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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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#26 Streck OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 4:34 PM

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.


Emphasis mine. This is really the heart of it. With '90s PCs, you don't have a single, named product like a Commodore 64 or TRS-80. Instead, you have a collection of named components that combine to form a single node of nostalgia.

And believe me, it's just as "classic" as the '80s microcomputers that dominate discussion here, with just as much powerful nostalgia. If you need proof, just check out these subsections of the DOSBox forums:

http://vogons.zetafl...db6d60b7f26ca4c
http://vogons.zetafl...db6d60b7f26ca4c

There's a thriving subculture of retro-PC enthusiasts, myself among them, who delight in recreating pre-millennial systems. 3dfx, Aureal, Gravis - these names carry as much weight there as Applied Engineering and Beagle Bros. do here.

In fact, I recently finished my own PC project, a Dell Dimension XPS D333 heavily enhanced to be a late-90's gaming powerhouse (Voodoo2 SLI, SB Live!, P2-333 replaced by Celeron-500, Windows 98). It runs everything from Half-Life to Deus Ex like a champ and I couldn't be happier. Well, maybe if I could get EAX to work with System Shock 2 without a noticeable performance hit... :)

There's a tendency among the '80s flavor of retrocomputing enthusiasts to view the '90s with disdain, and I think it's (1) based mostly on emotion and (2) sorely misguided. The '90s were perhaps less fundamental for driving computing forward than previous decades (and then only in certain ways), but they were no less important, and no less iconic.

Edited by Streck, Mon Feb 6, 2012 4:52 PM.


#27 Seob OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 4:49 PM

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.


Emphasis mine. This is really the heart of it. With '90s PCs, you don't have a single, named product like a Commodore 64 or TRS-80. Instead, you have a collection of named components that combine to form a single node of nostalgia.

And believe me, it's just as "classic" as the '80s microcomputers that dominate discussion here, with just as much powerful nostalgia. If you need proof, just check out these subsections of the DOSBox forums:

http://vogons.zetafl...db6d60b7f26ca4c
http://vogons.zetafl...db6d60b7f26ca4c

There's a thriving subculture of retro-PC enthusiasts, myself among them, who delight in recreating pre-millennial systems. 3dfx, Aureal, Gravis - these names carry as much weight there as Applied Engineering and Beagle Bros. do here.

In fact, I recently finished my own PC project, a Dell Dimension XPS D333 heavily enhanced to be a late-90's gaming powerhouse (Voodoo2 SLI, SB Live!, P2-333 replaced by Celeron-500, Windows 98). It runs everything from Half-Life to Deus Ex like a champ and I couldn't be happier. Well, maybe if I could get EAX to work with System Shock 2 without a noticeable performance hit... :)

There's a tendency among the '80s flavor of retrocomputing enthusiasts to view the '90s with disdain, and I think it's (1) based mostly on emotion and (2) sorely misguided. The '90s were just as important as all the other decades that came before it for driving computing forward. Less fundamental, perhaps, but no less important and no less meaningful to people who became personally attached to the hardware of the era.

Guess you picked the celeron 500 because it was an easy to overclock processor.

#28 Streck OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 4:56 PM

Guess you picked the celeron 500 because it was an easy to overclock processor.


Its multiplier is locked, and the 440LX motherboard it's in is stuck at 66 MHz FSB. So there's not much, if anything, I can do to overclock it. But it's one of the Celerons that Intel forgot to thoroughly gimp, and it's better than the P2-333 that was in there originally. It came from an old Compaq Deskpro I had sitting around. I thought, why not?

#29 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 5:11 PM

I agree with the previous two postings. I guess I disliked the late 90's and early 2000's for PC's, because, well, I'm not 100% sure, but.. I think it had something to do with the seemingly high prices for hardware that seemingly was a one-off, little chance of becoming a long-term industry standard. IDK.

It felt, to me, that for every game that came out I needed something new added to the system to make it run right, new graphics card, new cpu, more memory, new motherboard, SOMETHING. And that was costly. Now, with the Apple 2 series, gaming software was written to work within the baseline hardware - disk drive, 48k ram, joystick, monitor. You had that, you were good to go. Not so on the PC. And oftentimes, upgrading one part often meant upgrading something else to balance out the performance equation.

I just didn't like the mix of business apps and gaming, the PC was stretched between them, and thinned out in terms of personality.

I do strongly believe in the appeal of individual hardware components. Some of the things are timeless and beautiful. Each could be a showcase of the state-of-the-art. I particularly got excited of sound cards, graphics cards, northbridges, and hard disks. I didn't care much for the cpu itself. It hurt my pocketbook too much.

