#1. My first computer, bought at a yard sale for $2, that launched me into computering. It's a GRiD 1660 from 1991, and was top of the line back then. Monochrome screen, i386 CPU, and math coprocessor. I had to hotwire my mother's laptop charger to it's charging port to get it to work, but it worked like a charm after than and I loved it (played Minesweeper, Gorillas, and Nibbles a lot, and didn't have any floppy disks to transfer files to it) for about two weeks, when I got too curious and wired the A/C power to the wrong place on the motherboard entirely. Still seeking a replacement 1660, if anyone ever finds one - they're very rare!
#4. HP Omnibook 2000CS, bought at a thrift store for around $2. It always ran poorly, and died under the blade of a botched BIOS update. Nearly identical to the 5700CTX, they made quite a pair. 32MB RAM (and these models used HP proprietary RAM, so it's gonna be valuable someday). Notice neither laptop's hinges work, so they're leaning on each other. It makes them a little hard to use.
#7. 2002 HP Pavilion 752n. Was given me by a friend without a hard drive, and I bought a 10GB one from Goodwill for it. Back when all hard drive capacities were all the same to me. It gave me good service for a long time until I got the Core 2 Duo machines, obsoleting it. I used to play Minecraft on it, because unlike the Dell, it could actually run it, albeit at around 6 FPS - I got used to it. It's one of the computers the Dell made look good. 2GHz P4, 512MB RAM, Intel Gfx. I tried to sell it for about a year, but it never sold, and eventually I gave it away.
#10. A 2003 thingy. I got it for $10 at a thrift store where I helped sort stuff (got paid in cookies! and opportunities to get stuff). Then I put it's motherboard in the aformentioned eMachines, and for a few days it served as an i486 system (pictured). Later, I was given a Gigabyte motherboard for free from that thrift store, whose case was smashed, and they said they suspected had marijuana stored in it, along with a few other needed pieces, and put them in this case. I added a 10GB 5.24" hard drive from the 90s in it and Windows 2000, and actually used it for a while! It was my #1 computer, but slowly it's components fell apart. PSU blew up, rusty GPU failed eventually, hard drive died, etc. It just sits around under my bed now. It's another of the towers that the Dell made look really cool. This one had 768MB of RAM (3 slots...) and a AMD Athlon XP 2600+ CPU.
#13. 1989 Zeos 386SX. Got this at a thrift store for $10 (funny story about that, the written tag looked like it said "20", but we wanted it to say "10", so when we brought it up that's what we said, and they accepted. My brother and I each paid half, so I only paid $5). Got it cause it looked really cool to me, no other reason. Tested at the store, it worked fine, booting, beeping, and lights, but after trying to use it for a while, it seems to have some sort of RAM issue causing it to operate ultra-slow when doing anything not BIOS-related. And the HDD is slow (somewhere around 30MB too, and huge), and the FDD sometimes fails. If we got it working it'd be a good machine. Has a video card like an aircraft carrier, but it's color. It's currently just something to store in a heap of stuff.
#16. Enter the 2007 Dell Latitude D620 with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, a computer that changed my computer-related-direction as much as my first computer. I saw this laptop laying around the office I worked at the time and asked about it, and learned it had a broken screen and wasn't worth fixing, but I could have it. It was missing HDD and A/C adapter, and needed new screen, touchpad, and battery. I saw an 80GB HDD laying around the office and asked for it, and it worked with it. Anyway, I replaced the CCFL bulb in the screen for like $8 and it worked great. I used it for quite a while, then dropped it on the floor an busted the HDD. I upgraded to a 120GB, then upgraded the RAM to 4GB and the resolution to 1440x900, parting with the scratched screen I had repaired. This laptop is a brick, I love it! It's cheap, and with it's specs making it run Windows 7 Pro reasonably well, it's easy to maintain and reliable, and I can edit videos, run Minecraft, or whatever. I know from experience though, it's Nvidia gfx chip will die like them all - it's a glorious chip, 64MB VRAM, much nicer than the 8MB Intel one, but apparently poorly designed. I love it's solid metal case and now would never want to use a plastic laptop. In June 2016 I replaced it with a desktop computer.
#19. 2009 HP Pavilion dv7-1264nr. Given by a friend for free which was amazing. Something about it's original motherboard blew up soon after I got it, so I switched it, changing it to a dv7-1245dx... and sadly making it unable to charge the battery, I'm not sure why. It seems the power supply circuitry on the motherboard was damaged. It was very nice and new, however, it recently came down with the GPU error that always plagues HP Pavilion dv7 laptop, and no longer boots. 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD, ATi Radeon HD gfx. Had lots of cool features like a Blu-ray drive and very very good speakers, but it's 17" size - I call it slabtop - and lack of portability made it fairly useless to me. Great specs, but legendary Vista and plasticy unreliability. I could easily twist and bend the screen, same as the Toshiba C655D and Lenovo G505s.
#26. 2003 Dell Inspiron 5100. Got this for the cost of shipping from my friend in California. It's very similar to the 1100, but with specs that make it run (the 1100 doesn't really run). 512MB RAM upgraded to 1 GB - pretty impressive for a DDR SDRAM laptop I think - a Pentium 4 CPU, ATi gfx instead of those wretched Intel 8xx ones, 30GB HDD instead of 20GB. Still, very thick, very plasticy, small touchpad, loud mouse buttons, very heavy, and low res screen - and it still runs XP. But! It has WiFi, so that in itself gives it a LOT more usability than a laptop without! But since it also can't compare to the almighty Core 2 Duo, and also is heavy and has inferior battery life, I don't use it much.
