Without turning this into a dear diary, I figured someone might be interested to read about the trip down memory lane I've embarked upon, starting a few months ago. It roughly coincided with a few life changing events - covid, being sent home with full pay but eventually made redundant and changing jobs; oh and the birth of my first child. Being cooped up inside under lockdown, watching LGR, and reading threads like sonicthemouse's I started to feel a bit nostalgic about some of the good times I had growing up with PC gaming, particularly lanning through high school and uni, circa 1998-2006. It was such a huge part of my life at the time and I really miss the tech, the games and the people. I won't ever be able to relive those days, but I've decided to rebuild and preserve some of the computers I had at the time, mostly as they were but some with a couple upgrades that younger me could only dream of. Who knows, if the stars align maybe I'll be able to play a few games on the original hardware with some of my old mates (if any of y'all see this, shoot me a message!) So the first post is going to be a bunch of boring history. In 1994 we got our first PC at home - a 40MHz 486. Dad put some extra RAM in it, then a DX4-100 CPU, then a sound card and CDROM. Played some Wolf3D, Doom and RoTT plus a bunch of older games like Commander Keen. It got windows 95 which was amazing at the time but it was a bit of a novelty and I was firmly a console gamer in my youth. I think the first computer that was mine might have been a 486 of some description but I don't remember much about it. I think I would have played some C&C on it. The first one I really remember was a P2 233 on a baby tomato board, with a Tseng Labs video card (one of the few things I still have) and eventually a Voodoo for 3D. I played a lot of RTS, most notably C&C, Red Alert and Dark Reign. The voodoo was a late addition and with it I started playing some FPS again - AvP. It had no heat sink and it would overheat causing weird rippling artifacts that would not only affect 3D games, but persist on the 2D desktop passthrough after playing games until it cooled down. Around this time I started to hang out with some guys at school who played PC FPS games. I upgraded to a P3 500 with a Geforce 2 MX and joined them lanning on weekends. This was where I first started overclocking (and joined OCAU). I took that bad boy to 5x117 for 585MHz. I put a blue orb on the GPU and wound it up a little too but it was so memory limited it was pointless. I played more FPS - mostly UT and Q3 but played a bit of everything. I was hooked on PC gaming. This was a hand me down system that was already a bit old when I got it. The MSI motherboard started getting flaky and eventually it stopped booting altogether. So then I jumped ship to AMD and got my first ever brand new hardware - an Abit KT7A with a Duron 800 (ran it at 1000) with a noisy as hell Globalwin FOP38 running 24/7 about a metre from my bed. Kept the Geforce 2 MX and played more UT, Q3 and eventually UT2k3, as well as various other games - small amounts of DoD and CS at lans, CoD 1 & 2 and Max Payne stand out as memories as well. Started off running Win98SE, then Win ME, then Win2k. Took it to many LANs, including a few QGLs and out to TaLANt a few times. I spent so much time on this thing in year 11/12 and early uni. Painted the generic beige case black and cut a window in the side. While I loved this computer, I had a couple mates who had some beasts at the same time that I was so jealous of. One had a AXIA 1GHz Thunderbird that ran every day at 1.4 under a Kanie Hedgehog on a KT7A that we got to boot at 1.6GHz in winter. He had a Geforce 2 GTS with it and this thing was what I wanted my computer to be. Then another mate got an Athlon 1.4 on an Asus A7V133-C with a Geforce 3. I eventually got me a 1GHz Athlon, but it only overclocked to 1050. FML. Early on in uni I traded up to a 2500+ Barton on an NF7-S with a hand-me-down Geforce 4 Ti4200. By the time I upgraded the old gear was pretty long in the tooth so it was amazing to be able to play more current games, including some of the more taxing UT2k4 maps (icetomb, ugh). Lots of UT2k4, Wolf ET, more single player CoD, HL2. Ran Win XP on this one. Lanned quite a bit still. Finally just after uni when I started working I jumped back to Intel and got me a core 2 duo and a Geforce 7950GT. The video card died and got replaced with an 8800GT. It served me well. Over time I played fewer games, and especially fewer multiplayer games. Kept playing CoD single player campaigns once a year but eventually fell behind and reverted to console releases. Played through Portal 1 and 2, HL2 Ep 1 and 2, L4d 1 and 2 (there's a pattern here...). Started on XP, skipped Vista and eventually ran Windows 7. Got a G25 and played some racing sims - L4S, rFactor and iRacing. Confirmed I was never going to be a race driver and should stick to engineering race cars. After a few years I picked up some used c2d parts and built up a new fileserver with similar motherboard, ram and cpu and upgraded my desktop CPU. Haven't really bought any desktop parts newer than 2007/8ish. Life really started to get in the way. Social life got busier. Had other hobbies. Changed to a job with long hours and lots of travel. Fell behind the tech curve and it was just too much effort to try and catch back up. I was really on top of it all in the socket A days but I blinked and everything changed. Like Abe said, I was with it until it changed and then what I was with wasn't it, and it was weird and scary. Since then I've slowed down on gaming and had a few laptops (though all with decent GPUs to keep my options open). Mostly used for couch web surfing, software development and other work. They've been used a lot, but they've just been tools and haven't been loved like my old Thunderbird. Bought an xbox 360 and PS4 and reverted to some light gaming on those and eventually stopped gaming altogether. I grew up and it sucked. I bought a house in 2016 and when it came time to unpack my desktop PC it didn't boot. I think the last time it was powered up was some time in 2014 or 2015. Things were pretty dire.