My dad bought an IBM XT 8088 a long time ago, in the 80s sometime. This was my first introduction to computing so I have fond memories of this machine. It clocks in at 4.77Mhz on its Intel 8088 CPU. A mind-boggling 640kB memory keeps you satisfied for a lifetime.
Being home this Christmas vacation (December 2010) I figured it's time to take it down from the attic and see if it boots up! I first vacuumed it and cleaned all the circuit boards with a brush, so there wouldn't be a hint of dust anywhere.
I cranked the ol' beast up it and it said BAM. Followed by a bit of white smoke. I still don't know what happened, but after the 2nd boot, it booted straight up and started MS-DOS. However, unfortunately only 192kB of the original 640kB was recognized, so some of the memory chips were clearly faulty. As for the BAM! sound, it must have come from somewhere else. To my knowledge, RAM chips don't fail with a loud noise and burned scent!
I thus started hunting the faulty chips, and finally found the two sinners. Two nasty 4164 chips (contains 65536 bits each). However, this meant that all the other chips on the same bank would have to be taken out as well. So I ended up with an acceptable 576kB of working memory.
Stay tuned for more exciting vintage computing stories!