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      /  How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
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Poll : How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
10p Excellent (Best at 2D/3D, colors, and resolution, frame rate etc.)
5p Good / better than most computer.
0p Barely hanging in there.
-5p Below average / slow but usable
-10p useless / horrible
 
PosterThread
DiscreetFX 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 15-Feb-2023 12:49:57
#761 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 12-Feb-2003
Posts: 2504
From: Chicago, IL

It made no sense to use a brand new chipset (AGA) with a 1984 CPU. Something that was older than the launch and availability of the Amiga 1000.

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fishy_fis 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 15-Feb-2023 13:05:21
#762 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 2161
From: Australia

@DiscreetFX

Even the A1000 and A500 (ie. the machines available when the Amiga was considered powerful) used a cpu that was equally as dated as 68020 was upon the A1200's release (68000 is older than even the Vic-20).

Not to say Im disagreeing with you, it's just the way things have always been with the Amiga and it's ppc derivatives.

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Karlos 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 15-Feb-2023 13:59:38
#763 ]
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Joined: 24-Aug-2003
Posts: 4430
From: As-sassin-aaate! As-sassin-aaate! Ooh! We forgot the ammunition!

@fishy_fis

Quote:
Repeating something over, over and over again in spite of evidence in the real world doesn't make you correct. It just makes you an idiot and/or nutjob


You forgot "troll". A not very good one. Do you remember when trolls were fun? You had the likes of mips_proc who could steer a conversation anywhere for the fun of it. We also had the nutjob persona covered, with Shaun. Anyone remember Shaun?

Ahh, those were the days.

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Karlos 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 15-Feb-2023 14:13:02
#764 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Aug-2003
Posts: 4430
From: As-sassin-aaate! As-sassin-aaate! Ooh! We forgot the ammunition!

@DiscreetFX

Quote:

DiscreetFX wrote:
It made no sense to use a brand new chipset (AGA) with a 1984 CPU. Something that was older than the launch and availability of the Amiga 1000.


You're seriously implying that the 68020 was a viable option for the Amiga 1000 based on chronology alone?

Look, the 68020 was launched in 1984, around the time the Amiga was being designed, at a cost of around 480 USD per SKU. At the same time the 68000 was just 15 USD.

Not to mention that part of the initial design elegance of the original machine was the interleaving of memory accesses between the 68000 and the custom chips, which leveraged the fact that the 68000 only accesses the memory on half the available cycles. That goes immediately out of the window with the 68020, so you are back to requiring the addition of fast memory to the system or hobble your expensive processor choice.

The 68000 was a proven CPU that fit the design goals of the Amiga 1000.

The 68020 was a proven CPU that fit the cost reduction goals of the Amiga 1200. An 030 in its place would do absolutely nothing for it, unless it was clocked higher and/or included fast RAM. Which is what accelerator cards did.

My gripe with the 1200 is simply that it was released without fast ram, which given the memory access patterns of the 68020 was a poor decision for performance in my view. Especially given how much the cost of adding ram afterwards was inflated by the need to put it on an expansion card.

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DiscreetFX 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 15-Feb-2023 14:19:42
#765 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 12-Feb-2003
Posts: 2504
From: Chicago, IL

@Karlos

I didn’t mean to imply the 020 should have been used in the A1000. I just thought it was way to old for the A1200.

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Rob 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 15-Feb-2023 19:11:26
#766 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 20-Mar-2003
Posts: 6361
From: S.Wales

@Karlos

Quote:
Look, the 68020 was launched in 1984, around the time the Amiga was being designed, at a cost of around 480 USD per SKU. At the same time the 68000 was just 15 USD.


I wonder what the price difference between the 8 and 10 or 12Mhz 68000 was in 1987. The 16.67Mhz part was released in 1988 at a price of $18.90 so parts from 1981 and 1982 couldn't have been more than a dollar or two extra.

Would it have have made sense for Commodore the release the A500 and A2000 with a faster CPU as standard.

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Karlos 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 15-Feb-2023 20:19:14
#767 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Aug-2003
Posts: 4430
From: As-sassin-aaate! As-sassin-aaate! Ooh! We forgot the ammunition!

@DiscreetFX

Quote:

DiscreetFX wrote:
@Karlos

I didn’t mean to imply the 020 should have been used in the A1000. I just thought it was way to old for the A1200.


