker for beeps

           Misc
   Hardware:
  Built-in thermal printer, serial and parallel
                      ports.
            O/S:  MS-DOS 2.0
 

   This was the second computer I ever owned.

 

    With the gas plasma screen and built-in thermal
    printer, the Executive Partner was an exotic &
    expensive machine for it’s time.  It originally cost
    $5,000 but due to some sort of trade dispute this

    model in 1986 could no longer be imported into the
    United States.  I therefore picked this unit up for a
    discount and I paid the dealer to replace one of the
    two floppy drives this system originally had with a
    20 MB hard drive.  This is the oldest system in my
    collection with a hard drive.

    Due to the high price and the import ban this computer
    appears to be very rare; I found only two collectors
    besides myself that have this system listed in their
    antique collections, and neither machine had a hard
    drive.

    The gas plasma screen was the best kind of portable
    display in 1986, much more readable than the
    primitive LCDs of the time but much lighter than a
    CRT. The drawbacks of gas plasma were that they
    were power hungry (no running on battery power) and
    expensive.  Gas plasma displays were used
    extensively in GRID Systems portable computers,
    very high-end machines used by military organizations
    and NASA.  Gas plasma technology is still in use today
    in flat-panel plasma TVs.
       
  
The first couple of years I owned the Panasonic I
    used to take it with me to client sites.  Customers
    were either impressed or mortified, perhaps both,
    when I used this machine’s built-in thermal printer to
    print my bill to them right on the spot.

 




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16. Apple IIe Platinum system.
      Built circa 1987, purchased used in 2001.

           CPU:  MOS 65C02 1.0 MHz

           RAM:  128 KB

      Storage:  Two external 5.25" 140 KB floppy drives
    Graphics:  560x192 monochrome, 140x192 16-color.
                      80 column text display card installed.
      Display:   Apple Color CRT
         Audio:   Speaker for beeps

           Misc
   Hardware:
  Parallel printer port card
            O/S:  Apple DOS and ProDOS


     The IIe Platinum was introduced by Apple in 1987; it
     was the last and most advanced Apple II that still came
     in the classic case that had been used since 1977. 
    
The IIe Platinum was in production for five years; it
     lasted until the Apple II line itself was discontinued in
     November 1993.  

 

     Historical Note:  My first paying programming job was
     writing an educational game for the Apple II, in 1983.
     I couldn't afford to buy an Apple II so I rented one for
     the project.

 

     Another Historical Note:  The Apple II probably had
     the longest manufacturing life of any microcomputer
     design; stretching from 1977 through 1993 (seventeen
     years!).  A detailed history of the entire Apple II line can
     be found here.

   Additional Links:
          Wikipedia - Apple II Page

          Video - Apple II Commercial (1986)

 



 

17. Apple Macintosh SE
      Built circa 1987, purchased used in 2009.

           CPU:  Motorola MC68000 8 MHz

           RAM:  1 MB expandable to 4 MB

      Storage:  80 MB SCSI internal hard drive

                      One 800 KB 3.5" floppy drive

                      SCSI port  (5 Kbps) for external devices.
    Graphics:  512 x 342 monochrome
      Display:  
Built-in 9" CRT monochrome
         Audio:   Mono 8-bit, minijack out, also built-in
                      speaker.

           Misc
   Hardware:
  1 SE PDS internal slot, 2 external ADB
                      ports, 2 serial ports, 1 floppy drive port.

            O/S:  Apple System 6.0.3

 

 My first original form-factor Mac; been wanting to get one
 of these ever since 1984.  :)

 

 The original Mac introduced in 1984 set the computer
 world on fire with it's graphical interface and 'appliance'

 orientation.  The SE and the Mac II were both released
 in 1987, and were the first really expandable Macs which

 marked a move away from the original 'computer
 appliance' concept.  The SE's expansion slot was labeled
 'PDS', short for for Processor Direct Slot; it can take
 accelerator cards up to 50 MHz in speed.  This was also
 the first Mac with a cooling fan, a feature that Steve Jobs
 had forbidden in previous models (by 1987 Jobs was no
 longer at Apple).

 

 I actually picked-up two Mac SEs from the seller; they
 both power-up but only one of them is able to boot from
 the internal hard drive.

 

 The working machine currently has Apple System 6.0.3

 installed (see screenshot at right).  It also has Microsoft
  Word 3.0.  The most recent O.S. that an SE can run is
 System 7.5.5.

 

 The list price of this system in 1987 with the original 20
 MB hard drive was $3,700; the equivalent of $7,000 in
 today's money.
 

