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Reply 80 of 166, by Blitz_25

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There's more than black an white to retro and vintage computing. First we must distinct this two terms that we all use for the same as they describe different things and the way we think about and use old software and hardeware as in the end most of us use our systems to run this old programs albait there is a great thrill for many of us to build , thinker and maintain our old and not so old hardware as well.
First general group that i fall in to as well is of the vintage presuation an here you'll find people that like to work and play with period-correct hardware. We try to maintain and repair our old hardware for as long as possible and here lies the problem as everything has its life span so eventually we wont be able to fix our old gear when it fails or get adequate replacement anymore. There are strides taken in to replicating and cloning old hardware however to recreate periodcorrect hardware we will be limited in the end by obtainig genuine IC's as they aren't produced anymore and we're allready hampered by lack of old new stock so canibalizing old parts will be a must. One could also argue that cloning an old harware part falls already in to retro branch of our hobby.
So here we have retro group that is not so hardware orintated anymore but software instead and they are happy as long as they can run their favorit old software on any hardware regardles if it's period correct in native or virtual/emulation. They use lga775 systems for dos/win98 enviorments or use VM's on latest highend system and they dont care about it as long as they can run their favorite software. And retro group has a bright future whit everevolving new hardware and software powerfull enough to emulate an mimic old hardware to the letter.

Also for most of us the meaning of vintage hardware is anything pre lga775 or AM2 based and runing winXP or older OS but in 10 years systems we now think as of absolete and junkready will become vintage and of use to someone who would want to play games of win7 era that would not run on their latest win20 edition.

Reply 81 of 166, by Plasma

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bloodem wrote on 2022-01-09, 14:19:
I feel like you guys are overreacting. :-) I for one am pretty confident that, at least during our lifetimes, most of the old ha […]
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I feel like you guys are overreacting. 😀
I for one am pretty confident that, at least during our lifetimes, most of the old hardware will continue to work just fine.
Furthermore, if most of the common faults (i.e. faulty caps, resistors, diodes, voltage regulators, damaged traces, etc) can be easily fixed even by a (junior) electronics hobbyist like me, imagine what a pro can do!
ICs are usually very sturdy and I am pretty sure the vast majority will last for more than a century. And even when an IC does fail (mostly due to external factors), you can usually find a NOS replacement for $5 or less.

Agreed.

Reply 82 of 166, by Shreddoc

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When we consider what causes retro supply reduction, I think repairability is not the dominant factor.

The world is full of consumer goods that get thrown into trash, despite being only a $0.10 component away from working perfectly, or simply because "they are too old or slow, therefore must go into The Trash".

That does not save them.

Ongoing repair is valid, and may sustain many parts for many decades to come (perhaps even the stated Century), but is not relevant for the majority produced, which are now buried somewhere under the dirt slowly leaching themselves back into the earth's crust.

Therefore, I believe the dominant factor in retro supply reduction was simply: the throwaway consumer society of human beings.

Reply 83 of 166, by BitWrangler

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We're getting to the era where we'll see what happens to the first wave of consumer electronics products... Radios from the 1920s and 1930s... the guys who knew enough about them are dying off, fixed up ones go for a few hundred bucks, but many are nervous about buying something that will inevitably need vacuum tube replacement per few tens of operating hours. I think it's gonna dwindle down to a few really dedicated collectors (Strangely I read a rumor on the internet that that is something that Paris Hilton is privately into.) and a few will go to museums, and I guess a lot will sit around as visual decor only, as long as ppl can be bothered dusting them.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 84 of 166, by SolidSonicTH

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That seems sketchy. I haven't heard anyone fretting about their 286s or anything like that.

Anything electronic will break down over time as you pass electricity through it but I think people put too much pressure on how consistent degredation is despite that.

Reply 85 of 166, by Shreddoc

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It will mostly cease to be relevant, after the generations of people with actual memories of usage are gone. When there is no longer any living person thinking "[a 486] was a key part of my younger life".

It then becomes a relic. When the world has moved on to be unrecognisable.

And yes, it seems likely that many IC's will outlive these human generations. But that does not address the true reasons for scarcity, the non-technical reasons: the general, permanent discarding of most consumer product... and the clutching ever-closer of the dwindling remains for as long as our nostalgic generations persist.

For example, my own Generation X who grew up with 80's and 90's computers, still has a few decades of life left in us. We are the dominant retro collectors of recent years. I expect, when our time is eventually up, there will be a decade of market flooding (286-Pentium) as all our remaining gear is unloaded into a far different world. Those who receive it are unlikely to care about it as much as we do. At best, the items may eventually take on a different type of value, that of the deeply historical and antique.

