From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Discussion about old PC hardware.

From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby DaveJustDave » 2018-12-03 @ 23:22

I know certain products made in the early to mid 90s can be problematic.

So far with everything I have, old Commodores and ataris are failure prone.

My 51xx machines is a mixed bag. Lots of tantcap issues.

My Tandy 1000 machines are holding up well.

I haven't had a single sound blaster fail on me. ISA cga/ega/vga cards have been good as well
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby tegrady » 2018-12-04 @ 00:40

In my experience, Sound Blasters are the most reliable hardware I have ever owned. Sound Cards in general actually. I have yet to have a failed Sound Card.

However, I have had plenty of video cards, hard drives, RAM and motherboards go bad on me.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby Mister Xiado » 2018-12-04 @ 01:36

Second on Soundblaster cards. The only messed up one I've had to deal with had two SMD capacitors scraped off of the board during shipping. I didn't trash it, because it's not irreparable.
I have 5.25" floppies and drives from the mid-eighties that still read and write without issue, which is odd considering how fragile the drives and media are.
Older Apple hardware seems to last forever, same with Hewlett Packard/Packard Bell systems, in my admittedly limited experience. Had IBM, Sony, Acer, and Compaq branded systems fail and die with disturbing frequency.
Second on Commodore being failure-prone. I will forever hate them for their idiotic engineering of the power supplies for their 8 bit computers. It's one thing to fill the damned things with epoxy, but it's a whole other when that epoxy causes them to cook themselves to death and fail DANGEROUS to the computer, frying processors. No fail-safe system is malicious idiocy.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby Cobra42898 » 2018-12-04 @ 01:39

Seagate ST-225. 20mb. Rarely used but still working.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby krcroft » 2018-12-04 @ 02:07

Cobra42898 wrote:Seagate ST-225. 20mb. Rarely used but still working.

Seconding those old Seagates!

In the late 80s, my Dad had an ST-255N (40MB) installed in our 8 MHz 8086 Amstrad 1640. That PC was handed down to my late Grandpa who played it daily through the mid 2000's. Autoexec took him straight to Hoyle's Official Book of Games: Volume 1, which he loved playing against the Sierra gang.

The drive still winds up as reliably today as it did in the 80s; super robust mechanics.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby dionb » 2018-12-04 @ 07:28

In terms of oldest working computer hardware I currently have, it's a Seagate ST-412, 10MB, Type 1 - the original PC XT hard disk. Slow, noisy & tiny (in capacity, physically it stands tall in full height 5.25" glory), but still works with 0 bad sectors.

However I've had that drive for less than a year. In terms of things I've had myself... not much long term really. By the late 1990s my old Sinclair stuff (ZX81, Spectrum 48k, Spectrum +2) was dead, my parents' PS/2 model 70 also no longer booted (I now realize the 161 163 error indicated a simple dead CMOS battery/RTC). Hardly any truly old stuff survived my bottleneck when I moved to a small appartment in 2008, I think the item in longest continual use is my late mother's first-generation Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer from 1999.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby vvbee » 2018-12-04 @ 08:00

The full-tower chieftec dragon case I bought in 2001 or so has housed systems ranging from the athlon xp to its current haswell xeon. In daily use for 18 years, never broken down.

Technically my final fantasy 7 mouse pad from 1998 or so is also on that list. In daily use for 20 years and still going quite strong.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby ninkeo » 2018-12-04 @ 08:02

It seems to be a mix of sound cards and crappy dialup modems that don't want to die it seems. The only sound card I've had issues is with a sound blaster live 24 bit because of the condition it was in. A little TLC later and it was back to full health.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby doaks80 » 2018-12-04 @ 08:20

Geforce FX 5900 series, never, ever had one miss a beat, even after some of the worst shipping/packing I have seen.

Yet back a generation...the Ti4600 has been one of the hardest dying pieces of kit I ever owned. I have one left (the Leadtek with the big heatsink) and I am terrified to use it to find out it has died as well. Radeon 9700/9800s are similarly terrible.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby brostenen » 2018-12-04 @ 10:41

Capacitors aside. Then I have found Commodore64 model C to be the most reliable. Then comes Amiga500 and finally 286 to 486 era hardware. When stuff is past 1995, then it is mostly Intel and Asus motherboards. Worst hardware that I have seen are Asrock motherboards from around 2003 to 2006. I have had 4 boards back when they were new, and they kind of tend to die after two years, if they are used some 6 hours a day. Never had that issue with something like Gigabyte GA5AX or any Asus Slot1/SS7 boards.

