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Do you think pc's from the late 1990's & early 2000's will ever be classic?


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#1 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 5, 2012 11:56 PM

Do you ever think the likes of a beige box PC from the 1990's and early 2000's will ever be classic?
I'm talking like a dell white box that cost 3700 and had a pentium 3 with 128MB RDRAM and ran at 733 MHz. You know, the dreary windows 98 and windows 2000 and ESPECIALLY windows me crap.
God how I hated those days!

Edited by Keatah, Sun Feb 5, 2012 11:57 PM.


#2 accousticguitar OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 12:25 AM

Like the one I'm using right now to write this message? I doubt it. :P

#3 Grig ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 12:28 AM

I imagine that everything can be "classic" eventually; however, those old HUGE PC's (well, huge for our time - not like the old computer rooms of the 50s and 60s) are not the frontrunners to home computing and do not qualify (in my humble opinion) as "classics" and never will. We of course know that our beloved Atari's, Commodore's, (even) TRS-80's (love to you TRS-80 fans out there), Apple's and TI's are the real "Classics". I guess it depends on how you define "classic". I think of "classics" as those things that defined a generation/opened the door to modern items in the same class and are still sought after or popular with the same group of individuals who loved them when they were new - like cars (a '57 Chevy would be a classic). The early 8 bit computers definitely defined our generation, they opened the door to modern AFFORDABLE home computing and are still hugely popular and loved within that same group of individuals who loved them when they were new. WINDOWS ME will still be regarded as a massive failure IMHO and never a classic. WINDOWS 98 will probably be regarded as some kind of classic (probably only because of its poplarity) but WINDOWS 2000 will be swept under the rug. Those computers weigh a TON! Arrggh! Great question Keatah!

#4 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 1:21 AM

Well, no. Err... maybe. Most of that era was boring beige boxes. SGI made some killer workstations, based off the shared memory graphics technology in the O2 workstation. SGI 320 & 540 At the time, they were very impressive computers, highly distinctive at the time. I'm sure there were some other machines too. Those were ones I sold and serviced. Pro quality video in and out, real time texture mapping of large models, etc... They even used an ARC BIOS, like their IRIX machines did.

#5 doctorclu OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 2:17 AM

What makes a classic? Something that either people started with (you will always love your first computer.. or at least remember) and then those computers that really wowwed us at one time.

Computers that wowwed me during that time...

-Macintosh 8600/9600.. for their upgradability. Amazing machines.
-The Mac Cube. Just cool looking.
-The Anniversary Macintosh. A look into the future.
-The Duo Mac! The Mac laptops that could be inserted into a dock like a VHS tape into a VHS player and load automatically.

For me I have a soft spot for the computers I used in that time.. the Performa 550/575. The Quadras were amazing machines.

Newton Messagepads are just epic hands down.

That is the Apple world. And the iMacs made a colorful statement before the 90's were over.

For the PC world, there are examples that I think were classics. Gateway and their cow spots on things. That was cool.
There was the line of IBM ThinkPads that had the keyboard that would fold out.. that was amazing.
Grid computers were nice with their flip out screen and keyboards. An interesting early tablet machine.

Lots of interesting laptop designs in the 90's. Some were actually quite small, some rugged, and so forth. I was actually quite amazed at how quickly laptops became useable in the 90's.

Atari ST and Amiga computers will always be classics, but is that only because we look at a line of machines and what could have been?

Sparc workstations, NeXt and Silicon Graphics Workstations are always interesting even classic by their uniqueness and quality of design in a era of computers that were mostly boxes.

That is about all that comes to mind, but think about the machines of the 90's that stood out for you. I think there are definate classic there.

#6 labrat OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 8:32 AM

Not for the hardware.

But in a few years, I'm sure there will be people who put together a 2000 era box to play their shelf of PC games that no longer work on a modern OS.

#7 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 8:39 AM

Not just the butterfly ThinkPad, all 90s ThinkPads, desigend after a Japanese Bento box and numbered after BMW range of cars (3 series, 5 series, 7 series).
Also this:
Posted Image

OK it's early 90s, but TeraDrive rocks (Sega MegaDrive/IBM PC).

The Toshiba Libretto c100also a classic laptop, actually it could be called a netbook.

Edited by high voltage, Mon Feb 6, 2012 8:41 AM.


#8 Ransom OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 8:40 AM

If the architecture ever changes so much that they're completely incompatible with the current offering (like has happened with Macs), then it's possible they'll be considered classics. But as long as fundamental compatibility is maintained, I really don't see how they'll be considered classics in the same way that, for example, an Apple ][ is.

#9 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 8:41 AM

A "classic" to me is more than just a computer which happens to be old; it must be a machine which broke new ground in some historically important or unique way. One can certainly find machines from the 90s which fit that description (the BeBox, some of the Apple machines, etc), but I'm having a hard time thinking of one on the PC side.

