Friday, August 17, 2007

Nineteen years ago ...

... on Friday, August 19, 1988, I bought what was then, and still is, the most expensive computer I've ever owned (and, at that time, was the most expensive thing I'd ever bought -- and, come to think of it, I think it still is, except for cars and real estate). Moore's Law rocks -- it's amazing to think of how cheap computers are today. The computer I bought that day was:

An AST Premium/386 Model 300 computer: the original system, with no video card or monitor (I migrated those from my older PC/XT clone), two megabytes of RAM, a 71-meg hard drive, a 5.25" floppy, and a 3.5" floppy, cost a whopping Cdn$6,725, plus 8% PST for a total of $7,263.

Carolyn took over using that computer in 1994, and kept using it until the system was nine years old, on August 18, 1997. The final configuration, after numerous (expensive!) upgrades included 6 megs of proprietary AST RAM and an ATI VGA Wonder Card.

Yeah, it was way expensive. Still, amortized over 260 business days a year over nine years, the base system cost me $3.10 per business day -- which, of course, was worth it.

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


At August 17, 2007 3:19 PM , Blogger Alan Sawyer said...

Rob... if memory serves me correctly, the AST then moved on to my basement 'museum' / computer graveyard, but finally fell victim to a purge a year or so ago and was disposed of at one of Toronto's Environment Days. And, of course, I remember traveling out to Pickering or Whitby or somewhere around there to pick the beast up in the first place.

At August 17, 2007 3:25 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Yes, indeed! It might have been Ajax ... Anyway, I'm glad the old beast was ultimately properly disposed of.

At August 18, 2007 3:07 AM , Anonymous Jim Shannon said...

My first computer was an Atari 130Xe in 1987. I paid something like $600 for it new. I don't think Atari even made word processing software until I bought the ST a year later. But paying nearly $8,000 for a computer seems a bit overkill even back in the day. Am I reading this right $7,263?

My first WOTF (1990) submission was on that Atari ST for less then $800 (new) and I thought that was steep.


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