Weekend Question: What's your favorite PC you've ever owned?


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May 3, 2022
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I return to you gamers once again to ask our regular Weekend Question for a feature on pcgamer dot com. I'll be including some of the best responses to this thread alongside those of our staff.

This week's question is: What's your favorite PC you've ever owned?

With the pace of new hardware generations and the incentive to iteratively upgrade a PC, I find it easy to turn my nose up at "obsolete" hardware. That said, the more time passes, the more I get nostalgic for my rigs of old, and retro computing content creators like LGR certainly don't help the feeling. Do you pine for an old Gateway or dual core college laptop that all the Core i9, RTX 4090 beasts of today could never make up for, or does the latest and greatest obliterate the haze of nostalgia for you?
I had poor excuses for gaming machines before 2004 when I finally had enough of my own money to pick up a Dell XPS ( Pre Alienware buyout XPS was Dells gaming range).

One of these.


I bloody loved this thing, even though it was a Pentium 4 540 (with HT!) at the time AMD were first pulling ahead of Intel. I initially had a Radeon X300 SE GPU in it because I had no idea that it was terrible when I was configuring it. Not too long after I replaced that with an ATI Radeon X800 GTO, which was unbelievable to me at the time. F.E.A.R, HL2 and Doom 3 looked great in SVGA on my huge 17" CRT.

But am I nostalgic? Not really. Loved that machine but damn I have access to a more games and better hardware now. I'd still love to build retro machines from the time, always liked LGR and Clint, but I dont have space or time to do it.
For its time, the first IBM PC I personally owned in 1990. I worked for Wang at the time, and put my name in for an in-house lottery sell-off of a few dozen PCs. Since we made the machine, I was able to get it juiced up above the norm ;)


Even with serious discount, it cost ~£3,000 which is roughly $8,000 today—which demonstrates the incredible value we get today from PCs. I remember I was able to get a 40MB HDD and 8MB of RAM, plus dual floppy drives! Oh, and a color monitor :D


Of course a PC is only a doorstop by itself. That PC is wrapped up in my first big intro into the whole hardware & software world, outside and beyond the narrower confines of work PCs in the 80s. So that of course enhances its stature—you never forget your first, right? :D
My favorite has to be the first PC that introduced me to gaming - the Atari 520 ST.

I had a big red joystick to go with the PC and used to play Beyond the Ice Palace, Ikari Warriors, Zenon, Arkanoid, Wizzball, and Buggy Boy, to mention some of the cool games. It was also a PC that I used to play with my family, especially through the Arkanoid game, so it was a fun way to get the whole family playing together and having fun.
I've always been fond of my various builds over the years, but my Windows 7 PC from 2011 was my favorite, mostly because I managed to squeeze every last bit of performance out of it for several years. I rarely ever had problems with it, and I was able to expand its memory and video card capabilities whenever it struggled to keep up with the latest games. I will admit it was long in the tooth in its last year or so, which was why I replaced it with my current build using Windows 10, which is much better specs but has never quiet "felt" as powerful or fast to me as my last one did when I first made it, even though I know if I'd tried to run Red Dead Redemption 2, Cyberpunk 2077, or the current Flight Simulator on it, it would have choked terribly.

Also, my new PC has an incredibly slow startup time, for reasons I still can't figure out. (That and Task Manager tends to lock up rather often. I've frequently scanned for viruses/malware/rootkits, but haven't found anything along those lines to perhaps explain it.)


EDIT: So, I wanted to put an addendum or P.S. to my original answer, to say that when I consider my ENTIRE computer gaming history (which I admitted wasn't doing when I first answered), in terms of bang-for-buck, lifechanging elements, and whatever else, my all-time "favorite" PC was the Packard Bell 286 I got in high school, arguably my first "real" PC (from a gaming perspetive), on which I played some of my all-time favorite games, from Space Quest I and the Hitchhiker's Guide text adventure, to Sam & Max Hit The Road and the world's slowest version of X-Wing. (I used some sketchy shareware driver called EMM286 to make the game think I had EMS memory. I think I got it to run at 60 frames per minute. Yep, not a typo.)
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As others have stated, my current PC id my favorite, even though it's almost 3 1/2 years old now (July 2019), it still does everything I need it to do and run games at high/ultra settings (admittedly I play more older titles than new). The only upgrades I've done is a video card back in 2020.

I don't miss my older PCs, especially back in the days of staring at a CRT monitor for hours (which often weighed 30 lbs or more).
My favorite of all time was my Commodore 64. It was my first experience in computing, and I ate it up. I started learning to program on Day One, and I ended up knowing that thing inside and out.

My next favorite computer was probably my first Windows based PC, which came much later in 1995 because I was broke. But it was my re-entry into the PC world, and it was very exciting. It was a Packard Bell with a 75MHz Pentium, 8MB of RAM, and a 540MB hard drive. It had SVGA graphics, and I couldn't believe how great it was compared to my Commodore. It was so exciting.

Obviously, I've had PCs and laptops since then that were much, much more capable than those. But they were all just incremental upgrades, and those two were the most exciting for me.
if i had to pick one pc? I think it will be my Amiga 500. It had been my faithful companion when i was a 5 years old and had been playing it for nearly a decade. Made many good, happy memories playing the amiga. Whilst everyone at school had NES, SNES, megadrive/genesis, i was the Amiga kid and no one knew any of the games i played.

In the end i had to ditch it in 1999 when the mouse on the amiga finally gave up the ghost. Plus i needed a windows pc for school work and had to move with the times. Didn't make getting rid of it any easier, felt guilty for several days as if i had betrayed a good friend for personal reasons. I still occasionally find myself reminiscing about the Amiga and taking time to go to https://hol.abime.net/ to read the old amiga magazines and reviews.