It was no more out of date in 1992 than the 68000 was in 1985.

Let's say they put a 25MHz 030 into the A1200, with fast ram so as not to be even more ludicrous than the 020 without it was. You've now got the A4000/30 without the slots. Where do you price point that?

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Karlos 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 15-Feb-2023 20:38:06
#768 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Aug-2003
Posts: 4430
From: As-sassin-aaate! As-sassin-aaate! Ooh! We forgot the ammunition!

@Rob

Quote:

Rob wrote:

I wonder what the price difference between the 8 and 10 or 12Mhz 68000 was in 1987. The 16.67Mhz part was released in 1988 at a price of $18.90 so parts from 1981 and 1982 couldn't have been more than a dollar or two extra.

Would it have have made sense for Commodore the release the A500 and A2000 with a faster CPU as standard.


If that machine had fast ram then using a faster part made sense otherwise not. If you just doubled the CPU speed to say 14MHz while on the same bus, it's not going to be able to access memory any faster than at 7MHz. Remember the CPU and custom chips took alternate cycles. Preserving that would require a faster memory bus and changing the timeshare scheme, if that's even possible.

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Hypex 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 17-Feb-2023 1:49:52
#769 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 6-May-2007
Posts: 11245
From: Greensborough, Australia

@Karlos

Quote:
My point was to call out the ludicrous troll post that ARM is somehow PC by the same definition that was clearly and unambiguously used in the 90s to refer specifically the IBM specification and its descendants. He's only included arm because you can get ARM devices that run Windows, which if we're honest is his metric for something being a stinky PC*.




Yes I could see your point. The discussion just reminded me of what the IBM PC was referred to as. Thus why I brought up DOS.

Just before the PC hit the scene we saw the rise of microcomputers with 8-bit home computers. But the microcomputers were not called an MC. Likewise, after the rise of microcomputers, we saw home computers. And there was cross over between microcomputers and home computers. But they weren't called HC either.

The Commodore C64 MC for your small needs. Upgrade to the Commodore Amiga HC for your personal computing needs. Well, that didn't happen, but would it make more sense?

While I have yet to see it Windows ARM looks to be more successful than Windows NT PPC which soon died out. I'm not sure but if the PPC back then supported reverse endian that would help and especially with a compiler that could produce such code. Aside from other reasons NT PPC died I think ARM being native LE would definitely help Windows being supported on non x86 ISA.

68K was BE only so I suspect that is why Windows never touched it.

The "amigappc1" account dates to 2015 which is rather late. It looks like play of words on AmigaOne and PPC. But around 2005 was about the height of XE popularity.

Last edited by Hypex on 17-Feb-2023 at 02:08 AM.

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Hypex 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 17-Feb-2023 2:11:01
#770 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 6-May-2007
Posts: 11245
From: Greensborough, Australia

@OlafS25

Quote:
"PC" was even used in C128 ads


Ha. They would have been better to use 64 over PC. It was 64 compatible, not PC compatible.

The C128 was certainly a personal computer. But it wasn't a PC.

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Karlos 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 17-Feb-2023 2:12:18
#771 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Aug-2003
Posts: 4430
From: As-sassin-aaate! As-sassin-aaate! Ooh! We forgot the ammunition!

@Hypex

I don't think endianness was any more of a problem for NT than it is for any other software written for languages like C and C++. What little assembler code there may be would be in some low level driver and kernel bits. Windows specific file formats are all likely to be little endian layout for data of course but that would affect loading and saving of said data only. I would be very surprised if NT PPC wasn't entirely big endian, just as I would be surprised if Linux PPC wasn't.

You can write huge applications that work equally well on big and little endian systems without ever having to deal with their actual endianness. Just use the right languages to do it in.

Last edited by Karlos on 17-Feb-2023 at 02:15 AM.

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Karlos 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 17-Feb-2023 2:27:12
#772 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Aug-2003
Posts: 4430
From: As-sassin-aaate! As-sassin-aaate! Ooh! We forgot the ammunition!

@Karlos

So I may be wrong. According to one source that I found after some googling, Windows NT 4 for PPC expects the PPC to boot in little endian mode, which restricts the chips it can run on to those supporting the feature (so maybe not G5). That said, the NT derived kernel for the Xbox 360 runs big endian.

