Unboxing video from 1995 of a $3K desktop computer

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/20/unboxing-video-from-1995-of-a.html

3 Likes

Calculator says:

$3,356.49

Adjusted for inflation, $2,000.00 in 1995 is equal to $3,356.49 in 2019.

7 Likes

So it has always been. We paid $3500 for our Apple II+ in 1981. As they all were, it was 1MHz and came with 48k of RAM. We later upgraded to 64k.

The irony is that computers were a better deal back then. Down at the flatter end of the Moore curve, you got a lot more useful years out of a machine. We used that computer for ten years, and the Apple II line was sold continuously from 1977 to 1993. Because the software and platform were static (unlike today when everything is a moving target of patches and mandatory OS upgrades) that Apple II is still exactly as useful today, if you could deal with the obsolete file formats and lack of internet.

10 Likes

Talk about a time capsule!

My greater surprise is that Digg still exists.

3 Likes

And the hilarious (and cool) thing is that the 65C02 (used in the //c) is still in production, as are several other 6502 variants. You can even make a simple 65C02-based system on a breadboard.

2 Likes

I’m also of that era (We had a Franklin Ace 1000, an Apple ][+ clone in 1982). It’s true that we got a lot of years out of the machine compared to the constant PC upgrade cycle of the 1990s, but I think we are back again there. I’m typing this on a 5-year old machine and it seems totally fine in regard to speed. I think only serious PC gamers really care about CPUs and graphics cards these days.

1 Like

I kind of miss the days when there were lots of big box electronics stores to choose from like Good Guys, Circuit City, and others.

Around here we just have Best Buy and a solitary Fry’s (both which I avoid at all cost if possible).

Ordering stuff online is fine and all, but I miss being able to browse stuff and actually touch it before I buy it. Especially when it comes to those little nitpicky things you just can’t get from online reviews (what color and how bright are the LEDs, how does it sound, how do the buttons feel, etc).

I don’t miss dealing with the often shitty sales people, though.

3 Likes

In 1983 I had a job installing Apple III computers at client sites. The total package cost, including printer and modem was $6,000. And we bought in bulk. We installed 180 of them.
The next year, we went back to most of those sites and replaced them with IBM compatibles because nobody wanted them.
At least I got to travel a lot a age 23!

2 Likes

I would tend to agree. My 2016 MacBook Pro retina 13" is still flying for my needs, and my 2012 MacBook Pro retina 15" is still totally usable (and I believe is still supported by Apple for new macOS updates).

I think it depends what kind of work you do. We’ve reached a pretty stable platform for casual web-browsing and email-writing, but if you do development, video production, or other power-hungry tasks, the upgrade pressure is still high.

3 Likes

And it will be for a thousand years to come:

Bender_6502

3 Likes

I guess. But I’m a scientist who spends a lot of time analyzing data in R and even for that my machine is still fine for interactive use.

Videos are difficult, granted.

But I’m using GIS on a 2005 Windows 7 Notebook, I am running statistical programming on the same machine, and I am using the usual office tools.

Sure as hell this setup isn’t going to fly, but I can do actual work on that thing. And I haven’t had an incentive for upgrading during the last year’s, because the really hungry tasks (like spatial stats on large datasets) I could push to other machines. Like we did in the 80s, basically, when all we had was a terminal connected to something some people liked to call “mainframe”.

Oh, the fun of it.

I was seriously considering buying a new machine, but my current work makes a HPC available, which is much, much better than having to rely on a single multicore workstation. So, why bother, I ask myself while trying to type this on a phone display…

Video production, perhaps. But as a developer and sysadmin, I have to say … we developers are the worst for throwing more hardware at problems that could be solved in other ways. Build times too long? Instead of adding a -j 4 to your makefile to spread the load across multiple CPU cores, just throw a faster CPU at it (even though only 1 core is actually running the build). VM running slowly? Better get that new 16" MacBook Pro or maybe a Dell XPS 15 instead of adding RAM to the old box you have (caveat: assuming you can physically add RAM).

There are definitely exceptions (game devs, people modelling complex physical systems, etc). But for the most part developers could get by quite nicely with 5 year old machines as long as they have sufficient RAM. We stopped being CPU-bound for average development work quite awhile ago.

I have the PC of Theseus. I put it together in 2004 and it still runs pretty good! I’ve replaced the motherboard 3 times. upgraded the CPU 3 times, countless hard drives, a few power supplies, but still the same case.

1 Like

Honestly, if you’re still doing projects that are posted in HD, significantly older machines still work. Lots of people doing those workflows on old-style cheese grater Mac Pros*, after all, and the seriously underpowered trash cans.

  • vs. the new-style cheese grater Mac Pros :wink:

Have you not run into newer motherboards that expect that one big connector for the front panels that don’t have the same spacing as the old connectors, like the power button is only 2 pins wide instead of 3. This is when I had to upgrade my case. Also, getting some front panel USB ports was useful.

Otherwise, the ATX form factor has had remarkable success over the years. There are probably ways you could improve it, but none are compelling enough to break free of the massive entrenched market. The only major attempt I know of is BTX, and that ended up going basically nowhere.

1 Like

I will the next time I update. The current motherboard 10 years old.

And Fry’s seems to be undergoing a bit of a meltdown. I went into the Downers Grove, IL location on the Saturday before Christmas, and it looked like a post-apocalyptic scene, with very little inventory and the cafe closed. I should have realized something was wrong when there were hardly any cars in the parking lot, and few people inside.

I hope Micro Center can hold out. The place is usually pretty busy, at least.

Heh. I like being able to add “-j 16” when doing a build on a Ryzen 7 (mine’s an “old” 1700, but it still rocks). IMO, the new AMD chips have been one of the few compelling upgrades in recent years. Too bad Apple didn’t go with a Threadripper for the new Mac Pros.