But that is quite some time away. For now, we are still here, still interested, still seeking - for actual usage and enjoyment.

Reply 86 of 166, by the3dfxdude

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SolidSonicTH wrote on 2022-01-17, 23:08:

That seems sketchy. I haven't heard anyone fretting about their 286s or anything like that.

Anything electronic will break down over time as you pass electricity through it but I think people put too much pressure on how consistent degredation is despite that.

This is a real problem for IC design. However, I do place my guess on that the mass produced stuff in 80s/90s may outlast the stuff made in 2010s. Because older stuff is less susceptible (if it was done by a halfway competent designer), and some aspects of older circuit implementation is more durable for repair, and was mass produced, if we don't continue to trash the stuff that is, there could remain alot to choose from. Versus today, IC design is harder, more susceptible, more specialized, and potentially less being made for replacement in the commodity PC space because people value their phones more.

So I think enthusiasts are doing a world a favor by keeping this stuff going. I think there is a chance there will be things that outlive me, so I probably won't worry too much not having decent HW to play with.

Reply 87 of 166, by cyclone3d

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The only thing I am sure will cease to exist in workable form is CRT monitors. Tubes are no longer being produced and they do wear out a lot faster than most other hardware.

As for when current retro hardware ceases to work, fpga or even software emulation could be pretty perfect reproductions of said hardware.

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Reply 88 of 166, by subhuman@xgtx

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I'd rather be worried about losing my eyesight before 35 than crying to a bunch of mass produced electronics no one will recall in 70 years.

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Reply 89 of 166, by The Serpent Rider

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gerry wrote:

I was reading about CPUs life expectancy being around 20 years due to tiny but cumulative use-wear stresses.

There are some speculations that manufacturing process is directly tied to longevity of chips. Hardware around 486-Pentium era is just too robust to die from electron migration within feasible lifespan of your average mortal. And if you're immortal, you probably have more bigger issues to cope with.

It's interesting how 14nm and smaller fabricated hardware will survive 10+ years though.

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Reply 90 of 166, by digger

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It might be a fun project to try sourcing radiation-hardened industrial grade variants of retro components. Considering those are meant to be used in satellites, space probes and Mars rovers, and must withstand the hazardous environment of space for years or even decades, they're designed and manufactured with a completely different level of robustness.

Hardware in this category is usually a few generations behind the consumer-grade stuff in terms of processing power, and unaffordable to use mere mortals.

But if you go back further enough, you'd think that even older versions this heavy-duty stuff might be had for a reasonable price, right? I'm thinking something like the 25MHz 486 that forms the brain of the Hubble Space Telescope.

For the sake of long-term preservation, building a legacy or even retro computer around such heavy duty components might be the way to go, at least for preserving some specimens in museums to last into the distant future.

Reply 91 of 166, by BitWrangler

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That might be a plan if you can find new old stock hardened parts cheap, but why otherwise would you want to pick a used part that has probably had a particularly rough life in extreme conditions, to be your forever CPU?

(edit: It's like those dudes that want $7000 for their 500k mile Toyota because "Toyotas last forever" but Dude, you've used up about 95% of that notional forever.)

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 92 of 166, by digger

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Good point. And it's not like you can salvage something like that from an old satellite or something. There's usually not much left after they deorbit. 😁

It would have to be NOS, indeed. But we're talking about parts that were made in an expensive, highly specialized process. Those things weren't mass-produced in nearly the same numbers as their consumer-grade counterparts.

On the other hand, a lot of satellites, many of them commercial ones, have been launched in the last half century. So the components required for them can't be that rare, right?

I read something about NASA having to scrounge for 8086 CPUs (radiation-hardened variants, I presume), since those were used in their Space Shuttle, and became increasingly hard to find over time.

Reply 93 of 166, by AppleSauce

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I dread to think about any of my parts failing.

When I built my rig I mostly went for compatibility + iconic hardware and alot of those parts are probably just going to keep up in price.

I put all of my eggs in one basket to save space...well 2 if I count the second rig im working on , but I've only got one monitor.

If anything important fails I'm probably boned , I guess in the case that i did suffer catastrophic failure id probably sell off whatever survived and get a mister fpga and invest the rest in upgrading my modern pc. I love this hobby for all it is but sometimes it feels like all my hardware is held together by duct tape and sheer willpower.

