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What is *YOUR* Biggest Retro-Computing Hardware Disappointment?


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#51 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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    HexaCoreRunner

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Posted Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:03 PM

 

Print just a few pages and your ink levels drop drastically.  Have it self clean because you're getting streaks and it uses $30 worth of ink.

Don't use it for a few months and all the ink magically disappears!  I always suspected something was up when I'd hear them do stuff in the middle of the night for no reason.  Cleaning the nozzles (aka filling up the ink waste tank) is what they were doing.  Since the printer cost $20 and the ink is $50 to $60 it heads off to the landfill.  The cheap Chinese replacement ink is a waste of money as it ruins the print head within a week...and that's if the chip actually works, so it's a losing battle no matter what.

 

Laser printers do away with all those issues.  I really like how one can sit dormant for a year and then fire out a perfect print.

 

I hear ya!  Last year I bought a HP MFP m477fdn and I've been simply ecstatic with it.  Sure, it's costs a small fortune to buy four cartridges at one time, but they also last a long, long, long time.  I've saved so much by abandoning the ink jet that the laser printer has essentially paid for itself.  Oh yeah, the photos printed on the laser are not bad at all... although I do have to lighten the image up a tad before printing.  I will admit that I miss not being able to use colorslide sheets anymore.

 

A friend of my sons back around 1999 or 2000 used to buy Okidata printers, use up the ink and then sell them on eBay... for about what he bought them for.  Once he got the money, he would buy another printer.  I think the kid did that about a dozen times.     



#52 thetick1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:12 PM

 

I hear ya!  Last year I bought a HP MFP m477fdn and I've been simply ecstatic with it.  Sure, it's costs a small fortune to buy four cartridges at one time, but they also last a long, long, long time.  I've saved so much by abandoning the ink jet that the laser printer has essentially paid for itself.  Oh yeah, the photos printed on the laser are not bad at all... although I do have to lighten the image up a tad before printing.  I will admit that I miss not being able to use colorslide sheets anymore.

 

A friend of my sons back around 1999 or 2000 used to buy Okidata printers, use up the ink and then sell them on eBay... for about what he bought them for.  Once he got the money, he would buy another printer.  I think the kid did that about a dozen times.     

 

I've been using laser printers for decades as the toner is so much cheaper than ink cartridges.

 

That friend was a pretty smart guy .. free color printing but it took a little effort. 


Edited by thetick1, Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:13 PM.


#53 x=usr(1536) OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:10 PM

In my case, it was probably the Atari 1020 plotter.

 

When I finally received one as a birthday present, I was thrilled.  For about a week, I used it to draw all kinds of interesting things.

 

Then I got tired of having to use glue sticks to paste its output down into the things I was continuing to print off on the Epson FX-80 because the 1020's text output was so damned slow.

 

Then the pens started to run out of ink.  No matter how many tubes of replacement pens I ordered, at least one pen would have a damaged ball point (one of which tore through the paper) or no or dried-out ink.

 

Then the paper became a pain to obtain.  By then I was over it and wanted space back on my desk for the ST that had ended up next to the 800XL.

 

I seem to recall trading it for a couple of cartridges.  Something tells me that I made out best on that deal.



#54 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:34 PM

When I first got the Amiga 1000 it felt a little weird in that it didn't have expansions slots or anything. Just the sidecar arrangement. Coming from the Apple II world I was quite used to playing inside the computer and swapping cards on what seemed like a daily schedule, actually it was more or less monthly that I'd change something. I took significant solace in the Apple II with its upgrade slots.

 

In 1984/1985 I saw these Tecmar products I thought ohh how cool!! I went to every computer store in 200 mile radius it seemed, and no one had them, any of them, despite the advert clearly saying they were available at my local computer store.

 

That was the first sign of vaporware on the Amiga. I was naive enough to wait it out and pour more time and effort into finding peripherals and software for the platform. I mean, hey, can't blame a kid. The authority (magazines at the time) were telling me one thing, and yet I was observing something else. This state of affairs shattered my little world.

 

Calling their number resulted in them telling me it's shipping soon and should be on the truck before the month is out. So yes big disappointment in that I was getting wind of all these cool peripherals for what was supposed to be a state-of-the-art computer, yet not being able to purchase them anywhere.

 

On the other hand, Tecmar products for the PC where seemingly everywhere. And even the Apple II had some IIRC. I felt a comforting ease when I stopped trying to abandon the Apple II and stopped trying to ignore the PC. There were tons of brochures and ads for Apple II & PC. And I swear all of it was available in one store or another. Aside from mail-order only stuff, of which there was even more!

