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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 16-Dec-2021 1:09:13
#81 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 942
From: Melbourne, Australia

@matthey

Quote:
the CD32 music is cheating

I wouldn't call it cheating, I'd say it's playing to its strengths.
Much like the PlayStation did a year and a bit later.

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matthey 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 16-Dec-2021 1:48:36
#82 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1476
From: Kansas

agami Quote:

I wouldn't call it cheating, I'd say it's playing to its strengths.
Much like the PlayStation did a year and a bit later.


There is no cheating when it comes to competition but the audio output on the CD32 is not limited to the old Paula. The Amiga 8 bit 4 voice Paula still holds up better even today than the IBM AT, 68k Macintosh and Atari ST audio in the '80s as that first video I posted in my previous post demonstrates. The C64 SID was still one of the best audio competitors for the Amiga even though the hardware is much different.

Last edited by matthey on 16-Dec-2021 at 01:49 AM.

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soren_ladegaard 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 16-Dec-2021 11:39:00
#83 ]
Member
Joined: 30-Mar-2005
Posts: 24
From: Unknown

I'd say that in 1992 the Amiga 500 was still the king among children in Denmark. But things would change soon - and quick.

The lack of harddrives as standard made the Amiga hard to release games for. Monkey Island 2 for instance. It really needed af harddrive. Fate of Atlantis was the last Lucasarts game for the Amiga.

In 1993 came DOOM and that changed it all.

In my opinion the A600 and A1200 should have been prepared for 3.5" harddrives instead of 2.5" that were still much more expensive.

And the A1200 should have come with 2MB CHIP and 2MB FAST as standard. That would have doubled the speed of the machine. More RAM and a harddrive would have made the A1200 much more competitive.

Last edited by soren_ladegaard on 16-Dec-2021 at 11:41 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 16-Dec-2021 18:46:18
#84 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6320
From: UK

@soren_ladegaard

Quote:
I'd say that in 1992 the Amiga 500 was still the king among children in Denmark.


Yes but that was also the problem. Which A500 kids actually badgered their parents for an A1200 upgrade? And even if they did would the parents have shelled out for hard drives at the same time?

The A500 was so good in the eyes of its users most refused to accept that it needed upgrading right up until the point they ditched it for PC with a hard drive!

Last edited by BigD on 16-Dec-2021 at 06:47 PM.

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soren_ladegaard 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 16-Dec-2021 20:51:37
#85 ]
Member
Joined: 30-Mar-2005
Posts: 24
From: Unknown

@BigD

That's true. Many were reluctant to spend money on upgrades.

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OneTimer1 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 16-Dec-2021 22:44:16
#86 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2015
Posts: 749
From: Unknown

@BigD

In 1992 PCs had Windows 3.0, VGAs and you could get, Winword, Excel or similar office products from competitors. Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups where released in 1992 making networking with PCs a standardised type of usage.

Amiga/Atari could have competed if the GFX and Networking would have been on a similar level, but they didn't had this huge pool of software that was available on PCs.

Last edited by OneTimer1 on 16-Dec-2021 at 10:47 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 17-Dec-2021 0:28:34
#87 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 29-Jul-2013
Posts: 307
From: Greater Los Angeles Area

@soren_ladegaard

Upgrading from an A500 to an A1200 requires a different level of commitment than upgrading a PC with new component.

The A500 was underpowered for serious business work and too expensive to use as a game machine. In trying to upgrade it with HD, chip RAM, fast RAM, and / or a CPU you would ended up spending more $ than buying a new PC.

Of course nowadays there are different solution that make those upgrade reasonable, but in 1992 that was not a realistic way of thinking.




Last edited by Nonefornow on 17-Dec-2021 at 12:29 AM.

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agami 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 17-Dec-2021 2:33:25
#88 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 942
From: Melbourne, Australia

@OneTimer1

Quote:
but they didn't had this huge pool of software that was available on PCs

Huge pool of software?
There was nothing on the PC in 1992 for which there was not an alternative on the the Amiga. But there were things on the Amiga that were not on the PC.

It has nothing to do with the selective memory of the Windows 3.0/3.1 pool of software on the IBM-compatible PC in 1992. It was about file interchangeability.

It didn't matter if Amiga had spreadsheets or word processors. You could optimally only share that file with someone else who had an Amiga. As we know, in 1992 that was about 5% of the global computing market. With Macintosh being at 10%, that left the IBM-compatible PC with very close to 85% of the global computing market. You save an Excel file on a floppy in 1992, there's an 85% chance that another person with a computer can open it.

It's called the network effect, part of Graph Theory. Think of it as the early '90s form of social networking.
The availability heuristic did have some impact on consumer perception, but it didn't result in the overall increase of software within the pool until the 32bit era.