Reply 94 of 166, by BitWrangler

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Never discount willpower as a tool to get hardware working, especially when it's playing mind games, like it won't turn on, and it has given you doubt about the jumper settings, so you double check everything and then when you are 100% certain it is set right (having changed nothing.) it suddenly works 🤣

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 95 of 166, by cyclone3d

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BitWrangler wrote on 2022-01-22, 01:47:

Never discount willpower as a tool to get hardware working, especially when it's playing mind games, like it won't turn on, and it has given you doubt about the jumper settings, so you double check everything and then when you are 100% certain it is set right (having changed nothing.) it suddenly works 🤣

I've had that happen before. Sometimes it turns out that the jumpers are loose and so sometimes it makes a connection and works and other times it doesn't.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 96 of 166, by gerry

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2022-01-21, 13:59:
gerry wrote:

I was reading about CPUs life expectancy being around 20 years due to tiny but cumulative use-wear stresses.

There are some speculations that manufacturing process is directly tied to longevity of chips. Hardware around 486-Pentium era is just too robust to die from electron migration within feasible lifespan of your average mortal. And if you're immortal, you probably have more bigger issues to cope with.

that's true, perhaps fragility is greater for more recent chips and other electronics

overall i think the issue of hardware failure may affect certain items in our varied collections but there re lots of plan B PCs and components in those collections such that the ability to use vintage computers will likely last most of us vogons decades

Reply 97 of 166, by gaffa2002

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subhuman@xgtx wrote on 2022-01-20, 13:21:

I'd rather be worried about losing my eyesight before 35 than crying to a bunch of mass produced electronics no one will recall in 70 years.

Haha! Blunt, but true 😁
I see it more or less like this: Resources on Earth are limited, so in order to make new stuff, we have at some point to use materials from existing stuff.
At some point every electronic will fail and (hopefully) be recycled to make other electronics, so aside from saving some of the older stuff for cultural reasons (i.e. a museum). There is no much reason to keep them, at least not as physical hardware, that's why emulation is so important in my opinion, as it holds the knowledge for studying/building old components without using any actual resources.

I do have older computers and videogame consoles which I like very much, but I see them as just personal mementos and not something valuable that needs to be preserved (not in physical form, at least).

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Reply 98 of 166, by the3dfxdude

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gerry wrote on 2022-01-24, 10:32:
The Serpent Rider wrote on 2022-01-21, 13:59:
gerry wrote:

I was reading about CPUs life expectancy being around 20 years due to tiny but cumulative use-wear stresses.

There are some speculations that manufacturing process is directly tied to longevity of chips. Hardware around 486-Pentium era is just too robust to die from electron migration within feasible lifespan of your average mortal. And if you're immortal, you probably have more bigger issues to cope with.

that's true, perhaps fragility is greater for more recent chips and other electronics

overall i think the issue of hardware failure may affect certain items in our varied collections but there re lots of plan B PCs and components in those collections such that the ability to use vintage computers will likely last most of us vogons decades

It is a problem in design at advanced nodes right now. Sometimes the design teams do model the lifetime due to aging, heat and electromigration out to 10 years. I'm not sure if I've really seen 20 years, I'd guess they'd have to severely under budget performance for more life span. Frankly, in the consumer space, I doubt they really care once it's out of warranty. But they do for critical systems like car and aerospace, so they might be hardened against it some. But any modeling here is definitely a guess. I think 3nm is going to be a problem, where some are pushing to get better models done now. I can't remember exactly, but a few years ago, I was hearing some numbers that led me to guess the actual estimated lifespan of some of the high performance stuff is probably 7 years, and that is with redundancy built in. I started telling people to buy the lower performance, low power variants if you want stuff that last a long time, but even then they cut corners there too, or maybe they are the poor silicon versions of the higher performance part anyway 🙁 So coupled with packaging & integration that is hard to deal with for the average person for repair, I do not trust current stuff to be made to be around as long.

Reply 99 of 166, by subhuman@xgtx

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gaffa2002 wrote on 2022-01-24, 17:29:
Haha! Blunt, but true :D I see it more or less like this: Resources on Earth are limited, so in order to make new stuff, we have […]
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subhuman@xgtx wrote on 2022-01-20, 13:21:

I'd rather be worried about losing my eyesight before 35 than crying to a bunch of mass produced electronics no one will recall in 70 years.

Haha! Blunt, but true 😁
I see it more or less like this: Resources on Earth are limited, so in order to make new stuff, we have at some point to use materials from existing stuff.
At some point every electronic will fail and (hopefully) be recycled to make other electronics, so aside from saving some of the older stuff for cultural reasons (i.e. a museum). There is no much reason to keep them, at least not as physical hardware, that's why emulation is so important in my opinion, as it holds the knowledge for studying/building old components without using any actual resources.

I do have older computers and videogame consoles which I like very much, but I see them as just personal mementos and not something valuable that needs to be preserved (not in physical form, at least).

Absolutely. Everything is going to fail at one point or another. I like videogames and old hardware, but why bother stressing over the inevitable? There are so many high priority things (like health) that can easily go wrong in life.

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