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

Discussion about old PC hardware.

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

Postby dr_st » 2018-12-04 @ 19:49

My crosshead screwdriver.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby Intel486dx33 » 2018-12-04 @ 19:58

Vintage PC hardware for reliability, compatibility and ease of use:
IBM harddrives
WD harddrives
HGST harddrives
Old Conner drives are slow and have a unique sound but they still work. Durable.
Intel CPU’s
Intel chipset based motherboards.
Adaptec scsi
Smbios SCSI
Intel 3com, and AMD, network cards.
ISA graphics S3 and Cirrus Logic cards.
HP workstation computers.
IBM computers
Apple computers.

What is NOT so reliable is PCI and AGP graphics cards and motherboards ( Poor manufacturing techniques in soldering ).

I have worked with many types of computers. From single core cpu’s up to multi cpu’s Computers packing over 48 cores.

I will tell you my best and most reliable computer is an “iPad”.

If you are looking for the ultimate computer look no further. The ipad is the ultimate computer.
And it is apple’s least expensive computer.

Too many reasons to list as to why the iPad is the best computer for the American consumer.
The iPad is trouble free and it just works, hassle free.
Anyone can learn to use an ipad within minutes.

Do users need to be programmers in order to use a computer ?
This is NOT the USS Enterprise where the crew needs to know how to reprogram the computers every time something goes wrong.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby torindkflt » 2018-12-04 @ 20:00

Probably the most robust single piece of hardware I currently have in my collection would be the AMD 486DX4-100 CPU currently in my childhood 486 rebuild. Not only is it still working after nearly 24 years, it also survived after unknowingly being inserted backwards (rotated 180) and then powered on.

That's not the absolute oldest still-working hardware I have though. That would have to be the Disk II floppy drive on my Apple II Plus, which still works and AFAIK has never had maintenance done to it aside from using a cleaning disk. I suppose various other bits and pieces of the Apple II Plus itself may qualify (CPU, RAM, etc), but I cannot count the entire system in these regards because I had to replace at least two of the ROM chips to get it working when I originally got it.

Otherwise, the oldest complete system I currently have in my collection that still works perfectly without having had to do any repair work to it would be either my Toshiba T2100 portable from 1986 (8086 CPU, 640K RAM, 10MB HDD), or my AT&T PC 6300 with color monitor and original keyboard (didn't need any repair, but I did remove the CMOS battery and added a hard drive), also from 1986.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby elod » 2018-12-04 @ 20:13

Aragorn wrote: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.


I have an SX830, bought back in 2001-2ish. The PSU exploded in 2003. Replaced it this year with a flimsier but overall better Define R5. The SX will house something retro. Maybe the old Asrock 939Dual it had from 2005-6 with a Sonic Tower... Still have all the components. It would be nice for A3D Half Life.
I hated the door as well, it just kills the whole aesthetic.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby Almoststew1990 » 2018-12-04 @ 20:33

Whatever I buy cheaply, treat badly and push to its limits. Not the stuff I research, track down and pay decent money for!

For me it's my ECS L4S8A2 Pentium 4 motherboard - I threw it in the bin, left it in my sub zero car over night, put dozens of CPUs, sticks of RAM and AGP/PCI cards in it, had a PSU die through it, but it still fires up just fine. I still haven't had the decency to put a new CR2032 batter in it *feels bad*

Honorable mention goes to my 386 which also also never complains despite moving memory around, swapping cards over etc but is otherwise treated like a bomb that go off at any moment ;)
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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 @ 20:55

elfoam wrote: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.


I would say that the Atari 600XL and 800XL are indeed reliable. I have never owned a 1200XL though.