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OneTimer1 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 17-Dec-2021 18:42:18
#89 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2015
Posts: 749
From: Unknown

@agami

Quote:

agami wrote:
@OneTimer1

Quote:
but they didn't had this huge pool of software that was available on PCs

Huge pool of software?
There was nothing on the PC in 1992 for which there was not an alternative on the the Amiga.


Autocad https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AutoCAD
TurboCAD https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TurboCAD
Eagle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EAGLE_(program)
CADSTAR https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CADSTAR
OrCAD https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OrCAD
Protel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altium
HiCAD https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HiCAD
Lotus 1-2-3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_1-2-3
StarWriter https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StarOffice
QuarkXPress https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QuarkXPress
Ventura https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corel_Ventura
dBase https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DBase
Turbo Pascal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbo_Pascal
SAP R/3 Clients https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAP
Compuserv https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CompuServe
CoralDraw https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CorelDRAW
Adobe Illustrator https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Illustrator
Visio https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Visio

Most of this software existed in 1992, Amiga counterparts where often restricted in functionality, screen resolution or didn't existed at all.

And this is only a list of non Microsoft software (even if some where acquired by Ms later) some of this software cost more than a full equipped PC and people who worked with it where often using PCs at home, so they can use a none legal copy at home.

Last edited by OneTimer1 on 17-Dec-2021 at 06:54 PM.
Last edited by OneTimer1 on 17-Dec-2021 at 06:43 PM.

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BigD 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 17-Dec-2021 21:26:34
#90 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6320
From: UK

@OneTimer1

I'm all for a bit of spreadsheet manipulation or report writing at home but SAP on your home machine in 1992! Are you a workaholic or something? Vector graphics, bitmap graphics, spreadsheets, DTP and word processors were all well catered for on the Amiga and none of the programs you mention were direct competitors for Amiga apps because for 'home computer' needs many Amiga apps were much more intuitive and had far more bang for your buck! I was not jealous of any of the PC programs you mention and in my experience most PC owners in the UK in the 90s had very little software bar MS Works, Encarta and a browser shipped with Windows (but not in 1992)! They bought the machine because they were (mis)sold it not because it was the best home computer!

Last edited by BigD on 17-Dec-2021 at 09:29 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 18-Dec-2021 2:05:02
#91 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 29-Jul-2013
Posts: 307
From: Greater Los Angeles Area

@Thread

Link to an article on The Washington Post - July 1992

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/business/1992/07/20/commodore-lets-the-amiga-die-a-slow-death-by-neglect/e1881c9b-a319-4eeb-a704-fd11be84b2a6/


Quote:
The Amiga 500 appeared as a sort of Amiga Jr., with less power and memory but a $500 price. Too expensive to compete with Nintendo as a game machine, it was too weak for serious computing, especially for the one kind of computing the Amiga was best at: multimedia.

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agami 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 18-Dec-2021 2:25:37
#92 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 942
From: Melbourne, Australia

@OneTimer1

Quote:
Most of this software existed in 1992,

Wait, you didn't actually check to see if they all did in fact exist for Windows in 1992?

Have you perhaps noticed a trend in the software you listed? There's a lot of the same kinds of software.

No one disputes that there was many more different types of CAD or Spreadsheet software available for the business-focused IBM-compatible + Windows 3.x ecosystem.
And it's a well documented fact that in countries where people where taking work home to continue work, in the late '80s and late '90s, this practice was a vector for getting IBM-compatible machines into the home.

Maybe you and I have a different idea of what constitutes a "huge pool" of software.
Having a large quantity of much of the same software is not what I would call a huge pool. Perhaps a huge pool of corporate software is a better descriptor.

Quote:
Amiga counterparts where often restricted in functionality, screen resolution or didn't existed at all.

A huge pool of software has nothing to do with the quality of software within it. There was plenty of crap software for Windows as well. Famously, Adobe Illustrator in 1992 was a quick port of a much earlier version of Illustrator for Mac, and was considered orders of magnitude inferior to CorelDraw. I guess you would say the early Windows versions of Illustrator were "restricted in features", yet you still included it in your list.

Quick Note: It's a documented fact that when it comes to software functionality, more doesn't always mean better. Generally, 90% of non-professional users use the same 10% of features of most software that is considered to be feature rich.

Last edited by agami on 18-Dec-2021 at 02:36 AM.
Last edited by agami on 18-Dec-2021 at 02:26 AM.

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DiscreetFX 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 18-Dec-2021 3:06:15
#93 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 12-Feb-2003
Posts: 2175
From: Chicago, IL

@Nonefornow

I didn’t consider the A500 inferior and did lots of professional things with it for many years. Eventually I did get a A1200 then a A4000T.

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DiscreetFX 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 18-Dec-2021 3:07:47
#94 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 12-Feb-2003
Posts: 2175
From: Chicago, IL

@OneTimer1

Besides maybe StarOffice and Turbo Pascal, none of the programs on your list hold any interest for me.

