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First post, by gerry

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as example, i was not into computers as a hobby much during the critical period 2005-2012 , a period that signified nothing less than the total switch from 32 to 64 bit!

I had my (increasingly) vintage PCs still but didn't buy anything new during this time

Now i'm catching up having acquired a few examples of the period, boards or PCs from lga 775, AM2 etc

how about you - were there any periods in PC development that you missed out on during a lull in interest for example? Have you wanted to close the gap by getting things from that era now?

Reply 2 of 56, by jheronimus

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gerry wrote on 2021-09-14, 09:01:

how about you - were there any periods in PC development that you missed out on during a lull in interest for example? Have you wanted to close the gap by getting things from that era now?

I'd imagine that applies to about half of the people in the hobby 😀

As for me: I've started gaming in 1996, but had very crappy hardware and missed most of the cool stuff of the DOS era — first and foremost, everything about sound, music, multimedia CD-ROM craze and early Internet.

I've first played Doom, Quake, Hexen and Heretic on much newer hardware under Windows and didn't even consider them to be DOS games. Basically I've only played very basic puzzles and platformers like Supaplex, Blockout, Prince of Persia — and not in their best form (no sound except for the PC speaker). And in my childhood most people had NES clones (very popular in Russia, called "Dendy"), so I just somehow assumed that most games in early 90s and 80s very simple "kiddie" platformers and so on.

About 6 or 7 years ago I've learned about adventure titles like Harvester, Phantasmagoria I/II, I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream and others. Dark, gritty, often dealing with pretty mature themes, even if some of these games have B-movies level of writing. I also love FMV in games because you can see that a lot of the actors are just regular people that were in the office that day. Kind of cool to see a portal into a different time and culture.

Then I've learned about AdLib and most importantly, MT-32, SC-55 and other premium sound devices that I had no idea existed.

Ever since then I got hooked on this hobby. I've tried a lot of eras in retro computing, from XT to late Pentium III, but I keep coming back to mid-90s (early Win95 era) on hardware ranging from late 486 to Socket 5 and Socket 8, because for me it's just interesting to see what was actually possible in games when I was just a kid. There's just something about building a computer that cost $5000-7000 in 1995 and would probably be used for some professional environment. But here I am just playing Doom on it 😀

I've also missed most of the late XP and Vista era, but I don't think it was particularly great for PC gaming

Reply 3 of 56, by Caluser2000

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I musta missed it...........

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 4 of 56, by mR_Slug

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I missed the pre x86 stuff like the big iron, minicomputers and s-100 etc. First PC I had was a Tandon XT (actually a Tandy clone). It was pre-internet for me so the only games i had access to were stuff people gave me on 5.25" floppy's. Also only had MDA. Missed the 286 and 386 entirely. Next i had a 486SX-25 with win3.1. After that briefly a PS/2 9595 then a PII 400 with internet. So i missed the Pentium too. This is all on my main-rig. I was collecting stuff in the '90s and acquired dozens of 286's 386's and Pentiums so I only missed them by a few years. In the '90s there were all sorts of stuff i got like Atari ST and TRS-80s.

After that it was an Athlon 1GHz, the XP 1800 then Dual 604 Xeon 2.4. I used that until 2015-16 so missed out on a lot of stuff. Then Dual Xeon 3.2 on 771. Missed out on everything since then. As for gaming GTA 4 is still on my to-do list. It was only in the 2010s that I got around to playing Quake and Duke 3D all the way thru. I think the latest game I've played is GTA San Andres.

As for collecting i've got the '80s and '90s pretty well covered.

Ultimate Hardware 19 | EISA .cfg Archive | Chip set Encyclopedia

Reply 5 of 56, by 386SX

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I missed the 80's time correct computers cause I didn't even had one beside I knew about the Commodore 64 still popular in those days.
I missed the Doom, Doom II and Quake period cause still having a cheap slow 80386 computer when I was still using MS-DOS and Win 3.1 until Windows 98 and the K6-2 350. Then I followed with much interest the computer tech until the Athlon 64 period when I decided that it wasn't worth anymore to spend for such middle end new components for few games I ever played. So I missed the Socket 775 and above period and went to netbooks, old notebooks, retro hardware, and nowdays still using retro hardware as fast as possible for everyday office tasks.
The modern computer evolution doesn't interest me much I only read if I could upgrade in future for some low end config or just a newer low end gpu for some still working Socket 775 config I have now, for compatibility or just some tech demo/benchmark to see how it run but beside that I don't care a lot anymore modern tech.