The most reliable to date are my C64-C. From 1987 and still going strong. Though I had some GFX problems that went away after a recap. They were minor, like a tiny bit of snow and brightness level going up and down. Yet it was still loading and running everything before the recap.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby Aragorn » 2018-12-04 @ 11:07

vvbee wrote:The full-tower chieftec dragon case I bought in 2001 or so has housed systems ranging from the athlon xp to its current haswell xeon. In daily use for 18 years, never broken down.

Technically my final fantasy 7 mouse pad from 1998 or so is also on that list. In daily use for 20 years and still going quite strong.


I had a Antec/Cheiftec full tower back then too, mine had no door, the CD bays exposed, Antec SX1230 i believe. The later Dragon cases had a door which i didnt like. I sold it as it was too big, i'd really like an SX600 or maybe SX800/830 again though, but they seem impossible to find. I've seen a few dragons with the door pop up on ebay, but not seen the non-door version.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby SpectriaForce » 2018-12-04 @ 11:27

80’s hardware:

- Apple IIe from 1984 and more recent (with updated power supply)
- Apple Macintosh SE series (overall a good design)
- Atari ST series (may look and feel cheap, but the hardware inside seems indestructible), only the mice fail
- Y-E Data 5.25” floppy drives - still need to get the first defective one (no wonder IBM chose for this brand)

90’s hardware:

- Intel CPU’s, especially the SECC versions (because this form factor has no pins that can be damaged)
- IBM PC 3xx / 7x0 series, especially the later ‘96-‘97 models, overall best pc that they have ever made
- Many Asus slot 1 motherboards with original components that seem to last forever
- Diamond graphics cards, especially the more recent cards

I can also write down a whole list of stuff that’s unreliable, usually EOL by now, which is much, much longer. It includes pretty much everything from Sinclair, Amiga, Philips etc.
Last edited by SpectriaForce on 2018-12-04 @ 15:56, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby Baoran » 2018-12-04 @ 13:31

Intel built triton motherboards from mid 90s. They have been very durable for me.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby PTherapist » 2018-12-04 @ 13:32

Definitely my Seagate ST-225 hard drive. As others have mentioned, those things seem to last forever, which is ironic considering how crap modern Seagate hard drives are nowadays. My ST-225 was in storage for years, getting banged and bashed about but was happily resurrected last year for an 8088 XT build and is still working great.

Also my old Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2a is still going strong. Only needed a new belt fitting to the built-in cassette deck, which I pretty much never use anyway other than with 1 of those Cassette to Audio adapters, to allow me to load the games from my PC. This model doesn't have an audio input for an external cassette deck, hence the need for such an adapter, but it works very well and the Spectrum still gets some use from time to time.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby SPBHM » 2018-12-04 @ 14:01

oh yes I have one of those Seagate 20MB that still works, it was abandoned in humid garage for 20 years, I turned it on and it was all there and working fine, fairly impressive for a hard drive I thought.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby tegrady » 2018-12-04 @ 15:21

Also, I have never had a CPU die on me. They are fairly bulletproof, unless you physically damage them or do extreme overclocking.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby sf78 » 2018-12-04 @ 15:34

The oldest still working would be a VIC-20. Then again, it's more luck that it's still functional at this point so I wouldn't call it robust or reliable. That title should go to Rainbow 100+ which I saved last winter. Despite the creeping screen rot everything seems to work just as it did 35 years ago. I've made no repairs or tweaks to the hardware and nothing indicates that any part of it would fail anytime soon.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby Koltoroc » 2018-12-04 @ 16:43

tegrady wrote:Also, I have never had a CPU die on me. They are fairly bulletproof, unless you physically damage them or do extreme overclocking.


CPUs is a good call, I rarely see dead CPUs except for 2 types.
The first are Athlon and Duron CPUs of all types, I give it a 50/50 chance that any CPU I find actually works. Most die from chipping the corners, but I have seen enough dead ones without visible signs of why.
The second type are the 6502 derivatives that were used in the NES as well as the PPUs. Add to that the fact that chips from different consoles (PAL or NTSC, mixing PAL and NTSC parts does not work) don't reliable work together and you have sometimes to struggle to find matching pairs that work.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby elfoam » 2018-12-04 @ 17:54

Atari 800xl and Amiga 500s are the most reliable two machines imho!. Also the later C64s.. not the early ones. I've never seen a failed later revision C64c in my life, not once.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby AlaricD » 2018-12-04 @ 19:36

The Goldstar GCD-580-B 8x IDE drive. That, and pretty much all the Creative audio cards.

Also, the Slant Six engine, but I digress.
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