Game Central The gaming world of K. Fields
Here is a history of the computer systems that I have owned. Although this is not gaming information per se, these are the systems that have powered countless hours of gaming. My interest really originated with the Apple II. Oh, how I wanted that computer! However, an Apple II was not in the cards for me. For our family, it all started with the original IBM Personal Computer, more popularly known as the IBM PC. My dad got an early selection in the IBM employee "lottery" and ended up purchasing a first-generation model. That computer was the first of several IBM systems that we owned through the years.

Our next two computers were Personal System/2 (PS/2) models based on IBM's newer Micro Channel Architecture. They were very compact and extremely reliable and I really enjoyed using both systems. The PS/2 Model 50Z seemed very advanced to me at the time. In addition to the new architecture and unique design, it had a 3.5" floppy disk drive, a hard drive, and VGA graphics which blew away what I had seen before.

The PS/2 Model 56 did not feel like as large a leap, hardware-wise, as our previous system upgrade (IBM PC to PS/2 Mod 50Z). However, the software upgrade was enormous. After using IBM DOS for over a decade, I was finally exposed to a truly modern operating system. That operating system was IBM OS/2 2.0. I was in awe of the technology: a true 32-bit operating system, preemptive multitasking, multi-threading, DOS compatibility, Windows 3.0 compatibility, and an advanced GUI and object-oriented environment known as the Workplace Shell. I loved OS/2. Possibly for the first time, I actually spent far more time learning about the operating system and enjoyed it more than playing games on a computer. OS/2 just kept getting better and better and I eagerly upgraded to each new version.

In May 1997, I bought the IBM Intellistation M Pro as the ultimate system to run OS/2. The Intellistation was classified as a Professional Workstation. It was powered by Intel's brand new 32-bit processor, the Pentium II. It had ECC memory, a SCSI adapter and SCSI hard drive, and an excellent video adapter, the Matrox Millenium. Although the system was OS/2 certified by IBM, it unfortunately came preloaded with Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0. The first thing I did when I setup the system was wipe the hard drive and load OS/2 Warp 4.0. From a gaming perspective, I played a ton of DOS games under OS/2 but even played some native OS/2 games as well. In fact, one of my all-time favorite games was Galactic Civilizations for OS/2. Unfortunately, as the years went by, IBM lost interest in OS/2 as a client OS and later abandoned the product altogether. In 2000, I decided to install Red Hat Linux 6.2 and multi-booted between Linux and OS/2 using LILO (LInux LOader). Later, I updated to Red Hat Linux 7.2. I was really a die-hard Linux user for a couple of years but I never quite reached the fervor I had with OS/2. I tried out all sorts of open source software and even did quite a bit of gaming on Linux. Thanks to the defunct Loki Software and their fine ports, I bought a fair number of commercial Linux games. A list of my OS/2 and Linux games (as well as everything else) can be found on my Game Libary page. I must admit that I began to tire a bit of the Linux experience. Some of the user interfaces were a little less polished than I cared for or was used to with OS/2. There were issues with multimedia and web plugins (Flash, Windows Media, Flash, etc.). As my system started growing a bit long in the tooth, I was unsure what I would replace it with and what software I would run on it. Then something magical happened. I found just what I was looking for. After over twenty years, I rediscovered Apple Computer.

A series of events led me to Apple. At the time, my opinion of Mac OS was that it had a first-rate GUI with unmatched usability. However, it was hampered by outdated technology "under the hood." After many aborted attempts to release a next-generation operating system, I heard that Apple had finally released Mac OS X 10.0 in March of 2001. I was intrigued. It certainly looked impressive in the screenshots with its gorgeous "lickable" interface. This time, there was power under the hood. I read that it was very similar to UNIX and had a lot of technology that was developed at NeXT Computer. Unfortunately, the reviews of Mac OS X 10.0 claimed it was still a bit raw. At the end of 2001, I began to read about version 10.1 which sounded much better. I also learned about the iPod for the first time. I dreamed about buying an iPod to go along with a new Mac running Mac OS X. It was time to start shopping for Mac hardware. The Apple web site had a teaser countdown to Macworld 2002. The big announcement was the iMac G4. It looked a bit odd to me at first but I really grew to love the design. It was probably the coolest Apple computer since the Apple Cube, which I had previously lusted after. I went to an Apple Retail Store for the first time and came very close to buying the iMac G4. However, I continued to hold off on my purchase until I felt everything was just right for me. That day was June 24, 2003. At Apple's WWDC (World Wide Developer's Conference), two things happened. First, they previewed their next operating system version, Mac OS X 10.3 Panther. Second, they introduced a new professional system, the Power Mac G5. It was my dream system: dual 64-bit IBM PowerPC processors, incredible front-side bus speeds, powerful graphics options, Serial ATA hard drive, USB 2.0, Firewire 400/800, Bluetooth, and amazing design like four thermal zones and nine computer-controlled fans. I ordered my system as soon as I could but they were in short supply originally. Mine arrived on October 8, 2003 and the rest is history. I used a Power Mac G5 for about twelve and a half years. I had to replace some parts that failed along the way. However, I never imagined I would use it that long. It finally died in March 2016.