Reply 6 of 56, by BitWrangler

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I had my nose glued to my 8 bit (figuratively) until 89 or so, then started looking around for "something better" but ho-lee crap everything was expensive to a teen with about $10 a month to work with. ... so I could just read about it... then early 90s I got hold of some junked Amstrads, followed by a 5150 and had them running. So I was kinda retro in PCs from the beginning as I was re-hashing the stuff I'd missed thru the 80s. Then I got enough into it to figure out how to throw a 386 together, and a year or so after "caught up" to contemporary systems with a 5x86. Then I guess there were kinda 3 year interludes where I just got on with what I'd got and paid less attention in the middle. I did kinda lose interest for a bit after Athlon XP through the early 64 bit stuff also.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 7 of 56, by keenmaster486

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I always miss the current era and go back to it later. Saves a lot of money and eliminates stress over status striving.

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
World's foremost 486 enjoyer.

Reply 8 of 56, by gerry

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jheronimus wrote on 2021-09-14, 09:38:

I also love FMV in games because you can see that a lot of the actors are just regular people that were in the office that day. Kind of cool to see a portal into a different time and culture.

ah yes, i did enjoy that - just seeing real people in a clip in the middle of a game was something new back then

I've also missed most of the late XP and Vista era, but I don't think it was particularly great for PC gaming

for some it was all far cry to crysis and they loved it but maybe it was evolution not revolution by then

mR_Slug wrote on 2021-09-14, 11:53:

I missed the pre x86 stuff like the big iron, minicomputers and s-100 etc.

yes, that period has pretty much vanished - i guess because there just wasn't the mass production of hardware by comparison

386SX wrote on 2021-09-14, 12:56:

I missed the 80's time correct computers cause I didn't even had one beside I knew about the Commodore 64 still popular in those days.

there is something special about the 'home computer' era that just wont be replicated, the amazement of having something plugged into the tv and being to program immediately it was switched on - being allowed into the world of computing, i'm sure it was a big impact on many people

BitWrangler wrote on 2021-09-14, 13:46:

Then I guess there were kinda 3 year interludes where I just got on with what I'd got and paid less attention in the middle. I did kinda lose interest for a bit after Athlon XP through the early 64 bit stuff also.

yeah, thats how it happens, periods of time when we dont pay as much interest, but then later on (for me at least) i want to 'catch up' by getting examples from that time

keenmaster486 wrote on 2021-09-14, 14:07:

I always miss the current era and go back to it later. Saves a lot of money and eliminates stress over status striving.

this is wise! on a slightly similar note i actually stopped going to the cinema many years ago and lost interest in new films, after a couple of years all those movies started being on regular tv anyway, so i've been happily behind the trail ever since and missing out on nothing much!

Reply 9 of 56, by Joakim

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I missed everything before 1996 kind of. Oh and the last 3-4 years maybe. My last upgrade on my main was a gf1070. But I think it still holds up, at least when I want to play Total War or something.

keenmaster486 wrote on 2021-09-14, 14:07:

I always miss the current era and go back to it later. Saves a lot of money and eliminates stress over status striving.

I do this with consoles, ok I don't wait an entire era maybe, but a half because launch titles suck.

(I probably won't even bother with the current console era though. Might jump on the VR thing at some stage, but it untill there is a retro computer build sim in VR.)

Reply 10 of 56, by Namrok

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386SX wrote on 2021-09-14, 12:56:

I missed the 80's time correct computers cause I didn't even had one beside I knew about the Commodore 64 still popular in those days.
I missed the Doom, Doom II and Quake period cause still having a cheap slow 80386 computer when I was still using MS-DOS and Win 3.1 until Windows 98 and the K6-2 350. Then I followed with much interest the computer tech until the Athlon 64 period when I decided that it wasn't worth anymore to spend for such middle end new components for few games I ever played. So I missed the Socket 775 and above period and went to netbooks, old notebooks, retro hardware, and nowdays still using retro hardware as fast as possible for everyday office tasks.
The modern computer evolution doesn't interest me much I only read if I could upgrade in future for some low end config or just a newer low end gpu for some still working Socket 775 config I have now, for compatibility or just some tech demo/benchmark to see how it run but beside that I don't care a lot anymore modern tech.

