thinking of the "ultimate" retro x86 PCs - what bits to seek/keep^M ?
swiftgriggs at gmail.com
Fri Jun 3 10:11:44 CDT 2016
On Fri, 3 Jun 2016, Sam O'nella wrote:
> I'm a bit surprised at the recommendation of Dell but maybe they weren't
> playing all their proprietary games yet.
I was a little surprised, too. However, different strokes for different
folks, I suppose. My experience with Dell machines mostly mirrors yours.
However, I did have a core2 class Optiplex desktop that was very solid and
> I've seen where they rewired a nonstandard power connector so you'd fry
> it replacing it with a standard power supply or fry your other system
> using one of their power supplies but can't remember if that was at or
Wow, that's nasty. You'd hope they didn't do that on purpose but if so...
> Seen where they did something stupid and notched their ram so it had to
> be registered memory.
I ran into this with one of their workstations. I can't remember the
model, either, though.
> Either way. They quickly became a vendor i lost trust in but maybe lots
> of vendors also did that and i just ended up working on their problems
> the most.
For me there were two things that made me have a fairly low opinion of
1. When they offshored their support folks, brought some back, then
offshored again. The couple times I had to call support due to firmware
issues on the old 2650, I could only talk to folks who could speak
broken English, and knew almost nothing about the subject matter at
2. When I worked at Oracle, we deployed thousands of Dells (about 30k over
5 years IIRC). The out-of-box failures were numerous and painful
(because I had to RMA, re-pack, and ship the damn things back).
> Mca and vlb cards are harder to come by and fetch a higher price range
> vs isa/Eisa or pci.
Fortunately, I have a decent collection of interface cards, though I might
still settle on something new if there is a compelling reason.
> Definitely stay away from Cyrix processors. Most computer stores i knew
> in the 486 era wouldn't even sell them or take them as trade ins.
> Comparability issues and overheating seemed to be common features.
I know that was the case with the so-called 5x86 (586). It had straight-up
bugs in the silicon, IIRC. However, the 486 models I had were very solid
and quite fast for the money. These days, however, I'd probably go the
> Interesting comments on parallel drives. They're nice for compatibility
> on multiple systems but much slower than their scsi sisters.
Sooooo much slower. When I'm forced to use an LPT port for transferring
data on those old machines, I'd use Laplink. I was always disappointed
with parallel port devices, because they never seemed able to reach the
same transfer speeds as Laplink and other direct-cable software.
More information about the cctech