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OneTimer1 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 18-Dec-2021 12:55:45
#95 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2015
Posts: 749
From: Unknown

@DiscreetFX

Quote:

DiscreetFX wrote:
@OneTimer1

Besides maybe StarOffice and Turbo Pascal, none of the programs on your list hold any interest for me.


I didn't mention the games.

Last edited by OneTimer1 on 18-Dec-2021 at 06:41 PM.

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OneTimer1 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 18-Dec-2021 12:58:48
#96 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2015
Posts: 749
From: Unknown

@agami

Quote:

agami wrote:
@OneTimer1

Quote:
Most of this software existed in 1992,

Wait, you didn't actually check to see if they all did in fact exist for Windows in 1992?


I checked it, that's why I could provide the links some where published first in 1992, sadly not for Amiga

Quote:

A huge pool of software has nothing to do with the quality of software within it.


Quality was good enough for Wikipedia, outclassed similar Amiga programs (if they existed) most of the Windows software I found still exists today.

Last edited by OneTimer1 on 18-Dec-2021 at 06:36 PM.
Last edited by OneTimer1 on 18-Dec-2021 at 03:38 PM.
Last edited by OneTimer1 on 18-Dec-2021 at 01:05 PM.

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matthey 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 18-Dec-2021 20:59:16
#97 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1476
From: Kansas

Nonefornow Quote:

Link to an article on The Washington Post - July 1992

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/business/1992/07/20/commodore-lets-the-amiga-die-a-slow-death-by-neglect/e1881c9b-a319-4eeb-a704-fd11be84b2a6/


This article was from middle of 1992 before the Amiga 1200 and Amiga 4000 were released in the fall. It is true that CBM had lost momentum with the Amiga due to the late arrival of AGA but AGA was good enough to keep the Amiga alive had CBM played their cards right.

Quote:
The Amiga 500 appeared as a sort of Amiga Jr., with less power and memory but a $500 price. Too expensive to compete with Nintendo as a game machine, it was too weak for serious computing, especially for the one kind of computing the Amiga was best at: multimedia.


This quote is from a typical U.S. perspective. The Amiga 500 was on par with the Amiga 1000 and only inferior to the Amiga 2000 in expandability in 1987. It was fully compatible with both an Amiga 1000 and Amiga 2000. The PCjr lacked compatibility and had a toy keyboard which did not apply to the Amiga 500. The Amiga 500 in 1987 for $699 was a good product. The Amiga 500+ in 1992-1993 was underwhelming as by then ECS was not enough and there was no cheap option for an affordable hard drive. Ironically, had the PCjr guy Bill Sydnes not set AGA back a year then this could have been the Amiga 1200 with a hard drive option and CBM would have likely survived longer.

Lack of standard hard drives was more of an issue for productivity software than games. While a word processor or spreadsheet was usable from a disk drive, some productivity software was growing to where it was not convenient. The mentality in the U.S. at least was that productivity software used a hard drive which is faster and more reliable as well. This is one of the reasons why the Amiga 500 was seen as a toy while big box Amigas were worse off as they became less and less competitive with the cheapest possible CBM accelerators, memory and hard drive interfaces. There was no high end Amiga by the early '90s using CBM hardware despite the hardware not being cheap. CBM provided the "power supply" as the article describes for the Toaster

CBM could have made hard drives, CD-ROM drives, faster CPUs and more and better memory standard. They were a big enough business that they had pricing power and suppliers could leverage economies of scale. This would have increased value for the customer rather than forcing them to acquire them through 3rd party suppliers in smaller quantities which are more expensive. CBM was more concerned with how cheap they could make a product rather than how cheap a customer could assemble the product they want or need which is where value comes in. We know CBM could supply a CD-ROM for only $15. Maybe even a 40MiB hard drive wouldn't have been much more expensive for CBM using their pricing power. Maybe a 68030@28MHz could have been used instead of a 68020@14MHz for a few more dollars. Adding 2MiB of fast memory would have given a further performance boost and didn't cost that much. Would an Amiga 1200 class machine with these features standard for $799 or even $899 instead of $599 have been more competitive in 1992?

CBM had a competitive advantage with more efficient use of memory. The 68k architecture is a memory miser superior to that of the x86 architecture. Also, the Amiga chipset allows sharing of CPU memory and video memory. PC clone manufacturers had to choose how much memory was used for the CPU and how much for the graphics card. This often required supplying more total memory than was necessary which is wasteful and increases costs. The Amiga often had more video "chip" memory and could use chip memory when fast memory ran out, albeit at a lower performance due to limited memory bandwidth in those days. Modern consoles use a HSA which allows sharing CPU and video memory. This also gives a performance advantage as data does not have to be copied over a slow bus or at all. Even the Raspberry Pi is not this advanced and requires selecting how much video memory is partitioned for CPU and video use. The 68k Amiga still has a competitive advantage using memory over the Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi customers complained about the lack of memory with 256MiB and even 512MiB while 68k Amiga niche products are just now reaching these levels only because there wasn't enough advantage to adding more considering the cost with the lack of buying power of niche products. Amiga management and leadership seems to perpetually be unable to leverage the advantages of the Amiga.

