30+ Retro Print Computer Ads from the 90s – Vintage Geek Design Nostalgia







Remember when a an 8 GIG Hard Drive was standard on a $3,000 computer? I do. Those were the days. I was thinking about my first computer the other day – It was a 150 MHZ Intel Pentium with an 8 GB hard drive and 64 MB’s of Ram & a 14.4k dial up modem I believe. Twas a beast. It was 1995 and the internet and computers were new to us all for the most part. I have rounded up some inspirational print ads from that era that I am sure some of you remember seeing – even if you don’t remember it, you can read the specs on the computers and remember how ridiculous it was haha. Hope you enjoy this retro print ad nostalgia!

Need MOAR OBSOLETE COMPUTER ADS!? here are a few good ones

The 25 Funniest Vintage Tech Ads

30 OLD PC ADS THAT WILL BLOW YOUR PROCESSOR

Do you remember any of these? Do you remember your FIRST computer? Tell us about it below! (IN TEH COMMENTS!)

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About the Author

Andy Sowards

Andy Sowards

Im a professional Freelancer specializing in Web Developer, Design, Programming web applications. Im an Avid member of the Design/Development community and a Serial Blogger. follow me on Twitter @AndySowards



53 Responses to “30+ Retro Print Computer Ads from the 90s – Vintage Geek Design Nostalgia”

  1. John

    Hi,

    I stumbled on your site while looking for an old print ad I had but have misplaced. It was a seagate ad, i think. It depicted a track event with a really rotund man winning a foot race and his two thin competitors looking on in shock. The statement was: Increase your capacity while maintaining world class speed. If you have this, would you post it? It was on the wall on our computer shop for years and I would like to see it again.

    Also, I remember most of these ads from Computer Digest and PC World, to mention a few. One thing they all did, was influence me to learn to build my own.

    Thanks and take care,

    John

    Reply
  2. Frank L.

    First computer touched:Appe IIe (High School!) .

    Soon after purchased my very own Apple IIc…

    Watched movie Wargames (loved it!) Shocked that it based on actual functional technology, like wow … computers can really talk out load as well as to one another over analog phone lines???? Researched like crazy, ending up purchasing an Apple 300 Baud Modem along with a Mocking Board sound card,
    joined Compuserve, downloaded a war dialer , found a Backdoor Pirate BBS with a Uload to Dloads Ratio!…

    Pulled off everything Mathew Brod. did in that movie had my friends and family amazed .. Have never looked back.. I Love Computers…!!!

    Reply
  3. Rich

    First computer was in 1982, an Atari 400 with 16K and a flat keyboard. Boarded the endless upgrade train, going to 48K (max)… then adding a floppy disk drive from Indus (started with cassette tape) that had a digital display that counted sectors. Even added a real external keyboard later. Programmed in BASIC, had a pretty good (for the day) Word Processor and a dot-matrix printer from Sekoisha with no real descenders.

    Later upgraded to an Atari 128XE which could never really access the whole 128K… who would need to, anyway?

    By college I had experience working with both Apple IIs and DOS machines… but I went for the Mac (an SE with a 20meg hard drive) and haven’t looked back since.

    Reply
  4. Ivan

    My first Pc was a Packard Bell purchased at Sears back in 1995. It was a Pentium with an 8 gb hdd, 32 mb of ram and 33.6 modem running Windows 95. I spent 5 hours on the phone with tech support to have me reload windows 95. It is the reason why I’m an IT specialist today, got tired of calling tech support now I take care of my own stuff and get paid for doing it.

    Reply
  5. Brett

    The first computer I used was a Wang 2200T mini with the full 16k of memory. Later I progressed through their various system 20 and System 30 WP systems and larger MVP and low end VS (80 & 100) systems. My first PC was a 286 overclocked to 26MHz and a full 1Mb RAM – all of which I built. It was added to, becoming a 386/33 with 4Mb RAM and Windows 2 and then 3.0. Oh, those were the days … when a 2400 baud modem made others envious.

