VOGONS


486 Multimedia dream build ( 1993/94 ).

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Reply 80 of 136, by Intel486dx33

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I built this to compare with the legendary “Gateway 2000 4dx2-66v” computer.
Only my tower is smaller. But this case is very good quality construction.
Solid Steal construction. NOT thin sheet metal.

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Last edited by Intel486dx33 on 2021-04-14, 11:48. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 81 of 136, by Anonymous Coward

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Those old gateway 486s were really nice. I still remember the ads. At one point I managed to get my hands on a pristine full sized AT desktop version of this case. I think it was a 4d33 model. That thing was a beast. I really regret having to part with it.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 82 of 136, by Intel486dx33

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Anonymous Coward wrote on 2020-12-04, 13:45:

Those old gateway 486s were really nice. I still remember the ads. At one point I managed to get my hands on a pristine full sized AT desktop version of this case. I think it was a 4d33 model. That thing was a beast. I really regret having to part with it.

Yes, I have a few old Gateway 2000 computers. What I dont like about them is that they boot slow, the motherboard and bios is gateways own design and they are loud. the fans are loud and the old hard drives make a whining noise.

That’s why I built my own computer choosing the best components I could find from that era.
My build is non-proprietary, boots quickly, easy to upgrade or repair, and most importantly its quiet.
Loud computers was a plague of the 1990’s.

Reply 83 of 136, by Tali

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Well, my old 486 was never loud... about the only fan it had was a 8 cm one inside the PSU. It was a Cyrix DX2-66 OC'd to 80, with a Trident 9440TGUI or something, 1 meg of VRAM. I remember "upgrading" from 8 Mb 72 pin RAM to 16 Mb, even if 4 x 32 pin modules, but, at least, those were cheap, and the extra 8 megs helped with Win98. Yes, ran Win98 on that. Also dabbled with drivespace to some success - while reading was impossibly slow, it did allow me to run Master of Orion II off a 540 Mb HDD, which was still better than a CD.

And here for the real kicker. This was my PC from 97. From. Not till. So yes, DX4, let alone anything that said "133", was still a dream.

Anonymous Coward wrote on 2020-07-31, 05:19:

Yes and no.
Modern computers are indeed much faster, but the quality stinks and the software sucks....unless you're into 3D murder simulators. Modern internet sucks too.
I'd much rather relive the golden era than present day in which everything is targeted towards normaltards and everything is controlled by 3 companies.

Don't get me started. While I recognize how good and reliable office machines became (and yes, office stuff is pretty streamlined these days anyway), you are 100% spot on. Take any laptop. As much as crappy old ones were, it was mostly due to engineering errors, lack of foresight, etc. Now it's intentional. It's almost as if someone is calculating just how much plastic you need to make this part last the warranty period. And then someone had the stupid idea that minimal configuration means "good enough to browse the net until warranty runs out". Of course, that is, unless something new comes up and it is instantly obsolete.

Worse still, Linux used to be the "peanut OS" for some time, now if something runs Windows 10, it in no way means being able to run a gui-rich flavour of your penguin of choice. And the difference between the meanest i9/Threadripper to the lowest end of the low is such that you take a 10 years old Sandy i7, and it still kicks the crap out of anything you see with 4 cores or less.

Finally, audio. Since this is a multimedia PC thread, it only makes sense to speak of it. With all the improvements in 90's/ early 2000's to get the better sounding machine, you would expect things to continue getting better? No, it's either all digital, or some sucky Realtek chip even on an expensive board. Or some enthusiast grade external USB thingamajig at the price of a decent set of headphones. Granted, it sounds nice, but is it really that much better? Come on, 25 years have passed, and people still prefer old HiFi's to most of that new PC stuff! How hard is it to use some Nichicon Gold on an audio board? Are audio grade capacitors on an audio board a high-end only deal these days?

Then again, if leather trainers are now considered "premium wares"...

EDIT: P.S. GIMME BACK THOSE THEM NORMAL LAPTOP KEYS! APPLE, GET OUT!
/rant over

@ OP Nice system, and feels "right at home" for me. Then again, I recently built a similar one, and had a DX4 in it for a bit, until finally going with 5x86. No SCSI though. I know I want it, but I also damn sure know I won't use it.

