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A 286 computer, is it totally useless?

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Reply 220 of 229, by Scali

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spiroyster wrote:

[EDIT:] And then ofcourse there was a whole Audio industry, idk, but pretty sure Amiga's were used extensively in that right up until late 90's?

Not really.
The Atari ST was the 'go to' platform for MIDI sequencing, as it supported CuBase and had MIDI ports onboard. There were versions of CuBase for other platforms, but they never caught on much.
Later, when things moved from MIDI to hardware recording and such, Apple became quite popular in studios.

Having said that, Amigas have been used in commercial music. It was mainly in the techno/dance scene, where some people would use trackers instead of MIDI.
This list includes various commercial tracks made with Amiga or other machines: https://chipflip.wordpress.com/timeline/

Also, this was a hit some years ago:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cWL89fjfUU

Clearly there's C64 in there 😀
Bastian was also active on Amiga.

http://scalibq.wordpress.com/just-keeping-it- … ro-programming/

Reply 221 of 229, by Grzyb

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Scali wrote:

It's not a case of "what if they built the VideoToaster for PC?"... They couldn't build it for PC in the first place. If they could, they probably would have, because the PC was a more common platform, so commercially it would have made more sense.

Doubtful.
Sure, no way to attach that VideoToaster to a PC with some common graphics card, but you know, PCs are modular, all they needed was to bundle the VideoToaster with a special graphics card.
But I guess it would be too expensive...

Yea, when I did CAD/CAM courses at university in the late 90s, we had a lab that consisted of a network of HP Apollo systems, running some UNIX variation. These systems were powered by 68030 CPUs, and had custom 3D acceleration hardware. We ran both AutoCAD and Pro/Engineer on them.

Fascinating...
I thought in the Unix world 68K got extinct around 1987, replaced by various RISC systems.
But apparently that Apollo platform survived into the 68040 era, which would be early 90s.

Argh!
Probably the only thing worse than that is disco polo - and in the 90s, Amiga fanboys were supposed to listen to a disco polo / techno dance band Jamrose, as they also did use Amiga 😁

Reply 222 of 229, by Scali

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Grzyb wrote:

Sure, no way to attach that VideoToaster to a PC with some common graphics card, but you know, PCs are modular, all they needed was to bundle the VideoToaster with a special graphics card.
But I guess it would be too expensive...

That's the thing... Everything is possible, but at some point you're basically building an entirely new machine. The Amiga hardware already WAS a character generator etc.
In theory ou could do it on PC. In practice you'd get into the same pricerange as other professional equipment, so there's no point.
The success of the VideoToaster is that people on a small budget could get into video editing and production, and achieve professional results.

Grzyb wrote:

I thought in the Unix world 68K got extinct around 1987, replaced by various RISC systems.
But apparently that Apollo platform survived into the 68040 era, which would be early 90s.

That's the thing I also always argue with x86. Just because 386 existed in 1986 doesn't mean it was commonplace.
The same with RISC machines. They existed, but they were only for high-end server and workstation purposes.
That was a niche market. If you have a workplace with dozens of machines, it's extremely expensive to upgrade all of them to the latest and greatest high-end stuff. So there was still market for 68k systems, just as 8088 and 286 machines were sold into the 1990s.

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Reply 223 of 229, by gdjacobs

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Scali wrote:

Yea, when I did CAD/CAM courses at university in the late 90s, we had a lab that consisted of a network of HP Apollo systems, running some UNIX variation. These systems were powered by 68030 CPUs, and had custom 3D acceleration hardware. We ran both AutoCAD and Pro/Engineer on them. No Windows or x86 yet. They only switched to Windows/x86 in the early 2000s.

Domain/OS. It was very, very advanced for it's time.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 224 of 229, by Caluser2000

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Jo22 wrote on 2019-12-03, 13:09:

😉

AlessandroB wrote:

I don't like CGA games or even EGA, except for curiosity, I'd play them just to see what the graphics were like, but I started with VGA and I wouldn't take much less. I could have been wrong in my comments, tell me yours.

Ironically, though, most 286 clones had VGA on-board. 😉

My Zenith Z386LP Plus from 1990 has and it's a great little machine. My first x86 system was a 286/16, 1 meg of ram, 256k vga with 14" monitor, 3.5"/5.25" hd floppy drives and 40 meg hdd in a mini AT flip top desktop case. Upgraded it to 4 megs of ram and fitted a 210meg hdd or thereabouts as I was running out of space on the 40 meg hdd pretty quickly. Fitted an Actavision Thunderboard sound card to it. Ran Windows 3.1 and GeoWorks 1.x just fine under Dr Dos 6. Got a lot of use out of that 286 system. Did all I needed out of a computer for around 4 years untill I aquired a 2nd hand 486 mobo. Reused the SIPPs as simms on the 486 mobo. I guess not being a hard core gamer helped. Although I did play some classics like Monkey Island, Eye of the Beholder, Lemmings etc. My current one, the Zenith Z286LP Plus with 286/12 cpu, takes 8 megs of ram and runs almost as fast as my old 286/16 did in a more compact form factor. Has a CD Rom drive attached via parallel port and external LS120 drive piggy backed to that. It is also attached to my home network. Of all my older systems it's the most used one.

