What 5,000 will get you
The first PC I bought was a Tandy 1000EX, single unit (keyboard and computer in one) with a CGA monitor, a big 256k of RAM (later upgraded to 640k) and two floppy disk drives. It cost me in the neighborhood of just over $2,000 as I recall and if you added in the upgrades - a 1200 baud modem, the memory, and a whopping 40 MB hard disk, it was probably $3,500 all told.
My second PC was a Gateway. They had a brilliant marketing slogan back then. “Out-standing in their field”. It was a two page spread with a bunch of pictures of cows and computers. I just had to buy from them. It was a 386sx, with a whopping 80 MB hard drive, 1 meg of ram, both kinds of floppy disk drives (modem was extra). It was touch and go – lots of problems with it (they used the motherboard of the day back then, hardware du jour, and just hoped it would all work). Mine didn’t. After many go arounds with tech support, I told them I wanted to send it back. They said I had to pay for the shipping, but – alas for them, I discovered “no in fact I didn’t”. I told them it would be on my front porch, come pick it up. I actually got a call from Ted Waitt that afternoon (at least he said it was he – this was the late 80’s, Gateway was still pretty small). He had someone come and get the machine and replaced it with a working machine, at no additional cost. I was hooked. (Good customer service grabs my attention, and they cost less than the other guys).
It was about $4,500. Going up in price. My 3rd computer, a full blown 486 – about $5,000. The best money could buy. I bet it would seem exceedingly slow today, but back then, it was supremely fast.
Then I read this PC Magazine review tonight. This is what $5,000 gets you today. I was sure the hard drive capacity was wrong, a typo – but it was not, It has 1024 GB, yes, that is right, a desktop gaming machine with a terabyte of storage. A terabyte. Just keep saying that. A terabyte. They seriously skimped on the RAM though (just 1 GB?). But the monitor — a 24 inch LCD. The difference 15 years makes (I still seem to buy a computer per year though – I cannot remember them all anymore, should have taken pictures).
A terabyte. Wow. As the review says “… with an obscene 1TB of hard drive space …”. That’s my kind of obscenity.