Reply 84 of 136, by appiah4

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Tali wrote on 2021-01-19, 21:32:

Worse still, Linux used to be the "peanut OS" for some time, now if something runs Windows 10, it in no way means being able to run a gui-rich flavour of your penguin of choice. And the difference between the meanest i9/Threadripper to the lowest end of the low is such that you take a 10 years old Sandy i7, and it still kicks the crap out of anything you see with 4 cores or less.

... What?

Tali wrote on 2021-01-19, 21:32:

Finally, audio. Since this is a multimedia PC thread, it only makes sense to speak of it. With all the improvements in 90's/ early 2000's to get the better sounding machine, you would expect things to continue getting better? No, it's either all digital, or some sucky Realtek chip even on an expensive board. Or some enthusiast grade external USB thingamajig at the price of a decent set of headphones. Granted, it sounds nice, but is it really that much better? Come on, 25 years have passed, and people still prefer old HiFi's to most of that new PC stuff! How hard is it to use some Nichicon Gold on an audio board? Are audio grade capacitors on an audio board a high-end only deal these days?

This is just outright wrong and misinformed.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 85 of 136, by Tali

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-01-20, 07:32:
... What? […]
Show full quote
Tali wrote on 2021-01-19, 21:32:

Worse still, Linux used to be the "peanut OS" for some time, now if something runs Windows 10, it in no way means being able to run a gui-rich flavour of your penguin of choice. And the difference between the meanest i9/Threadripper to the lowest end of the low is such that you take a 10 years old Sandy i7, and it still kicks the crap out of anything you see with 4 cores or less.

... What?

Tali wrote on 2021-01-19, 21:32:

Finally, audio. Since this is a multimedia PC thread, it only makes sense to speak of it. With all the improvements in 90's/ early 2000's to get the better sounding machine, you would expect things to continue getting better? No, it's either all digital, or some sucky Realtek chip even on an expensive board. Or some enthusiast grade external USB thingamajig at the price of a decent set of headphones. Granted, it sounds nice, but is it really that much better? Come on, 25 years have passed, and people still prefer old HiFi's to most of that new PC stuff! How hard is it to use some Nichicon Gold on an audio board? Are audio grade capacitors on an audio board a high-end only deal these days?

This is just outright wrong and misinformed.

I'm not saying I'm 100% right. But take any Ubuntu, and even some other Gnome desktops... they will require more hardware grunt than Win10 to run smooth. I've had Windows 10 work on a Intel Atom with minimal amounts of RAM. So, a "peanut" machine. That was about time Ubuntu was playing around with Unity desktop.

Or are you referring to Sandy being obsolete? The IPC improvement has since 10 years ago been what? Less than 30%?

As for audio, pretty much any onboard solution is nothing more than a DAC, and most of the time not even a good one at that. Coupled with some cheap amp to boot. Even sticking an old SB X-FI makes a huge difference in sound. I know a modern dedicated sound card will sound better than an onboard solution, just like a modern high end CPU will beat a modern low end CPU. That's what supposed to happen. But why is modern low end worse than 10 year old high end? Same goes for pretty much anything, cars, shoes, you name it.

EDIT: Remember the lowest of low Celerons? A Celeron based on a late P3 would run circles around a Pentium Pro, not for the lack of Intel trying to nerf the crap out of it. Or the lowest GeForce 2 MX when compared to TNT Ultra?
EDIT2: Ok, there was this stinky affair of MX200, with cut down bandwidth and SDR, but that I would classify almost like intentional sabotage. And people were genuinely upset because that was a low move, and not that common back then. Especially when sellers wouldn't label it as such. Plus, it it still pretty close to it in performance (high 3k for MX vs low 4k for TNT on 3dmark 2000). Now people are shocked that 3070 beats 2080.
EDIT3: I could, of course, be wrong, and maybe my rosy glasses are painting too good a picture of the past... or maybe I expect too much from old hardware, when a new Raspberry is more powerful than a 4 year old Atom tablet that happily ran Win10. But somehow I get a feeling that while all that mobile stuff is evolving (at least in raw numbers), PC side of things has almost stagnated, when all we can do is just bolt more cores and hope them programmers figure out how to use them. And yes, I miss the times when a desktop flavour of Linux would run on just about anything. Remember having Puppy Linux on a 386... in 2007.