 

Here's an ad-scan of the vaporware in question. Had these actually been available I might have stayed with the Amiga platform instead of being pushed over the edge and "forced" to look at other options. Though in good time, ALL of us would come to switch to a PC or MAC. No one here uses a classic computer 100% exclusively.

 

Amiga_World_Vol_01_01_1985_Premiere_Page_002.png Amiga_World_Vol_01_01_1985_Premiere_Page_003.png



#55 derFunkenstein OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:13 AM

I upgraded my Pentium 166 machine with an AMD K6-2 kit from Evergreen Technologies. Since the memory bus, RAM, and hard drive controller were still the same as the old HX430 chipset with EDO memory it made very little difference, even though the AMD chip was clocked at 400MHz.

#56 spacecadet OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:02 PM

My first PC was a dud. I was coming from an Apple II and didn't really know that much yet about PC brands or different types of hardware. I think pretty much everybody in those days was used to computers being kind of a known quantity (ie. an Atari 800XL is an Atari 800XL; a C64 is a C64), so the internal differences between different PC clones wasn't something I'd ever really thought about before. I assumed if they all ran the same software, they must be pretty much the same, architecture-wise. And from the PC clones I'd tried to that point, they all seemed pretty similar in quality.

 

So all I knew was that I wanted a CD-ROM drive, which was the big new thing at the time, and I wanted a 486, which was the hot new chip. So I found what seemed like a good deal from a major brand - a Packard Bell Legend 2000.

 

I pretty quickly discovered that the computer couldn't even run at its highest advertised resolutions at all, because it didn't come with enough VRAM. PB was actually forced to send out additional VRAM (at least it could be upgraded, though I don't remember how) to all owners of this machine.

 

When I opened it up, I was expecting to see something like a real PC, with a bunch of slots and free drive bays. But I think it had just one ISA and one VESA slot, and one RAM upgrade slot. Which I promptly filled up, maxing it out shortly after buying it.

 

I don't remember all of its limitations but I remember it had a lot of them. The upgrade path from the CPU was severely constrained, I know that. Like, some people could use Cyrix "586" processors in their 486 machines, but I couldn't. I couldn't upgrade my graphics card for some reason, there was something about the internal GPU that would conflict with it.

 

And I remember running a bunch of benchmarks on it at one point and discovering that it was about 30% slower than any comparable machine. (I was buying a lot of PC magazines at that point, some of which came with benchmark utilities and had charts of results in the magazine itself.)

 

I do remember that the case was really the big problem, because it was non-standard and nothing standard would fit in it. So eventually I just bought a new case and motherboard, reused whatever else I could temporarily to save money, and then upgraded everything else over time until it was a totally new machine. And I still have the last iteration of that machine, but it has 0 parts in it left from that original Packard Bell. The floppy drive was the last thing to get replaced, and by then it was just because I wanted one in black.


Edited by spacecadet, Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:03 PM.


#57 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:32 AM

I had little trouble moving from Apple II and Amiga to the PC. The PC was a welcome breath of fresh air with its file system, big fast disk, and straightforward Windows 3.1 interface. I learned MS-DOS concurrently Win 3.1, more or less.

 

I will admit that MS-DOS was different and a bit of a struggle because I had been working with AmigaDOS, Apple DOS 3.3, and Apple ProDOS. Instead of unlearning anything I eventually just learned more. I learned what I needed to do and the basic DOS operations. I simply learned to keep a different mindset for each machine.

 

I had also upgraded my 486 to a Pentium-90. I found a motherboard, ram, and processor that fit the "old" 486 case. While I wasn't disappointed the machine never felt quite right. The model badge didn't match what was inside. The BIOS menu was different from the original owner's manual, as was the motherboard. The performance wasn't disappointing, it was stellar in fact! But all the little differences added up and not more than a week had passed before I put the 486 board back in.  As a retrocomputing enthusiast, today, I'm damned glad I did exactly that. Everything's original. Everything matches. The system is balanced. My original 486 is here today and works like when I got it circa-1992.

 

If I would have kept the P-90 configuration I would have likely lost the 486 parts and be quite put out about it. Instead I returned the P-90 parts for nearly a full refund.



#58 roland p OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:55 AM

I was never really disappointed, but in retrospect, the Amiga 1200, could be much better.

 

It only had 8-bit sound. The video-upgrade wasn't much since using much color slowed down the machine a lot. I had a 68030, but that didn't help that much.

Also, you needed a multisync monitor to make the video output really useful since the higher-res modes used 30KHz and the games still 15KHz which normal VGA monitors didn't like.

 

On paper, the Atari Falcon looks much better (except for the 16-bit bus) with 16-bit sound and a fancy dsp which even plays MP3's. It's very sad that it was killed in favor of the Jaguar.


