Lets say you had an almost unlimited budget in the year you bought/built a system in the 1990's which setup would last the longe […]
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Lets say you had an almost unlimited budget in the year you bought/built a system in the 1990's which setup would last the longest while still be able to play newer released games satisfactory? It is easy to use all our hindsight when making this list, but here are my top three builds:
1. 1995 Pentium Pro system with 200mhz CPU, 64MB of RAM, AWE32 and a Matrox Millennium card, Adaptec SCSI controller (avoids problems with harddrive limits). Later upgrades Pentium II 333mhz Overdrive and Voodoo cards to go along with the Matrox.
- This build would easily bring you from early SVGA days in 1995 all the way into the 3D age in 2000-2001, 5-6 year life span!
2. 1990 486 DX-33 system. Later upgrade with an Intel Overdrive.
- Again a system able to take you from 1990 all the way up to the start of SVGA, around 1995 imo. If the DX4 or Pentium Overdrive works in such an early 486 board then it might last even a year longer to 1996!
3. 1998 440BX PII system. Mostly because later upgrades with faster AGP graphic cards and the Powerleap adapters (up to 1400mhz P3) made these systems able to work well until 2003-2004 On third place since it requires more upgrades than the other two systems to keep up.
So what do you think would have been the best investment in terms of longevity in the 90s?
What's crazy is that I still have Pentium Pros in service that I bought back in 1997. They are mainly servers in some capacity or another, but they're IBM Netvistas, so they were built for business-class work. Somewhere I've got a Pentium 60 IBM server that worked as a file server for quite a while. It's off right now, but I bet it would turn on if I hit the switch. One of my main file servers is DEC Pentium Pro 180 that's running 95 with a Promise HD controller so I could put a large IDE (160gb+) drive in it. It has two drives set up to manually copy from one to another, which it does at a whopping 22MB/sec. 🤣
I've not used my computers for gaming or my upgrade cycle would have been sooner. For me it's always been about who's waiting on who--if I'm waiting on the computer more, computer is slow; if the computer is waiting on me more, computer is fast enough. I still regularly use some DOS programs like the original quickbooks on my brother's old Pentium 133 laptop because it's quick enough to get the job done. I was using an IBM Pentium 3-866 upgraded with a Nvideo video card until I unplugged it due to it being infected with something. It was still fast enough with the video upgrade. Today, I use an XP Embedded thin client by Neoware that was basically $50. It does need video upgrades and such to compete with the IBM p3, but it's completely impervious to any infections, which is important for keeping our business network clean and secure.
I've still got a ton of old hardware I'd love to put back in service. It's amazing that after all these years, you can still get good use out of something as old as a pentium running windows 95 as a file server. It's just that people are hung up on 'newer is better' a lot of times. Lots of perfectly good hardware hits the landfills each year because of this misconception. 😒