One reason why little endian mode was selected for NT could be that it included some level of emulation for x86 applications and that would benefit from a little endian memory layout.

Nevertheless, NT was designed to run on numerous different architectures. I do not expect a strong dependency on endianness in its implementation.

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bhabbott 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 17-Feb-2023 5:29:54
#773 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 6-Jun-2018
Posts: 356
From: Aotearoa

@Hypex

Quote:

Hypex wrote:

The C128 was certainly a personal computer. But it wasn't a PC.

That was IBM's masterstroke, call their computer 'the IBM Personal Computer' and abbreviate it as 'PC'. Then any time someone used the phrase 'personal computer' it referred to their product. Pure genius. Other manufacturers came up with model names like 'VIC-20', 'ZX Spectrum' or 'Archimedes' that meant nothing if you weren't already familiar with them. But 'Personal Computer' said it all in the simplest most direct way possible.

Calling their POS 'the IBM PC' probably did more to sell it than the actual hardware did. Did I say 'probably'? let's not mince words - it was definitely what did the most to sell it, by far.

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agami 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 17-Feb-2023 5:40:04
#774 ]
Super Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 1691
From: Melbourne, Australia

@nomenclature

A PC, is John Hodgman.


In stark contrast to the only other commercial consumer personal computing platform, “the PC” is the descendant and the contraction of the Microsoft Windows PC, most habitually running on an intel or intel-compatible CPU (AMD/IBM/VIA/Cyrix/etc), the combined platform a.k.a Wintel, and was earlier better known as a DOS PC or IBM-compatible PC, in reference to IBM’s personal computer platform hastily launched as an Open Computing Platform.

The term micro computer a.k.a. Micro, was coined to differentiate the further miniaturisation of computing from mini computers. The smaller and less expensive computers were seen as ideally suited to more personal computing uses cases and thus the second computing revolution started with the move away from expensive big and shared computing, to inexpensive small and personal computing.

There were two key trends occurring in the nascent days of the personal (micro) computer: Business, and Consumer.
- Business use cases where an evolution and continuation of office equipment and tools to increase work productivity.
- Consumer use cases were driven by the rise of consumer electronics, which started in the late ‘70s but came into its own and was very much shaped by the ‘80s. The decade of personalized music with the Walkman (and derivatives), personalized expression through increased colour in casual consumer clothing, of personal viewing choices and schedules with VCRs, and personal video production with the advent of consumer camcorders.

The home personal computer, or home computer, targeted the consumer electronics trend. It was generally vying for space beneath the family TV, or the kids’ bedroom. Primarily focused on entertainment, with productivity being a secondary use.

The office personal computer, targeted the professional and serious use cases. Productivity was the primary and sometimes the only focus (Wang, Osborne), with entertainment not being a noteworthy secondary use case until the late ‘80s.

Now, to go back to our Apple ads. John Hodgmen started by running on XP, and the ads ran until the notorious Vista upgrade.
Justin Long, a Mac (not a PC), started by using Mac OS X running on PowerPC and the ads ran until the successful transition to Mac OS X running on intel x86-64.

Since the original ads, Mac had continued to run Mac OS X (rebranded to macOS) on intel x86-64 and has recently moved to its own silicon based or ARM64, which began its life running iOS on iPhones and iPads. Which in essence are personal computing devices, but 64-bit Apple silicon is also found in devices such as the Apple TV, which could never be mistaken for a personal computer, let alone a “PC”.

So Mac is not PC, but Mac was using PowerPC, x86, and ARM. Ergo, CPU does not make something a PC.

And just because a device/platform has a small user base, does not automatically make it a hobby platform. Because I can tell you right now, outside of mentioning hobbies in the context of personality profiles, the A-Eon website does not use the term hobby or hobbyist to describe their systems or software, and neither do Hyperion, on their website or www.AmigaOS.net, nor does the AmigaOS 4 Wikipedia page. Neither do they use the term “retro”.

One can subjectively buy a Lamborghini and say they drive it every now and then as a “hobby”. That does not make a Lamborghini objectively a hobby car.

Last edited by agami on 17-Feb-2023 at 05:47 AM.
Last edited by agami on 17-Feb-2023 at 05:45 AM.
Last edited by agami on 17-Feb-2023 at 05:43 AM.