   Additional Links:
          Wikipedia - Apple Macintosh SE  Page
          Apple - Macintosh SE Technical Specifications

 



Dual-floppy model (from Wikipedia)
Larger version




Mac System 6 typical screen (from Wikipedia)
Larger version

 

 18. Two (2) Atari Mega ST4 computers.
        Built circa 1988,
purchased used in 2007.

 

           CPU:  Motorola 68000 8.0 MHz

           RAM:  4 MB

      Storage:  Internal 3.5" 720 KB floppy drive.
                      Two Atari SH205 Stackable hard drive
                      enclosures with 20 MB drives.

                      32KB x 6 ROMs for the BIOS.
    Graphics:  320 x 200 x 16 colors, 640 x 200 x 4 colors,
                      or 640 x 400 monochrome.
      Display:   One Atari Color CRT monitor and one Atari
                      Monochrome monitor.
         Audio:   Yamaha
stereo chip

           Misc
   Hardware:
  MIDI in-out, serial, parallel, joystick, mouse,
                      external drives, RGB ports.
            O/S:  TOS / GEM (Graphical Environment
                      Manager) 2.x

 

   This was the computer for folks in the Eighties who
   wanted an Apple Macintosh but couldn't afford one. It
   used the same CPU as the Macintosh and a graphical
   operating system but was priced thousands less than
   a similarly-configured Mac.  Comparing the systems,
   the Atari STs had more memory and color, but the Mac
   had an edge sometimes when it came to industrial
   design and presentation.  For example, the graphical
   design of the Mac operating system was superior to
   Atari's.  Apple did introduce a color-capable Macintosh
   a year after the first Atari ST, but it cost over $5,000
   (around $9,300 in 2009 dollars).  In comparison, a
   similarly-equipped color Mega 4 sold for only $2,600
   ($4,800 in 2009 dollars).

   A significant advantage that Atari had was support for
   electronic musical instruments, thanks to it's built-in
   MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) ports. This
   made these systems quite popular with musicians;
   in fact I purchased my Atari Megas from a local
   composer.
 

   The GEM operating system was developed by Digital

   Research, a company that in the early days was a
   leader in the field of microcomputer operating systems
   but eventually lost the market to Microsoft.
 

   Additional Links:

               Wikipedia Atari ST / Mega page


         

 



Larger version



GEM Desktop


Video - Atari Mega vs. Apple Mac Commercial

 

19. Atari Portfolio palmtop computer.
      Built circa 1989, purchased used in 2008.

           CPU:  Intel 80C88 16-bit 5 MHz

           RAM:  128 KB

      Storage:  128 KB ROM, Atari memory storage cards
                      (128 KB to 640 KB each).
      Display:   240 x 64 monochrome LCD
         Audio:   Speaker for beeps

           Misc
   Hardware:
  Expansion slot takes Atari accessories
                      such as memory and application cards,
                      also hardware modules such as modems,
                      etc.  Currently have the Atari Parallel
                      Interface module and an Atari PowerBasic
                      application card.
            O/S: 
DIP DOS 2.11 (MS-DOS clone)

  This was the world's first  PC-compatible palmtop
  computer.
  It can run most text-based MS-DOS
  applications such as Lotus 123.  The internal memory
  was configured to appear as drive "C:".  The built-in
  ROMs contain the operating system and five application
  programs: a diary, calculator, text editor, spreadsheet
  and address book.
 

  The Intel 80C88 CPU is a low-power CMOS version of
  the venerable 8088, the brain of the original IBM PC.
  Thanks to this chip and the absence of any disk drives
  this computer runs on ordinary 'AA' batteries.
 

  I purchased several of the Atari accessories for this
  system (shown in photo at right): The Atari Parallel
  Printer Interface module, the Atari PowerBasic card
  and the PC Card Drive which allows a regular PC to
  read and write Atari memory cards.

 

  The Atari Portfolio appeared several times in the movie
  "Terminator 2"; it is first used by John Conner to hack
  an ATM and then later the vault security system at
  Cyberdyne Systems (see photo lower right).

   Additional Links:

          Wikipedia - Atari Portfolio Page

 



Larger version


Accessories for the Portfolio - Larger version


The Portfolio in use in a scene from Terminator 2

 

20. Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Game Console.
      
Manufactured circa 1989,
purchased used in 2008.
 

         CPU:  Motorola 68000 16-bit 7.67 MHz plus
                    Zilog Z80A 3.5 MHz for audio processing.

         RAM:  64 KB internal
  Graphics:  320 x 224 resolution, max 64 simultaneous
                    colors from 512 color palette.
       Audio:   Stereo, generated by the Z80 processor
                    with 8K dedicated memory.
    Storage: 
Proprietary game cartridges, up to 5 MB
                    capacity
. 
          O/S:  Proprietary

        Misc
 Hardware:  Two game controller ports
, "EXT" serial port

  Notes:  One of the first 16-bit game consoles, this was

  Sega's most successful system with 29 million sold.
  In Japan it was called the "Mega Drive", in the rest of the
  world the Genesis.

