This memorable Intel Pentium Pro was the heart of the personal computer - an AST Bravo - sitting on my office desk the first day I started working at PC Professionale. I used its core cycles a lot and for a long time.

This specific Intel Cpu, tagged KB80521EX180, is equipped with one single thread core with a 12 stages pipeline running at 180 MHz. The core is paired with 256 Kbyte external L2 cache (yes it was still external). This beast is made of 5,5 milion transistors, a small fraction of what sits inside a modern multi core and multi thread processor.

That AST Bravo wasn’t a brand new rig - it was actually a decommissioned client from the networking test lab - but it deserved respect for how much technology it was hiding inside a decidedly ugly chassis. It was February 2000 and we were going through a pivoting moment for the tech industry. At home I was already having fun with a more powerful machine: a mythical Intel Celeron 300A with the Mendocino core that I pushed from 300 MHz up to 450 MHz with the help of an Alpha Cooler equipped with a lapped cooper interface. And this was just the beginning.

Despite non being a shiny custom-built machine, my first office computer remained in my heart: the Pentium Pro - with all its 180 MHz - paired with the Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Workstation operating system and a croaking hard drive were all I needed to launch myself at full speed into the world of computer technology.

After being retired, that AST Bravo had to wait for many years in the basement before seeing the sunlight again. This particular piece of bare metal binds so many memories that it deserves a special place and today it has found it. It will join the company on my home bookshelf to another CPU that has made history, the legendary AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X.