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agami 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 17-Feb-2023 5:53:34
#775 ]
Super Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 1691
From: Melbourne, Australia

@bhabbott

Quote:
bhabbott wrote:
@Hypex

That was IBM's masterstroke, call their computer 'the IBM Personal Computer' and abbreviate it as 'PC'.

Calling their POS 'the IBM PC' probably did more to sell it than the actual hardware did. Did I say 'probably'? let's not mince words - it was definitely what did the most to sell it, by far.

I agree.

Their lack of innovation and branding savviness ended up working for them beyond their wildest imagination. That is until Microsoft and the clones came.

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bhabbott 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 20-Feb-2023 23:28:06
#776 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 6-Jun-2018
Posts: 356
From: Aotearoa

@agami

Quote:

agami wrote:

I agree.

Their lack of innovation and branding savviness ended up working for them beyond their wildest imagination.

Then they spoiled it by innovating and branding with the PS/2 line. The industry didn't like that at all.

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agami 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 22-Feb-2023 7:02:25
#777 ]
Super Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 1691
From: Melbourne, Australia

@thread

I do get why people would have been disappointed then, and also when looking back now. And how the last batch of Amiga computers from Commodore kicked off an exodus of users to other platforms.

It has mainly to do with expectations. It’s the key dynamic behind the emotions of Pleasantly Surprised, or Bitterly Disappointed. It’s in the subverting of expectations that we get to something being a comedy or a tragedy.

In 1985, Commodore pleasantly surprised many people with a personal computer that punched way above its weight class. Come 1987 and the next batch of A500 and A2000 were accomplishing things other computers could not, at the same price point. Thanks to the Video Toaster, the A2000 was accomplishing things with video production in a class of machines of 10x or more the cost.

The A500 in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand established itself as the preeminent gaming computer. Where sub $700 contemporaries where playing monochrome or 4 colour CGA games with 1-bit sound, Amiga gamers were playing games with 32 colours and 8-bit stereo sound.

By most estimates, the Amiga tech was 5-10 years ahead of the competition. Let’s split the diff and call it 7.5 years ahead.

Whether they liked it or not, Commodore had over these first 5 years set up some huge expectations. While they made some enviable profits, they still didn’t have their C64 Redux moment.

And who bought these Amiga’s. What were the demographics?
I bought into it because I had previously used a C64, and a high-school friend had already upgraded from his C64 to A500. Whilst the A500 had no specific C64 backward compatibility, it did embody the same street cred: In Europe, the C64 was seen as the most advanced and versatile 8-bit home personal computer for its price, compared to ZX Spectrum 48, Amstrad (Schneider) CPC 464, or Atari 400/800.

The A2000 would have been purchased by those who consider themselves ahead of the curve. The “entrepreneurs”. Smaller companies operating at budgets bellow those of more established companies. These generally really on a smaller pool of highly competent operators that source their own tools to give them the edge.

At what age did we buy them? Most of the late ‘80s A500 buyer would’ve been teenagers, with people in their 20s and pre-teens being on either side of the bell curve. The A2000 professional users will have been young professionals in their 20’s, with some in their early 30s. When combined with the Video Toaster, that demographic would’ve included mostly professionals in their early 30s.

Then comes the highly controversial A3000. Excellent engineering, but for which market segment is this machine? The video toaster card doesn’t fit in it, etc.
Then the failed A300 (A600), and the wall spaghetti that is CDTV.

Did they meet expectations? How many people were pleasantly surprised vs bitterly disappointed?

You know what, that was just a temporary glitch. Commodore will learn from this and get it right with the next batch. They’ll surpass expectations again just like they did with the original A1000 (A2000, A500). That’s what many articles in Amiga Format, CU Amiga, and others were covering, driving interest in users being ready to be ahead of the pack by 5+ years. It had after all been 7 years since the original, so we were due.

Then the AGA machines came out. The A4000 is a machine that can be a host to the video toaster again, and many base specs were upped across the board, CPU, RAM, bus speed, connectivity, etc.

The A1200, especially the HD variant, felt more like a cut-down A4000 than the A500 was to A2000. Infrastructure improved across the board, and excellent backward compatibility with a very large games library, and creative software.

The CD32 was less out of place than the CDTV, but it was essentially stuck half way between a gaming PC and a gaming console. The customers could see the identity crisis.