 

  The unit I acquired was the first and most elaborate
  version of the Genesis, equipped with a volume control,
  stereo headphone jack and RF out port. These features
  were eliminated from later versions to save cost.

  With the console I acquired eight game cartridges and
  one controller, as shown in the photo.

 

  I listed the cartridge capacity at 5 MB since reportedly
  that was the largest ever made for the Genesis, but
  technical
info I have found on game cartridge design
  indicates that the actual limit was the size of the CPU's
  address space.  In the case of the Genesis that was
 16 MB.  Some game consoles supported memory bank
  switching which allowed even the CPU address space
  limit to be exceeded.  The real constraint on cartridge
  capacity was the cost of the ROM chips, which for
  obvious reasons could not exceed the game's selling
  price.  In the end this is what eventually killed the
  cartridge format;
optical discs ended-up being able to
  hold far more information at a much lower cost.

 

  The progression in console game size has been
  remarkable; in 1985 the typical size was 48 KiloBytes

  or less; in 2008, a Playstation 3 game can be up to 50
  GigaBytes (the maximum capacity of a Blu-Ray disc)

   - a staggering one million times the average size of a
  1985 cartridge.
           
  Additional Info: 
            
Wikipedia Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Page
 
           



Larger version



Game "Sonic the Hedgehog"

 

21. Intel 80386 tower system. 
       Home-built in 1990.


           CPU:  Intel 80386 25 MHz

           RAM:  4 MB

      Storage:  Internal 5.25" 1.2 MB floppy drive
                      Internal 3 GB IDE hard drive

                      CD-ROM 2x drive
                      Colorado 250 MB tape drive

   Graphics:   VGA 640 x 480 color
      Display:   Generic VGA Color CRT
         Audio:   Sound Blaster
stereo card

           Misc
   Hardware:
  Parallel printer port card, serial port card.
            O/S:  MS-DOS, Windows 3.11

 

      Originally had a Control Data 330 MB ESDI hard drive,
      with SCO Xenix installed (I was an authorized SCO
      dealer and major Xenix/Unix fan back in the day).
 

      Circa 1993 I upgraded the system with a CD-ROM
      drive, VGA card (to replace the original mono
      graphics adapter), and a Sound Blaster to make the
      system ‘game ready’.  Around this time I also
      converted the machine over to Windows 3.11 (see
      screen shot at right), as more of my paying work was
      on this platform and the Xenix work was drying up.


      This was the fourth machine I owned and was my
      main computer for five years.  The third, a home-built
      286 machine with a 80 MB hard drive, I sold to a
      friend to raise the money needed to buy parts for this
      machine.  Acquiring the components wholesale, the
      386 motherboard with 4 MB of RAM still cost $2,500,
      and the original 330 MB hard drive a whopping $3,000.
     
I probably invested a bit north of $6,000 total building
      this system (the equivalent of $9,700 in 2009 dollars).

 

      The Sound Blaster was eventually removed and used
      in my next computer, a Dell XPS Pentium-90 machine
      I purchased in 1995 (I managed to entirely skip the
      486 generation).  In 2000 I gave the Dell to one of
      my cousins so that she could have a PC to play with.

 


(No photo of system currently available)

 

 


Typical Windows 3.11 desktop, from Rick Schinnell's web site.

22. IBM PS/2 Model P70-386 Portable computer.
      Built circa 1990, purchased used in 2002. 
 

           CPU:  Intel 80386 20 MHz

           RAM:  16 MB

      Storage:  Internal 3.5" 1.44 MB floppy drive
                      Internal 60 MB ESDI hard drive

   Graphics:   VGA 640 x 480, grayscale on internal
                     screen,16 colors on external monitor.

      Display:   Built-in 'pop-up'
gas plasma
         Audio:   ?

           Misc
   Hardware:
  One 16-bit and one 32-bit Micro Channel
                      expansion slots,
parallel and serial ports,
                      VGA port, PS/2 mouse, external drive port.
            O/S:  PC-DOS, Windows capable


     
This was perhaps one of the most expensive PC
      portables ever made, with a list price of $7,495 in
      1990.


      It's the only system in my collection based upon
      IBM's PS/2 architecture.  The PS/2 line was IBM's
      attempt to take back control of the "IBM compatible"
      market and featured a number of  technical
      improvements and a proprietary bus system called
      "Micro Channel".  Ultimately IBM's strategy failed as
      the clone makers cherry-picked the features they
      could (such as VGA graphics) and ignored the ones
      legally out-of-bounds (such as Micro Channel).  It
      didn't help that PS/2 equipment was premium-priced
      but IBM cut some corners on quality; as I recall the
      IBM PS/2 VGA monitors in particular were pretty
      fuzzy.
      