Playing games on underpowered hardware was a staple of my childhood. In 1997 I got a Pentium 120 when Pentium II's were debuting. It did have a shiny new PCI Riva 128 though. Playing Unreal on that in software mode was painful. In retrospect, it occurs to me I probably used cheat codes so much as a kid, because the games were utterly unplayable without them.

I actually have really fond memories of playing QTest on the family 486. Just wondering those empty levels, in all their full 3D glory. Even that mild task was probably 10 FPS?

You know, curiously enough, despite my father being a programmer, we didn't have a computer for the household until I was in my early teens. The first machine we got was the aforementioned 486/66. I remember my dad being excited it had VLB graphics. It was ostensibly "for work", with a tape backup drive and all the Borland development tools he used installed. But I always felt I missed out on earlier eras. The Commodore 64 when it showed up in culture like Friday The 13th Part 4 always fascinated me. And I always craved more time on my middle school's mysterious Apple IIs. Even the 386 laptop in the basement of a friend's house fascinated me. Was that a real thing or am I imagining things?

Reply 12 of 56, by drosse1meyer

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leileilol wrote on 2021-09-14, 09:35:

that cursed Netburst / GeforceFX period of 2002-2005

add ghz. profit. who cares about anything else??? (sarcasm)

P1 Build: Packard Bell - 233 MMX, Voodooo1, 64 MB, ALS100+
P2 Build: Dell Dimension R400 - 400 Mhz, GeForce2 32 MB, 128 MB
P3 Build: PIII @ 1 Ghz, 128 MB, GeForce2 GTS 64 MB
Macintosh: Performa 630CD - 6300 board @ 120 MHz, 64 MB, triple boot

Reply 13 of 56, by drosse1meyer

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Joakim wrote on 2021-09-14, 17:48:
I missed everything before 1996 kind of. Oh and the last 3-4 years maybe. My last upgrade on my main was a gf1070. But I think i […]
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I missed everything before 1996 kind of. Oh and the last 3-4 years maybe. My last upgrade on my main was a gf1070. But I think it still holds up, at least when I want to play Total War or something.

keenmaster486 wrote on 2021-09-14, 14:07:

I always miss the current era and go back to it later. Saves a lot of money and eliminates stress over status striving.

I do this with consoles, ok I don't wait an entire era maybe, but a half because launch titles suck.

(I probably won't even bother with the current console era though. Might jump on the VR thing at some stage, but it untill there is a retro computer build sim in VR.)

Yea I agree with not getting caught up in the craziness of console especially if theres nothing worth playing. I'll wait for a hw revision and save a few bucks (also avoid getting mugged by some shady person on craigslist).

P1 Build: Packard Bell - 233 MMX, Voodooo1, 64 MB, ALS100+
P2 Build: Dell Dimension R400 - 400 Mhz, GeForce2 32 MB, 128 MB
P3 Build: PIII @ 1 Ghz, 128 MB, GeForce2 GTS 64 MB
Macintosh: Performa 630CD - 6300 board @ 120 MHz, 64 MB, triple boot

Reply 14 of 56, by Caluser2000

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keenmaster486 wrote on 2021-09-14, 14:07:

I always miss the current era and go back to it later. Saves a lot of money and eliminates stress over status striving.

That is my approach as well. Folk just tend to give me old systems and I mix n max to get the best performance. Like LEGO really...😉.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 15 of 56, by mR_Slug

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-09-14, 18:08:
keenmaster486 wrote on 2021-09-14, 14:07:

I always miss the current era and go back to it later. Saves a lot of money and eliminates stress over status striving.

That is my approach as well. Folk just tend to give me old systems and I mix n max to get the best performance. Like LEGO really...😉.

I've done the same thing really. Not really by design. Just it seems 5 or 10 years go by, by the time I get round to a new computer game. As for hardware I go for the latest and greatest high-end workstations - 10 or 20 years later. For daily usage computer I need the availability of spare parts. That means I buy a spare of most things. And this means I buy $50 spare-or-repairs laptops and cheap server hardware.

