FPGA VAX update, now DIY TTL computers
cclist at sydex.com
Sat Nov 12 20:03:58 CST 2005
On 11/12/2005 at 8:34 PM Scott Stevens wrote:
>> Nope nobody kept them. ;)
Not true. I keep one of everything. An XT, an AT, a 386, a 386SX, a
486, and several flavors of Pentium I. So if I need to run Topview, I've
got a system that will do it. Of course, I could also just emulate an XT
on a more modern system.
The rule of thumb for the computer industry has been "better faster
cheaper". I paid almost $3000 for a bare-bones 5150 with 64K, one disk
drive (single-sided) and a monochrome display adapter. What will that
$3000 buy now (adjusted for inflation)?
If the violin industry ran the way the computer industry did, a
Stradivarius would just be a quaint old violin that no one wanted to play
because it sounded so awful.
But sometimes old is better. I play a tuba made in 1915 and own several
that are over the century mark. These are exceptional instruments that
modern manufacturers have tried to reproduce with only fair success. And
there are terrible old tubas that deserve nothing more than to be
disassembled and used for parts.
I don't think of the PC business as being particularly noteworthy from the
aspect of groundbreaking technology and design effort. A couple of guys
down in Boca Raton put together a box on the cheap for IBM using available
(not even leading edge) technology. There wasn't a chip in the PC that I
hadn't heard of before.
The work that was required to engineer the System/360, Burroughs B5000,
CDC 6600 or even the VAX was really noteworthy and deserves our respect.
Certainly we should at least do our best to preserve the knowledge of how
these systems were built.
Some of the more innovative Apple and Sun hardware represents some
brilliant minds at work. But the PC?
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