      Additional P70 Links:
         
Jim Shorney's web page on upgrading the P70

 


23. Commodore Amiga 3000.
      Built circa 1990, purchased used in 2002.


           CPU:  Motorola 68030 25 MHz

           RAM:  2 MB (expandable to 16 MB)

      Storage:  Internal 3.5" 880 KB floppy drive
                      Internal 50 MB SCSI hard drive
    Graphics:  320 x 240 and up, 4096 colors
                      down to 4 depending upon resolution.
      Display:   Amiga Color CRT 13"
         Audio:  
Stereo 8 bit 28 KHz sampling rate

           Misc
   Hardware:
  'Zorro3' expansion slots, serial and parallel
                      ports, 2 joystick/mouse ports, external
                      floppy and SCSI-2 ports.
            O/S:  Amiga OS 2.0
 

      Considered a high-powered graphics workstation
      in it’s time, this computer was featured on the cover
      of Byte magazine when it was introduced back in
      1990.
 

      Notes:  The Amiga 2000, 3000 and 4000 series
      were often used for video production work; well-
      known video tools such as Newtek’s Video Toaster
      card and the Lightwave 3D program were originally
      developed for the Amiga platform.  Extensive
      technical information on the 3000 is available here
      and here.

 

      Additional Links:
          Amiga 3000 page on the Amiga History site.



Larger version


Early ray-tracing on the Amiga - the Juggler
 

24. NeXT Computer NeXTstation Color Turbo. 
      Built 1992, purchased used in 2002.

 

           CPU:  Motorola 68040 33 MHz

           RAM:  32 MB (expandable to 128 MB)

      Storage:  Internal 3.5" 2.88 MB floppy drive
                      Internal 2.1 GB SCSI hard drive

                      External Plextor SCSI CD-ROM drive
    Graphics:  1120 x 832 16-bit color
      Display:   Next Megapixel 21" Color CRT
         Audio:  
Stereo 16 bit 44 KHz sampling rate

 Networking:  10Base-T Ethernet

           Misc
   Hardware:
  Serial, Parallel, SCSI ports
            O/S:  NextStep 3.3
 

      An exotic, high-end Unix-based workstation.  This
      model was the most advanced one built by NeXT
      Computer before the company exited the hardware
      business in 1993.  This system with the NeXT color

      monitor cost around $10,000 new in 1992.


      Notes:  The seller didn’t pack the CPU unit of the
      system I purchased properly, and in consequence the
      original hard drive was destroyed in transit.  I replaced
      the original 250 MB internal drive with a much larger
      2.1 GB drive purchased used from Black Hole, Inc.,
      an outfit in Colorado that specializes in NeXT hard-
      ware parts and systems.  I also purchased for this
      system a Plextor external SCSI CD-ROM drive
      (refurbished, cost $50), since most Next software
      comes on CD.  For some reason the used NeXT
      systems for sale almost never come with CD drives…

      History:  NeXT Computer was founded by Steve Jobs
      in 1986 after he was forced out of Apple Computer.  In
      1988 they shipped their first system, a cube-shaped
      computer in fact known simply as “the Cube”.  At the
      time, I worked for the company that made the first
      circuit boards for the Cube, Norcal Tech Incorporated
      of Mountain View.  The design of the Cube’s
      motherboard was considered so secret that scrapped
      boards had to be returned to NeXT, instead of being
      discarded.  I was lucky enough to be allowed to
      accompany NTI executives on a tour of another
      company Steve Jobs had just recently acquired, Pixar.
      In 1996 NeXT Computers was sold to Apple and Steve
      Jobs returned to the company he founded twenty
      years earlier.  Apple took the Unix-based NeXT
      operating system and used it as the foundation for
      the latest Mac operating system, known as OS X.

 

      Additional Info:

             Wikipedia NeXTstation Page
 

 
 







Excellent photo of a Nextstation Turbo taken by Blake Patterson; see more of his photos here.
 


Video - Steve Jobs Introduction of the NeXTstation
         on September 18th, 1990

 

25. Apple Macintosh Performa 466 / LC III+. 
       Built 1993, purchased used in 2009.
 

        CPU:  Motorola 68030 33 MHz

        RAM:  20 MB (expandable to 36 MB)

   Storage:  Quantum CTS160S 160 MB SCSI hard drive
                  1.4 MB floppy Superdrive.

 Graphics:  640 x 480 x 256 colors with standard 512K
                   of VRAM; with optional 256K VRAM expansion
                   up to 832 x 624 x 65,000 colors.