The Amiga 500 on the other hand would be on my list of the most unreliable computers; I've owned too many with defective disk drives and the A500 Plus has the leaking clock battery issue.
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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 @ 21:02

Intel486dx33 wrote:Vintage PC hardware:
IBM harddrives
WD harddrives
HGST harddrives
Old Conner drives are slow and have a unique sound but they still work. Durable.
Intel CPU’s
Intel chipset based motherboards.
Adaptec scsi
Smbios SCSI
Intel and AMD network cards.
ISA graphics cards.
HP workstation computers.
IBM computers
Apple computers.


I have worked with many types of computers. From single core cpu’s up to multi cpu’s Computers packing over 48 cores.

I will tell you my best and most reliable computer is an “iPad”.

If you are looking for the ultimate computer look no further. The ipad is the ultimate computer.
And is is apple’s least expensive computer.

Too many reasons to list as to why the iPad is the best computer for the American consumer.
The iPad is trouble free and it just works, hassle free.
Anyone can learn to use an ipad within minutes.

Do users need to be programmers in order to use a computer ?
This is NOT the USS Enterprise where the crew needs to know how to reprogram the computers every time something goes wrong.


I have owned many old Apple computers with all sorts of issues, I would say only a couple models are pretty reliable. Even some IBM pc's develop issues over time.

iPad trouble free? Well, it depends on which version of iOS is installed, iOS 11 made mine very slow, thank the lord for iOS 12 :happy: . I would say that the battery is very good, I also like the screen and sound. But my older iPad does have some software issues every now and then.
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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 @ 21:21

elfoam wrote: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.


True that... You need to through in Vic-20 as well. What I don't get, is people saying that they are not reliable. If you use them without torturing them in any way, you are nice to them and you give them a recap. Then I will say they are pretty much bullit proof. So if people have them dying, well then they eighter treat them bad or they use power supplies that fails. In any case. A failed power supply is not the same as a unreliable machine.
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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 @ 21:25

Intel486dx33 wrote:I will tell you my best and most reliable computer is an “iPad”.


Ahhh... Uhmmm... NOPE. They tend to go bad after 2 to 5 years. Computers from the 8-Bit era, still have lower fail rate. If you think that any iPad will still work after 20 to 30 years after it left the factory, then think again.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby SW-SSG » 2018-12-04 @ 21:32

Intel486dx33 wrote:IBM harddrives

Ignore the Deskstar 75GXP and I would be inclined to agree with you! IBM had a very good reputation for reliability... before the 75GXP hit. Hitachi seems to have done well with bringing quality back up again after acquiring IBM Storage.
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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 @ 21:41

SpectriaForce wrote:
elfoam wrote:The Amiga 500 on the other hand would be on my list of the most unreliable computers; I've owned too many with defective disk drives and the A500 Plus has the leaking clock battery issue.


You have been unlucky. Though any drive need service at some point. Any floppy drive will be unreliable if it was used for 20 years in a row and never cleaned. If you take care of your drives and service them, especially if they are the main storage of that computer, then they will work for years on end. I think this is why you see more working floppy disk drives for PC. The main storage here is a harddrive, and they go bad more often than PC floppy drives do. Regarding the battery, the last non-plus had no battery, and the board is a revision that came right after the Plus revision. Plus has nearly exclusively "Rev 8a", as compared to the last non-Plus that has nearly exclusively "Rev 8a.1". On the bright side. The Amiga500-Plus is the most rare of all Amiga500's. It was never sold in America, only in Europe and perhaps in Australia too. And it was only on the market for a year or so. Before it was replaced by the Amiga600.

The most reliable Amiga500 that I have seen, are the "fake" Amiga500, as it has the Plus mobo and most bugs have been solved. It has full ECS chipset. Even my 500 "Rev. 5 model-3" that was utterly rusty. It was in a non working state, yet cleaned up, it worked again. I never had to recap it, only solder in some new ports. The machine it self was actually only "dirty" from all that oxidation on pins and rust on ports.

Just take a look here...
http://to9xct.blogspot.com/2018/09/my-amiga500-refurbish-project.html
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby Intel486dx33 » 2018-12-04 @ 21:51

brostenen wrote:
Intel486dx33 wrote:I will tell you my best and most reliable computer is an “iPad”.


