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Why are old PCs considered lame and boring?

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Reply 120 of 144, by Scali

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red_avatar wrote:

you had the Amiga and Atari fans who thought the PC didn't HAVE a history.

That's sad. Gaming on PC goes back further than the Amiga and Atari ST.
Sure, they weren't necessarily *good* games, at least, not in terms of graphics and sound, but there have been plenty of PC games since the early 80s.
In fact, the primitive nature of these early PC games is exactly what makes then interesting, if you ask me.
A game like Digger from 1983 is quite legendary: http://www.mobygames.com/game/pc-booter/digger
Or what about the first MS Flight Simulator from 1982? http://www.mobygames.com/game/pc-booter/micro … t-simulator-v10

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Reply 121 of 144, by amadeus777999

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Errius wrote:

The arrival of Doom in 1993 was a major event. PC gaming before Doom was sad.

Have to agree with that - at least in the light of "real time" and "intuitive action".
Computer gaming, in general, was somewhat of an interresting but kinda laughable/cryptic venue before Doom turned the world upside down.
On the Amiga...
...had one in the late 80ies and it was THE bomb. PCs were "serious" machines back then and "youngsters" were mostly interested in entertainment. Also paying a high price for being "bored" didn't serve the PC's popularity either.
After the dust having settled I would rather have an 486+(+fast VGA) than an OCS Amiga(ignoring exotic modes) because of the sweet 320*2xx 8bit modes which simply look awesome to me. The semi-stupid frame buffer enhanced by a somewhat "fast" CPU is a nice playground.
Later Amigas had AGA but for certain actions the pixel drawing speed was most likely too slow and I have no idea if they had hardware support for features which may have filled aforementioned functionality void.
Would be interesting to hear a take on that from experienced Amiga coders!

The PC is too broad of a platform to have the allure an Amiga(especially the 1000) might have unless you're more of a "plugger" and "configurator" though.

Reply 122 of 144, by cj_reha

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Being from the generation that mostly thinks old computers are boring and junk (I am 15), it is probably because they're subjectively "slow" and can't play games or stream video or anything many kids today want.

Of course, when you sit back and be patient, you can make them do some pretty modern things. I use my overclocked Pentium III to maintain my web site 😀

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Reply 123 of 144, by Deksor

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Some old computers feel like if things today were more optimized, they could still be used today. I remember that a few years ago, youtube was still usable on a pentium 3 900MHz laptop with 128MB of ram.

Even an old 486 can read low res youtube videos using ffmpeg under windows 2000 apparently (somebody did show that)

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Reply 124 of 144, by .legaCy

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Personally i dont think that old PCs are lame, but for gaming it may lack some capabilities because they were expensive and aimed towards business and more "serious" applications so gaming was more like a secondary application, but old game consoles primary application was games, and specially back in the time it was really hard to make such device that did well in every aspect, today we have phone with reasonably good cameras(i know that the high end dslr stuff will outperform the phone camera) but back in the day all the functionality that one smartphone has today would require a lot of dedicated devices.
Considering that International Business Machines made the PC aiming toward business i think that the gaming capabilities weren't the priority.
The first time that game capabilities were most considered on the pc for me is when CGA was invented(rgbi for sharp looking but less colorfull business applications) and composite for more colors and less sharp games.

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Reply 125 of 144, by Scali

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amadeus777999 wrote:

Later Amigas had AGA but for certain actions the pixel drawing speed was most likely too slow and I have no idea if they had hardware support for features which may have filled aforementioned functionality void.
Would be interesting to hear a take on that from experienced Amiga coders!

AGA didn't really offer much new in terms of functionality over OCS.
it was mainly slightly faster than OCS, enabled more colours, and slightly more advanced sprites. But that's about it.
It was still planar graphics, not very suitable for 'chunky' effects like 3d texture mapping and such.

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Reply 126 of 144, by Scali

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.legaCy wrote:

The first time that game capabilities were most considered on the pc for me is when CGA was invented(rgbi for sharp looking but less colorfull business applications) and composite for more colors and less sharp games.

CGA is as old as the PC itself.

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Reply 127 of 144, by gerwin

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Scali wrote:

If you ask me, SVGA is irrelevant. 99.99% of all DOS games are standard VGA.
VGA itself wasn't the problem. Lack of performance was.
Amiga offered graphics that were roughly the same quality as VGA, but most games ran at a perfectly smooth 50 fps, where PC was slow and jerky.

I would like to add a comment to this. Mode 13h 320x200 was easy to work with, but had a downside. Even though mode 13h came with cards with at least 256kB memory, the mode was restricted to a 64kB memory window. Thus, a single page which was always visible on screen. No page-flipping was possible. Games like Doom tweaked the graphics registers directly and got to a 320x200 mode-X with page flipping, up to 4 pages. But that made the memory access planar (as the harware was actually planar), which is a pain to work with.