    Monitor:  Apple Color Plus 14" Trinitron CRT, 640 x 480

                   fixed resolution.
       Audio:  Mono 8-bit 22 KHz with built-in speaker, also
                   external speaker and microphone jacks.
        Misc

Hardware:  One internal LC III Processor Direct
                   expansion Slot, one external SCSI port and
                   two serial ports.  System came with a Mac-
                   compatible
Smart One 14.4 data/fax modem.

         O/S:  Mac System 7.1P6

 

 Notes:  This system was sold under the "Performa"
 mass market label, but under the skin is a
Macintosh LC
 III+ with a larger hard drive.  The "LC" line inaugurated
 a low-profile "pizza box" style case which was used for
 several Mac generations.  This "III"
version fixed most of
 the issues of the original LC line -  it has a true 32-bit
 bus, expandable video memory and a decent-sized
 hard drive.

 

 System 7, the operating system version supplied with
 this machine, was a major step up from previous
 editions.  It featured full-time co-operative multitasking,
 TrueType fonts, a full-color interface and a built-in
 scripting language among many other improvements.

 

 The system I acquired has the well-known "After Dark"
 screen saver installed.  This was a very popular program
 back in the early Nineties, with it's flying toasters imagery
 becoming something of a computer cultural icon of the
 time (see screen shot at right).

 

 With this machine, I now have eight systems with CPUs
 from the Motorola 68xxx line.  This is exceeded only
 by the nine different computers I have that all use a
 variant of the MOS-Technology 6502 CPU.  The LC III+

 was one of the last Apple computers to use a 68xxx

 chip; two years later Apple switched to the PowerPC

 platform (see the entry for my PowerMac 9500, below).

 In 2006 Apple switched platforms again, this time to

 Intel x86 processors.

 

 Additional Links:
 

          Apple History - LC III+/Performa 466 page
 

          Apple - Macintosh Performa 466 Specifications
 

 

 


Larger version


Mac OS 7.x screen shot (from Wikipedia)
Larger version


After Dark screen saver (from Wikipedia)
Larger version

 

26. Apple Newton MessagePad 110. 
       Built 1994, acquired
Brand-new (still in the box) as
       a gift from a friend in 2001.  Spec sheet.

 

           CPU:   ARM 610 20 MHz

    Memory /
      Storage: 
1 MB RAM / 4 MB ROM

       Display:  320 x 240 monochrome touch-screen LCD
     
      Misc
   Hardware:  PCMCIA Type II expansion slot,
                      Infrared sensor,

                      Appletalk / Serial port.
             OS:  Newton OS

 

    This was the second edition of the Newton, released in
    1994.  The Apple Newton was generally regarded as
     the first practical touch-screen PDA.

     Historical Note:  The Newton product line was
     discontinued in 1998, after Steve Jobs returned to
     Apple.

    Additional info:  Wikipedia Newton Page

                             Video - Apple Newton Ad (circa 1994)

 

 



 

27. Apple PowerMac 9500.
      Built in 1995, purchased used in 2000.

 

          CPU:  PowerPC 604 132 MHz

          RAM:  330 MB (12 DIMM slots, officially expandable
                     to 768 MB, unofficially to 1,536 MB).

     Storage:  Quantum Atlas 4.5 GB SCSI hard drive
                     (originally came with a 2 GB drive).

                     Apple CD-ROM 4x drive.

                     Apple 1.4 MB floppy Superdrive.

   Graphics:  ATI Rage 128 Xclaim VR All-In-Wonder
                     combination 3D graphics,
TV out and video
                     capture card
with 16 MB VRAM, capable of
                     up to 1920 x 1080 pixels and up to millions
                     of colors (depending upon resolution).

         Audio:  Stereo 16-bit, with built-in speaker and
                     external microphone & speaker
jacks.

Networking: 10 MBps Ethernet with both standard
                    10BASE-T and Apple proprietary
AAUI
                     connectors.

          Misc

  Hardware:  6 PCI slots (one used by the video card),
                     2 serial ports, SCSI & ADB ports.

      Special   
  Hardware:  Miro DC30+ video capture PCI card

           O/S:  Mac OS 8.6

 

 Notes:  Along with the follow-on model 9600, this was
 the last of the super-expandable PowerMacs, with no
 less than 6 PCI card slots and 12 (!) memory slots.  It
 was the first Mac to use industry-standard PCI bus (all
 previous models had used proprietary expansion card
 slots or had no slots).
 

 In 1995 this was Apple's top-of-the-line system with a
 retail price of $5,000 plus. 
In 2000 when I purchased
 this machine, the 9500/9600 series was still popular
 with Mac enthusiasts who needed the expandability
 these systems had for specialized tasks such as high-
 end audio & video post-production.

