Nearly a third (29 per cent) of Macworld Online voters bought their first Mac between 1984 and 1990, the latest Macworld Online poll shows.

A further 19 per cent entered the Mac world between 1991-3, a period that saw the evolution of the first PowerBook. Another 20 per cent made their first mac purchase between 1994 and 1997, a time in which Apple unveiled the Power Mac.

Between 1998 and 2000 – the years that saw Apple introduce the CRT iMac, clamshell iBook, and the ill-fated Cube – 13 per cent joined in the fun. A further 9 per cent came on board between 2001 and 2002 – just in time for the new-look iBooks, the flat-screen iMac, the Titanium PowerBook, and smash-hit iPod.

Only 5 per cent of the 1,595 polled bought a Mac this year. A further 5 per cent don't own a Mac at all.

One reader began his Mac career with the first ever Macintosh, the Macintosh 128, introduced in January 1984. He said: " I was very pleased. I got a 40MB external hard drive, and upgraded to the maximum 4MB of RAM. But the best thing was when we got this huge box that sat underneath the Mac that played, gasp, CDs."

Another reader remembers the Macintosh Plus purchased by his employer back in 1987: "We used to have to ask permission of a supervisor before we could us it!"

Other forum entries describe the fate of these antique Macs. One reader says: "I still have my first Mac – but I use it as a rubbish bin now. The insides started smoking a while back. I thought about turning it into a fish tank, but I don't have any fish."

Not all Macs have met such a depressing fate – one reader's first Mac is still working: "My first Mac was a Classic II 4/40 – bought in February 1991. It still works – but thinks that it is in 1957 because the battery's dead.

Another reader can't bear to by parted from his first Mac. "My number one was a IIsi (introduced in 1990). It cost £2,000 – the same price as my G5. It's still in a cupboard because I can't bring myself to get rid of it – how sad am I?"

Other old Macs are getting utilized by the oldies: "My parents got a 128 in 1985 and my mother used it for word processing with MacWrite II right up until 2000."

And some Macs have taken pride of place: "We've keep our Macintosh Plus in an archive display cabinet. I took it out for a clean recently and it booted first time complete with 'BINGGGG!' and yes it works. The last document it created was dated Sept 1990, she's in fine fettle considering she's been asleep for over 13 years!"

One reader laments: "I really don't think the current Macs last as long. The old Macs were tough as nails – though not greatly designed."