VOGONS


Hardware by Year Build Guide

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First post, by appiah4

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I made this build guide for myself a while ago, and I've been updating it as I come across information that validates or invalidates what I think is appropriate for any year. It has evolved into what I think is a pretty good build guide. What I've aimed to do is, try to find the best hardware of each class released within each year, from multiple vendors when appropriate, then I've tried to color code and bunch together years that can best be represented together by a system built within that time frame.

I would be more than happy if Vogons can verify some of my assumptions (particularly amount of RAM for each year, but I'm sure there are other mistakes).

I also hope this will be a useful guide for others.

Anyway, here is a link to the table:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Fqh7a … dit?usp=sharing

Enjoy, and look forward to your feedback.

Last edited by appiah4 on 2019-03-28, 06:58. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 3 of 24, by Koltoroc

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Nitpick for 2018 AMD. There is no Ryzen+. It is either "Ryzen 2/Ryzen 2000 series" or Zen+. Ryzen is the marketing name for the desktop CPUs, Zen is the Chip architecture. Next year we will get Ryzen 3/Ryzen 3000 series using Zen 2.

Also the 2080ti is already out in 2018 and it is the only one that has a reason to exist.

Reply 4 of 24, by appiah4

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Baoran wrote:

Sound Blaster pro didn't exist in 1990.

Creative disagrees:

https://www.soundblaster.com/about/

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Reply 5 of 24, by Baoran

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appiah4 wrote:
Baoran wrote:

Sound Blaster pro didn't exist in 1990.

Creative disagrees:

https://www.soundblaster.com/about/

Strange. Even the picture of the card says 1991 on that page and other sources online say that sound blaster pro was announced in May 1991.

Reply 7 of 24, by appiah4

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lost77 wrote:

Is this list supposed to be average/mid-range specs or more high-end focused?

Right now it seems a mix of both, atleast to me.

Also, i dont think EDO RAM was available until 1994.

High is what I was aiming for; I would think that the configuration I have for each year would be the best the money could buy at the time.. Let me know what seems off to you please.

EDO was apparently available before 1994, take a look at this study: http://smithsonianchips.si.edu/ice/cd/MEMORY97/SEC02.PDF

Specifically Figure 2-12 shows EDO having over 20% market share at the beginning of 1994.

Last edited by appiah4 on 2018-10-18, 20:53. Edited 2 times in total.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 8 of 24, by appiah4

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Koltoroc wrote:

Nitpick for 2018 AMD. There is no Ryzen+. It is either "Ryzen 2/Ryzen 2000 series" or Zen+. Ryzen is the marketing name for the desktop CPUs, Zen is the Chip architecture. Next year we will get Ryzen 3/Ryzen 3000 series using Zen 2.

Also the 2080ti is already out in 2018 and it is the only one that has a reason to exist.

I will fix this tomorrow, thank you for pointing it out.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 9 of 24, by Baoran

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I have had more ram in PCs that I built. I had 8Gb of ram in my core 2 duo that I built in 2007 and I did put 16Gb of ram in the I7-4770k/gtx780ti system I built in early 2013. I am still using that I7-4770k system now but I upgraded to 1080ti when it came out couple years ago.

Reply 10 of 24, by 0kool

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Thanks for the list, appiah4. It will be helpful as a point of reference when targeting a certain year.
I think you are overly conservative with RAM size though. In many cases I would call for double the amount.

Reply 11 of 24, by watson

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0kool wrote:

I think you are overly conservative with RAM size though. In many cases I would call for double the amount.

I think it's pretty spot on, at least years 2000+.
For example, Anandtech tested the first Athlon XPs with 256 MB in late 2001: https://www.anandtech.com/show/835/7
Athlon XP 3000+ was tested with 512 MB in 2003: https://www.anandtech.com/show/1066/7
Core 2 Duo was tested with 2 GB in 2006: https://www.anandtech.com/show/2045/3
4 GB was used for the Phenom X4 955 in 2009: https://www.anandtech.com/show/2754/7

Reply 12 of 24, by lost77

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appiah4 wrote:

EDO was apparently available before 1994, take a look at this study: http://smithsonianchips.si.edu/ice/cd/MEMORY97/SEC02.PDF

Specifically Figure 2-12 shows EDO having over 20% market share at the beginning of 1994.

20%, so basicly server market. That would be why i dont remember EDO before 1994.

I think some of your RAM estimates are on the low side. Even though I was struggling for money at the time here are some of my builds that differ from your list:

1997 - Pentium 64MB
1998 - Celeron 128MB
2001 - Thunderbird 512MB
2003 - Athlon XP 1GB
2007 - Core 2 Duo 4GB

You might also want to consider differentiating between different memory speeds like PC66 (1996,1997) PC100 (1998) PC133 (1999) pc-2100 (2000)
DDR ram was already introduced in 2000 and was faster right off the bat.

Two more little notes: In 1995 the Diamond Stealth 64 VRAM was a high-end graphics card along side the Matrox Millenium. The Trio cards were mainstream cards.
I would put 14.4GB in the HDD column for 1998. Thats the year i bought my IBM Deskstar 14GXP

Reply 13 of 24, by 0kool

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lost77 wrote:
I think some of your RAM estimates are on the low side. Even though I was struggling for money at the time here are some of my b […]
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I think some of your RAM estimates are on the low side. Even though I was struggling for money at the time here are some of my builds that differ from your list:

1997 - Pentium 64MB
1998 - Celeron 128MB
2001 - Thunderbird 512MB
2003 - Athlon XP 1GB

I have had the same experience, both with being tight with money and having the similar amount of memory (if you substitute Thunderbird and Athlon XP for Pentium 3 and Pentium 4).

Also I've never seen Pentiums with less than 16 megs of Ram and DX2s with less than 8, but I might be wrong - I was young and just got into computers at this point.

But I definitely would not call the OP's specs high-end in this regard, more like low to mid-range.

Reply 16 of 24, by appiah4

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I've looked into magazines, and the memory amounts I've had listed are pretty much double what the OEM PCs of the time had, or in most cases equal to what the reviewers used for testing relevant CPUs of the time. They may not have been the most you could have had, but they were what was common in mid/high end gaming PCs, I think.

I also think memories of RAM are kind of inflated; for example, some post above mentioned 1GB ram with AthlonXP - fair enough, but most definitely not in the Palomino/T-bred period, 1GB was ludicrous during most of AthlonXP's lifetime.

I did make some changes to the ram amounts anyway though..

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 17 of 24, by Anonymous Coward

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EDO might very well have come out prior to 1994, but at that time no chipsets existed (workstation or consumer) to take advantage of it.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 18 of 24, by appiah4

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Anonymous Coward wrote:

EDO might very well have come out prior to 1994, but at that time no chipsets existed (workstation or consumer) to take advantage of it.

Fair point, I have moved EDO to 1994.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 19 of 24, by villeneuve

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The Pentium II in 1997 was Klamath.
Pentium II Deschutes came out in 1998.
Pentium III wasn't available at all in 1998.
64 MB RAM in 1997 was over the top. Most ran 16 to 24, few ran 32 MB.
1997 could've some different soundcards added, for example I think the first DirectSound 3D compatible cards came out.
Phenom came out 2007 indeed, but Athlon 64 X2 AM2 it was for most of the year.