 This model has it’s CPU on a plug-in card; third-party
 vendors made G3 and G4 CPU cards that can be
 used to upgrade this machine to newer processors.

 

 The Miro DC30 video capture card was originally in
 my Dell XPS Dimension Pentium-100 PC; when I gave
 away the Dell to a cousin who needed a computer I
 moved the card to my Mac. The DC30 was one of the
 first video capture cards that could both capture &
 output high-quality analog video.

 

 This was the first Macintosh I ever owned; in five years of
 use I had to replace the power supply, video card and
 hard drive which all suffered fatal breakdowns; part of
 the perils of keeping an old computer runningIn 2006
 I acquired a used G4 PowerMac and so this machine
 has been retired to my ‘antique’ collection.

 

  Additional info:

             Wikipedia Power Macintosh 9500_Page


 

 
 


Larger version



(From Wikipedia)  Larger version




Mac OS 8.x screen shot (from Wikipedia)
Larger version

 

28. Sega Saturn Game Console.
      
Manufactured circa 1995,
purchased used in 2008.
 

         CPU:  Dual CPUs - Hitachi SuperH2 28.6 MHz
                    32-bit RISC with 4K cache

         RAM:  2 MB internal
  Graphics:  Two custom Video Display Processors,
                    704 x 480 maximum resolution, millions of
                    colors.
       Audio:   Stereo 44 KHz 16-bit
    Storage:  CD-ROM 2X drive, also slot for optional 512K
                    memory
cartridge  
          O/S:  Proprietary

        Misc
 Hardware:  Two game controller ports
, serial port.

                    One game controller.

 Notes: 
This machine was perhaps the most advanced
 of the "5th generation" game consoles.  Besides using
 32-bit processing and optical discs, it also featured a
 multi-processor
architecture.  There were two main
 CPUs, two video processors, a dedicated processor for
 the optical drive and two for sound.  The main CPUs
 shared memory but the others had their own small
 individual memory areas.


 Unfortunately the programming tools at the time did not
 do a good job of supporting this type of architecture and
 so the capabilities of the hardware were often not fully
 utilized by games.  However multiple processors was
 the way of the future; a decade later both the current
 Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles are multi-
 processor
systems.

 The Sega's CD drive was used for game discs, but could
 also play regular audio CDs.  It also supported "CD+G"
 discs which combined music with graphics (mostly used
 for karaoke).
            
Additional Info: 
             
Wikipedia Sega Saturn Page
 
           



Larger version



Game "Virtua Fighter" - Larger version
 

 

29. Toshiba Satellite 110CT, 11.3” LCD screen.
      
Purchased new in 1997.  Spec sheet.

 

        CPU:  Pentium 100 MHz 16 KB cache

        RAM:  40 MB

   Storage:  Internal 800 MB HD
                   External IBM CD-ROM drive / sound unit (this
                   drive has attachable stereo speakers and can
                   also function as a standalone
                   battery-powered CD music player).

    Display:  11.3 " Active Matrix TFT-LCD 800 x 600 16-bit
                   color
  Graphics:  C&T CT65548 1 MB VRAM up to 1024 x 768
                    x 256 colors when connected to external
                   display.
         Misc
 Hardware:  PC-Card slot, serial and parallel ports.

          O/S:  Windows 95


Notes:  This was my first laptop computer.  At $2,400 it
            
was one first 'affordable' machines to have an
             active-matrix (instead of passive) LCD screen;

             previously such a feature was confined to
             portables
costing far more.  It was also one of the
             first laptops capable of displaying thousands of
             colors.  As optical discs and audio became more

             wide-spread, the lack these capabilities in this
             machine started to be a problem; around 1999
             I purchased the IBM external CD drive, which also
             added audio functionality.
 



Larger version


Windows 95 desktop
Larger version
 

30. Nintendo 64 Game Console.
      
Manufactured circa 1998,
purchased used in 2008.
  

         CPU:  MIPS R4300i 64-bit RISC 93.75 MHz

                    Silicon Graphics Reality Co-Processor
                    MIPS Vector Processor 62.5 MHz

         RAM:  4 MB internal (expandable to 8 MB with
                    optional memory card)
  Graphics:  Up to 640 x 480 x 32,768 colors
       Audio:   Stereo 48 KHz 16-bit sampling rate
    Storage:  Plug-in ROM game cartridges (maximum
                    capacity 64 MB); some cartridges also
                    contained writable memory for game saves.
                    Optional external "Controller Pak" with 256K
                    of memory for saving game data.
          O/S:  Proprietary

  Accessories:
                   Nintendo translucent Jungle Green controller.
                   Nintendo translucent Watermelon Red
                   controller.
                   Third-party steering wheel and foot pedals
                    for driving games.

