20 Companies And Products We Remember Fondly

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Number 18 - The floppy disk.

You haven't lived till you've sat through numerous installs of MS Office 4.3 which came on over 40 3.5" floppys.
 

frye

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It's too bad I'm too young to have appreciate or remember any of these things, except for the floppy. Can't wait to see this list 15 years from now! (Whad'ya mean you only had a 4-core CPU!?!?!)

 
Some errors in that retrospecive...

- although mounted on an AGP card, the Banshee processor still worked in PCI mode, not enjoying the memory access granted by AGP (but using the bandwidth); there was hardly a difference in performance between the PCI and AGP versions.

- Quake never used Glide; 3dfx wrote a miniport OpenGL driver for the Voodoo cards, and Quake used that.

- the OPL3 was an advanced frequency modulator chip with stereo capabilities, and was coupled with the digital sound processor (the Sound Blaster Pro came with an OPL2 chip, the Sound BLaster Pro 2 had an OPL3, but both had the same DSP; the Sound BLaster 16 also had an OPL3 chip).
 

carlhenry

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i remember loading up dos and giving up windows 95 just to play a ton of apogee games. i forgot some but i still remember playing raptor. fighter jet ftw!

oh, the wolfenstein screeny is very nostalgic! good 'ol days!
i still remember 1995 that my pentium 166mhz was $1.2k! now i'm stuck with a ~$500 rig.
 

jhansonxi

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Windows 3 was horrible. UAE errors all over the place. It wasn't really usable until WfW 3.11 was released.

Don't forget about VESA Local Bus and the early battle with Intel and PCI v1.0 (which was garbage then).

I also liked STB's cards before 3dfx bought them out. I loved my Powergraph Ergo with its S3 chip. But that was a long time ago and now I wouldn't use S3 chrome garbage in a print server.

A lot of motherboard chipset vendors used to compete on high-performance desktop boards but we're down to three now. When was the last time you saw a high-end MB with a Via or ALi chipset?

Same goes for a lot of motherboard vendors. I really liked my old AOpen board. They had a lot of nifty designs. Remember the one with the tube amplifier?

Some good system builders disappeared when margins shrunk down to nothing, like Northgate. Of course some we're better off without like Packard Bell.
 
@bodyknight: Unreal (first of the name) shipped first with a Glide and a software renderers. Subsequent patches added:
- Direct3D support
- OpenGL support
Version 2.25 (experimental) for example had near perfect OpenGL support but it was cut back in 2.26, the last version of the patch), and Direct3D support matched Glide in 2.26 (it actually exceeded it, as it supported resolutions higher than 800x600 and 32-bit colours).
Before these patches, one had to use a Glide wrapper to run accelerated Unreal on a TnT card; when the Unreal patches came out (and the DirectX palette patch for Final Fantasy 7) , I removed the Diamond Monster3D card I had kept alongside my Asus v3400 TnT 16 Mb and never looked back.

I still have that v3400 TnT in a box, by the way: that baby, properly tweaked, patched, cooled and driven, was quite the powerhouse, in no small parts due to its (huge for the time) 16 Mb frame buffer and AGP 2x+Sideband Addressing support.
 

wiga

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Have all the hardware.All working & still used.Love my hardware more than my wife.Yes i have an addiction & yes iam old.
Great article thx.
 

letsgetsteve

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OK so yeah I remember the good old days but I cant help but feel kinda ashamed that I'm using a mouse with a ball still..... in fact a week ago I had to pull the lint out of it... maybe time for an upgrade.
 
One of my fonder memories was of setting up and using DesQview (with QEMM386!) to multi-task DOS programs. Much more stable and responsive than Windows 3.x.
I could waste hours and hours online talking to friends, but I didn't play games yet (MUL doesn't count...). The thought that a graphics card might need its own fan was absurd.
 
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Regarding the 'Math Co-Processer' (or the MCP); it didn't just go away because of more powerful processors (as the article seems to imply), it is because eventually thanks to transistor compaction all the processors came with the MCP built on chip, making a discrete MCP redundant, just like the thing with the modern on-chip memory controller.
 

eric_son

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I had to suffer 2 years of owning a C64 Datasette before my parents got me a disc drive. Towards the mid-80's games like Ghostbusters and Raid Over Moscow had this funky turbotape loader trick that was very sensitive to tape head alignment. When those games came out, my datasette was already old and the head already misaligned. I remember having to adjust the head alignment with a small screw driver a number of times before I can successfully load Raid Over Moscow. .... the horror!
 
[citation][nom]letsgetsteve[/nom]OK so yeah I remember the good old days but I cant help but feel kinda ashamed that I'm using a mouse with a ball still..... in fact a week ago I had to pull the lint out of it... maybe time for an upgrade.[/citation]
I think I may still have a Tupperware box full of old mouse gonads somewhere.
 

ta152h

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There are quite a few mistakes, and probably wrong impressions.

The 486 had a math coprocessor built into the CPU. Intel did disable it in the 486SX, and then sold a 487DX which was really just a 486 that disabled the 486SX. But, why start with the 486 as the math coprocessor? They were around with the original 8086.

The Pentium was a pile of crap. It was not fondly remembered, it was known as a very hot chip that had an FDIV bug. It was superscalar, sure, but it was very limited in what the "V" pipeline could run, and was not only in-order, but was also-lock stepped. Eventually, they got it so it was OK, but it was never a great chip.

The K6 was never seriously competitive with the Pentium II. It always ran at slower clock speeds, and was much slower at 32-bit apps per clock cycle. In 16-bit apps, it was closer, and was better than the Pentium (not a high standard, but still) except at floating point.

AGP was also a bomb when it came out. No one knew why it was needed, and cards ran no faster than PCI provided the PCI cards had enough memory (which they generally did at that time). It took a while for AGP to really show much benefit. The main benefit was not its access to the processor, which it didn't need very often, but it's access to memory which was much faster, and typically was accessed through the North bridge, leaving less latency.

Windows 3.0 and 3.1 were a big step back for people that used OS/2. They were horrible, and I don't know many people that loved them at all. They both crashed all the time, and didn't even have pre-emptive multitasking. They weren't loved at all.

Cyrix was probably the most hated company in the hardware industry. Again, no one loved this company unless they were deranged. Everyone I knew steered way clear of them, because they always had problems. I did use a weird clock doubled 386 with 256 bytes of cache on a PS/2 Model 80 at work, and it actually did help, but with Cyrix the potential of problems was very, very high.

You left out a lot of very good technologies, and picked ones that were almost universally hated. Not that all your choices were bad. Floppies were very, very good technology, and you'd appreciate that if you ever used a cassette tape. But, the 286 and PC/AT that it was in were very, very loved technologies. NEC Multisync made a big splash. OS/2 was fantastic. The 486 was an amazing chip. The Atari 800 was way ahead of it's time. The Tandy Color Computer line was the first microcomputer to run a pre-emptive operating system. Motorola's 68K was a superb microprocessor with a very nice instruction set. I could go on and on ...
 

killerclick

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Sorry, I don't remember any of this stuff fondly. I got my first computer in 1984 and used most of the stuff mentioned in this article but I just can't put nostalgia and technology together.
 
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