The timing of the death of my Power Mac G5 was not good. It coincided with a drought in Apple desktop computer releases. Finally, Apple announced updated iMacs in June 2017 and I purchased on a 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina Display. It is my current system.

IBM PC



IBM Personal Computer (Model 5150)

Date used: 1982-1988

Processor: Intel 8088 4.77 MHz
Memory: 64 KB. Later upgraded to 320 KB
Floppy Drives: Two 160 KB Single-Sided 5.25". Later replaced one drive with a 320 KB Double-Sided 5.25".
Graphics: MDA (Monochrome Display Adapter, 4 KB), CGA (Color Graphics Adapter, 16 KB)
Display: IBM Monochrome Display and a TV with RF Modulator connection
Operating System: DOS 1.0. Later upgraded to DOS 2.0, DOS 2.1, and DOS 3.0.

IBM PS/2 Model 50Z



IBM PS/2 Model 50Z (8550-061)

Date used: 1988-1993

Processor: Intel 80286 10 MHz
Memory: 1 MB. Later upgraded to 2 MB.
Floppy Drive: 1.44 MB 3.5" HD
Hard Drive: 60 MB ESDI
Graphics: VGA (Video Graphics Array, 256 KB)
Display: Zenith ZCM-1490 (14" True Flat Screen Color VGA CRT)
Operating System: DOS 4.0. Later upgraded to DOS 5.0.

IBM PS/2 Model 56SX



IBM PS/2 Model 56SX (8556-045)

Date used: 1993-1997 (still own but no longer use)

Processor: Intel 80386SX 20 MHZ (later upgraded to IBM 486SLC2 40/20 MHz)
Memory: 8 MB. Later upgraded to 16 MB.
Floppy Drive: 2.88 MB 3.5" ED
Hard Drive(s): 80 MB SCSI. Later added a 340 MB SCSI and then a 1 GB SCSI.
Optical Drive: None originally. Later added an external Toshiba SCSI 4X CD-ROM.
Graphics: VGA. Later upgraded to VGA256 (512 KB).
Display: Zenith ZCM-1490 (14" True Flat Screen Color VGA CRT). Later replaced with an IBM 8514.
Operating System: IBM OS/2 2.0. Later upgraded to OS/2 2.1, OS/2 Warp 3, and OS/2 Warp 4.

IBM Intellistation M Pro



IBM Intellistation M Pro (6888-22U)

Date used: 1997-2003

Processor: Intel Pentium II 266 MHz
Memory: 64 MB ECC. Upgraded to 128 MB and then 256 MB.
Floppy Drive: 1.44 MB 3.5" HD
Hard Drive(s): 4.33 GB SCSI. Later added a 4.5 GB SCSI 7200 RPM.
Optical Drive: 12x CD-ROM. Later upgraded to a Hewlett-Packard 9900ci DVD-ROM/CD-RW.
Graphics: Matrox Millenium (4 MB). Later replaced with a Voodoo 2000 (16MB 3D accelerator).
Display: IBM P70 (17" with Trinitron CRT)
Operating System: IBM OS/2 Warp 4. Later multi-booted with Red Hat Linux (first 5.2 and then 6.2). System originally shipped with Microsoft NT Workstation 4.0.

Apple Power Mac G5



Apple Power Mac G5

Date used: October 8, 2003-March 2016

Processor: Dual 2.0 GHz G5 (IBM PowerPC 970)
Cache: 64K (instruction), 32K (data) L1, 512K L2
System Bus: Dual 1.0 GHz
Memory: 1.5 GB dual-channel DDR400. Later upgraded to 2.5 GB and then 4.0 GB.
Hard Drive: 160 GB SATA 7200 RPM. Later upgraded to 320 GB and then 500 GB (with a 1 TB Time Machine hard drive).
Optical Drive: SuperDrive (4x/8x/16x/8x/32x DVD-R/CD-RW). Later upgraded to 8x SuperDrive (8x/10x/24x/10x/32x DVD-R/CD-RW).
Graphics: ATI Radeon 9800 Pro (R350) 128 MB. Later upgraded to ATI Radeon X800 XT (R420) 256 MB.
Displays: 20-inch Apple Cinema Display (1680x1050) and an IBM P70 in a dual-display configuration
Operating System: Mac OS X 10.2.7 Jaguar. Later upgraded to Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina Display

imac27_retina5k

Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina Display

Date used: June 16, 2017-present

Processor: 4.2 GHz 7th Generation Intel Core i7 with 4.5 GHz Turbo Boost (i7-7700K)
Cores / Threads: 4 / 8
Cache: 8 MB
Bus Speed: 8 GT/s DMI3
Memory: 24 GB dual-channel DDR4-2400
Internal Storage: 1 TB NVMe SSD
External Storage: AKiTiO NT2 U3.1 dual bay enclosure with 4 TB media hard drive and 4 TB Time Machine hard drive. Western Digital My Book 6 TB hard drive for cloned backups.
Optical Drive: LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 Super Multi Ultra Slim Portable DVD+/-RW External Drive with M-DISC Support (GP65NS60)
Graphics: Radeon Pro 580 with 8GB of VRAM
Display: 27-inch Retina 5K (5120x2880) with DCI-P3 wide color support
Operating System: macOS Sierra 10.12. Later upgraded to macOS High Sierra 10.13 and macOS Mojave 10.14.