Last edited by gerwin on 2017-08-26, 18:21. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 128 of 144, by Scali

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gerwin wrote:

I would like to add a comment to this. Mode 13h 320x200 was not all it could be and should be. Even though mode 13h generally was used on cards with at least 256kB memory, the mode was never able to go beyond its 64kB memory window. Thus, a single page which was always visible on screen. No page-flipping was possible. Games like Doom tweaked the graphics registers directly and got to a 320x200 mode-X with page flipping, up to 4 pages. But that made the memory access planar, which is a pain to work with.

Well, I have three things to say to that:
1) Mode X is still standard VGA, not SVGA
2) Amiga also uses a planar memory layout
3) Even with mode X, you still needed quite a powerful CPU to pull off smooth scrolling, sprites etc. Things that worked fine at 50 fps on a stock Amiga.

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Reply 129 of 144, by gerwin

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While I was writing my comment, and editing it, I was actually wondering. Could IBM have made a mode 13h with two pages with the technical limitations of the time? At first I thought yes, but now I am unsure.
My comment was only resulting from your text 'VGA itself wasn't the problem.' I have no knowledge or opinion about anything Amiga.
VESA came way to late to give DOS video access without compromise, though it is very nice that VESA is there now.

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Reply 130 of 144, by .legaCy

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Scali wrote:
.legaCy wrote:

The first time that game capabilities were most considered on the pc for me is when CGA was invented(rgbi for sharp looking but less colorfull business applications) and composite for more colors and less sharp games.

CGA is as old as the PC itself.

I might be wrong, but isn't MDA the first video adapter and CGA coming right after it?

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Reply 131 of 144, by Tiger433

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Today computers in my opinion is far more boring, with that new windows 10, cpu`s with high TDP, very big and very hot videocards, and everything is very power hungry and worse games today, I still miss older times where games where better, have far less errors. And today online gaming which I don`t like, savepoints in games, and totally bad is login somewhere to play games, I also don`t like that. For me was better to put cd in drive and run game after that or even instantly from harddrive without login somewhere. So for me today computers are bad and boring, and old are good, and better and I miss old computer times every day.

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Reply 132 of 144, by Scali

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.legaCy wrote:

I might be wrong, but isn't MDA the first video adapter and CGA coming right after it?

They were both available at launch time (and can in fact be used together in a single PC, as a multi-monitor setup).
Two facts to support that CGA is very much a part of the original PC from the start:
1) A CGA card has no BIOS, the BIOS routines for MDA and CGA are included in the main PC BIOS (as is the font data).
2) The PC has an adjustable capacitor on the motherboard, for fine-tuning the base clock on the ISA bus which is used by CGA to generate an NTSC-compatible signal.

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Reply 133 of 144, by Unknown_K

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The Amiga was nice for platform games, but once VGA came around adventure, RTS, and really anything non platform was better on the PC. Having a cheap HD also made life nicer on the PC side. People say DOOM put the nail in Amiga's coffin but I think it came much earlier then that.

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Reply 134 of 144, by Tiger433

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And even on Amiga you don`t have to login on internet to play that games 😀 Amiga also can have HD, Amiga died by bad marketing and closed architecture.

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Reply 135 of 144, by Jo22

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Tiger433 wrote:

Amiga died by bad marketing and closed architecture.

Not only by that.. -> http://www.mobygames.com/game/amiga/beneath-a … teel-sky/trivia

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 137 of 144, by jxalex

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Hello there.... 😀

(I have been a lurker here in couple threads and I admire that here are some who actually not only use but also create hardware... I create too)
Here I describe a somewhat different point of view. A view from a non-gamer who still uses old PCs like 486.
ALL is very different if the old machines if to create also hardware, not only software or using the software which requires some special hardware function. 😀 Then the emulators wont help.

I still find very good use for old PCs and actually here I prefer 486 machines becouse of their compatibility with some VGA cards (cirrus logic) which makes some programs to run (Soundclub, Cubic player) and the Gravis Ultrasound cards, demoscene,tracker programs. Of course several things can run faster on the Pentium but then again there are several things which do not work anymore. SO, the next machine again to keep.
Demoscene, trackers and such are why I deal with this and it has been much more accessible to me more than Amiga and others. Well, I had a ZX Spectrum clone (Leningrad version?) but it was more broken than in working order.

About 486. I keep it becouse it is very useful as I have created my own HARDWARE for it, also my programs access hardware and this is really what a emulators cannot do -- give suitable bus for hardware cards what are my own custom made things, MIDI port without latency, and stable timing.