Reply 87 of 136, by appiah4

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pshipkov wrote on 2021-01-21, 07:00:

There is truth to what Tali says.
Linux used to be the clean and lean OS.
Not so much now-a-days.

Neither Tali nor you have any idea what Linux is, it is just a kernel. Linux is still (fairly) clean and lean.

When you are talking about Linux being slow you are basically complaining about your XWindow session being slow, and that means your Desktop Environment is too resource heavy for your system. Almost EVERY distro these days offer multiple DEs for different hardware requirements. If you can't run things like MATE, Cinnamon, KDE, etc. at satisfactory speeds just opt for LXDE, Xfce or some such.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 88 of 136, by pshipkov

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No reason for strong wording.

The way I see it:
As a home user, or small business unit monkeying around with stuff - yes, there are many options to pick from. At your own risk.
As a company that invests in a platform - no, not really - busines, legal, eula, support coverage, etc., practically limits you to 2 options - kde and gnome.
After close to 20 years in Linux and counting, I cannot but feel that it is loosing its ways.
Well, thats a big statement.
Let me constrain it a bit - for me at least it does not work as well as before. I can expand this to several market segments I have visibility into.
Package management is a growing headache over the last few years, than making things simpler.
The two main gui frameworks are becoming too extreme in their own ways - gnome trying to be osx, KDE running all the way in the opposite direction. Today Windows gui feels normal by comparison - meh. Gone are the days of gnome2.
I still prefer gcc to any other compiler. When paired with several third party tools it is quite nice, but it is really hard to ignore all the stuff that MS brought to Visual Studio. From intellisense, integrated debugger, profiler, mostly seamless extensibility with third party tools, etc. Point is- I see an OS both as a platform for consuming content and precompiled apps, as well as a development environment. There is no counterpart to that in Linux. The pieced together solutions we use are quite disjointed in comparison.
Then there is the situation with nvidia video drivers and rhel/fedora nouveou, which is not a big deal by itself, but adds one more kink to deal with.
Anyway.
Look, there are as many opinions as users.
There is the whole Linux as a network backbone which is what the os is mostly used for. That's a different story.
So, if you happen to feel otherwise - fine by me.
All best.

retro bits and bytes

Reply 89 of 136, by Anonymous Coward

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I haven't ran linux in a really long time...maybe 15 years or so. But what I remember was for a period, Gnome was a lot slower than KDE. That might not necessarily be the case now, and it probably also depends on how you have things configured. If you're just doing some generic install on a major distribution, I'm guessing things haven't been properly optimised for your system. In my opinion, if you're not doing a highly customised install, Linux is probably not the OS for you.

I used to hate gnome with a passion, and it really ticked me off that all the computer science noobs in my school. referred to it as "Gee Nome". I guess there was a reason they weren't English majors.
Also, gremlins are definitely not good for PCs, so I didn't want to take a chance with gnomes.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 90 of 136, by pshipkov

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Yeah, many develop strong opinion about stuff like that, to a point where it becomes religious matter.
While in reality all computer applications kind of suck, but differently. 😁

The places i know of leave the desktop environment "free" from customizations and up to the user to adjust to their liking, including support for both KDE and Gnome.
Most of the customization goes into packages, drivers and libraries in the Puppet or whatever mirrors.

retro bits and bytes

Reply 91 of 136, by Tali

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I was about to write a lengthy reply on what I consider when talking about Linux... but then this would turn into a slashdot debate from early 2k. Suffice to say, at work we had to drop Linux support for our application precisely because some people view Linux as just the kernel with a completely customizable mish mash of stuff bolted on top. A platform for application deployment that does not make.

Also, a recent case when I as a (this time) user had to run ROS with Gazebo and ArduPilot... and there was simply no combination of their versions that would let all three work together on any LTS of anything at the time. Sure, it may be a nice kernel. But for someone that needs stuff done *now* (insert Karen voice here) it doesn't cut the mustard as a complete OS, precisely because it isn't viewed as such. And that's a sad thing for me, since, just like NT, it has more potential on the inside than what the users are getting out of the box. But Linus himself seems to be unhappy with the present zoo of distros, he even ranted about it on a conference a couple years ago.

