I'd Love to say that my first computer was one from 1980 or something, but in reality, it's not. When I was 7, I got to visit my dad's for the first time in years, (Family issues) I played Diablo II on his Windows 95 Machine, I have literally No idea what System Specs the computer had, but it wasn't my first computer, so that doesn't really matter. I did learn some pretty interesting things, Like how you could put a random user account and password and have full access to the computer (Providing there was no Document Protection), and a bunch of other useful tidbits of info.
Fast Forward to Grade 7, and Lots had happened. My mom said she would get me a computer in half a year, but that ended up being a lie. So, I went to school, and Boom, Found an Old Dell Desktop Computer, with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 on the side of the Road. This was about 2007-2008. Not a very impressive computer, but it was better than nothing. I think it also had an old Geforce4 MX 4** or something. It took me about half a year to get the money to get a proper hard drive, and I was so naive that I thought Windows came Installed on a Brand New Hard drive. Lol.
So, I ended up getting my friends windows XP disk, and I installed it, but I had My Computer in Processor Compatibility Mode, without realizing it. So I ended up having windows XP install, WITHOUT EXPLORER. Yeah, Explorer wouldn't run. Not to mention, that I didn't have a valid Product key, so I had to reinstall the Trial every 30 Days. In case you are wondering how I ran programs, I used CTRL + ALT + DEL, to run Program to browse Folders, and launch Applications.
First Time I reinstalled, I had lost all my documents, so I Got Learnt about Partitions, and unencrypted documents. So I was able to play some very Basic Games, Red Faction, and The Great Escape Video Game.
Every week, I went out in the middle of the night looking for Computers that were thrown on the Curb. I ended up finding lots of parts, and such, that I ended up using. Better Space Hard drives, a Geforce5 Graphics Card, TONS of 2000 Era Tech, and even TONS of 95 Eras Tech. It was here that I realized how important it was to delete your Data before Throwing Computers out, because I found an old 95 machine that had ALL of a Company’s Tax info and such. And even the person who owned it.
Eventually, I came upon a Very Lucky Find. An Intel Motherboard, sitting in a case, soaked with Rain. I thought for a fact that it was dead.
I took it back and tried it anyway, it Blue screened, and I couldn't get it to work and I couldn't get it to Stop Blue-screening, no matter what I did. (I Left it in a dry place and didn't use it for a week before trying). I gave up on it.
I then found a Rare Sound Card for PC, that Now Makes Headphones. It was a Santa Cruz turtle beach sound card. I used that for So Long, but didn't realize how badly I would need it later. The audio ports on the Motherboard I had found that Blue screened had Been Ripped off by the previous user.
So, one day, when I was bored, and found a new case I wanted to move my computer to, I decided to give the Intel Board a try again. And it worked, and damn was it SO much better. I went from a 2.4GHz Processor, to a 3.0GHz Processor that had 2 Threads. It was awesome; I had my First Real Processor Upgrade! I moved all my data over to the new computer, kept the motherboard, and tossed the case, with a bit of hesitation.
At this time, I HAD NO IDEA about Thermal Paste. Yup, you guessed it, I Was Running "Steel on Steel" My Idle Temperature was 46 Degrees Celsius. When Playing a Game, I hit 80+ Degrees. I was having issues playing a bunch of games, and playing 720p Video. And 1080p video just wouldn't play.
a Friend told me about Thermal Paste and I was Amazed, I had just upgraded to Windows 7, and my graphics card didn't support the OS, But I didn't Know that.
So I Immediately Experienced a HUGE Performance Boost from the Thermal Paste, Obviously. 1080p videos played with little trouble, and my computer was fine with temperatures, around 60 - 70 degrees, when gaming instead. It's funny that the only game that made my computer crash from overheating was Star Wars KOTOR II the Sith Lords.
Eventually I found the Godsend of Finds. THE LAST AGP 8X Video card. The ATI HD 4650 AGP 1GB GDDR3. (I think it was GDDR3?) I put it in, and that’s where the real fun began.
Just Cause 3. 30FPS Low Settings
Skyrim, 30FPS Low - Medium Settings
Alan Wake, 30 FPS Low
many other games were now playable to me, and I guess for the time 30 FPS and low settings weren't impressive at all, but I was still Impressed because i could play games that I never would have thought Possible.
Even the Tomb Raider game was "playable", (10-30 FPS with a GPU overclock)
And All Of This Was Free, and Took about 4-5 Years.
EDIT: Oh right, the hard drive I bought ended up not working anyway, and the place I bought it from wouldn't take it back, so it was a Waste, and I don't count it as money spent on the computer.