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AlecRob

It’s okay to like the VCS.

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In the end I am happy to own a new Atari, I am even excited when it gets an update. It is alive! And the thing I like is that now when people ask what is that cool looking console under your TV, I can give them a history lesson. And all are impressed.

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18 hours ago, zzip said:

People are weird when it comes to hardware.   They'll spend hundreds or even over a thousand for a hot graphics card and pay over retail = no problem

 

Buy a VCS when you could have maybe saved $50 by buying a generic mini PC?  =  How could you???

 

Incidently, I noticed some of the cheap <  $200 mini PCs on Newegg have $30 shipping costs.   Interesting...


hah, that’s a good point. I’ve been really happy with the VCS thus far.

 

I bought a Lenovo Legion last year... I don’t even remember what it comes with. Core i9 something or other, and the nVidia 2080 I think. So many gigs, it has more ram than all my previous iPhones had actual storage combined. Fancy Lenovo gaming mouse with red throbbing led light, with some fancy Lenovo clicky keyboard that also lights up, matching game headset that also throbs red. I don’t do shit with it except check my email. But the VCS... I’m actually playing that!

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1 hour ago, 82-T/A said:


hah, that’s a good point. I’ve been really happy with the VCS thus far.

 

Ultimately, that's all that really matters. If the people who bought the VCS are happy with it, then whatever someone else who hasn't bought it thinks doesn't really matter.

 

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3 hours ago, 82-T/A said:


hah, that’s a good point. I’ve been really happy with the VCS thus far.

 

I bought a Lenovo Legion last year... I don’t even remember what it comes with. Core i9 something or other, and the nVidia 2080 I think. So many gigs, it has more ram than all my previous iPhones had actual storage combined. Fancy Lenovo gaming mouse with red throbbing led light, with some fancy Lenovo clicky keyboard that also lights up, matching game headset that also throbs red. I don’t do shit with it except check my email. But the VCS... I’m actually playing that!

Ha, I have never bought a prebuilt desktop computer.  My parents had bought a Packard Bell in '95, and I built a Pentium 200 MMX with all the parts I had ended up buying to upgrade that piece of crap.  Been building them ever since.

But for sure there is a nice divide between 'I can tweak all the settings and play with wacky amounts of controller configurations, go go PC Master Race!' vs 'I just want to be able to turn the thing on and play a game'

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2 hours ago, leech said:

Ha, I have never bought a prebuilt desktop computer.  My parents had bought a Packard Bell in '95, and I built a Pentium 200 MMX with all the parts I had ended up buying to upgrade that piece of crap.  Been building them ever since.

But for sure there is a nice divide between 'I can tweak all the settings and play with wacky amounts of controller configurations, go go PC Master Race!' vs 'I just want to be able to turn the thing on and play a game'

 

I'm at a point in my life where I guess I don't really care as much as I used to about my computer. I mean, I care enough to want something nice... but I've fallen behind. 20 years ago, I'd be going on like you guys were, talking about the Cyrix DLC-40, or Intel vs AMD, or various sockets, and bus speeds, if MCA is as good as VL-Bus, or the ns of the ram I'm installing... haha. But it's probably been almost 20 years since I put together something myself.

 