Simple cannot stand the idea of something being under warranty that I can't crack open and fix myself. Having my desktop down for 3 weeks while something is being RMA'ed. Not for me. Then there is the expense of new hardware don't have the money for that. Now that 35 year old motherboard from halfway across the world, yes now that's worth it in my mind:-)

Ultimate Hardware 19 | EISA .cfg Archive | Chip set Encyclopedia

Reply 16 of 56, by 386SX

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Namrok wrote on 2021-09-14, 17:56:
Playing games on underpowered hardware was a staple of my childhood. In 1997 I got a Pentium 120 when Pentium II's were debutin […]
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386SX wrote on 2021-09-14, 12:56:

I missed the 80's time correct computers cause I didn't even had one beside I knew about the Commodore 64 still popular in those days.
I missed the Doom, Doom II and Quake period cause still having a cheap slow 80386 computer when I was still using MS-DOS and Win 3.1 until Windows 98 and the K6-2 350. Then I followed with much interest the computer tech until the Athlon 64 period when I decided that it wasn't worth anymore to spend for such middle end new components for few games I ever played. So I missed the Socket 775 and above period and went to netbooks, old notebooks, retro hardware, and nowdays still using retro hardware as fast as possible for everyday office tasks.
The modern computer evolution doesn't interest me much I only read if I could upgrade in future for some low end config or just a newer low end gpu for some still working Socket 775 config I have now, for compatibility or just some tech demo/benchmark to see how it run but beside that I don't care a lot anymore modern tech.

Playing games on underpowered hardware was a staple of my childhood. In 1997 I got a Pentium 120 when Pentium II's were debuting. It did have a shiny new PCI Riva 128 though. Playing Unreal on that in software mode was painful. In retrospect, it occurs to me I probably used cheat codes so much as a kid, because the games were utterly unplayable without them.

I actually have really fond memories of playing QTest on the family 486. Just wondering those empty levels, in all their full 3D glory. Even that mild task was probably 10 FPS?

You know, curiously enough, despite my father being a programmer, we didn't have a computer for the household until I was in my early teens. The first machine we got was the aforementioned 486/66. I remember my dad being excited it had VLB graphics. It was ostensibly "for work", with a tape backup drive and all the Borland development tools he used installed. But I always felt I missed out on earlier eras. The Commodore 64 when it showed up in culture like Friday The 13th Part 4 always fascinated me. And I always craved more time on my middle school's mysterious Apple IIs. Even the 386 laptop in the basement of a friend's house fascinated me. Was that a real thing or am I imagining things?

I suppose there were 80386 based notebook but I never saw one back in those days. Here in EU until almost the middle 90's the few computers around I remember was mostly 80386, few times 80486 based..also still 80286 heavy but great machines, some lucky friends had some time correct early Pentium machines which had absurd prices when instead I just received that first second hand 386 computer that I really used until it could even when the disk was clearly failing to boot. No games basically could run smooth, I never thought why but nowdays I obviously suppose the 20 Mhz SX cpu could have done a bit more without that Oak probably OTI37 vga card I had that probably slowed down even that cheap config. As only upgrade we added 4MB total simm modules but nothing obviously changed. Looking back I wish I had more technical knowledges to not buy a brand new K6-2 350 later and instead any other second hand Pentium MMX or K6 machine which might have been more than enough for the games/resolutions I used to play until early 2000's.

About the C64 even if it happened to play on it not many times I remember the infinite loading times of the tape based games that in EU were much more common than the disks cause the reader was impossible to buy for its price and anyway most games around were sold in that version. We loaded the game, then we left it for eating and after dinner the game was still loading. Patience had another whole meaning compared to these days.. 😁

Reply 17 of 56, by the3dfxdude

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386SX wrote on 2021-09-14, 20:53:
Namrok wrote on 2021-09-14, 17:56:

Even the 386 laptop in the basement of a friend's house fascinated me. Was that a real thing or am I imagining things?

I suppose there were 80386 based notebook but I never saw one back in those days.

I had a 386 laptop briefly, and while it was amazing trying a laptop that I could carry around for the first time (more portable than a portable), it wasn't that great as a gaming machine. In that machine, the lcd ghosted badly, and really was only good for simple dos games anyway. Which probably was ok back in the day, but I see it as a serious drawback now. What I remember best about the 386 (best remembered in desktop form) as finally fast enough for vga and able to run windows well, and also running a sound card / cdrom for the first time. But it was shortly superseded by the 486 which is much faster, where the PC really comes alive, including DOS games.