Ahhh... Uhmmm... NOPE. They tend to go bad after 2 to 5 years. Computers from the 8-Bit era, still have lower fail rate. If you think that any iPad will still work after 20 to 30 years after it left the factory, then think again.


My Apple “Color Classic-1” and “Performa 575“ can still access and surf the internet with MacOS System 7.1 and only 8mb. of ram using Netscape web browser.

Same goes for my 486 33mhz. PC’s with 8mb. Of ram running Win3.11 and Netscape web browser.

However with the Apple computers CD-ROM drives tend to fail and capacitors tend to go bad, Batteries can easily be replaced.
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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 @ 21:57

Intel486dx33 wrote:
brostenen wrote:
Intel486dx33 wrote:I will tell you my best and most reliable computer is an “iPad”.


Ahhh... Uhmmm... NOPE. They tend to go bad after 2 to 5 years. Computers from the 8-Bit era, still have lower fail rate. If you think that any iPad will still work after 20 to 30 years after it left the factory, then think again.


My Apple “Color Classic-1” and “Performa 575“ can still access and surf the internet with MacOS System 7.1 and only 8mb. of ram using Netscape web browser.

Same goes for my 486 33mhz. PC’s with 8mb. Of ram running Win3.11 and Netscape web browser.

However with the Apple computers CD-ROM drives tend to fail and capacitors tend to go bad, Batteries can easily be replaced.


Yeah... Happens. Yet an Color classic is still not an iPad. Any modern wearable device, like smartphones and tablets will never stand the test of time. They are simply too cheap build. Even Woz will agree on this.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby Koltoroc » 2018-12-05 @ 01:34

brostenen wrote:
Intel486dx33 wrote:I will tell you my best and most reliable computer is an “iPad”.


Ahhh... Uhmmm... NOPE. They tend to go bad after 2 to 5 years. Computers from the 8-Bit era, still have lower fail rate. If you think that any iPad will still work after 20 to 30 years after it left the factory, then think again.


Yeah, no chance in hell. Even assuming most of the electronics will be fine, the battery is going to be dead after 3-5 years, Lithium Ion have a very limited lifespan and 5 years down the line good luck getting replacement batteries and someone who will still bother with those glorified smartphones. Also the flash memory will not last indefinitely and it will be VERY unlikely that a few years down the line anyone will be able to replace them, or even source compatible replacement parts.

igadgets are throwaway hardware designed to be unservicable and intended to be replaced at regular intervals. Granted, most android devices are not much better, but at least I can get between 5-10 reasonable android devices for the price of a single iGimmick and they are not nearly as locked down as them.

Also at least for motorola you can now get official replacement parts via ifixit. Good luck getting that iWhatever battery and not have it eaten by customs.

Apple, not even once.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby keenmaster486 » 2018-12-05 @ 01:50

I have an iPhone 3GS from 2009-ish that still works fine with a good battery - WiFi chip fried itself though. (no, I am not actively using this thing, it's a curiosity)

I think long term, we will find that the simplest hardware with the least things that could go wrong will last the longest. My vote is for original IBM PCs with no hard drives. Leave one of those in a room for 500 years, come back, clean it thoroughly, replace the electrolytics, and I bet it would still work.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby Baoran » 2018-12-05 @ 02:15

If we are talking about this kind of things, My Ti-92 calculator has been able handle all kinds of punishment... with all the probing...modding...overclocking... it is still going strong. Cant remember how many times I have dropped it during all these 30 years....

PS. I am really drunk while writing this message.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby keenmaster486 » 2018-12-05 @ 02:22

Baoran wrote:If we are talking about this kind of things, My Ti-92 calculator has been able handle all kinds of punishment... with all the probing...modding...overclocking... it is still going strong. Cant remember how many times I have dropped it during all these 30 years....

PS. I am really drunk while writing this message.