I did like MMX and the Pentium-1 when it came out. I always thought that the 486 and p-pro was the end of the serious and dreariness that surrounded PC's. The Pentium-1 bought us into the internet age, and saddled us with a new level of consumer bloatware that did nothing except make you want to upgrade and upgrade and upgrade.

The one other thing I disliked was overclocking. I never did enjoy overclocking, the amount gains vs lost stability was rarely worth it. The amount of time spent vs returns was way way out of line. ughh...

#30 Grig OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 7:00 PM

Very well put. One computer with 48k, TV (or monitor), disk drive (or tape or cart) and controller (sometimes you didn't even need that). Almost all programs on 8 bit were written utilizing 48k or less. Some programs needed more memory (like Ultima V for the C-128 if you wanted to hear the music) but not many. The majority of games/programs were 16-48k (or less if you had the Vic 20!).

#31 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 8:41 PM

nope, pc's will never be classic . just nothing there. the new one just do what the old ones did but faster. not really unique. Where as an Atari or Amiga are a different animal who's time came and went,

#32 asponge OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012 11:14 PM

It felt, to me, that for every game that came out I needed something new added to the system to make it run right, new graphics card, new cpu, more memory, new motherboard, SOMETHING.


I remember feeling the same way. That was a big issue that pushed me back to console gaming. It was always frustrating when a game sort of worked, but not quite as good as you wanted it too, because your machine was just not fast enough. Minimum requirements my ass.

On another note, I agree with some of the sentiments already posted that PCs had already become a commodity, tool or appliance by this point. It makes them no more interesting than your basic TV or refrigerator from a collectors standpoint. However, even without so-called "classic" status they'll still always be fun to tinker with. There's still something satisfying about cobbling together a PC with miscellaneous parts and then installing an old version of Linux on it from 1994.

I didn't grow up with anything iconic like a Commodore 64 or an Amiga. But, for those that did, I'm sure the first time they ran some code through the BASIC interpreter*, they felt the same way I did running it through QBasic. That's why, for me personally, PCs of the 90s were my Commodores. They were a conduit for me to discover my love of computers and writing software just as those folks before me did. So while they may never reach a "classic" status in their own right, PCs from that era still play an important role in continuing the tradition of computer geeks doing what they do best.




*I apologize if the Amiga didn't have a BASIC interpreter. I'm really not familiar with the platform.

#33 SEgamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 7, 2012 5:45 AM

Like others have said, I also didn't like that you had your choice between beige or white towers back in the mid to late 90s. At least computers and even terminals in the 80s had better designs that would look good even today.

I don't think the late 90s/early 2000s stuff will be collectable any time soon due to lack of scarcity with hardware. It seemed like the market boomed right around when the Pentium processor and Win95 came out, and I still see those being sold on Craigslist from time to time. Since those were affordable and the culture was going more into technology, everyone I knew who didn't have a computer (inluding my family) had one by the late 90s.

#34 Hatta OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 7, 2012 12:30 PM

There's a tendency among the '80s flavor of retrocomputing enthusiasts to view the '90s with disdain, and I think it's (1) based mostly on emotion and (2) sorely misguided. The '90s were perhaps less fundamental for driving computing forward than previous decades (and then only in certain ways), but they were no less important, and no less iconic.



I think it has a lot to do with the dominance of Microsoft. MS-DOS and Win9x were truly horrid projects. Setting up your config.sys is no more fun today than it was in 1994. I grew up with 90s PCs, that's where my nostalgia is, and I avoided going back to that for a long time.

#35 Grig OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 7, 2012 1:56 PM

Home computers in the late 70s and in the 80s were diverse, mostly affordable and simple to operate. You had lots of choices - it was based on your preference. I remember going to my local Toys R Us, BEST, or Zodys in the early 80s and finding software/hardware for no less than four home computer systems (like Apple, Atari, Commodore, Texas Instruments). You had multiple choices - and some stores even sold other systems like Tandy, TRS-80, Colecovision Adam, etc. (EVEN the PCjr!). New software continued to be produced for all of these systems, there were clubs, BBS's, magazines, etc. It was alive. Then, Microsoft began their monopoly and the 90s were filled with how many truly supportable choices with new software/hardware produced regularly? - Macintosh and IBM. That's it. Those two computers dominated the 90s and the 2000s (mostly IBM/Microsoft, though). In the 90s there were some mom and pop stores that still sold/supported some of the older 8 bit and 16 bit computers, but they vanished quickly and only a few remain (mostly internet stores).

Consider also style. To me, 8 bit computers are stylish. The PCs of the 90s? Bleh. A CRT monitor? Bleh. Detachable IBM keyboard? Bleh. Style, man - style. Groovy. (somebody stop me)

#36 monzamess OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 7, 2012 3:42 PM

Do you ever think the likes of a beige box PC from the 1990's and early 2000's will ever be classic?