I grew up with an 8088 KayPro back in the mid 1980s... I still have it. We replaced it with a Leading Edge 386 SX-16 by the time I was in middle school. Then in high school, I worked at CompUSA and bought a bunch of computer parts from the Computer Shopper. Built a couple of 486 to 486 DX4 series computers. Eventually upgraded an Acer Altos 9000 server, which I was super proud of (dual Pentium 60). It was their local mail server that they didn't want anymore. Then for the next 10 years, all my computers were ones that I'd built from parts I ordered in the Computer Shopper or stuff that whatever company I was working for, was getting rid of and / or putting in the recycling. Then I finally got a normal computer, a Dell 745 when I worked for the Miami Dolphins because they were recycling it. I then won a Dell XPS 1530 laptop during the annual NFL IT (TAC) meeting, where all the team's IT people fly out for a big get together. I used the Dell 1530 XPS as my desktop (had it hooked up to a KVM)... did my masters on it, and then changed jobs to where I work now (where I've been for 9 years). A week after starting my new job (back in 2011), I bought a "remanufactured" Dell 990 OptiPlex... which was awesome. I got the entire computer w/ keyboard and mouse for $514... which at the time was an INSANE steal for a 3.4Ghz Core i7. The problem??? Dell had accidentally put Core i5 stickers on the case and were unable to sell them as new... but they'd never been used. I even opened it up and removed the fan and cleaned the processor to make sure in fact that I'd gotten what I had actually ordered. I kept that computer until last year, and I'd actually replaced the graphics card twice, and upgraded the ram. Finally gave it to my wife (who was still using an old 755 Core 2 Duo that I also got from the Dolphins), and just ordered myself the Lenovo Legion. It's an awesome computer... but I just find myself not really interested in games a whole lot anymore... so it's really a huge waste. 8 core i9 @ 3.6Ghz, 64GB memory, 8gb nVidia Geforce 2080, 1TB SSD, 4TB backup drive, literally bought all the options... built in bluetooth, I even splurged for the built in Blueray writer/reader (the top part of the case front slides up revealing a laptop sized drive). Like... the last game I played on it was Bards Tale through GoG Galaxy (DOSBOX). I mean... damn... I feel guilty for wasting such power.  

 

 

EDIT: Went on a ramble there. What I meant to say is that I still want a nice computer, but I stopped paying attention 20 years ago... so unfortunately, I'm completely not tracking when you guys go back and forth. I remember a time when I could lead a discussion like this, haha... but now I basically know what you guys are talking about, but the acronyms and the different processors and chip-sets don't mean anything to me, because I have no frame of reference anymore.

Edited by 82-T/A
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I have been hearing about these sub-$300 wonder PCs for years from PC Master Race folk that run circles around every other device they dislike for some reason, and it remains as much BS now as it did in the year 2000. If I ever actually gave someone $300 and told them to make me something that is equivalent in every way to the VCS, they'd either have to lie and pretend issues aren't issues or they'd conveniently ignore that the thing they built wouldn't actually run because it was missing key components. 

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1 hour ago, 82-T/A said:

Like... the last game I played on it was Bards Tale through GoG Galaxy (DOSBOX). I mean... damn... I feel guilty for wasting such power.  

Ha, this always cracks me up when I do the same thing.  64gb of RAM... why?  So I can play games on an 8bit emulator.  Well, okay I have that in there because of some upgrade choices where I ended up with extra ram and just threw it in there.

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9 minutes ago, Mockduck said:

I have been hearing about these sub-$300 wonder PCs for years from PC Master Race folk that run circles around every other device they dislike for some reason, and it remains as much BS now as it did in the year 2000. If I ever actually gave someone $300 and told them to make me something that is equivalent in every way to the VCS, they'd either have to lie and pretend issues aren't issues or they'd conveniently ignore that the thing they built wouldn't actually run because it was missing key components. 

This is basically what I have been trying to say, but no one listens to me.

It is the same with 'I can just build a small computer myself with off the shelf parts' but haven't actually done the build to know it is Janky and doesn't quite fit right in a TV stand set up... hell look at the PS5.  Even the pros can't do it apparently...

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1 hour ago, leech said:

This is basically what I have been trying to say, but no one listens to me.

It is the same with 'I can just build a small computer myself with off the shelf parts' but haven't actually done the build to know it is Janky and doesn't quite fit right in a TV stand set up... hell look at the PS5.  Even the pros can't do it apparently...

 

I'm not even sure why it's even really a discussion. I bought the VCS because it's an Atari system that comes bundled with an Atari OS and has Atari controllers. I think I paid $239 for my Onyx + controller bundle if I remember correctly. So I don't even really understand the argument.