So far I used that 486 with its DOS demos and music programs and trackers, but also hooked up via MIDI port the synths. Thats neither what emulators can cope.

AND lately I began to use more that old hardware like 486 becouse on one day I discovered the more demanding needs to program the chips what the Willem programmer revision did NOT worked as it should or it was not supported -- thus not compatible, even if it claimed to support. I am handy in electronics but neither the provided schematic in order to make expansion board to program 27c800/160 worked but also I had no access to program source. Still the latest versions require another hardware.
So, I just made a ISA card interface and I/O board and also I re-used my own old skills in Turbo pascal and voila! - my own programmer and all things done and working for ANY custom chip! It is later that when I actually realized what I had done really -- I re-used my very old skills, instead of eating through the documentation how to make the drivers in windows environment and to learn new programming tools, but also I used very affordable circuits, whereas USB version or PCI version would be much more expensive and also it saved much of the trouble, but at last, but not least -- I did something on old computer again, what manufacturers would have done and which has "requirement pentium 200000000000 and M$ platform". I saved time, money, nerves. Becouse when times change then the windows platform renders the compilers obsolete and they say that its time to move ahead just becouse they say so... thus it is next to impractical to create any hardware which uses windows as the Intel already abandoned before ISA bus, then PCI buses are neither so much affordable, and lately the LPT port vanished too.
Neither the programming in that windows environment is not my cup of tea becouse lately most of the software developers do not want to compile their programs to support on such old systems as on win98se while there is really no argument that why it would need atleast winXP but only their lazy habits!

Well, also here I skip the story where someone recommended that I can make a I/O bus interface with arduino and can have a speed with 200kB/s with USB, where I actually had my first ISA bus card I/O interface with 900kB/s already for 8bit mode, 2MB/s with 16bit and no hassle about making driver routines becouse it is with direct port access).

It is not the first time when I got to utilize my old programming tools and hardware habits again. with new platform it is always that the everchanging systems are rendering useless the knowledge but also making obsolete the bought or selfcreated hardware.

Also just the Willem programmer programs that one 4Mbit EPROM chip in 4 minutes and blank check is 60 seconds. My SEMF (as I call my programmer which I did) programs it in 36 seconds and blank check is 2 seconds.
The 27C160 chip is programmed in 56 seconds with my SEMF programmer (--the factory specification max speed for this chip!) and blank check is 4..5 seconds. WIth WIllem programmer it is 16 minutes to program that chip.

I am not into games so much and I have used my PCs in a manner than instead to upgrade and to move on the next platform I stick to the old machine and seek the alternative programs which do the same things without upgrading or buying anything at all. Thus I used 2 machines until 2003 and one was 486 and the second was AMD 450MHz Pentium but with win3.x and I managed to do everything on that what the average office work was. I managed to find alternative working thing for DOS or win3.x while others only knew the version working for win2k atleast.
When I watch now what is about the computers then it seems that its ridiculous.
To return to the EPROM burner problem if just solving the problem with money then similar programmer with such high speed would need at first money, for second new computer, newest operating system, and neither i have a good look over the software which is perhaps overly complicated, and thus it is very impractical machine where there does not run any other items what runs fine on my other computers. So far I see that the only things which demand for "upgrade" are the web browsers (so I avoid those pages), which also demand the upgrade for a newer platform, but where does not run anything other practical.
In fact the newest machines are 10 year old in my setup.... 😉

Current project: DOS ISA soundcard with 24bit/96Khz digital I/O, SB16 compatible switchable.
newly made SB-clone ...with 24bit and AES/EBU... join in development!

Reply 138 of 144, by jxalex

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notsofossil wrote:

Another reason I use years/decades old PC hardware regularly is because they're cheap, easy to get parts for, not harsh on the local landfill and aren't wasteful. What annoys the hell out of me is seeing people using overpriced and overpowered PCs for tasks that could be easily done on far cheaper and far more efficient hardware. Are we really such a first world country (USA/Canada) that we throw away perfectly good older PC hardware because new is where it's at? Even though it's a pain in the ass messing with software emulation and hacks just to enjoy our favorite games and programs from yesteryear? It blows my mind.

Yess.. exactly! I bet they have nothing to do with a machine which does not have mouse or internet connection... 😉
Whereas I tried to explain it to those who are in that neverending "upgrade" wasting squirrel wheel they never understood that example that "Hey, do you also throw away every second year the whole set of kitchen knifes and forks becouse the newspaper says so?"... yet they "upgrade" their computers after couple years year. In fact they cant use a computer or do anything with it if it does not have internet connection... 😉 ANd they are asking from me who has a very good archiving discipline that "Why oh why you record your own discs? You can upload to cloud (but not all) this data!"... Yeah, right, and it makes very little sense if the cloud server is *also server of my own*.

