Christina and I bought our first PC when we were still studying in France. It contained the following components:
- Processor: AMD K6-166.
- Motherboard: Asus TX-97E.
- RAM: 64Mb.
- Storage: 4Gb HD.
- Video: Matrox Mystique + Creative Labs Voodoo2.
- Audio: Guillemot Maxi Sound 64.
Concerning the AMD K6-166 processor, I had spent days and nights reading on AMD vs Intel and, at the end, opted for the K6 which was, at that time, a processor with a fantastic architecture (compared to, say, the Netburst architecture of the Intel Pentium 4). I also loved the fact that I was different as most people conservatively chose Intel. Poor them… At that time, I hadn’t yet converted to Linux and I was using the quite good Windows 98 SE. The custom PC was sold with 32Mb of RAM but I asked for more. At that time, 64Mb was enormous!
Allow me to tell you a very painful story, one of my most painful memories in fact… The 4Gb hard disk we had on the computer contained all our university work collected over five years. Just prior to returning to Mauritius, I decided to remove the hard disk and go to a friend’s place to backup it on CDs. But we couldn’t find an adequate screwdriver and, as time was running short, decided to ship it to Mauritius by boat without any backup. When the computer arrived, it worked once (and I remember making a demo to my dad of everything I had on it). It never worked again and Christina and I lost everything! I am still very very sad (and, before you ask, I don’t have the hard disk anymore so there is absolutely no way to get the files again). Since then, I backup everything religiously!
In 1997, 3D was slowly becoming a thing! At that time, most computers came with 2D graphics cards (like the Mystique). To be honest, these cards could do some 3D but they were very limited and the image quality and frame rate abysmal. To play 3D games properly, one had to add a true 3D card and I had the Creative Labs Voodoo2 which was then the best 3D card in the world! I remember finishing “Quake” on it but also playing “Under a killing moon” with Christina.
I am a music composer and producer. I started at the beginning of the 90s with the Amiga and, of course, when I bought my first PC, I needed to get a good sound card for it. I settled for the Guillemot Maxi Sound 64. This was a professional audio card which I used both to connect a cheap controller keyboard through MIDI (which I gave to Frank, a good friend, when we left France) but also to output audio using the synthesis capabilities of the card. I remember using Twelve Tone Systems Cakewalk at that time for composing my music and also Sony Sound Forge for audio editing.
This was our first ever custom-made PC. Lots of memories… including losing all our work. But we did use it to write our thesis and do all our assignments and, in some ways, this little computer did make Christina and I what we are today.
Pity about the files lost though.