Edited by roland p, Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:55 AM.


#59 rpiguy9907 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:05 AM

My biggest disappointment was the Amiga 3000. I picked one up as an upgrade from my Amiga 500 around 1991, replete with the Commodore multisync monitor. It may have been a brilliant machine architecturally, but the ECS chipset disappointed, and the new Hi-Res modes were painfully slow even pumped through the built-in flicker fixer. My productivity was not that much improved over the A500.

 

It also broke many of my games, which would not run on the Amiga 3000. Around the same time my friend's family got a 386 with a VGA card and CD-ROM drive. It came with Encarta and we all gathered around to watch a postage stamp sized video of the Apollo space launch.

 

Windows 3.x was crap compared to the Workbench, but it scrolled so fast in comparison!

 

I waited patiently for the AGA machines, but my next machine ended up being a Pentium with a VGA card, totally outmuscling any Amiga (even with an 060 the graphics speed couldn't compare).

 

Sigh... what could have been.

 

That was the only RETRO machine that really disappointed me.

 

Later on I got a Titanium PowerBook and it was sorely disappointing for me. I did not feel much faster than the cheap G3 iBook I was using before.



#60 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:33 AM

 

Sigh... what could have been.

 

 

Those four little words....  I wonder how many times they've been uttered by us all.  I often feel the same way about my retro-box.



#61 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:49 AM

retro-box?


Edited by Keatah, Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:49 AM.


#62 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:36 PM

retro-box?

 

Generic term for old computer.  In my case the TI-99/4A, for others it could be an Amiga, or TRS-80, or Apple II or a Mac or whatever little boxy looking computer you have and enjoy.



#63 digdugnate OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:28 PM

i've been thinking about this for a few minutes- probably my biggest hardware disappointment is the Program Recorder that came with the TI 99 4a.  lots of folks it sounds like had way better luck than me with the darn thing!

 

i couldn't ever get cassettes to consistently load across a couple of different TI tape players, and one of the players just up and quit working for no discernible reason. 

 

my disk drive, however, works like a champ.



#64 jedimatt42 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 6, 2018 3:12 PM

-- Membrane keyboards... OMFG that tech didn't hold up. 

 

My Amiga from BITD was an Amiga 1000. It was sort of retro when I got it in 1990, but I paid $70. :)  I already had a faster bigger better PC. But I drank the Amiga cool-aid.  Left my Amiga at a friends when I moved into a dorm. Never looked for it again... Last year, I realize I would enjoy, and can afford an Amiga 1200 with all the fixings :)  And I got one in really nice shape, EXCEPT the right hand shift key... This drove me nuts! Just made me angry anytime I touched it.  Luckily, there is enough love for the 1200 that I have been able to add a USB keyboard adapter, and replace the membrane in the original keyboard!  

 

Curiosity pushed me to get a TMS9995 & TMS9918 based Tomy Tutor.  Now, I knew the keyboard would suck... but to play any games on it, you have to be able to press '1' ... guess which keys didn't work?  '1', and '2' ... guess what I did?  I tried to fix the membrane with some of that silver paint... guess what happened? it just got worse. For every trace I fixed 4 more keys broke. It was just too fragile.  Today, I have a breadboard with 3 switches hooked up to it :)  '1', 'down-arrow', and 'return'  It's like a US Tomy Pyuta Jr. :) 

 

And then the TI-99... I won't even bother with when they have a membrane keyboard. I have one like that. I've heard of someone fixing theirs with the silver paint. But, I have a better fix for that... 

 

I was pretty scared when I picked up my MSX, and recently a C64... membranes are just the way things were in the old days... 

 

-M@



#65 King_Salamon OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 6, 2018 11:59 PM

I remember my first home computer... a Commodore Vic 20.  I wouldn't call it a disappointment exactly but I wasn't old enough to understand system requirements when buying cassette games.  I was used to carts and playing games.  That was fine as I played some decent games on the Vic... Radar Rat Race (If my memory serves.. Adventureland (text adventure) and a Xonox Doubleheader  come to mind.  What I found disappointment in was picking up a cassette game and trying to load it and it would work.  Why?  Well there were those 3k and 8k memory expanders... I didn't know what they were and by the time I did, I couldn't find one anywhere except one computer shop across town and they wanted a crazy amount for the cartridge.

 

I always wanted to play that game.. or were there two?  Oh well, I don't think that's going to happen.  lol

 

The Vic 20 was a short lived computer in my house as a child.  I kept it for many years but soon after I was able to get a C64 and a disk drive... now I was playing with power!  lol



#66 davidcalgary29 ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 7, 2018 8:33 PM

Switching from an A8 to an AT clone in the belief that it offered the best of early ‘90s gaming.




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