OK Neil, seeing that you asked so nicely, I took a quick poke around in my archives, and dug out some info.

My first "proper" laptop cost SR 6,000 from the Shula Center in Khobar in early 1994 (before that I had managed with various "luggable" beasts based upon BBC Micro's and Masters, Z88's and good stuff like that). It was a 33 MHz 486 machine with 4 MB of RAM. Monochrome display (bluish tint) and DOS based. As I have mentioned before, that one was stolen from the office.

The next one (the following year) was similar, but had a colour display. It was also a 486 unit but this time with a whole 8 MB of RAM! 250 MB HDD, modem and 3.5" FDD. SR 7,000 (about 1,200 at the time) - so quite a lot of money, really. I did a lot of work on that machine, and (alas) it only lasted a year until it started giving hard-drive errors. Despite my best efforts (NDD, SpinRite, Norton Calibrate ... and anything else I could think of) in the end it had to be binned, sadly.

I had to wait until 2000 for my next one. It was a generic MTC Notebook PC. SR 6,800 from a shop in Khobar (again). This was a really nice 266 MHz 32 MB machine. I even had Linux running on it at one stage. It survived until 2005 (back in Blighty by then) when it went up in smoke in my brother's shed (probably got a bit damp, I expect).

And later that year (2000) I bought a Compaq "Notebook 100" for SR 6,000 from a shop called PC-Net in downtown Hofuf. That one had an AMD-K6 processor running at 475 MHz, but the screen was not so good as the MTC. The Compaq also took a hammering and I remember the W key finally failed (so I ended up using it with a standard keyboard plugged in the back). The FDD had long since given up (due, no doubt, to the "dust of Al-Hasa"), and I was never able to lay hands on a replacement. I said good-bye to the Compaq about 18 months ago when it went as part of one of my eBay "job lots".

A few years ago I picked up some old Toshiba's off eBay. These were nice, well made units, that have also now "moved on", as it were. Here they are (together with my trusty old Compaq).

These days I have an Asus which is also getting a bit long in the tooth, and will need to be replaced soon. Cost me 680 in late 2006 (from Weston-Super-Mare, for those who know it). So yes (as expected), prices have fallen whilst capability has risen (by a large margin).

But the bottom line as far as I'm concerned is that (apart from the internet) I'm still doing more or less the same sort of stuff on the Asus as I was doing on those Chinese Bondwells back in the early '90's! smile


If you don't inspect ... don't expect.