 

That said, there are some good small micro-PCs. I bought one for both my parents, and my daughter. They are Lenovo thin client-sized machines. But they aren't thin clients per-se. They have Core i5 Intel processors, each one has 8 or 16 gigs of ram in them, and has built in graphics 500gb SSD hard drive (etc.). My daughter uses it for school and playing Roblox (runs flawlessly) and my mom uses it for e-mail and Solitaire, and my dad uses it for e-mail and stocks. I shopped around for ever and got them for about $350 each. But I'm seeing them sell for $600+ pretty much everywhere now... like, literally the exact same ones.

 

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Prices all around have gone silly for computer hardware.  Even my old 2080 RTX, I have seen places trying to sell them for 1400... non-Ti even...

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36 minutes ago, leech said:

Prices all around have gone silly for computer hardware.  Even my old 2080 RTX, I have seen places trying to sell them for 1400... non-Ti even...

 

Yeah, what's the reason for this? Is it because of COVID? Demand is still high, but supply is low due to manufacturing shortages?

 

The very computer that I bought last year is now selling for twice what I bought it for new... exact same model... but literally twice the price.

 

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1 hour ago, 82-T/A said:

That said, there are some good small micro-PCs. I bought one for both my parents, and my daughter. They are Lenovo thin client-sized machines. But they aren't thin clients per-se. They have Core i5 Intel processors, each one has 8 or 16 gigs of ram in them, and has built in graphics 500gb SSD hard drive (etc.). My daughter uses it for school and playing Roblox (runs flawlessly) and my mom uses it for e-mail and Solitaire, and my dad uses it for e-mail and stocks. I shopped around for ever and got them for about $350 each. But I'm seeing them sell for $600+ pretty much everywhere now... like, literally the exact same ones.

Here you go:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-Thinkcentre-Desktop-i5-4670T-Win10Pro/dp/B07G4LVZQZ/ref=sr_1_10?dchild=1

 

$199 for an i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, 240GBB SSD and a copy of Windows. They even throw in a keyboard and mouse so you can watch Netflix out of the box. 😀

 

The reason you'll see them going for wildly different prices is that they were originally very expensive machines back in the early 2010s, when mini PCs were cutting edge tech, and not everyone has discounted them to the same level. It's pretty easy to find one for $200 though, and HP and Dell also make similar machines if for some reason you don't want a Lenovo. The other point to be made here is that these things go obsolete really quickly, because there's only so much you can do to upgrade one.

 

I'll grant that comparing one of these to the VCS isn't entirely fair - because they're refurbished old hardware being sold at below cost - but there are also brand new mini PCs being sold at lower price points than the VCS. You're probably looking at a Celeron rather than an i3 or i5 if you want one fully configured for less than $200 though.

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52 minutes ago, leech said:

Prices all around have gone silly for computer hardware.  Even my old 2080 RTX, I have seen places trying to sell them for 1400... non-Ti even...

"Trying" is the key word here. But yeah, the prices are a bit wild this year. It's the reason that first time in 20+ years of building PCs I put one together based mostly on new parts. The second hand market prices are so close to RRP now that it actually makes sense.

 

It's funny how one minute VCS is supposed to be a ready-to-go box, and the next everybody is swapping chips and installing non-native OSs. Make your mind up, guys ;)

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4 minutes ago, youxia said:

"Trying" is the key word here. But yeah, the prices are a bit wild this year. It's the reason that first time in 20+ years of building PCs I put one together based mostly on new parts. The second hand market prices are so close to RRP now that it actually makes sense.

 

It's funny how one minute VCS is supposed to be a ready-to-go box, and the next everybody is swapping chips and installing non-native OSs. Make your mind up, guys ;)

Ha, it is a ready to go box, for those that just want to fire it up and play games.

But we are nerds and really if I could do the same thing to my PS4 pro, I would!

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5 hours ago, youxia said:

"Trying" is the key word here. But yeah, the prices are a bit wild this year. It's the reason that first time in 20+ years of building PCs I put one together based mostly on new parts. The second hand market prices are so close to RRP now that it actually makes sense.