It is a very difficult and nerve consuming thing when it comes about the new computers. There is always some hardware which do not function any longer becouse I have no slot for it in machine, or the never ending driver seeking-trying trial-error blues, and once the system is established and me with the workflow then its the trouble that it gets outdated and only becouse 1-2 corporations say so. AND they talk about being userfriendly!!! This is certainly not.
It is made so becouse it is for sale and they do not really use it themself.

I see that many things have been "discontinued support" in order to force the users to buy a newer product, while there are no practical reasons for upgrade nor "upgrade" the companies practice F.U.D.
But also the major headache is that the programmers have also hand tied becouse of the programming environment?!? The new programs, even the simplest ones, which do not require so modern platform or fast computer, are compiled to run on the latest os versions, becouse the compilers are made so... (or the programmers are just being lazy to add backward compatibility?). Simple win98se win3.x programs still run on the win8 too, so why not to compile it to be backward compatible?
(Hey, the Steinberg is not interested about selling old version of the cubase for example and the same goes for others).

I do hardware and software for myself, and I do it just ONE TIME, and not tearing down every year to make a new version. There is no need to change it.

Also there are those who are not interested about compiling for older platform, and claim it also "not possible to do it right", yet there are those who can, have done it, and better. (here I compare the trackers which have the "atleast XP" support vs. win98se trackers made on 2006 with multiple MIDI port and ASIO native drivers support.).
When I first saw the CNC software Mach3 then I giggled that it uses the LPT port pin toggling access which reminded me
the Covox alike thing. But the most ridiculous was that the program requirement was for WINXP, and for25000Hz kernel speed it required several Ghz CPU. It was clear that this sort of action is better to do under DOS. 😁
And yes, interesting that similar software is made during 2005 (TurboCNC) which runs great on 486 too if not even better. 😉

I wonder...
On old time I heard seriously about being asked for a virtual soundblaster driver, and then IF there is also a virtual VGA driver for CGA screens.
SO, WHY NOT also latest intel and M$ release virtual emulation drivers for 486... 😉 These latest computers with their speed but clumsy software is a real pain becouse of their user reaction. I bet most users do not know any difference in the office package since 1994 year office version as they use just the basic functions.

Also DOS (non-official and reverse engineered versions) development is a exception becouse after that M$ declared DOS "not supported" any longer, then there came many different dos versions TR-DOS (with its built in novell netware server and client), chinese MS-DOS7.1 and with its WIN98SE clone. But while I bought Dell Latitude D400 back on 2006 then yes there was a freedos install CD, but it did NOT worked and could not install on that machine, whereas Dell supplied the drivers ONLY for atleast win2000/XP !!! However when seeking through the net I found everything to get all working with win98se too, except wifi module.

Current project: DOS ISA soundcard with 24bit/96Khz digital I/O, SB16 compatible switchable.
newly made SB-clone ...with 24bit and AES/EBU... join in development!

Reply 139 of 144, by jxalex

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devius wrote:

I also like the ability to buy hardware that I could never afford when it was new, but would read about in some magazine. A few years ago I put together the stupidest 486 ever, with a DX2-66, 128MB RAM and a 9,1GB SCSI HDD because I felt like it and it was something that no one on their right mind would ever build when these parts were relatively new. How is that not fun? 🤣

well, the same here, if it is "stupid" enough...
Intel Dx4-100Mhz with 16kB cache, 32MB RAM UltraScsi160 73GB HDD with Adaptec AHA19160 card,

back on the 2003 I had that 486 machine with 18GB UltraScsi160 HDD. 😀

But it is partly also becouse with compact flash card the Gravis sound made occassionally clicks with Inertia Player.

One my fellow made also this trick but did the other way -- he found in his library an old computer store detail price list, and then he calculated together how much worth would be his 486 machine be based on the pricelist details... 😁

zstandig wrote:

When somebody who is used to using computers for media usage and social communications sees an old computer they simply don't know what to make of it. It can't play video, it can't stream content, it can't display high resolution pictures, the games don't look appealing to modern eyes, it can't generally play audio etc.

THey just do not imagine a computer with DOS to play videos or to be used for browsing in the internet or to show hi-res pictures just becouse they do not know the software for it as they already went to those high number M$ releases and remaining not informed about the development of the software after that. I suppose.

Current project: DOS ISA soundcard with 24bit/96Khz digital I/O, SB16 compatible switchable.
newly made SB-clone ...with 24bit and AES/EBU... join in development!