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Thread: Old computers - how did they do it?

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    Senior Member joshwa's Avatar
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    Question Old computers - how did they do it?

    Chucking out some old computers the other day, we found a 386! with this "FPU chip" add-on!! Looks like it was originally a bog-standard intel 386 40mhz computer, without the FPU, then later they may have added this chip to it... but what I want to know is:

    How could people have used computers so slow?!? I just don't get how it could be possible! especially now when everybody has at least 1ghz, 256mb ram, 20gb HD etc! (my slowest computer that i use is a p2-350 - as a firewall)


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    Put it this way. In those days - That chip was probably pretty fast
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    TiG
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    Its called a maths co-processor, and you can't judge yesterdays computers by todays standards.

    When i went from a 386DX33 to a 486sx25 it was a huge performance increase. (yet it didn't have a maths co-processor)

    It was amazing, and even more so when i went from 486sx25 to a 486dx100. (to play the original C&C). Those where the days when you could install a complete game with 20mb of disk space.

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    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    given that my 1st 486sx only had a 120 mb HD - 20 meg was a lot !
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    My 1st computer was an Amiga 1200 with an o3o/822 CPU 2mb Chip and 16Mb Fast RAM and a 120Mb drive so all you PC types can moan all you like

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    Senior Member joshwa's Avatar
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    here's a great trip down memory lane :

    http://cpu-museum.de/

    i think i started with a 486 dx50, with an 80mb hard drive, and win 3.11, and i think i managed to just squeeze windows 95 on it

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    Kirstie Allsopp Theo's Avatar
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    Re: Old computers - how did they do it?

    Originally posted by www.josh.org.uk


    How could people have used computers so slow?!?
    Easy!

    Turn it on - go make a cup of coffee, fiddle with your paperclips.
    Open word/whatever you might use at the time - make another cup of coffee, smoke a cigarette, play with your paperclips.
    Type your document
    Send it to the dot matrix printer (or variant) - Make a cup of coffee, have a sausage roll.
    Come back to find that Windows 95/3.x froze whilst saving your document - "Accidentally" spill coffee allover the keyboard.
    Go home after a hard days work


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    TiG
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    Originally posted by Moby-Dick
    given that my 1st 486sx only had a 120 mb HD - 20 meg was a lot !
    heh, by 486sx time i had 261mb disk
    386dx only came with 89mb tho..

    and 20mb was for a big game. UFO enemy unknown one of the best games ever would run off the CD in them days

    I remember paying £200+ for a CDrom and soundblaster pro 8 bit sound card. OMG those where the days. (even in those days i was an early adopter )

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    Originally posted by gamezfreak
    Put it this way. In those days - That chip was probably pretty fast
    I dunno about that - the co-processor says cyrix on it

    You have to remember that most software did less and needed less (CPU power and storage). Though my first HD based machine (Amiga 1200) felt *far* faster than the Windoze PCs of the day.

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    They wernt slow, Software moves ( or should ) at the same speed as performance, back then having a 2.4Ghz p4 with a gig of ram and a 9800 pro wouldnt run Pong much better
    Point being, they are only slow if you run newer software on it, they can handle software made in there time period as well as pcs made in this time period can handle software from this time period

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    That and software back then was better optomized. The squeezed every last oz of performace out.
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    Take my Amiga for instance. Only uses a 25mhz 68040 and 840MB HD, and 8MB RAM, yet it boots in less than 2 seconds to a full GUI.

    As was said, software was better optimised then and had less bulk.

    NS

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    Drop it like it's hot Howard's Avatar
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    In 10 years time a P4 3.06 will be considered as slow as a tortoise... Put it that way.

    Tbh Win3.1 runs pretty quickly on those old machines.
    True, you can't do much, but the OS runs well. 95 will be considerably less fast though. It's slow as a bitch on my 100MHz laptop with 8MB ram.
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    Registered+ Zathras's Avatar
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    mmm, BBC model B was my first computer. 0wnage. Probably before most of you lot were born.

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    Lol, I have an old 386 laptop under my bed, quite possibly as old as a dinosaur. Has NO o/s on it, but runs wolfenstien 3D quite well! the unit is HUGE.

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    My first computer was a Tandy TL-2 8MHz 286 with 640K of RAM! It had the ultra-amazing 20MB HD, and hummed along with DOS 6.22 as the final OS. Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon and Test Drive / TD II / TD III were the order of the day, and so was MS Word. Norton Commander managed all my major file ins and outs, as it was an ANSI-based GUI for DOS file management. After that, I took a lengthy gaming and OS hiatus to use consoles-only for gaming, and came back to the computer fold about 6 months before I went back to school... got a Celeron 466 MHz Mendocino core with 32MB of RAM (or was that 64?...) and 2-8Mb adjustable SiS video. I think I spent the first 2 weeks just marvelling at how fast the thing was. And the 6GB HD! Astounding!

    In between the two comps, I had used evreything from my first "Turbo'ed" 16 MHz 286, to 386s and 486s (SX and DX flavoured, DX4 - the first "true quad-pumped" Intel), and eventually the P1s... 60, 66, and 75 MHz flavours. I recall being rather disappointed with them, especially with the FPU bug.

    Later, I remember astonishing friends by actively rippping my one friend's P1-233MMX Aptiva apart cause I was bored one day... they all got a lesson in hardware!

    Now, in this age of P4EEs and AMD Bartons and FX-51s, I sit here, still marvelling at how far we've come, and still realize we're in the infancy of computers. Every time I go to play any game, or open a certain app... I smile. When the pop-up box of doom appears, I chuckle. I just say... "Remember when the Tandy would take forever to load Test Drive, or writing to a 720K floppy was an arduous task? This isn't so bad!".

    Hang in there, the ride has just begun!

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