#29. 2010 Lenovo IdeaPad S10-3 netbook. Bought in the same lot as the W510. In this picture, you can see me booting ArchLinux off a USB flash drive.It was troubled with dysfunctional Wi-fi, it had a card (and I tried a couple different ones too), but if the BIOS had wireless enabled, it suddenly couldn't boot the OS, no clue why! Disable it, and it could boot fine. I never got past live-booting Linux though, ran Irssi mainly which was fun. But I updated the BIOS and it never booted again - the power lights light, but nothing on the screen, which is odd since it said the BIOS update succeeded. Tried new RAM but it didn't help. So now it's waiting for a new motherboard; since a netbook with no charger, HDD, and a broken motherboard is worthless, it was a failed investment. The design was pleasant but generic, though really lacked a keyboard backlight. Touchpad took some getting used to - small, but the "buttons" were touch sensitive which helped but I moved the cursor accidentally a lot. Anyway, if I get it working I might use it for my own, it's only 10" which makes it the smallest computer in the house, not counting my 1996 NEC MobilePro HPC. But it's a frustrating problem.
#32. 2007 Dell Latitude D630C. Nothing to say about this really - dude on eBay was asking $20+$15 shipping, and I offered him $5, and he accepted! :D No turning down a $5 computer. However, it was uninspiring. This particular one, someone poured something gross into it, and the keyboard was totally dead, the screen had medium damage though was quite usable, and the motherboard worked only intermittently. You often do get what you pay for though. And the D630C didn't differ from the D620 in any way that affects most people. The WinXP Pro CD it came with was nice though! I sold the screen for a few bucks, then the base I sold with all the others.
#35. 1986 Toshiba T1200 laptop. Got it on eBay for $60, and it worked really well! So far it's a staple in my vintage computer collection. The screen is 640x200 and CGA compatible; 80C86 CPU, 1MB RAM, a 20MB HDD, DOS 3.3 (I believe in a ROM chip), and a 720k 3.5" FDD. As seen in the picture, the screen is backlit blue-on-green. Amazingly, the battery is capable of holding up to a 10 minute charge, though it's never been recelled or anything.
#38. 1990 Zenith Z-Note 325L. This was a good deal - I actually got it on Craigslist for $30! As seen in the picture, there was a lot of two, one mainly working, one not working (found the motherboard, CCFL, and LCD PCB dysfunctional), and it also included two chargers, two batteries, all the manuals, half of which were still sealed, including a copy of Windows, and a copy of Windows 95 on 30 floppy disks. This system was very innovative - sort of like using a Mac might be. There were unusual things all over the system, such as the keys always made a clicking noise through the speaker, or the power button, when pressed, bringing up a menu asking you if you wanted to turn the computer off or not. 80386 CPU, 8MB RAM (2MB on board, 6MB in 3 proprietary expansion chips - it has three slots, I have them all), 120MB HDD, 640x480 VGA LCD.However, this system has an annoying flicker to the screen - the pixel part, not the backlight part, perhaps faulty capacitors.
#41. 2008 Dell Latitude E6400. This model is very similar to the E6410, but with a Core 2 Duo CPU. I bought it for only $30, added a 320GB HDD and a charger, and sold it for $100. This model had a 1280x800 LCD, 2.4GHz C2D (800MHz FSB), and 4GB RAM.
#44. 2016 custom computer. Finally built myself a custom computer. Loved geeking out getting my own components. I'm quite happy with the base build I chose: Asus Z97-E mobo, 3.2GHz Pentium G3258 CPU, 16GB 2400MHz Corsair Vengeance RAM, 120GB OCZ/Toshiba SSD, cheap PSU from local junk shop, and the old case from computer #10 in this list. Still need to get an HDD and GPU. The Pentium is an excellent processor, providing more than enough power for what I do at a fraction of the price. Cost $65 new, but a mate in Australia I know online sold me a used one for only $16! Also got the mobo on sale for $85 which was awesome. Picked up a monitor for $20 on craigslist, that plus one I had makes a great dual-monitor setup. I run Windows 7 Ultimate, and it runs awesome, takes anything I throw at it.
#47. 1984 IBM PCjr. Its not a device that holds a lot of interest for me, primarily because of the way every single thing about it is proprietary. Keyboard, monitor, connectors. And it boots to IBM basic as if it were a C64 or TI-99. Haven't had a chance to run any software since it only has a 5.25" FDD and I only have 3.5" diskettes. Also it has the venerable but quickly outdated 8088 CPU that would likely only run a fraction of the software that I have, since I'm primarily a 286/386 fan. Sometimes 486 but 386DX is my fav. Still, its nifty that I have the original infrared wireless keyboard, monitor, and power adapter, he (yard sale man) charged $5 for the computer and another $5 for the monitor, so $10 for the whole lot.
#50. 1985 Atari 520ST. Got this at the same lot from a yard sale. Monitor was $5, same as anything, but the main unit was free because it was cracked and the owner didn't think it was worth anything. Admittedly it wasn't worth a whole lot but it did work! It came with the mouse and a power supply for the disk drive, but not the drive itself nor the power supply for the computer. Later models had both built into the computer but this is an early model. I got the drive on eBay for about $40, and I hacked together a power supply from one I found at the local junk shop, replacing the end with a DIN-7 connector, then it worked fine. I have the low-res color monitor and the dual-sided diskette drive. The system has TOS 1.00 on ROM - quite old - and 512Kb RAM. I hope to upgrade the RAM to 2Mb and get some kind of hard drive for it. I used hydrogen peroxide to whiten the keyboard keys and mouse, that improved it somewhat too. In the picture it has a monitor stand thingy which is handy.