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      /  How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
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Poll : Was the PC the best option for home users in 1992?
Oh course, no one ever got fired for buying Big Blue!
Yep, my Pop used one and I'd played my NES to death so we needed Commander Keen!
Yes, bleeper sound chips and playing fighting games with a flight stick was my jam!
Surely we had to buy PCs or we wouldn't learn MS apps and fail at life?
No in those days the Amiga was the thing!
The Apple Mac was more expensive so they must have been better?
What was wrong with the C64?
 
PosterThread
agami 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 8-Dec-2021 5:13:29
#21 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 962
From: Melbourne, Australia

@thread

Other things that come to mind about just how rubbish the IBM-compatible PC was in 1992.

Colour-space management
This is more of an issue with Windows, and I'm not sure if it was the same in OS/2.
Let's face it, if a person wasn't just using MS-DOS, they were more likely to use MS Windows instead of OS/2.

This affected how images were printed. In Windows, the colour space was defined by the graphics/display card. So if your card can only output an 800x600 image in 256 colours, then it will print that image in 256 colours, even if the printer can print 24 or 32 bits. The colour space in Apple's System (MacOS) and Amiga OS, were not defined by the display capabilities. Either system can print a high-res 24-bit image, even if it is being displayed in grayscale, or not displayed on the screen at all.

With the availability of low cost graphics cards on the PC which were able to handle display of 24-bit images at very high resolutions 1600x1200 or greater, this was no longer as much of an issue. But that didn't happen until the late '90s.

Hardware compatibility and drivers
The more cards a person installed on their VESA/ISA bus, the more challenging the hardware compatibility became. Setting of jumpers on each card, making sure they're in the right/correct ISA slot, and then managing drivers inside the DOS applications/games, or Windows.

Sure, there was an increasing amount of options for cards on the PC, but so many of the people I knew with a PC would get excited about the new card they've purchased, e.g. sound card, only to find out that it is only supported in half of their applications/games.

Multitasking, or lack thereof
Enough said.

Eight character file/folder names
Needing to get clever with naming files and folders so that you could remember what they were when you saw them again months later.
Also, the dependency on the three-letter extension for file association instead of the file metadata.
And also an overall character limit of folder/file name nesting path, which if IRC was 256 characters.

Boot times
Not a big issue, but an annoying one nonetheless.

So why DID most people buy one without thinking?

Outside of the US, where capitalism tricked its workers to continue to work on work projects at home without getting paid, I can think of only a few reasons why a person would buy a 286/386 PC for the home in 1992:

1. They asked the salesperson at the computer store which computer they should get.
2. They bought a PC from work which was being replaced. Quite a few teens I knew at the time ended up with a bleep-bloop 16-colour PC in their room this way.
3. The kid who asked for a PC never cracked open a computer magazine, nor had any friends with an alternative platform. Dad, can I get a PC? Like the one that Billy down the street has?

Last edited by agami on 08-Dec-2021 at 05:19 AM.
Last edited by agami on 08-Dec-2021 at 05:18 AM.

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ppcamiga1 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 8-Dec-2021 8:14:51
#22 ]
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Joined: 23-Aug-2015
Posts: 437
From: Unknown

@agami

Colour-space management with support for 24 bit is in Windows since Windows 3.1 which was released in summer of 1992.

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Nonefornow 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 8-Dec-2021 15:40:47
#23 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 29-Jul-2013
Posts: 307
From: Greater Los Angeles Area

@agami

I do not think anyone would argue that the PC-compatible was technically superior or better than the Amiga.

The real issue is that while the Amiga was really big in the last part of the '80, by 1992 it was very difficult to find a store that would carry that brand of computers.

On the contrary any inky dinky PC shop could assemble an IBM compatible clone for their customers in a matter of hours.

Or at least that was my experience here on the west coast.

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Hypex 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 8-Dec-2021 16:20:10
#24 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 6-May-2007
Posts: 10589
From: Greensborough, Australia

@agami

Quote:
So why DID most people buy one without thinking?


I think the answer can be even simpler. They just didn't know any different. They walked into a computer shop and the computer sold PCs. The shop didn't sell Amiga or Mac, an Acorn or an Atari ST. So effectively they didn't even know what else a computer could be. A computer was a PC. That's all they knew. They weren't ignorant, they just didn't know. The PC shop didn't open their eyes. That's my take.

It goes even further. From then to today people are Microwashed. A scammer calls you up to fool you into giving him control of your -PC- and ignorantly give you instructions for Windows. Must be hack kiddie. He's never heard of a Mac?

