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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
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 6:14:30
#41 ]
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Joined: 13-Dec-2019
Posts: 908
From: AMIGAWORLD.NET WAS ORIGINALLY FOUNDED BY DAVID DOYLE

@pavlor

You are a very intelligent and mathematically gifted person, friend pavlor.

Edit: adding this beautiful price list
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waeormicjwQ&t=5725s

Last edited by MEGA_RJ_MICAL on 10-Dec-2021 at 06:57 AM.

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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 6:41:41
#42 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 10-Jul-2005
Posts: 9370
From: Unknown

@MEGA_RJ_MICAL

Quote:
A CRT monitor alone, costed $700, in 1992.




Quote:
You are a very intelligent and mathematically gifted person, friend pavlor.


I know.

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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 10:21:38
#43 ]
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Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 964
From: Melbourne, Australia

@MEGA_RJ_MICAL

Quote:
Edit: adding this beautiful price list
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waeormicjwQ&t=5725s

Thanks for sharing.
That was a nice trip down memory lane.

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bison 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 10-Dec-2021 15:49:01
#44 ]
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Joined: 18-Dec-2007
Posts: 2088
From: N-Space

@thread

This ad is from the May 1992 issue of PC Magazine, the month Wolf3D came out.

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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 16:11:59
#45 ]
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Joined: 10-Jul-2005
Posts: 9370
From: Unknown

@bison

"The Great Price War" started in June 1992.

Note configuration in that advert is higher than then lowend (386SX, 2 MB RAM, plain SVGA, 80 MB HDD).

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Nonefornow 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 10-Dec-2021 17:28:12
#46 ]
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Joined: 29-Jul-2013
Posts: 307
From: Greater Los Angeles Area

@bison

For comparative purposes how much would be the price of an A3000 with 4MB RAM, 100MB HD and Monitor in the same 1992?

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Rose 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 10-Dec-2021 17:55:27
#47 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 5-Nov-2009
Posts: 982
From: Unknown

@Nonefornow

Quote:

Nonefornow wrote:
@bison

For comparative purposes how much would be the price of an A3000 with 4MB RAM, 100MB HD and Monitor in the same 1992?


Found last issue of finnish Commodore magazine from January 1992 which had Amiga importers ad.

Prices converted from FIM.

486/33, 2Mb, 120Mb HDD, 1.44 FDD, SVGA and monitor 2084€
386/33, 2Mb, 120Mb HDD, 1.44 FDD, SVGA and monitor 1630€
386/25, 2Mb, 120Mb HDD, 1.44 FDD, SVGA and monitor 1395€

Amiga 3000, 2Mb, 105Mb HDD without monitor 2520€
Amiga 2000, 105Mb HDD + monitor (CM8833) 1510€

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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 18:21:37
#48 ]
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Joined: 10-Jul-2005
Posts: 9370
From: Unknown

@Rose

Similar prices here in then Czechoslovakia back then. There was a massive price cut of A3000s after the AGA release (1000 USD for a basic A3000/16 with an educational discount I think), but basic big box Amiga prices were no longer competitive in 1992.

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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 23:02:15
#49 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 964
From: Melbourne, Australia

@bison

Also noticed the ZEOS 386 did not have a sound card. Another $200+ in 1992.

And I see the good old sales tactic of enumerating the total number of expansion slots, without mentioning that 3-4 of them are occupied by the config being sold.

And A3000 came with SCSI as standard. Hardly a direct comparison to a run-of-the-mill 386SX PC.

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matthey 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 10-Dec-2021 23:56:48
#50 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1502
From: Kansas

fishy_fis Quote:

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.


The Amiga 1200 had enough performance to be useful in 1992 too, especially if not playing a handful of CPU intensive games. The majority of "business" computers were productive with a 8088 (1981 IBM PC) to 80286 (1987 IBM AT) in the '80s and most only used a 80386 in the early '90s. The Amiga 1200 68EC020 had better performance than the 80286 and nearly the same performance as the 80386 but often at a slower clock speed which was still at least 50% of the performance of the average PC clone business computer in the early '90s. The first Raspberry Pi had a weak ARM CPU only running at 700MHz compared to an average PC clone with powerful x86-64 3GHz CPU so maybe 5% of the performance if generous. The Raspberry Pi 4 ARMv7 Cortex-A72@1.5GHz is maybe roughly 25% of the performance of the lowest end desktop x86-64 CPUs today.