    Reply
  6. Andrew Zolnai

    ‎1986: 10 Mhz PC-AT with EGA 640*350*16 colors, 8.5″ AND 3.5″ floppies, 40Mb HD but no CD for a princely US$6,500 (US$13,000 today)… But wait! Windows 1.0 came free with RAM upgrade TO 1Mb. And I was king with 9600bps modem on Compu$erve

    Reply
  7. Bob Hobbs

    First real computer was a North Star Horizon running CPM. 56k of memory and dual double sided, double density floppies that held an amazing 360k each. Later upgraded to a Morrow still running CPM but with a 4mb HD. I had more storage than I could possibly use. Back in those days most of the software programs needed only needed 200kb in order to fit on a floppy so 4mb was huge.

    Reply
  8. Wayne in Indy

    Great memories. My 1st real programming experience was Fortran on an IBM 1800 analog/digital computer, used to power up massive 100,000 volt generators for Indianapolis Power & Light. It used removable 1/2 meg disk platters about the size of a double sized Frisbee. The first “portable” computer ever I played with was an Osborn around 1980. It was in a like suitcase contraption with a 4″ monochrome screen with 16K of ram, the OS was CP/M, and had dual 5″ floppies. My wristwatch would run circles around it today.

    Reply
  9. OldSchool

    My first computer was a TRS-80 Model 1 which had a Z80 processor running at 1mhz. It came with 16k of ram. That will make you write efficent code!

    Reply
  10. Andre

    it would be great to go back to those simpler days of discovery and wonder – and my first computer was a v-20

    Reply
  11. truckdriverfritz

    I was there pretty close to the start… I was a sales rep for a company that added the 8088 IBM Desktop as a sideline, after thought. Only wish I knew then yada yada… Went on to the Heath Co. that had been bought by Zenith Electronics to acquire the computer manufacturing division. Zenith computer engineers developed Z-dos and z-web to text between factories and the home office, the start of the the internet ? or close to it ? maybe… We couldn’t believe how fast things changed at the beginning.. the future came at us in days and hours rather then weeks or months… Over night we went from acoustic modems we rubber banded to land-lines and 5 mb hard drives… Once had my tech guy pause giving me a 10 mg upgrade for fear, “I’d get lost in it”… In those days we had to find the correct directory and then type in the correct command with the correct perimeters to run the simplest programs. All the bosses on “mahogany row” had the latest equipment, but were afraid to turn them on, or didn’t know how. The tech guys built plywood computers (they’d take a sheet of plywood and tack components out of the trash and made them work) to do the real work. As a sales guy, I’d go back there and tell them what I promised the customer… mirrored hard drives, image scanning etc. and they’d say I was nuts… now those things are simple and everyday… Those guys got hired by MS and Intel… Again, wish I knew then… yada yada…..

    Reply
  12. Alex

    My first computer like most was a Commodore64 with 38911 bytes of RAM unless you used ML routines and then could use the whole 64K. I have computer Ad’s from the late 70′s how’s that for retro! :)

    Reply
  13. Greg

    Started with a Vic-20 then went to a TI 99-4A, which I still had and worked until a flood about a year ago (miss that thing). Then I got my Mac Daddy Magnavox 386-16SX with 1mb memory, both size floppy drives and a 40mb hard drive. I upgraded to 5 mb of ram for about $400. It came with Lotus Magellan and as INFMOM said above, it was the best.

    I learned a lot on the Magnavox and it is why I am in IT today. Best $2000 I ever spent. Now my coffee pot is more powerful but the clock was easier to set on the Magnavox.

    Reply
  14. Jim

    My first computer was a Commodore VIC-20 which, along with the Timex Sinclair, was considered the first affordable computer for the masses. The VIC-20 had 20 KB of memory, and used an optional audio cassette recording device for hard storage. I’d program in Basic, storing finished programs on cassettes.