My niece didn't know what a word processor was. She's only used a "Word". This has infected Macs as well where you can buy a foreign Office package. I say foreign because it looks strange seeing Word on OSX. And it just adds bloat. For most purposes TextEdit is a fine word processor that can give Wordworth a run for its money.

So for a lot of people, a computer was a machine called a PC, that ran windows, you browsed with Explorer, read email with Outlook and typed documents with Word.

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bison 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 8-Dec-2021 16:34:14
#25 ]
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Joined: 18-Dec-2007
Posts: 2088
From: N-Space

@Hypex

Quote:
My niece didn't know what a word processor was.

Quite a few people don't know what a web browser is; even fewer know what an operating system is. I used to think this was just common among old people (i.e., my age + 1), but there are younger people who don't know these things as well. I find this strange, since we are all marinating in the Internet.

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spudmiga 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 8-Dec-2021 20:40:59
#26 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 12-Dec-2002
Posts: 848
From: England, United Kingdom

@BigD

Amiga could rock it for home users quite happily until about 1997 (an expanded A1200 by this time)
Then the 3D accelerated graphics, CD-ROMs, explosion of Win95/MS Office and all the compatibility requirements that brought, games library etc... the Amiga could just no longer compete.

For what its worth, I don't think 'most' people bought a PC in 1992 anyway.
Most of the public (in the UK at least) did not get their first computers until the late 90s/early 2000s and by then the choice of platform was binary.

Spud.

Last edited by spudmiga on 08-Dec-2021 at 08:42 PM.
Last edited by spudmiga on 08-Dec-2021 at 08:42 PM.

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agami 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 9-Dec-2021 2:51:36
#27 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 962
From: Melbourne, Australia

@Hypex @Nonefornow

And they say a free market creates choices for the consumer.
As long as you're choosing form one of the pre-sellected highly profitable options.

Like the old Ford quote regarding the Model T "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black."

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fishy_fis 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 9-Dec-2021 3:45:06
#28 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 2035
From: Australia

Dumbest.Poll.Ever.

Zero choices that are based on reality.

In 1992 the pc had dx2 66mhz cpus, pci vga and svga gfx, pci soundcards, etc.,etc.
A major upgrade to the Amiga a few years later was the pixel64... an ISA solution. Years later again the Amiga got PCI options..... implementations hugely inferior to what the PC had in 1992.
Software support second to none and already completely outclassed the Amiga.

Business software, it outdid the Amiga, games wise, it was a *completely* different league already. Productivity software, again the PC outdid the Amiga, Raw gfx and cpu power,.... the Amiga was a toy in comparison. Prices were already much, much better than the Amiga. And so on and so forth.

The *only* place the Amiga could compete was the OS.

The irony of putting "without thinking" in a poll created without thinking is hilarious.

"Only Amiga makes it possible" (to have a display of such stupidity)

Last edited by fishy_fis on 09-Dec-2021 at 03:49 AM.

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MEGA_RJ_MICAL 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 9-Dec-2021 7:47:58
#29 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 13-Dec-2019
Posts: 890
From: AMIGAWORLD.NET WAS ORIGINALLY FOUNDED BY DAVID DOYLE

@fishy_fis

Friend fishy_fis,
still in search of intelligent life on Amigaworld?

And, out of all people, could you ever expect any from bigot extraordinaire, mental-institution-candidate BigD?

Oh, friend fishy_fish, my dearest, of all friends... OH!


/MEGA!!!!!!!!!!

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agami 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 9-Dec-2021 8:31:11
#30 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 962
From: Melbourne, Australia

@fishy_fis

I suppose the question should've been better defined with 'How rubbish was a sub-$700 USD PC in 1992'.

Mostly, people are referring to their A500s, A600s, and at the end of 1992 their A1200s.

Lots of high-end tech existed in 1992 at very high prices, and a decked-out 486 DX2 66MHz PC would've beat the equally expensive A4000/040 at most things, except image printing, multi-media and video applications, and multi-tasking.
Whilst the A4000/040 was expensive, it was not as expensive as the Apple Macintosh Quadra 950 at $7,200 USD, which was more so its competition.

The beauty of the Amiga platform was that most of the features of the big-box Amiga were present in the wedge case Amiga's, only running slower. Where with the PC, once you start dropping below $1,000, the features were just no there.

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paolone 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 9-Dec-2021 9:29:12
#31 ]
Super Member
Joined: 24-Sep-2007
Posts: 1126
From: Unknown

@BigD

Quote:

BigD wrote:
Following on from the AGA chipset thread I thought we'd analyse the ultimate victor in the market the venerable IBM PC with Soundblaster (if you were lucky or a bleeper if not), single 15-pin game port, VGA graphics and MS-DOS.