Did they exceed expectations? For many, no.
And who were these people? Where in 1993 where the original buyers of the A2000 and A500 computers, and indeed the A1000?
I myself had graduated from university and was periodically employed in basic retail jobs. No longer a teenager, how much did I care about games 5 years later? Sure I still enjoyed them, but other interests came along as well.

Where were the young professionals of the late ‘80s? Did their businesses grow? Did their clientele have new early ‘90s expectations? What was happening with the competition? It’s doubtful they were sitting on their hands this whole time.
Many of these users, despite loving the Amiga, switched to PC or Mac to maintain their professional edge. Except for the Toaster crowd.

In the UK, those who were teenagers and first time computer buyers in the early ‘90s still saw the A1200 bundles as great deals. But elsewhere, less so.
Here in Australia, the A1200 was definitely more of an upgrade path for A500 owners. For me it made perfect sense to stay with my existing software library. AGA was just a bonus.
An equally priced 386SX system would be useless to me as I would have to spend lots more money on software.

Apart from just AGA, where the latest batch of Amigas good? Where they 5+ years ahead of the competition? Could I rub some smugness pie into my PC friend’s face? And do I care to do that anymore?

Despite the fact that for the price of an A1200 in late ’92 and early ‘93 there was nothing that could touch it when it comes to gaming and general home computing, I think we can all agree that it did not exceed our expectations. It was not 5+ years ahead of the pack.
No one was especially surprised, mostly just mildly excited at the prospect of an upgrade, and somewhat ambivalent.
The underwhelmed and disappointed left for other platforms, and the “my system is better than yours” schoolyard arguments shifted to the consoles.

While the availability of the AA+ chipset on its original schedule might have done a bit more for gamers, I wonder what if anything it would’ve done for all the other use cases in which the aging demographic was showing growing interest? What about an Amiga portable? What about greater adoption of industry hardware standards? What about licensing clones? This is what the next 5 years would’ve entailed.

And what about Amiga OS? The hardware might be 5+ years ahead, but despite being early to pre-emptive multitasking, was Amiga OS 3 ahead of the competition? In 1993 I certainly preferred it to System 7.1 and Windows 3.1, but would Commodore be able to keep it up and carry that through against System 7.5.x and Windows 95?

Alas, this is what happens when a company is I’ll equipped at managing great expectations.

P.S. Please forgive the blog post format. Didn’t know of a more apt space to publish these thoughts

Last edited by agami on 22-Feb-2023 at 07:07 AM.

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BigD 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 22-Feb-2023 11:49:25
#778 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 7333
From: UK

@agami

Quote:
That’s what many articles in Amiga Format, CU Amiga, and others were covering, driving interest in users being ready to be ahead of the pack by 5+ years. It had after all been 7 years since the original, so we were due.


The magazines promoted the community, helped the stockists, third party software/hardware developers and kept us all looking forwards!

In reality, this enthusiasm shielded us from the truth that C= no longer cared about home computers, VideoToasters and innovating but instead just wanted to 'follow' trends rather than lead! This is demonstrated by the PC division the push for the CDTV and CD32 to "get into people's living rooms!"

C= couldn't beat the PC clone manufacturers and they couldn't beat the Japanese console manufacturers but what they could have done is have ruled the niche computer markets by out diversifying Apple with custom solutions. They never really got this!

Last edited by BigD on 22-Feb-2023 at 11:50 AM.

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BigD 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 22-Feb-2023 12:02:15
#779 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 7333
From: UK

@agami

Under the circumstances, AGA and the A1200 in particular were mini-miracles and if we are able to reign in our expectations (which were beyond the stagnating C= husk of a company), they offered us a fascinating alternative to the march of the 'Beige Box' Wintel PC that was about to take over the world!

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agami 
Re: How good or bad was the AGA chipset in 1992/1993.
Posted on 22-Feb-2023 23:51:49
#780 ]
Super Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 1691
From: Melbourne, Australia

@BigD

Quote:
BigD wrote:
@agami

Under the circumstances, AGA and the A1200 in particular were mini-miracles and if we are able to reign in our expectations (which were beyond the stagnating C= husk of a company), they offered us a fascinating alternative to the march of the 'Beige Box' Wintel PC that was about to take over the world!

Very well put.

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