    Reply
  15. Dennis

    First was the Timex Sinclair. Next was a Osborne portable. Looked like a sewing machine case. Two 5 1/4 floppy drives, 5″ b/w screen and ran on CP/M. Then came a C128 I found in a dumpster. Ran for two hours at a time before it would shut down. After that a Tandy 8086, a clone 386, home built 486, then I can’t remember what I built until I finally bought my current Lenovo. Can hardly wait to see what the next 30 years bring us.

    Reply
  16. infmom

    Lotus Magellan was without a doubt the best disk/file manager ever created. And fie on Lotus for letting it die.

    Reply
  17. Leo

    I still have my first computer too. It’s a TI 99-4A, and still working.
    My C64 I sold in order to buy a C128 which I still have too.
    Next came the whole range of IBM compatibles starting with a 4.77 MHz XT over 286, 386, 486, Pentium, P-II, P-III, P-IV and a dual-core Running at 3 GHz. Quite a difference between the first and last one…
    Ahh, the memories… ;)

    Reply
  18. Brendan

    First used: Pentium II, 128 MB RAM, 5GB? HDD.

    First Mac used: Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 250GB HDD.

    First PC my own was given to me: P4, 3GB RAM, 160GB HDD, NVIDIA GeForce 7050 integrated graphics. And I never want to go there again.

    Built one last year with a Phenom II X4, 8GB RAM, 500GB enterprise HDD, and a GTX 570. THAT is a nice box.

    Reply
    • Andy Sowards

      that is awesome! Sadly I don’t have my first computer :( We sold it long long time ago when we got our second computer (It’s funny to think most people resold their old computers like cars then, now old computers are like junk now haha)

      Reply
  19. Nick P

    First computer: Sinclair ZX81 – I remember buying books of Basic programs and then spending hours typing in code to get a black square to move across the screen above a row of black squares that I had to destroy by pressing the spacebar to launch a black square at them… Oh and then the joys of saving to and loading from a tape-deck!

    Reply
    • Paul K

      Oh, this is pure nostlagia! Me too, my first was a Sinclair ZX81 back in 1982, with a 10k ram pack (the wobbly one that crashed the machine when you just looked at it). I used to buy a magazine called Sinclair Programs (looked like a SF comic), and I’d type in program after program. Yes, moving black blocks around… great times! Did you ever play a game called 3D Monster Maze? No sound, big black blocks, but in glorious 3D, and there was a T-Rex chasing you around a maze. Far scarier than any modern Doom game!
      And yes, the tape deck. it was insane! listening constantly for the right place to start the program.
      I sold the ’81 two years later to get a ZX Spectrum (colour! Sound! Rubber keys!) and learned to program in BASIC to a pretty good standard, I was always tinkering (but still the insanity of the cassette recorder!).
      Then a few years later, the Commodore Amiga! Now that was a computer!
      The good old days…..

      Reply
  20. Nick P

    First computer: Sinclair ZX81 – I remember buying books of Basic programs and then spending hours typing in the code to get a square to move across the screen above a row of squares that I had to destroy by pressing the spacebar to launch another square at them!

    Reply
  21. Ajay

    My first computer was an HP desktop! Purchased back in’98 it ran a 300 Mhz Intel PRocesser, 8 GiG HDD and 64 MB of RAM. Best part? Floppy Drive :D

    Reply
  22. steve s

    First computer used… Macintosh 128k.

    First computer bought… Macintosh SE30.

    Jumpstarted my career and I’ve not looked back since… (well, except for checking out these awesome old ads… brings back many memories.)

    Reply
    • Andy Sowards

      That is awesome! I actually never encountered a mac until about 2 years after I got my first computer, and never messed with it again after that until college, for 1 class – then 2 years ago I bought my macbook pro and its been AMAZINNGGG

      Reply
  23. Chris

    Love it! My first computer experience was programming ‘basic’ multiple choice trivia games in 1983!!

    Reply

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