How A Raspberry Pi 4 Performs Against Intel's Latest Celeron, Pentium CPUs
https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Raspberry

The average PC clone desktop CPU today is going to likely be at least twice the performance of the budget x86-64 options in the comparison at the link above. The Amiga 1200 CPU performance in 1992 was more competitive for the desktop than the Raspberry Pi 4 CPU performance today. Both the Amiga 1200 and Raspberry Pi 4 had and have significantly lower prices than the often more powerful competition. The Amiga 1200 is considered by some here to be useless outdated "rubbish" in 1992 while the Raspberry Pi is the most common architecture advocated for a port of the AmigaOS. Also, consider the Raspberry Pi CPU would be using slower emulation for legacy Amiga software and that the GPU is relatively weaker compared to modern desktop GPUs than AGA was to SVGA in 1992.

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bison 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 11-Dec-2021 1:25:33
#51 ]
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Joined: 18-Dec-2007
Posts: 2088
From: N-Space

@agami

I was working in Zeos tech support in 1992, so I have detailed knowledge of the motherboard in this system. It had onboard FDD, IDE and ports, so the only slot occupied in the standard configuration was the video card.

The sound card was an option, but a lot of buyers ordered without and added a Sound Blaster later. We got a lot of calls on this to sort out the I/O port, DMA channel, IRQ, etc.

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Zeus 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 11-Dec-2021 3:04:15
#52 ]
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Joined: 4-Dec-2021
Posts: 8
From: Unknown

@bison

1992 was a pivotal year. The Wintel juggernaut was just starting to gear up. Things would change dramatically in just 2 more years. In 1992 the specs were pretty good on that Zeos but the 386sx was fast losing its luster. The 486 was beginning to surpass the 68040 and Pentium was around the corner and the first PowerPC 601 would be released before the end of the year. Motorolla had already slowed the development of the 68000 line and would soon abandon future improvements.

All in all that Zeos was a decent productivity PC for owners who needed to bring their work home. Lotus 123 was still a very popular spreadsheet and Amipro was a decent wordprocessor. About the only thing Windows 3.0 was good for was to run solitaire.

Compare this PC to the MAC which was selling for $1900 was running 68030 at 16mhz, 2mb of memory and had a 9" 512x384 monochrome monitor. Of course System 6.X made Windows 3.0 or 3.1 look like warmed over manure.

I only had to buy the A1200 and a memory card. I had all the other components needed to complete the system; 17" multi-sync, 2.5" hardrive, Amax 2.5, supergen and software. If I had to buy all of it new it would have easily exceeded the cost of the Zeos. But for me it was the best bang for the buck.

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agami 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 11-Dec-2021 3:54:01
#53 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 964
From: Melbourne, Australia

@bison

Quote:
It [ZEOS] had onboard FDD, IDE and ports, so the only slot occupied in the standard configuration was the video card.

Fair enough for ZEOS and probably a small handful of other clone makers.
Most of the clone makers that I dealt with between 1993 and 1996 would position their PCs by counting total slots, but never stipulating how many are occupied.

Even when I bought my first PC in late 1995, the ad in the Green Guide (a computer centric lift-out in the Thursday edition of one of Australia’s daily newspapers) followed this same tactic and claimed 7 expansion slots, but 2 of them were occupied (SVGA card, sound card).

I know it’s technically correct, but it is a tad misleading.

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bison 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 11-Dec-2021 15:27:32
#54 ]
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Joined: 18-Dec-2007
Posts: 2088
From: N-Space

@BigD

Probably a better question is, "How rubbish was CGA, and why did anyone buy it at all?" With four colors and three fixed palettes, it was really bad even in 1981 when it came out.