PCs were dull machines that businessmen dragged into their homes because safe grey suited IT managers bought similar machines for the office. It was neither suited or the best machine for home use in 1992 IMHO.

The case rests but obviously America knew best and the rest of the world had to follow suit. We just had to wait for Windows XP before PCs could actually operate in a half acceptable reliable way for home users.


This is *exactly* the kind of crap amigans had in mind about PCs, and the motivation why they simply couldn't understand the change it was occurring at the time.

As an A1200 early buyer I couldn't understand, as well, why people would buy pricey PCs to get as many colours on the screen my A1200 could show, while working hard to buy a sound card that could somehow beat the Paula chip. But, to be honest, it took me just a little time to understand I was wrong and that explanation was very simple.

We simply THOUGHT that "only Amiga" made it possible, but that's wasn't the real truth.

Once I stumbled upon a voxel environment demo running on a rather poor 486DX33 machine with a S3 SVGA card, I perfectly understood what reality was: Amiga COULD do many things in a really good fashion, but when it came to processor speed and power grunt, PCs were already taking on the lead. Not to talk when I ran DooM the first time: I immediately understood Amiga was a dead end.

Yes, you COULD bring the Amiga "on par" through accelerators. But once you did, you spent more than you would have, if you simply bought a PC with the right configuration.

During 1994 (so, much time before Windows XP release) I could afford to buy a 16MB Pentium 90 machine (the bugged one!) with a Cirrus Logic SVGA board, a 240MB hard drive and I ran OS/2 Warp on it. It was amazingly responsive. Then I started following the beta releases of Chicago, later renamed Windows 95: it had been a huge step ahead 3.1 and MS/DOS, a step in the wrong direction for some reasons, but a massively upgrade if compared to the older OSes. Plug'n'Pray wasn't comparable to Autoconfig, but you can easily argue that a heavily expanded Amiga has its quirks as well.

Just 2 years later I got my first 3D accelerator. There was no doubt about that: shrinking Amiga users COULD somehow follow me and add 3D cards as well, but the PC was leading the market and creating new opportunities every year, while Commodore almost sucked at this and died long before.

In the end, expandability and wider market made the PC a far better option long before the middle of the '90s, while Commodore's protectionism and scarce development speed didn't bring the Amiga on par in the right time. This killed the Amiga in 1993 already. Amigans just couldn't realise this for a while.

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matthey 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 9-Dec-2021 10:11:06
#32 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1487
From: Kansas

agami Quote:

The beauty of the Amiga platform was that most of the features of the big-box Amiga were present in the wedge case Amiga's, only running slower. Where with the PC, once you start dropping below $1,000, the features were just no there.


A 68k Amiga 1200 in 1992 was more competitive in performance and had a better games library compared to x86 than the ARM Raspberry Pi compared to x86-64 hardware today. How many Amiga users here that say the Amiga was not competitive in 1992 want an AmigaOS port to the Raspberry Pi which is relatively less competitive in performance today?

Last edited by matthey on 09-Dec-2021 at 10:13 AM.

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BigD 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 9-Dec-2021 10:40:01
#33 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6394
From: UK

@fishy_fis

Not that it matters now since the PC improved and the classic Amiga faded away. I fail to see how you thought a flakey 1992 sub $1000 PC was a better solution as a home computer than a A1200? I really do. Just because you put a better engine in a rust bucket it doesn't suddenly make it a great car! Buggy, slow loading, non-autoconfiguring mess of a machine in 1992 and Wolfenstein, WordPerfect and Lotus didn't change that IMHO.

Last edited by BigD on 09-Dec-2021 at 10:40 AM.

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BigD 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 9-Dec-2021 12:04:30
#34 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6394
From: UK

@paolone/Thread

Wolfenstein3D development interview

While this makes inspiring reading they were working on 386DX 33Mhz 4mb Ram machines with the PC version of Deluxe Paint and many in-house tools and no scanner or version control system!

What a horrible way to work! Surely if they'd have been gifted a A3000+ with DSP and Amber card they'd have done all of C='s marketing for them! I guess better Amiga hardware would have done John Carmack out of a job regarding his clever screen refresh tech but talk about PC evangelists!

In my view the effort to get the PC to this point was ridiculous and akin to the Los Gatos team building the Lorraine Amiga chipset with breadboards! Reinventing the wheel to give sub standard but ubiquitous business computer PC hardware the edge over much more equipped home computer platforms!