As stated above, PCs were mostly boring beige boxes in the 90s, and very much like desktops today in that they were built using whatever commodity parts were the cheapest at the time. There was more variety early in the decade, but the hardware started getting cheaper and more homogenous starting around 1996, as I recall. Unlike the machines from Amiga or Atari, it's much harder to "fall in love" with one particular model of PC-compatible, or to claim a specific contribution that was unique to a particular model, because they were all so much alike. It's possible to name specific milestones which were reached in the 90s (such as the introduction of the first processor to exceed 100MHz, or new types of memory, or the introduction of USB), but those are advances in those specific technologies, not in PCs per se.

#10 SoulBlazer OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 8:42 AM

How about the all in one PC desktops? They seemed quite common in the mid 90's and then faded from the scene for over 10 years.

Like the system I had from 1995 to 1998. It was a AST (anyone remember those?) 486-66 system with a CD rom drive. The monitor was attached and set on top of the computer so it was a all in one. The keyboard was still detched, though. The system was also great for easy access. There was a handle on the back, which you just grabbed and pulled out the tray, and in there was all the guts attached. You made the changes or did what you wanted, and slid it back in again. Easy!

The system was also great cause it was portable, in the sence I could lug it to and fro college with me and it set on desk without taking up much space....critical for a cramped dorm room!

Now I see the concept is making a limited comeback -- I've seen some systems that have all the guts of the computer built into the monitor. Not sure how well that would work out.

#11 the-topdog OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 8:54 AM

Not unless we evolve past the x86 technology.

#12 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 8:54 AM

I agree with the sentiments about the term "classic". On top of that, has to be something that's still useable by a passionate bunch of folks wanting to maintain a certain amount of sentimentality or nostalgia. Commodity and utilitarian type computers will never be classic for this reason unless you really give a hoot about using older versions of Windoze or DOS to play a particular game - but I don't see that happening. Folks are not, nor have they ever been as passionate about PeeCee's as they are about all other computers before them.

#13 HuckleCat OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 9:31 AM

Commodity and utilitarian type computers will never be classic for this reason unless you really give a hoot about using older versions of Windoze or DOS to play a particular game


I agree with this, but then again, is gaming not the main reason for most peoples interest in older systems?

Classic gamers will see these 90s PC's as being classic systems. I'd love a good 486/66 or 100 armed with a "real" Sound Blaster Pro for playing the older DOS classics, or even a P166 armed with an AWE32 and a Voodoo2 3DFX card for playing Quake 2, etc.

Using either of them to run Win 3.1 just for laughs and to be able to play the updated version of Shanghai 2 again would be fun.

#14 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 10:12 AM

I still use an old DOS/Win95 PC for certain cranky old applications and hardware, most of which would be either impossible or inconvenient to use with anything newer: an old parallel-port EPROM programmer, 5.25" and 3.5" floppy drives, etc. I do use it for old games also, but in reality, it isn't necessary to keep an old PC around just for games (at least not yet). Today's PC hardware is a direct evolution from what was available in the 90s, so using 90s software on a new PC is mostly a matter of compensating for the changes in the operating system environment. The most sensible way to do that for most people is to use some sort of emulation, such as DOSBox for the old DOS games, or to run Win95/Win98 games in compatibility mode on a more modern version of Windows.

Later, as platforms evolve and as the machines we all use every day diverge even further from the systems of the 90s, it might be worthwhile to keep an old machine around for games. But I suspect that the emulation technology will improve, too.

(Of course, there's also the idea of using old hardware like a standalone DOS PC for privacy reasons, or to get away from hardware-enabled DRM or other restrictive features that might be integrated into new PC motherboards. That's another good reason to keep old PC hardware around, as I do, and given the way the Internet is (d)evolving, it might be necessary for me to put it to use.)

#15 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 10:26 AM

Not just the butterfly ThinkPad, all 90s ThinkPads, desigend after a Japanese Bento box and numbered after BMW range of cars (3 series, 5 series, 7 series).
Also this:
Posted Image

OK it's early 90s, but TeraDrive rocks (Sega MegaDrive/IBM PC).

The Toshiba Libretto c100also a classic laptop, actually it could be called a netbook.


The Atari Portfolio also a design classic.

#16 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 10:41 AM

A "classic" to me is more than just a computer which happens to be old; it must be a machine which broke new ground in some historically important or unique way. One can certainly find machines from the 90s which fit that description (the BeBox, some of the Apple machines, etc), but I'm having a hard time thinking of one on the PC side.

As stated above, PCs were mostly boring beige boxes in the 90s, and very much like desktops today in that they were built using whatever commodity parts were the cheapest at the time. There was more variety early in the decade, but the hardware started getting cheaper and more homogenous starting around 1996, as I recall. Unlike the machines from Amiga or Atari, it's much harder to "fall in love" with one particular PC model, or to claim a specific contribution that was unique to a particular model, because they were all so much alike. It's possible to name specific milestones which were reached in the 90s (such as the introduction of the first processor to exceed 100MHz, or new types of memory, or the introduction of USB), but those are advances in those specific technologies, not in PCs per se.