That said, I know that there are people that swear by the idea of "*nix as a collection of tools", and would, heck, were against anything that would even remotely violate the mantra (cough systemd cough). To each their own, I guess, but I doubt I'll see a "standard" guaranteed minimal runtime environment in Linux world any time soon. And if it happens, it will be some bloated thing by Canonical, defeating the idea.

Anyway, that's my personal opinion. Everyone has their own. But as far as deciding whether an OS is good for me, I'm not going to be helped by the fact that it works well for someone else.

Windows ain't perfect either, make no mistake. I've had my first blue screen in Windows 10 since it's release yesterday, when it crashed because BD-RE didn't recognize a 10 year old CD-R in time. This shouldn't happen. But I also had GParted crash twice with a RAID array that Win7 happily worked off of for years (and keeps working still). And I wasn't even managing the drive, just copying files from it. Nothing is perfect.

Finally, I know some people would (and some do) try to persuade me some fancy new BMW is the better car technically. But I still prefer the experience of driving my Alfa, old as it is. A comparison that makes me wish for ReactOS... ahh, never happening.

@OP sorry for hijacking the thread yet again.

Reply 92 of 136, by Tali

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Oh, and regarding the subject and my original rant. Back in the day, I'd run Visual Studio, Photoshop and, perhaps, Word all the while listening to mp3 in Winamp, on a 486 with 16 megs of RAM. Makes one think 😀

Reply 93 of 136, by jmarsh

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Tali wrote on 2021-01-21, 19:27:

Makes one think 😀

I think those must have been some pretty shitty quality MP3s to play in realtime on a 486, let alone while the system was under load. Or you're just wildly exaggerating.

Reply 94 of 136, by H3nrik V!

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Tali wrote on 2021-01-21, 19:27:

Oh, and regarding the subject and my original rant. Back in the day, I'd run Visual Studio, Photoshop and, perhaps, Word all the while listening to mp3 in Winamp, on a 486 with 16 megs of RAM. Makes one think 😀

Wow .. I had to overclock an AMD 133MHz to 160 MHz to play WinAmp - and not doing anything else, actually.

What 486 was that? And what windows version?

Please use the "quote" option if asking questions to what I write - it will really up the chances of me noticing 😀

Reply 95 of 136, by Intel486dx33

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H3nrik V! wrote on 2021-01-22, 08:50:
Tali wrote on 2021-01-21, 19:27:

Oh, and regarding the subject and my original rant. Back in the day, I'd run Visual Studio, Photoshop and, perhaps, Word all the while listening to mp3 in Winamp, on a 486 with 16 megs of RAM. Makes one think 😀

Wow .. I had to overclock an AMD 133MHz to 160 MHz to play WinAmp - and not doing anything else, actually.

What 486 was that? And what windows version?

Actually if you use WinAmp version 2.0 with 486 settings and increase the buffer size the 486 should play MP3’s okay.
Also “Simple MP3” player works okay on a 486 too.
In DOS “MPXplayer” works okay with 486 CPU. You may need to increase the settings for buffer.

Reply 96 of 136, by Tali

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jmarsh wrote on 2021-01-22, 01:11:
Tali wrote on 2021-01-21, 19:27:

Makes one think 😀

I think those must have been some pretty shitty quality MP3s to play in realtime on a 486, let alone while the system was under load. Or you're just wildly exaggerating.

Oh, those were so shitty one wouldn't want to listen to them in a car these days. Believe me, I tried. But at the time it was "good enough". Still, the very fact it could be done...

I also remember watching Taxi on a 486. It ran like crap, in a window about the size of four "start buttons", and still would play half a second, then lag the rest... But that was mighty impressive to me. I would pause it, let it buffer a bit, then play. Yes, I'm a masochist.

Then I got a Celeron 300A, and both these tasks became doable just fine, playing mp3's wouldn't even be noticeable in task manager, and my Winamp of choice became 2.5E with Gaiss plugin... while the same Taxi would play full screen.