Notes:  The last and most powerful of the cartridge-based
             game consoles.  Silicon Graphics (at the time a
             well-known maker of high-end graphical work-

             stations) contributed a considerable amount of
             technology to the design.

             Normally the Nintendo 64 was packaged in an
             opaque black case, but a limited number were
             made in various translucent colors.  The version
             I acquired was known as "Jungle Green".
            
Additional Info: 
             
Wikipedia Nintendo 64 Page
              Byte Magazine Article (December 1996)
              N64 System Diagram

           



Larger version



Super Mario 64 - Larger version
 Video - N64 Super Mario Game Play

 

31. Apple iMac DV SE (Digital Video Special
       Edition). 
Manufactured circa 1999, purchased
       used in 2008.
  

           CPU:  PowerPC G3 400 MHz 512K L2 cache

           RAM:  256 MB (expandable to 1 GB)
      Storage:  Internal 13 GB Ultra-ATA Hard Drive
                      Internal DVD-ROM 4x drive
    Graphics:  ATI Rage 128 VR 8 MB VRAM
                      Up to 1024 x 768, millions of colors

       Display:  Built-in 15" CRT (13.8" viewable)
          Audio:  Stereo 48 KHz 16-bit sampling rate
                      Built-in Harmon Kardon speakers
                      Built-in microphone

 Networking: 10/100 Ethernet, 56K Modem
                      Available slot for Airport card

           Misc
   Hardware:
  Firewire, USB 1.1 and VGA ports,
                      also built-in microphone.
            O/S:  Apple OS 9.2, supports up to OS X 10.4.


  Notes:  In 1998 Apple made a big splash with the intro-
  duction of the original "iMac".  This computer was avail-
  able in a variety of translucent colors, a radical departure
  from the bland beige boxes being made by other
  computer manufacturers.  To be fair, back in the
  Eighties a line of computers based upon the 'MSX' plat-

  form were made in a number of glossy colors, but these
  machines were sold only in Asia.

  This particular model was the high-end iMac for 1999-
  2000.  In 2002 Apple discontinued the CRT-based iMacs
  and at the same time sadly dropped the translucent
  multi-color design motif; from that point on iMac cases
  became opaque and monochromatic.
 

  Additional Info:
           Low-End Mac Profile on the iMac DV SE

    


 



Larger version



Larger version



Video - Steve Jobs introducing the original iMac (1998)

 

32. Three (3) Sega Dreamcasts.
      
Manufactured 1999, purchased used in 2008.

          CPU:   Hitachi SH-4 200 MHz CPU

     Memory:  16 MB main memory, plus 8 MB video RAM,

                      2 MB for sound.
   Graphics:  PowerVR2 chip, 640 x 480 x 16 million
                     colors.
        Audio:   Yamaha AICA Sound Processor (22.5 MHz
                     32-bit ARM7 RISC CPU), stereo output.
     Storage:  Yamaha GD-ROM drive, 1.2 GB capacity.

                     Sega Visual Memory Units ("VMU"s) with
                     128K memory each for game saves, etc.

Networking:  Integrated 56K analog modem
          
O/S:  Custom version of Microsoft Windows CE

  Accessories acquired with these systems:

                    4 Sega game controllers white opaque

                    1 Sega game controller blue translucent

                    1 Sega "Millennium 2000" game controller,
                       green translucent

                    1 Nyco game controller purple translucent

                    1 Intec game controller white opaque

                    1 Performance game controller blue opaque

                    1 Interact game controller white opaque
                    3 InterAct Starfire light guns
                    7 Sega Visual Memory Units

                    6 Performance Tremor Paks

                    1 Microphone

                    1 Gameshark CDX "Game Enhancer"
 

  A very advanced game system for its time; some of the
  hardware, like the Visual Memory Units ("VMU"s
), were
  more sophisticated than what is available for today's
  game consoles.

 

  The VMUs are fascinating little gadgets (see close-up
  photo at right); they plug into the game controllers and
  feature a small LCD screen and built-in memory for
  game saves.  The LCD screen is used to display
  images downloaded from the current  game being
  played on the console.  The VMUs can also be
  unplugged from the controllers and used standalone
  to run mini games; besides the LCD screen, each VMU

  has a tiny 4-axis controller and game control buttons
  ("A", "B" plus Mode).

 

  I acquired 16 games for this system, including "Crazy
  Taxi" (see screenshot at right), "Shenmue", "Resident
  Evil Code Veronica", and "Seaman".

 

  Home-brew folks have figured out how to run Linux and
  the Windows CE Toolkit on the Dreamcast.

     
      Links:  Wikipedia Dreamcast Page

                  RacketBoy Dreamcast Page
                  Dreamcast Online Page

 

 



Dreamcast Console and controller  - Larger version




Dreamcast VMU  - Larger version




Scene from Dreamcast game "Crazy Taxi"  - Larger version
 

33. Palm Vx PDA.
      
Made circa 1999, purchased used in 2009.