So really the 386 was a footnote for me, even though I really liked them in the early 90's, things moved so quickly. Frankly, if you were in deep in computing in just the 90's, you probably saw xt's all the way through to basically modern gaming. I did, although, I started earlier with the first PC's in the mid 80s, but those early PCs were more alike hardware wise and seemed to have a few more years to them. Otherwise, that's how encompassing and fast moving the 90's could be if you were into it daily. You wouldn't have missed much, or would you, had you blinked for a moment?

Reply 18 of 56, by BitWrangler

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I got a 386 laptop, subnote sized, a few months after building my sx40 desktop as the result of winning a contest. Zenith Zlite 320SL no speed demon but fairly useful for win 3x, pointer trails had to be on as yup screen lag was dire. Could just about run doom in low res with a layer of border, but it was hard to see fast moving stuff. Did quite a bit of typing stuff up on it, but mainly used EDIT or Notepad to hammer the text in and did the "processing" and formatting on something quicker. Still have it, but the plastics are in very poor condition, started turning to "chocolate", one hinge just tore out when I opened it a few years back. Then also have a 386 class Znote with a 486slc type chip in it, battered when I got it, also mono screen, an AST Premium Exec 3/25 (+FPU whoooo) kinda running with issues, a clamshell Goldstar GS520 playing dead 386sx16, and existing as a Schrodinger probability wave, in that I don't know it's exact position, some kind of Toshiba 2100 type thing. So apologies if you've never seen a 386 lappy, I've kinda hoarded more than my share. Those screens really don't make for gamers though, trust me, I ended up with the AST because due to wide bezel small screen I thought it was a rare color model, but nope. Another caveat if 386 laptops interest you, you cannot guarantee that they will have a decent amount of memory in, and by decent, I mean 4MB plus, not 64MB like ppl be cramming in 386DX these days. Memory upgrades were highly model specific and are as rare as unicorn turds. However, making PCBs has been taken down a peg or two from rocket surgery now, so if you wanna roll your own, have at it.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 19 of 56, by 386SX

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the3dfxdude wrote on 2021-09-14, 21:28:
386SX wrote on 2021-09-14, 20:53:
Namrok wrote on 2021-09-14, 17:56:

Even the 386 laptop in the basement of a friend's house fascinated me. Was that a real thing or am I imagining things?

I suppose there were 80386 based notebook but I never saw one back in those days.

I had a 386 laptop briefly, and while it was amazing trying a laptop that I could carry around for the first time (more portable than a portable), it wasn't that great as a gaming machine. In that machine, the lcd ghosted badly, and really was only good for simple dos games anyway. Which probably was ok back in the day, but I see it as a serious drawback now. What I remember best about the 386 (best remembered in desktop form) as finally fast enough for vga and able to run windows well, and also running a sound card / cdrom for the first time. But it was shortly superseded by the 486 which is much faster, where the PC really comes alive, including DOS games.

So really the 386 was a footnote for me, even though I really liked them in the early 90's, things moved so quickly. Frankly, if you were in deep in computing in just the 90's, you probably saw xt's all the way through to basically modern gaming. I did, although, I started earlier with the first PC's in the mid 80s, but those early PCs were more alike hardware wise and seemed to have a few more years to them. Otherwise, that's how encompassing and fast moving the 90's could be if you were into it daily. You wouldn't have missed much, or would you, had you blinked for a moment?

I imagined that the problem (even later with much faster cpu/mainboards) would have been the LCD quality. I remember some 486/Pentium maybe I saw which had the very same problems. Back in those times it still was an early tech and probably few people really needed it at least where I lived. In fact even desktop computer weren't really common and having a computer at home in the middle 90's was such a futuristic device more than the TV itself. Not to mention mobile giant phones with a hour of battery lifetime. I knew only one person having one and probably not using it that much. 😁

Back in those days and even before having my own 386 machine, I used to play on a friend 486SX Compaq machine and it was like a new world of gaming and possibilities. Arriving from the Z80 game consoles and seeing 3D games like Stunts was like another whole planet. I played so much on those games I will never forget those times.