Ali Express's bizarre 1990s-style retro DOS computers reviewed

Originally published at: Ali Express's bizarre 1990s-style retro DOS computers reviewed | Boing Boing


Video link for the BBS.

Couldn’t have even spring for the DX, eh? I mean I guess this is kinda cool if you’re really into retro stuff, but I’d rather have something with a 486DX processor — still plenty retro but not completely hobbled in the speed department. Like, plenty capable of running old school demoscene stuff at full tilt.

Does that 386 thing even have a video output? It’s also pretty laughable that these things have USB ports.

ETA: the 386 has a breakout board for video and I/O


From what I’ve watched of LGR, the 386 in particular has a very special place in his heart as his first childhood machine.


How? Surely they aren’t being manufactured anymore? Did they find some huge dead stock lot?

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If I understood the video correctly, the processors and other old chips are salvaged from old computer hardware.

ETA: The Book 8088 uses a vintage 8088 chip. The Hand 386 uses a new “embedded 386SX” made for use in industrial systems.


Yeah, that makes sense. I know there’s a lot of legacy hardware out there that just can’t be replaced, especially within the military/intel community.

Also: What does “embedded” mean in this case? Emulation on newer hardware?

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These are more modern chips intended for not-desktop use.


I’d love to get it so I could use WordPerfect 5.1. I’ve still got my diskettes and license code…


Why a laptop?

if I understand the hobby correctly, and there’s a chance that I don’t, it is to play the games of a specific era, on an era appropriate machine so they look and sound their most authentic.

but a vintage laptop tends to have the worst I/O. graphics are compromised by the screen, and sound, even if is present isn’t as good as the AdLib or perhaps the soundblaster that a player would have wanted back in the day. no isa slot means no hope of correcting it. a built in keyboard means that you’re stuck with mush.

it might save a little space, though.


There was a time when the Federal government was requiring document and reports be submitted in Word Perfect. I wound up getting Corel Suite from work.

Word Perfect was a great word processing tool.


This was all cobbled together from existing parts and hardware. I’m guessing that it was making the most of what was readily available.


“Embedded” refers to the fact that it’s designed to be used inside some special purpose device, not a general purpose computer. In practice this tends to mean “stick more stuff that’s typically external into the same chip” aka an SoC (system on a chip).


You may not need it. There are a number of WordPerfect modernization projects. This is the one I have bookmarked: WordPerfect for DOS Updated


oh! that looks perfect.

( god. i’m sorry. still too soon? )

I really just want my old Gateway Handbook 486 back, but with a color display that isn’t a totally bizarre aspect ratio. Is that too much to ask?

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