No.

They were too generic, made of commodity parts. Even the "brand name" PCs of that era -- Dell, Gateway, etc, had no real memorable standouts.

#37 chuckwalla OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 7, 2012 5:42 PM


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.


I use my 486/66 machine with all the great DOS software pretty frequently. Too precious to resign to 'those were the good old days' garbage heap when these awesome games can be played at any time.

#38 BydoEmpire OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 7, 2012 10:06 PM

Emphasis mine. This is really the heart of it. With '90s PCs, you don't have a single, named product like a Commodore 64 or TRS-80. Instead, you have a collection of named components that combine to form a single node of nostalgia.

My thoughts exactly, and I'd consider that general hardware spec a classic computer even if it's not one specific machine.

The '90s were perhaps less fundamental for driving computing forward than previous decades (and then only in certain ways), but they were no less important, and no less iconic.

Agreed 100%. I grew up with the Commodore 64, and when I got my first job I saved all summer to buy an Amiga 500. Truly classic computers, and fantastic eras for computer gaming. If I had to pick a favorite decade of gaming in general it'd be the 80s without question. However, the early-mid 90s - when VGA and SoundBlaster were standard but before 3D cards arrived - was also an amazing time. There were just SO many games, in so many genres, and so much quality stuff. Especially if you were an RPG, strategy or sim fan. You had all the depth of 80s titles, with the added benefit of a hard drive. PCs didn't do action games as well, but everything else was great. I was flipping through an old Dragon magazine from about 1994, and there were about four RPGs from SSI alone, not to mention from Psygnosis and other smaller publishers. I love that era of PC gaming. Every publisher was going nuts, and some of the best computer games of all time were written.

Edited by BydoEmpire, Tue Feb 7, 2012 10:07 PM.


#39 Osbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 5:21 AM

Maybe the original IBM XT might become a classic one of these days. That was my first computer, and I have really fond memories of it :)

#40 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 8:46 AM

I think that one is classic. All the signs are there.

#41 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 9:08 AM

It's the 5150 that will get you a good price on ebay. The 5160, meh.. With the advent of the 5170, the clones came in force.

Edited by Keatah, Wed Feb 8, 2012 9:09 AM.


#42 The Usotsuki OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 12:52 PM

5160s are still pretty cheap. I bought one recently. But they're not all that diff from 5150s.

#43 Grig OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 12:53 PM

Does the 5150 look like the jr? I can't remember. My dad had an XT I think at his work in 1983 and it copied some Atari disks for me. Don't know how but it did.

#44 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 4:53 PM

It does not.

#45 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 4:58 PM

Does the 5150 look like the jr? I can't remember. My dad had an XT I think at his work in 1983 and it copied some Atari disks for me. Don't know how but it did.

The original IBM PC (the 5150) looked very much like the XT, except that the PC also had a DIN-5 cassette port next to the keyboard port, and its expansion slots were one inch apart.

#46 Chuck D. Head OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 5:10 PM

Well, I do have a soft spot in my heart for my Shuttle PC; I guess it was probably from 2003 or so. It was a nice small form factor in it's day and it (the hardware) has never crapped out on me.

#47 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 8:56 PM

It's the 5150 that will get you a good price on ebay. The 5160, meh.. With the advent of the 5170, the clones came in force.

Really? we still see these turned in by large companies occasionally, we just tear them down for boards etc.

#48 wood_jl OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 9:53 PM

nope, pc's will never be classic . just nothing there. the new one just do what the old ones did but faster. not really unique. Where as an Atari or Amiga are a different animal who's time came and went,


Exactly! The 90s/early 2000s ones are just slower, have missing features, and crash-happy earlier versions of Windows full of security holes. They suck even more than someone (someone who hates Windows today) could say current Wintels suck.

This line of machines is too numerous, and since it was never discontinued, I don't see how it can be a classic. When I see an Atari ST GEM desktop, I get nostalgic for it. When I see a Windows 3.0 (or 95 or 98 etc....) I remember what an unreliable blue screening [of death] piece of shit that thing really was, and wonder how I seemed satisfied at the time.

Of course, there's things to like about the modern PC which is why I still use one.

#49 Hatta OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 9, 2012 4:23 PM

Exactly! The 90s/early 2000s ones are just slower, have missing features, and crash-happy earlier versions of Windows full of security holes. They suck even more than someone (someone who hates Windows today) could say current Wintels suck.


I completely agree, and I have 3 retro Windows boxes set up at my house right now. Nothing about the hardware or OS is "fun". The games are some of the best ever though.

#50 The Usotsuki OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:34 PM

I need to save up and dig me up a 5150. :(




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