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I'm divided on the subject. On one hand I would pick my first PC with Celeron 466 MHz, 32 MB RAM and Riva TNT 2 32 MB for nostalgia reasons. The truth is however that I had major problems with it. First of all the processor was underwhelming. It couldn't compete with its older brother Pentium II, even despite the fact that it ran on higher clocks. And I have to remind that we're talking about an era with single core CPUs when their clocks had higher meaning than today. Second, the amount of RAM was too low for 2000. There were already games published that required 64 MB. Finally third issue - model of GPU. I had a doubtful pleasure to own M64 model of Riva TNT 2 which generated a lot of trouble, not excluding BSODs in some games. Solving these issues was beyond my capabilities, especially because we're talking about an era with very limited internet access and limited content that was available on the web.

All of the above makes me love my current hardware. It still has enough power to run any modern game maxed out and there's barely any problem with it. It's an AMD Ryzen 5 3600, 16 GB RAM and RTX 2070 Super. Of course the sentiment stays with my first PC (and probably even bigger with my cousin's hardware from mid 90s where I had my first contact with the platform) and I doubt it'll ever change. These were the most beautiful gaming days that I've experienced despite all the problems.
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my new PC has an incredibly slow startup time
Have you checked the Startup tab in TaskManager? Disable anything which isn't essential—if that fixes it, enable them one at a time until you find the culprit.

Disconnect any 'extras' attached to PC at boot time, except for M&KB. Like above, attach one at a time to find culprit.

If you're still in trouble, we'll pull this out into its own thread so the experts should see it :)
God it's hard. I've had so many computers over the years. I love my new one, I'm not gonna lie. It's amazing, but my heart will always be with my 486. My dad bought it cause him and my neighbor started a business doing satellite image analysis. They taught me about it and I learned so much from them, especially my neighbor.

It opened me up more to pc gaming, Xwing, Tie Fighter, as stated in another post, Syndicate, Ultima 8, Mech Warrior 2. It just showed me where things were going to go tech wise. Also had a 1 meg svga card, a custom made capture card, was the first pc I installed a cd rom and sound blaster in. I just learned so much about using, working on, fixing and installing pc hardware on it.

First experienced using the net on it when I was 14, now I'm 43 and where did the time go = O
Whats not pictured: The massive bass speaker. The joy i got from the entertainment packs and programs like MS Bob and the Encarta series.
Before the internet became what it is, Encarta was so awesome. And even today, I miss being able to play the Mind Maze game that came with it. I wish someone would make a Mind Maze game for Wikipedia.

I spent so much time in Encarta, it was crazy. My Packard Bell also came with a Mayo Clinic program that was pretty cool.

I'm divided on the subject. On one hand I would pick my first PC with Celeron 466 MHz, 32 MB RAM and Riva TNT 2 32 MB for nostalgia reasons. The truth is however that I had major problems with it. First of all the processor was underwhelming. It couldn't compete with its older brother Pentium II, even despite the fact that it ran on higher clocks.
Those early Celerons were awful. When they first released them, they were just gimped Pentium 2s with absolutely no cache memory. Because of that, they were having to access RAM for all the scratchwork stuff, and they were slow as molasses, no matter what the clock speed was. They learned their lesson, and were forced to start including at least a very small amount of cache memory.
Aug 10, 2021
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i have had PCs since....the eighties if you class the commodore 64 as a PC (commodore certinly did), i loved it and as a 5 yr old it blew my mind every day. i got my first 'proper' PC in 99,it was awful but it let me play games like soldier of fortune special edition and superbikes 2000. at an super cool 800 x 600 resolution.
i smashed a lot of my computers-not in a edgy rock n roll sort of way but usualy threw stimming or what gets refered to as severe challenging behavior-i was still unable to communicate my thoughts at that point until a little further when i was given a speech device under the sadly long gone 'severe speech impairment' grant.

my favurite PC was a decent gaming PC that i paid around 3 grand for (around £3000), i was moved into residential care at 18 from the family home and my dad-thinking he was doing a good thing,stored my PC in a wet and moist shed. it killed my beautiful baby, he knackered my mega drive,sega saturn,gamecube etc as well from storing them all in there.

so i moved onto laptops as they woud be easier to use, there was no spare room for a gaming PC set up in any residential care home ive lived in. i had an amazing little red and black ferarri netbook/laptop made by acer,as soon as i bought it i got rid of windows and stuck linux on it.
i actualy had quite a bad seizure and had rolled on it, and the aftermath had fried the mother board. i was rather upset with that one as i had taught my best mate and house mate- david,who had downs syndrome and was judged to be complelty unable to use a computer by staff because of his label that they even shouted at me for daring to show him,so i taught him when the next staff were on,he learned quicker than any staff ive ever known when trying to teach them computers or linux.
the next best computer i had was a business based toshiba portege, i got it second hand and installed arch linux on it. my god. its old but still boots up faster than anything,shuts down instantly, so much better than any computer ive ever seen, spec is pretty crap but steam runs well on it, like playing meadow- its actualy under the minimum requirments for meadow , but it works great you just got to acomodate having a slower draw distance.

my facvurite computer of all time is this baby,its the one ive got now,my gaming laptop. an asus tuf 2020/A15, though ive got 32GB of gaming ram installed in it and i also use a western digital P50 SSD external gaming drive as the weakpoint of the internal SSD is the rubbish space-256GB!! however my external SSD has got a faster read/write speed than my internal SSD.im at my parents house now otherwise id photo my laptop collection lol,the asus one-