Last edited by BigD on 09-Dec-2021 at 12:07 PM.
Last edited by BigD on 09-Dec-2021 at 12:06 PM.

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agami 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 10-Dec-2021 0:59:44
#35 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 962
From: Melbourne, Australia

@paolone

Quote:
This is *exactly* the kind of crap amigans had in mind about PCs, and the motivation why they simply couldn't understand the change it was occurring at the time.

It's unfair to put it all on the shoulders of 1992 Amigans. Most people, consumers and companies such as Apple, IBM, and NeXT, were not able to predict the rapid rise of the open computing platform which gave the world the IBM-compatible PC, and particularly the aggressive rise in price/performance of the x86 CPU which solved most problems through brute-force number crunching.

As much as my Amiga experience of the late '80s and early '90s coloured my view of what computing should be like, it didn't blind me to what was going on in the industry at the time. Especially as I was using Windows 3.x and Windows NT 3.x at work for several years on 386 and 486 PCs, before eventually in late 1995 getting a Pentium 90 Win95 PC for the home.

That said, that first PC cost me almost $2,500 AUD. But I would've gladly paid $3,000 AUD for a near equally performing 060 AAA Amiga, if Commodore had not gone bankrupt and kept developing computers of comparable performance.

For me it wasn't about Doom II and a CD-ROM drive with Microsoft Encarta 95. By the mid '90s I've had the personal and professional exposure to Apple's System 7.x, Windows/NT 3.x and Windows 95, SCO Unix, and Amiga OS (all); And the computing paradigm that most aligned with my personal computing philosophy was the Amiga. Other platforms had their fortes, but for me the Amiga was a generalist. Which is what the PC platform eventually became during the Windows XP era, a decade later.

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fishy_fis 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 10-Dec-2021 1:38:05
#36 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 2035
From: Australia

@BigD

Distorting the conversation and adding your own narrative doesnt change reality.
I never mentioned a "flakey 1992 sub $1000 pc".
That was your contortion of the conversation.
As for "slow loading",....faster than an a1200. And no, 3 pieces of software dont showcase *anything*, which makes your attempt to suggest it does bizarre.
And an Amiga isnt autoconfiguring when it approaches anything like a pc spec.

Do you actually *try* to appear stupid?
It sure appears that way.

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fishy_fis 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 10-Dec-2021 1:45:19
#37 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 2035
From: Australia

@matthey

When was an a1200 $35?
And its a ridiculous point of comparison even disregarding that.
A Pi has enough grunt to be useful. It doesnt need to be "relatively competitive".
On top of that, Ive yet to see someone who accurately pointed out the Amiga wasnt competitive in '92 even mention OS4.

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agami 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 10-Dec-2021 4:08:01
#38 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 962
From: Melbourne, Australia

@fishy_fis

Quote:
I never mentioned a "flakey 1992 sub $1000 pc".

Aha, but do you acknowledge that in 1992 PCs under $700 USD were rubbish?

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MEGA_RJ_MICAL 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 10-Dec-2021 5:22:14
#39 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 13-Dec-2019
Posts: 890
From: AMIGAWORLD.NET WAS ORIGINALLY FOUNDED BY DAVID DOYLE

@agami

Quote:
I never mentioned a "flakey 1992 sub $1000 pc".

Aha, but do you acknowledge that in 1992 PCs under $700 USD were rubbish?[/quote]

Friend agami,
warmest of friends,

back in 1992 there was no such thing as a $700 USD PC, let alone one UNDER that price.
A CRT monitor alone, costed $700, in 1992.

Are you perhaps training yourself in the fine and ancient art of provoking,
or are you merely mentally impaired?

Sincerely,
Mega RJM

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pavlor 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 10-Dec-2021 5:51:20
#40 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 10-Jul-2005
Posts: 9367
From: Unknown

@MEGA_RJ_MICAL

Quote:
back in 1992 there was no such thing as a $700 USD PC, let alone one UNDER that price.


In 1992 a price war started among PC manufacturers (The Great Price war...) with Compaq in the lead of price cuts. As the year ended, you could buy a PC with 386SX 25 MHz, 4 MB RAM, 1 MB ISA SVGA, 14" SVGA monitor and 80 MB HDD for under 1300 USD (Gateway 2000 advert in InfoWorld 14 December 1992 p. 91; note Windows, MS DOS and MS Works included). Plain 386SX VGA PCs were even cheaper. Basic VGA card (256 kB) cost 60 USD and plain VGA monitor 120 USD (mono) or 230+ USD (colour) (CDW advert in PC Mag 24 November 1992 p. 543).

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