All they really needed was a 64K frame buffer (and an analog monitor) to get 320x200 256-color packed-pixel graphics, but they did THAT instead. It took them six years to get to something decent.

Last edited by bison on 11-Dec-2021 at 03:30 PM.

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pixie 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 11-Dec-2021 16:39:36
#55 ]
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Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 2700
From: Figueira da Foz - Portugal

@bison

What a world of difference an A1200 +2Mb ram + 20Mb hd would make

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matthey 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 11-Dec-2021 20:25:09
#56 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1502
From: Kansas

bison Quote:

Probably a better question is, "How rubbish was CGA, and why did anyone buy it at all?" With four colors and three fixed palettes, it was really bad even in 1981 when it came out.


CGA also has a graphics mode for 16 colors in 160x100 resolution. Compare to the Apple II with 16 colors in 40x48 resolution and 6 colors in 280x192 and it isn't that bad.

bison Quote:

All they really needed was a 64K frame buffer (and an analog monitor) to get 320x200 256-color packed-pixel graphics, but they did THAT instead. It took them six years to get to something decent.


Memory was too expensive and didn't have enough bandwidth to do 320x200 with 8 colors in 1981. CGA could have had a 320x200 with 16 color mode though like the C64 received in 1982.

320x200x2 16kiB
320x200x4 32kiB
320x200x8 64kiB
320x200x16 128kiB

There was a big drop in memory prices in 1980 which allowed the Apple II+ to ship standard with 48kiB of memory. The CBM Pet was limited to 32kiB of memory and didn't even have a graphics mode. Many 8 bit CPUs could not address more than 64kiB of memory including the 6502 although the 8088 could address 640kiB (the full 808x is the 8086 which is 16 bit). When the Amiga came out in 1985 using the 68000 with 24 bit addressing (16MiB), it supported a seemingly unlimited amount of memory but it still couldn't handle 320x200 in 256 colors although this was likely due to a transistor budget and considering that 256 colors would be too slow to be practical. The Amiga graphics was made to be scalable with a selectable number of bit planes expandable to 8 for 256 colors with AGA in 1992. This was flexible allowing to scale to system resources and performance desired while reducing memory bandwidth requirements. The Amiga had enough chip memory for 256 colors at inception and often had more than early x86 graphics cards as the chip memory was shared with the CPU (somewhat like the HSA of modern consoles except fast memory was not shared while modern memory has greatly reduced memory bandwidth limitations). It became important to be able to double buffer a screen display so twice the graphics memory was an advantage for games. AGA could have added chunky 16 bit and double buffering would have been possible but memory would have been tight with only 2MiB of chip and total memory (PAL would have used 320x256x16 so 320kiB of memory double buffered). The Amiga AA+ chipset would have added true 16 bit chunky skipping 8 bit pseudo CLUT chunky like VGA. In any case, the Amiga would have had trouble pushing 16 bit chunky graphics without higher performance CPUs and more memory bandwidth which was the same case for 320x200 in 256 colors with the 8088 circa 1981.

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bison 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 11-Dec-2021 20:59:41
#57 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 18-Dec-2007
Posts: 2088
From: N-Space

@matthey

Quote:
CGA also has a graphics mode for 16 colors in 160x100 resolution.

I though I would spare IBM the humiliation and not mention that.



At the very least they should have had something like Plantronics Colorplus (shipped in 1982), and VGA packed-pixel mode should have arrived before 1987. MCGA graphics on a PS/2 Model 30 was able to handle that with a 8 MHz 8086, so they didn't need much in the way of processing power to pull it off.

Last edited by bison on 19-Dec-2021 at 07:18 PM.
Last edited by bison on 11-Dec-2021 at 09:01 PM.

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Nonefornow 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 12-Dec-2021 23:21:11
#58 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 29-Jul-2013
Posts: 307
From: Greater Los Angeles Area

@Thread

Quote:
What was wrong with the C64?


Apparently absolutely nothing. According to these tables the C64 sold better than the Amiga.