What I don't find impressive is when the same happens with a modern PC. I know compression algorithms in video have gone a long way. But so did the hardware. What I can't forgive is that a 486 in 1997 was still mighty relevant (provided you understood it's limits), and during those crazy years overall hardware performance would double almost every year, while 2010-2020 we haven't seen even that much increase in performance, yet low end laptops made today are barely adequate even for running daily home user tasks. I've never seen such a mighty gap between high end and low end in capability in the 90's as I have in the last decade.

Also, as the discussion began speaking about quality. Most of the old hardware we have on this forum is... old. Yet I've come across just one board that wouldn't work, and it was a capacitor issue. Stuff just wouldn't break. I also have some old laptops, one of them was almost 10 years in use. Fujitsu Siemens Lifebook C1010 (a Celeron, to add to the discussion). It was good enough for its time and I remember using it still in 2008 at the very least. Since it was my daily driver, the case plastic eventually gave in, and so did the charger connector. Probably even the manufacturer didn't expect it to work for so long. Yet it did.

I am sure some of modern high end laptops could probably last just as long. But I doubt anything that's sold at sub 500 USD range will. So, on the one hand, we are getting cheaper low end. On the other, stuff that's actually usable for something and wouldn't break in a year or less is harder to find, almost as if there's no mid range. Build quality is now relegated to high end only. That's my gripe, really.

I understand, that if you want a plastic case to be as sturdy as aluminium, it won't be as thin. Then don't make it as thin. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I sometimes think stuff is being designed to fail, and it's been going on for some time now.

Reply 97 of 136, by Intel486dx33

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I am testing this computer right now with games in DOS and Win3x. And testing with Music CD’s and MP3’s
So far so good.

This computer run very quiet and smooth. No problems. Performs good for a 540mb.IDE hard-drive.
I have not run into any memory problems either. 16mb of ram appears to be more than enough to run everything.
I think it would work well with even 8mb of ram.
Networking works good too.
I can access a USB thumb drive in my Epson Workforce printer via the network and my WD-MyCloud NAS drives just fine.
I am using Ethernet to WIFI Bridge for network access.

I have not tried going on the internet with this computer, but I have been able to go on the internet using my AMD 5x86@160mhz. Build with no problems. Also with my Macintosh Color classic 16mhz CPU, with 8mb ram and Netscape version 3. So I am pretty sure this computer would be able to access MSN.com with not problems.

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Reply 98 of 136, by appiah4

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Tali wrote on 2021-01-21, 19:27:

Oh, and regarding the subject and my original rant. Back in the day, I'd run Visual Studio, Photoshop and, perhaps, Word all the while listening to mp3 in Winamp, on a 486 with 16 megs of RAM. Makes one think 😀

Bullshit.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 99 of 136, by Tali

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-01-23, 21:48:
Tali wrote on 2021-01-21, 19:27:

Oh, and regarding the subject and my original rant. Back in the day, I'd run Visual Studio, Photoshop and, perhaps, Word all the while listening to mp3 in Winamp, on a 486 with 16 megs of RAM. Makes one think 😀

Bullshit.

Just to test if it still works, I took Bard (Am5x86), as it is the closest to what I had back then (Cyrix DX2-66@80), even if a bit faster, but still it's technically a late 486, and installed Visual Basic 5 (that's what came with VS and that's what I was using back then), MS Office 97 and Winamp 1.0.

Winamp set to play via DirectSound, with mp3 codec configured to "486", 22 KHz. mp3 used was exactly from the time, 128 kbit, I still remember encoding those with bladeenc. I was able to listen to music while installing both and certainly after Word and VB were installed. There would be stuttering when heavy disk access happened (though could be remedied with larger file buffer; yet I wouldn't do that since at the time I had only 16 megs of RAM and would be unable to dedicate a quarter of it to music). When editing the program (even in visual mode, adding buttons and stuff), when writing in Word (adding tables, etc), and when switching between both, playback was fine. About the only time it would produce hiccups after install was when compiling the program.

Unfortunately at this time I couldn't test Photoshop, 3.0 wouldn't install on Windows 95, and after I tried installing it, I've been getting random crashes (was fine until then). I may try to reinstall the system sometime next week, but for now I might have to settle with Word 97 and VB 5.0.