 

It's funny how one minute VCS is supposed to be a ready-to-go box, and the next everybody is swapping chips and installing non-native OSs. Make your mind up, guys ;)

Think its because the capability presents. I have tons of platformers, simulations and stuff I’ve collected I never play on my pc. They don’t take up a lot of room. On a smallish console though, not trying up the computer, then maybe they’d get played by someome. Could it be done on another mini pc? Sure. Just doesn’t look as nice and have nice controllers.

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On 2/5/2021 at 6:44 PM, Matt_B said:

As much as it's possible to check these things, it would seem that the better games are the more popular. Steamcharts gives Rollercoaster Tycoon Classic as far and away the most played recent Atari game on Steam, and Tempest 4000 and Missile Command both saw a fair bit of action too. Nobody seems to be playing Pong Quest or Haunted House though.

And Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic is the one they've done the least development work on, right?   My understanding is the more recent RCT titles haven't been very good.   It's a shame they burned the bridges with Frontier after RCT3,   "Planet Coaster" could have been a great RCT game.

 

On 2/5/2021 at 6:44 PM, Matt_B said:

Given that the big three spend tens of millions on the design of their controllers, you'd expect them to have superior function to the knock-offs, but that doesn't mean that they aren't turning a huge profit on them.

 

The point is that you can get a $20 knock-off controller and it'll work, even if it's a bit rough around the edges, because the markup allows copies to be built for much less.

The $20 controller I have have most of the functionality, except I don't think the triggers are resistivity.  (you can't press them half-way and accelerate at half-speed in a driving game).   But the bigger thing is it feels cheaply made compared to the DS4..   cheaper plastics, worse ergonomics.

 

Do some of these controllers have crazy markups?   Possibly.   But unless I have a source to buy them at wholesale prices, I don't see that as relevant.

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On 2/6/2021 at 1:00 PM, 82-T/A said:

Then for the next 10 years, all my computers were ones that I'd built from parts I ordered in the Computer Shopper or stuff that whatever company I was working for, was getting rid of and / or putting in the recycling. Then I finally got a normal computer,

In the mid-90s, whenever a new Computer Shopper dropped, it was a big deal for me an my friends.   Although I think we bought most of our parts at the computer shows that happened virtually every weekend somewhere within an hour's drive away.  Because we didn't want to wait for shipping.   There was no 2-day shipping back then.    We used Computer Shopper to get an idea what was available and what the going prices were

 

And I also spent a couple of years taking any hand-me-down part I could, because I might use them.  In reality I didn't use most of it.  Some of that stuff is still in my basement-  old MFM drives,  a VL-bus SCSI adaptor that can only be used in a 486, some interesting i/o cards.   Experimenting with PC hardware was new and fun, but that novelty wears off after a time.

 

On 2/6/2021 at 1:00 PM, 82-T/A said:

EDIT: Went on a ramble there. What I meant to say is that I still want a nice computer, but I stopped paying attention 20 years ago... so unfortunately, I'm completely not tracking when you guys go back and forth. I remember a time when I could lead a discussion like this, haha... but now I basically know what you guys are talking about, but the acronyms and the different processors and chip-sets don't mean anything to me, because I have no frame of reference anymore.

Every time I upgrade my computer, it seems I need to learn a whole new set of terminology!   There are so many CPUs and GPUs on the market with various naming schemes that it isn't clear what is better than what without doing some amount of research first.   The PCMR types who claim that building a PC is so simple that your grandmother can do it, don't understand how daunting this is for people who don't follow the PC market day in and day out. 

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On 2/6/2021 at 2:00 PM, Mockduck said:

I have been hearing about these sub-$300 wonder PCs for years from PC Master Race folk that run circles around every other device they dislike for some reason, and it remains as much BS now as it did in the year 2000. If I ever actually gave someone $300 and told them to make me something that is equivalent in every way to the VCS, they'd either have to lie and pretend issues aren't issues or they'd conveniently ignore that the thing they built wouldn't actually run because it was missing key components. 

yeah,  I've seen so many of these $300 "console killer" builds.   But when I look at them, they are either under-powered or missing key components like a case/PSU or OS.   Completing the build into something usable would usually push it past the price of the console they would claim it beats.