Again, IBM ThinkPad, read this book, 400 pages of innovation:
Posted Image

.

#17 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 10:57 AM

Again, IBM ThinkPad, read this book, 400 pages of innovation:

Interesting. This appears to be the book you're referring to, and from the descriptions, it sounds like something along the same lines as The Soul of a New Machine (which I'd highly recommend). But from my own experience with the Thinkpads I've used, I can't say that they're really that much different from other laptops. They certainly look nice, and they've got some nice features, but these are mostly well-executed variations on the common design that other modern laptops share. Unless the Thinkpad was responsible for pioneering that design (I suppose I'd have to read the book to find out), I don't know if this is sufficient for it to qualify as a "classic"; in the end, it's a nice-looking Intel-based laptop which runs Windows just like everyone else's, unless I'm missing something.

#18 save2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 11:23 AM

Just as you might catch an old PET or Amiga computer in the background once in a while, I do think we'll see those early G3 iMac's in movies and such used as props in the future.

#19 Seob OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 12:29 PM

With all the pc-clones it's hard to say these machines will become classic. Some hardware may become classic, like the voodoo/voodoo2, soundblaster 16 bit/pro, gravis ultra sound. But computers, they have to be very special. Like somebody already said, apple computers like the imac's may become classic because of they're design.

#20 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 1:35 PM

Again, IBM ThinkPad, read this book, 400 pages of innovation:

Interesting. This appears to be the book you're referring to, and from the descriptions, it sounds like something along the same lines as The Soul of a New Machine (which I'd highly recommend). But from my own experience with the Thinkpads I've used, I can't say that they're really that much different from other laptops. They certainly look nice, and they've got some nice features, but these are mostly well-executed variations on the common design that other modern laptops share. Unless the Thinkpad was responsible for pioneering that design.


I'd say so, TP was first with 13" screens when 13" screens didn't seem possible, the trackpoint innovation (and t's being red, IBM said 'no way' so the TP guys said it's 'maroon' which was ok with IBM). Being black also didn't go down well, but it worked out in the end...and much more

#21 theloon OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 1:41 PM

It's the operating environment that'll be "classic". DOSBOX already has some support for Windows 95. Bill G.was really pushing the standardization of hardware with MSX and Windows. Not much new happened in computers 1990 - 2000 'sides the NextCube and BeBox.

Edited by theloon, Mon Feb 6, 2012 1:43 PM.


#22 Hatta OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 1:43 PM

Not for the hardware.

But in a few years, I'm sure there will be people who put together a 2000 era box to play their shelf of PC games that no longer work on a modern OS.


Exactly. PC gaming from 1994-2001 was a classic era. But as long as we can run the software on modern PCs, the generic grey boxes will be just generic grey boxes. Some pieces of hardware are going to be classic. Roland synthesizers and Voodoo 3d accelerators for sure. But from a general computing standpoint, there's not much you really want to play with in Windows 98.

That's not to say it's not fun to play with. I was just putting together a 1997 vintage PC last night actually.

#23 jhd OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 3:08 PM

I agree that the majority of old PCs will have no enduring value or interest as they were just generic, commodity hardware.

I think there may be some interest in odd or unusual systems, however -- for example, my first PC was a Tandy 1000 SL, which included proprietary graphics and sound hadware.

I never owned one, but I recall seeing advertisements for a Compaq(?) PC with the same form-factor as a Mac (with an integrated monitor, etc.).

#24 Ransom OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 3:12 PM

Yeah, Compaq did make an all-in-one unit (CRT + computer). I remember one local training company offered on-site classes back then. They'd send their instructor out with 10 or 15 of these things and run software training classes in your company's boardroom or whatever. What a job lugging all those computers in and setting them up.

#25 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 3:31 PM

I would like to think that my 80486 would somehow become a classic in any sense of the word. But I highly doubt it.
Some of the hardware inside, if stripped out, might be worth more than the whole system together would be. Like perhaps the Waveblaster daughtercard. Or the whole SB16 with ASP and the WaveBlaster together. And that appeals to only a very niche group of retrocomputists. There's little else of value in it.

I gotta say, the value will never climb, unless, somehow, it survives to be over 200 years old. Then it would be considered a relic and be worth something just because it is old.

Mainly the value will never go up is because all the software that it ran back in the day can be run on an emulator like DosBox. I jam Doom from time to time, still, on my modern hardware through DosBox. And I prefer it that way too!

Despite the enlightening of the internet and spread of e-commerce, I still gotta say, the pc platform is still in the dark ages.
There have been flickers of light here and there, but, still, the PC is just a vehicle, to be used and thrown away.




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