So NO 286s are not useless.

Scali mentioned RISC systems were only used in high end applications ,so seems to have forgotten about Acorns line of ARM RISC systems aimed at the home/school/workplace market as well as used in niche applications. In fact I think they were the first company to do so. I have few of these systems and a couple of Amiga 600s. The A600s, and therefore the A500s, without a hdd are a pain with all the disk swapping you have to. The fact they use a different format disk/drive is annoying as well. The Acorns accept PC, and Atari as well as RiscOS formatted disks.

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There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 225 of 229, by Jo22

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2020-01-05, 04:38:

[..} mentioned RISC systems were only used in high end applications ,so seems to have forgotten about Acorns line of ARM RISC systems aimed at the home/school/workplace market as well as used in niche applications. [..]

Thanks for the picture, yours is looking well! 😁
Speaking of the Acorns, I remember an 80s article in a German PC magazine reporting Arthur OS (?) running on BBC Basic..
The critics were very good and experts were astonished by its capabilties and performance.
But after this, things went rather silent, I believe. Even though the Acorn RISC Machine (ARM) was really ahead of its time,
it apparently didn't catch on as much as it deserved. Except for some cool ads from 94-96, the Acorns weren't very popular over there.
At least in the wild (real life), I've never come accross one of these cool PCs myself, which is a shame. It would have been ideal for home users, too.
IMHO, the RISC PC family shared so many aspects with the Amiga platform. For example, it was made with PC emulators in mind, as well, just like the Amigas.
And it had quality games or enhanced ports of popular games, often making the platform more advanced than the Macintosh, even,
when it -for example- came to resolution and sound quality.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 226 of 229, by Caluser2000

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Acorns shared nothing in common with Amigas at all from what I can see.. RiosOS is a co-operative OS like Win3x and Classic MacOS.. AmigaOS was a fully pre-emtive OS, but more stable. RiSOS from the out set read/wrote to/formated x86 disks. Indeed used the same 3.5" fdds as the x86s so you could transfer data without needing an emulater. No need for a bridge board wth x86 processor. Amiga has it's own propriatory fdd just like Apple did. Acorn RiscOS systems also read/write/foremat Atari disks natively. It was designed from the outset to play nice with other popular systems. Of course there were x86 cpu add-on co-pro options available for some models if you needed that. A nice feature in RiscOS is the ability to change the ram disk size on the fly.

These systems were used in the education sector in the UK, Austrlia and here in New Zealand. Most of my acquisitions are from schools and a couple from private buyers.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 227 of 229, by Jo22

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2020-01-06, 01:16:

Acorns shared nothing in common with Amigas at all from what I can see.. [..]

Well, things are not obvious always. Mega Drive and Amiga are also considered similar, despite the "fact" that they are only sharing a quick M68k,
while the SNES and Amiga have so much more in common (both have intelligent chipsets and the SPC700 is like a future sibling of the Paula).
Anyway, I was thinking of the "spirit" of the platforms also, when I wrote that. -> https://youtu.be/hrj-EEnsacQ?t=372
The original AmigaOS (Kicks/Workbench 1.x) was also an unique creature in its own reign, so a comparison to any other consumer's OS of the time is futile.
- Later incarnations of "Amiga OS" were inferior in my eyes as they sold their soul and nolonger used original code base (TRIPOS) and programming language (BCPL*)..
Except for OS/2 Warp and BeOS, all modern GUI-based OSes are no match for the original Amiga OS, I believe.
The idea of storing drivers on ROM chips of the expansion boards in question was quite userfriendly and wise, for example.
By comparison, EISA and MicroChannel stored ID codes merely, requiring diskettes (!) with device information each time.

(PS: Sorry for my poor English. I feel like I have to take some lessons again. It's been quite a few years since I learned it at school. 😅)

*Edit:
„The philosophy of BCPL is not one of the tyrant who thinks he knows best and lays down the law on what is and what is not allowed;
rather, BCPL acts more as a servant offering his services to the best of his ability without complaint, even when confronted with apparent nonsense.
The programmer is always assumed to know what he is doing and is not hemmed in by petty restrictions.“

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 229 of 229, by amadeus777999

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Albeit anything pre 486 is not interesting to me, I wouldn't see a 286, especially if it's well kept, as useless. Maybe boot into DOS and learn to write some elaborate batch files, use some assembler to play with the hardware(e.g. PIT, etc.) and maybe some C(or PASCAL) to pull of a neat little clone game with runs well within the 286s limit.