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39 minutes ago, youxia said:

Here's a ~300USD PC build which easily outperforms VCS: https://techguided.com/best-gaming-pc-under-300-dollars/

 

Thsi is just first link I grabbed from the top. If I had some time and was putting it together myself I'm pretty sure I could do better, for example not sure what did they put 650W PSU in there for.

There is extreme bad faith on both sides here.
You can't compare a tower that you have to build yourself to a miniature pc that fits under the TV.

On 2/6/2021 at 8:00 PM, Mockduck said:

I have been hearing about these sub-$300 wonder PCs for years from PC Master Race folk that run circles around every other device they dislike for some reason, and it remains as much BS now as it did in the year 2000. If I ever actually gave someone $300 and told them to make me something that is equivalent in every way to the VCS, they'd either have to lie and pretend issues aren't issues or they'd conveniently ignore that the thing they built wouldn't actually run because it was missing key components. 

VCS at 300$ is not a full computer, you need at least to add storage at the very least to compare it to a PC. But yeah "console killers" at 300$ is BS. "VCS" killer at $300+storage cost prebuilt is debatable. if you want windows included, for a full "plug & play experience" then VCS really doesn't look so good anymore

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47 minutes ago, youxia said:

Here's a ~300USD PC build which easily outperforms VCS: https://techguided.com/best-gaming-pc-under-300-dollars/

 

Thsi is just first link I grabbed from the top. If I had some time and was putting it together myself I'm pretty sure I could do better, for example not sure what did they put 650W PSU in there for.

Not really fair to compare the VCS to something that you have to build yourself. Not sure why you're so hell-bent on trying to find other hardware that runs faster than the VCS. If the VCS is not for you, then move on and find some more productive methods of using your time other than trying to rile up those who do like the VCS.

 

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3 minutes ago, Zor said:

There is extreme bad faith on both sides here.
You can't compare a tower that you have to build yourself to a miniature pc that fits under the TV.

I was responding directly to a "build me an equivalent of a VCS" challenge. We can of course start moving some goalposts and start quantifying what an "equivalent" is, so it will stop making sense, but I don't think it's the point. Also, if you don't like a tower, stick this thing into a mini itx case, it'll be even cheaper.

 

@Sauron: ditto. Please read Mockduck's claim first and try to understand the context. As for the rest of your vent, do read the other recent VCS thread where this was explained in full.

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1 minute ago, youxia said:

@Sauron: ditto. Please read Mockduck's claim first and try to understand the context. As for the rest of your vent, do read the other recent VCS thread where this was explained in full.

I've read them all, so I know the full context. It's just getting tiresome coming into the VCS forum and continuing to see posts from those who view the VCS to be an existential threat.

 

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6 minutes ago, Sauron said:

I've read them all, so I know the full context. It's just getting tiresome coming into the VCS forum and continuing to see posts from those who view the VCS to be an existential threat.

 

I don't see anybody stating that VCS is an existential threat. What I do see is a tech-based discussion, with some people making claims and others responding to them.

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9 minutes ago, Sauron said:

Not really fair to compare the VCS to something that you have to build yourself. Not sure why you're so hell-bent on trying to find other hardware that runs faster than the VCS. If the VCS is not for you, then move on and find some more productive methods of using your time other than trying to rile up those who do like the VCS.

Yeah it is bizarre all the "buy a real gaming PC", "buy a Raspberry Pi", "buy a generic mini PC"    "Just buy anything, as long as it isn't a VCS!!!"  posts.

 

I've noticed that most of the posters here who have a VCS or are interested in a VCS have powerful PCs already.  They also don't seem to be interested in getting the most bang for their buck.  I think the appeal is some mixture of A) it's the first Atari-branded piece of hardware in years B) it's something new to tinker with C) would make a good living room PC or second PC or retro box.    The alternatives don't satisfy point A.

 

Maybe some people will say it's not a rational reason, but I see people spend more money on crazier things every day.  So I don't understand why some people can't respect that the VCS has fans and think they need to be convinced to buy something else, anything else instead?

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