You seem to write better drunk than a lot of people do sober. I see you are from Finland. Tsk tsk, native English speakers!
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby tayyare » 2018-12-05 @ 07:55

My 386SX-16 board with onboard soldered CPU (Hedeka HED923) which is purchased as a part of the cheaply collected together first PC in 1992, is still working without a fuss.

It was used as a number crunching machine during my universty years, running a lot of self made FORTRAN and MATLAB programs doing computational fluid dynamics, atmospheric physiscs, and all kinds of numerical analysis (soemtimes days long without a break), in addition to any other more common things like creating reports and playing games. After two and a half years of heavy use by myself, it had been used continuously by one of my mates in DOS programming tasks (C++) for another two years.

Apart from that, Oak 067 VGA card and 1.2MB 5.25" FDD from the same 1992 machine are also still working without problems.

For a more general case, I never ever come up with any CPU that became unoperational under normal use. I've seen chipped cores due to wrongly attached coolers, broken pins due to missallignment, fried CPUs because of the malfunctioned coolers, etc. but never seen any CPU that goes bad due to old age.

The most problematic and unreliable parts are HDDs, CD/DVD drives and FDDs in my opinion and experience. The second one is display cards but not the old ones, I would say post FX 5xxx or 6xxx ones

People said that SB cards are most realiable, but my experience is a bit different. I have two AWE64 Golds that went bad under normal and infrequent use (both puchased as used but in perfectly working condition when put in use). One is almost completely shut itself off (both PNP BIOS and CTCM cannot recognize it in 7 of 10 boot ups) and the second one is a mono, left channel only card at the moment.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby brostenen » 2018-12-05 @ 08:39

I think creative suffer from the same illness as Apple. Once they became too popular, the quality went down the drain. It is like... All sorts of issues with the PNP part and build quality on AWE64's and some AWE32's. Yet SB-Pro/SB 1.5 cards are really reliable like a workhorse. The only Creative cards I had dying on me was AWE32 CT-2760 and SB16-Value CT-2770. Yet Creative might have cleaned up their act, as no Live has ever died on me.

Speaking of calculators. I have had a lot of Texas ones dying on me. They just refused to turn on for some unknown reason. I have one of the last revisions of the grey Ps1 console, it too is working flawless and I have a Ps2-Fat with V4 board, bought from new in 2001, and that is working like a charm as well (except one single cleaning of the laser). And the Ps2 should actually be dead from the following...

Back in 1997, I moved into this house, that I shared with a friend. Back then I was smoking really heavy and I was smoking inside. So... Fast forward to 2001, were I had gotten a girl in my life and the friend had long moved out. I bought that Playstation2. And after I split up with her, I had another person move in, and we shared the house. I had the upper floor except the bathroom that we shared and he had the lower floor except we shared the kitchen. My living room on the top floor was no bigger than 15 square meters, and I smoked like 20 to 30 cigarettes each day at that time. And lazy as I was, I only let in fresh air once every week during the winter. Sooo.... The Ps2 was actually exposed to extreme amounts of cigarette smoke each day, for about 3 years straight. Until I moved across the country to live and work in Copenhagen.

Now I only smoke between 5 and 10 cigarettes each day. Sometimes only 3, and I always smoke outside. Have done this since some 2014 or so. So to recap... The Ps2 should actually have died many years ago. Yet still going strong and working like brand new. Why I do not know. There are two possible explanations. One is that the machine is of superior build quality or two is that cigarette smoke is actually not that damaging for electronics as people are telling. Sure it can shorten, if there is enough humid in the air and a lot of big dust balls inside the electronics.
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Re: From your experience, what have you found to be the most robust, reliable hardware to date?

Postby eisapc » 2018-12-05 @ 09:57

Wonder why nobody mentioned the IBM Model M keyboard yet? The original with removable cable. Used several of these over the years and never one broke. Only caveeat is they draw too much power on some newer systems or KVMs and some keycaps got lost over the years.
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