Reply 20 of 40, by FFXIhealer
This touches on the debate on what constitutes "retro". We used to have a good understanding of it, but the line is getting VERY blurry now for a number of reasons.
MS-DOS is retro because nobody uses it anymore for modern software, nobody's making new software using it, it's limited to 16-bit software at best, has severe memory limitations, etc. NOBODY writes for it, so it is dead. Can it run on modern hardware? Sure, but why would you want to? So... Retro.
Windows 9x is the 32-bit system sitting on top of MS-DOS. It is no longer in use in any way except as the originator of the modern desktop layout still in use by modern OSs like Windows 10 (Start Button, Task Bar, clock in the bottom corner, etc.)
Windows XP represented the end of the 9x line and the forced migration to the NT 32-bit kernel, but it still has its limitations as noted above - drivers, DirectX 9.0c cap, ~3.5GB memory limit. I never tried it on a Core 2 system outside of getting my hands on a Dual-Core Pentium (LGA775) system last year that I put XP on and it runs well. It could use a beefy (for its time) PCI-E graphics card, but it's not really worth the money expenditure yet except as a retro gaming PC. My REGULAR XP gaming PC uses a single-core Pentium M at a measly 2.1GHz, the Pentium Dual-Core runs around 2.4GHz and has a 2nd CPU core, so it's quite a bit better. I also have a 2.9Ghz Core 2 Duo laying around somewhere I could use but the only real advantage would be a bigger L2 cache, and I'm not completely convinced that would have much of an impact in gaming on XP.
ANYWAY... Windows XP is considered Retro also because there were games that ran perfectly on it that had to be modified in order to run on Windows 7/8/10 etc. Case in point, my copy of F.E.A.R. flat-out REFUSES to run on Windows 10 - any of my machines and I've tried them all. If I recall, it worked perfectly fine on Windows 7 and it runs very well on my WinXP laptop.
Notice that in NONE of the above scenarios was "time" a factor in considering it retro. It was all based around usage. I'm running Windows 10 on a 2008 Dell Vostro 420 running an old Core 2 Quad Q9650 and 8GB of DDR3 memory. The system bottlenecks the boot SSD to around 250MB/s read speeds, but who cares? It runs it just fine and I could probably do some light gaming on it if I had a beefier graphics card in it (it currently runs a GT 1030). So I wouldn't consider the Core 2 line "retro" just yet. It ran Windows 10 fine with the aforementioned Core 2 Duo @2.9GHz with only the occasional stutter or hiccup in switching between programs like web browsers. The Core 2 Quad resolved those by having more available CPU cores to handle the switching of apps better.
The time of aging hardware becoming irrelevant is disappearing. The software is no longer moving ahead so fast that older hardware can't keep up the way it used to back in the 90s. Back then, if your computer was 2 years old, it was already out-of-date and unable to run the latest games, etc. Now, 10-year-old graphics cards can play modern games, just at lower resolutions or lower effects settings. I know I played Tomb Raider 2013 on my pair of GTX 480s on a 2010 gaming rig at medium settings with hair tessellation turned off and got between 40 and 60 FPS the entire time. It was a fairly smooth gaming experience, even at 1080p. I'm sure I could throw a more modern graphics card in that system and it would instantly jump up to 1440p high settings, as it's still using PCI-Express 2.0 and a 4/8 core i7 at around 3GHz. (Of course, once I get my custom water cooling loop installed and running, I'll be overclocking that to 4GHz easily.)
What constitutes "retro"? How do you define it? These are questions whose answers change depending on who you ask... or also WHEN you ask. But it makes for good reading on this forum, or any forum. And isn't that the point?