           CPU:  Motorola Dragonball 20 MHz CPU

    Memory /
      Storage: 
8 MB
       Display:  3.2 " 160 x 160 4-bit grayscale touch-screen
      Special
   Hardware:  Infrared sensor, rechargeable Li-ion battery.
 Networking:  RS232 serial port.
             OS:  Palm 3.3

 

 Picked this up used for around $20 (ten years ago it
 retailed for $299) complete with sync / charging cradle
 and the install disc. This unit is sleeker and lighter than
 my Visor PDA (see below) which is from the same era.
 However, the Visor came with a hardware expansion
 slot
which was not present on the Palm models.

      Links:  Wikipedia Handspring Page

 

 



 

34. Handspring Visor Deluxe PDA.
      
Purchased new in 2000.

           CPU:  Motorola Dragonball 20 MHz CPU

    Memory /
      Storage: 
8 MB
       Display:  3.2 " 160 x 160 4-bit grayscale touch-screen
       Special
   Hardware:  Infrared sensor
                     'Springboard' expansion slot
                     Magellan GPS module.

             OS:  Palm 3.1

 

      This Palm-compatible PDA has a special slot for
      add-on modules.  I have one of these ‘Springboard’
      modules, the
Magellan GPS (Global Positioning
      System) receiver purchased in 2002.

      Links:  Wikipedia Handspring Page

 

 


35. Jakks "Plug-and-Play" TV Game Machines.
      
Made circa 2003, purchased used in 2008 ($5 each).
 

   These devices resemble joysticks but in fact are
   complete game machines, with a CPU, memory
   and a number of classic games built-in.
 

   There is little technical info available on these devices,
   but since they reportedly emulate an old Atari 2600
   game console, below are the minimum specifications
   based upon the 2600 architecture:


           CPU:  Emulated 6507 1 MHz CPU

    Memory /
      Storage:  At least 128 bytes of RAM, up to 4,096 bytes
                      of ROM storage per game.

    Graphics:  160 x 192 x 128 colors, analog NTSC Color
                       output.

         Audio:   Mono

       Special
   Hardware:  Powered by internal AA batteries (no
                      external power supply supported).

                      Joystick controller built-in.

             OS:  Proprietary

 

 Games:

 

   Ms Pac-Man TV Game Machine:   

      Ms Pac-Man           Galaga              Pole Position

      Mappy                     Xevious
                                                          
   Arcade Classics TV Game Machine:

     Pac-Man                  Galaxian           Bosconian
     DigDug                    Rally-X
 

   Atari Classics 10 in 1 TV Game:   

      Adventure               Asteroids              Breakout
      Centipede               Circus Atari          Gravitar     

      Missile Command                               Pong
      Real Sports Volleyball                         Yars' Revenge
 

   Links:  Wikipedia TV Game Page

 






Galaga game
 

36. Motorola T730 Cell Phone.
       Acquired circa 2004.
 

           CPU:  Unknown

           RAM:  400 K

      Storage:  1.5 MB flash memory
 Networking:  CDMA / Data 1xRTT
       Special
   Hardware:  4096 color 160x120 pixel screen, 40-level
                     MIDI and Yamaha MMF polyphonic sound.
             OS:  BREW 1.1

   Received as a warranty replacement for my old T720,
   which I originally purchased new back in late 2002. This
   unit, one of the first of the ‘2G’ phones, qualified as an
   actual computer due to it’s ability to download and run
   applications written in the “BREW” programming
   language.  This phone could also send and receive
   email, browse the web (text only), store photographs
   and sound (voice notes), dial numbers via voice
   command, store five-hundred names & phone numbers,
   keep track of appointments and also can function as a
   numeric calculator.  Caller-ID and GPS are also built-in.
  

   NOTE: Photo is of a T720, I could not find a high-res
               image of the T730.  Cosmetically these two
               models are almost identical.


 Some trivia - I have owned seven cell phones since 1989:

    1989 - Panasonic “convertible” (gigantic car/portable
               model)
    Mid-Nineties -  Nokia (same model Mulder carried in the
                            X Files).
    Late Nineties - Motorola Startac
    2002 - Motorola T720
    2004 - Motorola T730
    2005 - Motorola V710
    2008 - Samsung SCH-i760

  The Nokia and T720 were traded in for newer models. 
 
The others I still have but only the Samsung and the
  T730 are in current use (I don't have an account
  anymore for the T730 but it is still usable for emergency
  calls).




 

 

Go on to the Current Systems page

Go back to the Computer Collection page
 

Comments? Email me at mikegt@svas.com.