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Home Computing History

I did some inventory once again in my cabinets and found some remains of my previous computers and old accessories. The old hard disks are being wiped as I write this (IDE-USB adapter FTW!) so that I can throw them away. I stopped for a moment to refresh my memory about my home computing history and wrote down this table. Fortunately I made a similar list about 12 years ago in my old web pages so I could get some memory support there. The table only includes my home computer, not anything from the work. I’ve always mainly used only one computer at home, except the Linux routers and DVB STBs, and ESXi host nowadays.

Update 16-Jul-2016: Added the latest laptop from 2014.

Year CPU RAM Storage Network OS
1990 8086/8 640 kB 360 kB 5.25″ FDD
later a second FDD
later 42 MB HDD
1200 bps modem, later 2400 bps MS-DOS 3.2
1992 486/33 4 MB
4 MB
8 MB
24 MB
210 MB
420 MB
420 MB
420 MB
14.4 kbps, 28.8 kbps MS-DOS 5/6 + Windows 3.11, later also OS/2 2.11/Warp
1995 DX4/100 24 MB 420 MB
850+420 MB
28 kbps OS/2 + DOS/Windows
1996 Pentium/120 32 MB
32 MB
64 MB
850+420 MB
3800+850 MB
3800+850 MB
56 kbps modem, later 10 Mbps Ethernet Windows NT 4.0, OS/2
1998 K6-2/266 64 MB 3800+850 MB 10 Mbps Windows NT
2000 K6-2/450 128 MB 15 GB 100 Mbps Windows 2000
2002 Duron/1.2 512 MB 40 GB LAN 100 Mbps, WLAN 54 Mbps Windows XP
2004 Celeron/1.3 512 MB 40 GB
100 GB
WLAN 54 Mbps, LAN 100 Mbps Windows XP
2008 Core2Duo/2.2 2 GB
2 GB
4 GB
160 GB
500 GB
128 GB SSD + 500 GB, 2 TB NAS, bunch of 100-1000 MB USB disks around
WLAN 54/300 Mbps, LAN 1 Gbps Windows XP, Windows 7
2014 i7/2.4-3.4 8 GB
16 GB
256 GB SSD + 500 GB
256 GB + 1 TB SSD
(+ 3 TB NAS etc)
WLAN 867 Mbps, LAN 1 Gbps Windows 8.1,
Windows 10

Apparently there has been some development in all technology areas 😀

I’ve been a laptop+WLAN user at home since 2004. Nowadays I use the gigabit LAN on my laptop only for occasional large data transfers. My faithful Lenovo ThinkPad T61 has served me well from 2008 and I don’t have immediate plans for replacing it. Actually, I have an order for an ExpressCard-USB3 adapter just waiting, let’s see how much faster USB drives work with it. I have to admit that nowadays the Flash-based websites are getting me annoyed more and more with this computer. I can see that the responsiveness is much better with my work laptop, a ThinkPad T430s with Core i7 2.9 GHz processor. Good laptops are not cheap however, let’s see next year what happens.

About the networking history, in 1998 I got a 10 Mbps Ethernet connection to Internet, until then I had only had dialup connections. For a couple of years I then ran a Linux server as a router. Actually, I don’t remember ever running my workstation connected directly to the always-on Internet connection (other than just for a moment for testing or so), I’ve always had a router with NAT (no luxury of having a routed IPv4 subnet) and firewall. After some years I bought a Buffalo WLAN router for the gateway. Various Buffalos (late times with DD-WRT software) did the job until 2012 when I got the Juniper SRX100 for routing and firewalling after upgrading the Internet connection to 50M/10M. Home LAN (apart from the router) has been gigabit since 2010. This year I setup a VMware ESXi host and bought a couple of small and cheap but managed Netgear GS108Tv2 gigabit switches to enable VLANs as well.

The storage situation is being changed. Until now I’ve had local disks and then a NAS drive and USB disks for backups. I’m thinking about getting a proper NAS with NFS/iSCSI connectivity for ESXi. It would make securing the data much easier. Let’s see how I finally decide.

The switches and other stuff don’t play any visible role in the apartment, they are all placed out of sight. That’s why I’m having usually only WLAN access on my desk: the nearest Ethernet jack or switch is not conveniently located without cumbersome cabling. I like technology but I also like to get it working without disturbing.

Updated: July 16, 2016 — 20:26

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