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Nonefornow 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 18-Dec-2021 23:18:17
#98 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 29-Jul-2013
Posts: 307
From: Greater Los Angeles Area

@matthey

The Amiga path to upgradability is another sour spot for Amiga users. Many A1000 buyers were displeased about the expansion slot in the A500 and A2000.
Very few boards were made compatible with the A1000 after that.
While in a A1000 you could use some of the A500 boards, the reverse positioning in many cases blocked access to the joyports of the A1000.

In my view that was a major critical engineering error.

As a I mentioned before, from 1987 to 1990, the A2000 was the indisputable leader in the video / tv programming / production precisely because of all the multimedia features and an add-in board like NewTek video toaster. But the introduction of the A3000 did not consider that.

That was another major critical engineering error.

And then, for Pete's sake, why wouldn't OS 3.X be 100% compatible with KS1.3 and WB 1.3?
There was a large customer base of A500 users that went out to get the new ROM and OS just to realized that their favorite game was not working. And all the tricks involved (dual KS board, external switches, etc.) to remedy that just put off many users.

Possibly another major critical engineering error.

As an example, the strength of the C128, was that it could run all 10,000 C64 games and apps, and was hardware compatible with C64 disk drives, printers, and all accessories right out of the box.



Last edited by Nonefornow on 18-Dec-2021 at 11:19 PM.

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matthey 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 19-Dec-2021 9:58:54
#99 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1476
From: Kansas

Nonefornow Quote:

The Amiga path to upgradability is another sour spot for Amiga users. Many A1000 buyers were displeased about the expansion slot in the A500 and A2000.
Very few boards were made compatible with the A1000 after that.
While in a A1000 you could use some of the A500 boards, the reverse positioning in many cases blocked access to the joyports of the A1000.

In my view that was a major critical engineering error.


It wasn't professional of CBM to turn the expansion slot upside down.

Nonefornow Quote:

As a I mentioned before, from 1987 to 1990, the A2000 was the indisputable leader in the video / tv programming / production precisely because of all the multimedia features and an add-in board like NewTek video toaster. But the introduction of the A3000 did not consider that.

That was another major critical engineering error.


It was bad enough to change the dimensions of the boards but a travesty not to slot the most common boards into the Amiga 3000 slots to check for compatibility. CBM should have been sending prototypes to big companies like NewTek and asking for feedback on what they wanted.

Nonefornow Quote:

And then, for Pete's sake, why wouldn't OS 3.X be 100% compatible with KS1.3 and WB 1.3?
There was a large customer base of A500 users that went out to get the new ROM and OS just to realized that their favorite game was not working. And all the tricks involved (dual KS board, external switches, etc.) to remedy that just put off many users.

Possibly another major critical engineering error.

As an example, the strength of the C128, was that it could run all 10,000 C64 games and apps, and was hardware compatible with C64 disk drives, printers, and all accessories right out of the box.


This problem is more nuanced. The problem began with poor documentation and over documentation of internal AmigaOS structures in some cases. Taking so long to introduce a 68020, chipset upgrades and AmigaOS upgrades did not help either. A good portion of the problem can be blamed on poorly written software, especially games which take over the Amiga. Most AmigaOS friendly software had minor if any problems.

The C64 did not have system software which was upgradeable to the extent of the Amiga. Neither did it have CPU upgrades with more than 10 times the clock rate and many times more performance. CBM tried to maintain Amiga compatibility by adding many kludges for poorly written programs. There is much more that can be done for compatibility today. Multiple kickstarts can go in selectable flash memory slots, the CPU clock speed can be adjustable (later 68k CPUs were already fully static designs which allowed dropping the clock down to 0MHz), bus snooping can auto detect and handle self modifying code, etc. The Amiga is a much more dynamic computer than the C64. Change anything on the C64 and code will break too. Most software on the Amiga would run on a 3GHz CPU with enhanced chipset and improved AmigaOS.

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BigD 
Re: How rubbish was the PC in 1992 and why did most people buy one without thinking?
Posted on 19-Dec-2021 11:26:17
#100 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6320
From: UK

@DiscreetFX

Quote:

DiscreetFX wrote:
@Nonefornow

I didn’t consider the A500 inferior and did lots of professional things with it for many years. Eventually I did get a A1200 then a A4000T.


An upgrade path! Oh that more A500 owners had taken it rather than viewing the Amiga as a pseudo console and discarding it when the next McGuffin came along!

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