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agami 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 13-Dec-2021 1:11:26
#59 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 964
From: Melbourne, Australia

@Nonefornow

Very telling.

According to those Amiga numbers, if they had a better market-aligned product in 1992, they could've moved ~1.4M units, followed by potentially ~2M units in 1993, which would've without a doubt delayed the bankruptcy.

From 1991 to 2000, the total number of computers shipped showed no downturn. From ~18M units in 1991, to ~140M units in 2000. In no small way boosted by the popularity of the Internet and the World Wide Web.

In 1991, Apple shipped ~1.7M units of the Macintosh, and with their somewhat less screwed-up management they were able to continually grow that to the highest ever 4.5M units in 1995, from a total ~45M units of computers shipped that year. More or less maintaining 10% of total computers shipped during this period. Yet even with all that, things trended downward for Apple from 1995 and were on the brink of bankruptcy in 1997.

If in some alternate history Commodore could've kept delivering quantities of computers which a sustainable segment of consumers actually wanted to buy, they might've even survived into the present day, in some shape or form.

For a brief moment in computer history, the Amiga was the third commercial consumer platform, ~5% in 1991-92.

Source: https://arstechnica.com/features/2005/12/total-share/10/

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matthey 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 13-Dec-2021 1:38:08
#60 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1502
From: Kansas

matthey Quote:
CGA also has a graphics mode for 16 colors in 160x100 resolution.


bison Quote:

I though I would spare IBM the humiliation and not mention that.


More than a few businesses have made the mistake with products thinking more colors, dithering, anti-aliasing and special modes in lower resolutions would suffice compared to higher resolutions. There was something to be said about these modes but too low of resolution doesn't look good. This reminds me of the Amiga which could do copper chunky since 1985 at lower resolutions with some nice effects.

Amiga Tech - Copper Chunky
https://youtu.be/ste_ejNVvDk?t=41

Higher resolution and more colors with copper chunky are possible with AGA as mentioned in the video but it didn't suffice for chunky capabilities when the competition started to get 16 bit chunky support and higher resolutions.

bison Quote:

At the very least they should have had something like Plantronics Colorplus (shipped in 1982), and VGA packed-pixel mode should have arrived before 1987. MCGA graphics on a PS/2 Model 30 was able to handle that with a 8 MHz 8086, so they didn't need much in the way of processing power to pull it off.


Don't forget that Bill Sydnes helped create a failed low cost PCjr platform released in 1984 based on CGA before bringing his genius over to the Amiga. Even IBM had learning difficulties in the new PC markets where their business expertise did not apply. The full 8086 was a powerful 16 bit CPU in the early '80s. It rivaled the performance of the 68000 although the 68k ISA was cleaner, had a flat memory model instead of segmented memory and was 32 bit internally for future improvements. Ironically, the quirky little segmented 8086 became the base for the x86(-64) future while the 68k was phased out of existence by Motorola to the demise of itself.

Nonefornow Quote:

Apparently absolutely nothing. According to these tables the C64 sold better than the Amiga.


The C64 is the best selling PC of all time unless considering the Raspberry Pi a PC. Many of the Raspberry Pis are being used in embedded devices and I'm not sure those should count.

The C64 outsold the Amiga for several years after the Amiga was introduced. I'm not sure it was outselling that far into the '90s. I found the following chart which has the Amiga first passing the C64 in unit sales in 1990 but I don't know how accurate it is.



The Amiga would have led in yearly sales revenue sooner due to the higher price and likely would have had a higher bottom line due to higher profit margins too. The Amiga should have been more capital intensive though if CBM had been investing in keeping it competitive while the C64 had pretty much reached the limits of its capabilities while maintaining compatibility. The C65 would have showed there was a little room for C64 upgrades but it likely would have been like the Apple IIgs sunset. The Amiga has lots of room for improvements while maintaining compatibility which is why I advocate for a modernized retro Amiga based on the old hardware. It should be possible to make Amiga hardware very affordable today and useful. The Raspberry Pi needs some competition.

Last edited by matthey on 13-Dec-2021 at 01:41 AM.

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