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bazza14
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:05 am

Re: Power Old and New.

Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:51 am

I've been amused by a lot of the posts here along the lines of will it do this, is it powerful enough to do that. These are obviously posted by the children of the 70s + who have grown up with ghz class processors, masses of megs of ram and GB hard drives.

As someone who was introduced to computers in the 70's I look at the R Pi and think 'oh that's a powerful little beast'.

Here's a flagship PC from when I was a young man. Could this run linux, a web server, mail server, graphical desktop? Yes it could and it's considerably less powerful then the R Pi, check out the specs..

http://www.epinions.com/specs/....._Desktop_1
LINUX convert since 2003

S0litaire
Posts: 216
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:24 pm
Location: Ayrshire, Scotland
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Re: Power Old and New.

Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:41 am

i remember the days when CPUs just got into the hundreds of MHz

Think i've an old Pentium DX2(or was it 3??) + Maths Co-Processor chip in the back of a box somewhere!! think it ran at 100Mhz
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Bill "Solitaire" C

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oninoshiko
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:16 pm

Re: Power Old and New.

Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:10 am

S0litaire said:


i remember the days when CPUs just got into the hundreds of MHz

Think i've an old Pentium DX2(or was it 3??) + Maths Co-Processor chip in the back of a box somewhere!! think it ran at 100Mhz


Sheesh, you guys are making me feel old.  My first machine was measured in 10s of Mhz, but I'm sure some of the even older members will talk about how I'm just a whipper-snapper.

drgeoff
Posts: 11373
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:39 pm

Re: Power Old and New.

Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:20 am

S0litaire said:


i remember the days when CPUs just got into the hundreds of MHz

Think i've an old Pentium DX2(or was it 3??) + Maths Co-Processor chip in the back of a box somewhere!! think it ran at 100Mhz


Luxury.

In 1986 my first work PC was an HP Vectra.  Intel 286 running at 10 MHz.  640K RAM.  Twin floppies.  No hard disk – that was added later (all of 20 Mbyte).  Green screen monitor.  Originally running MS-DOS, it soon had Windows and later Windows 2 plus a 2 Mbyte memory expansion.  That was when HP was synonymous with first class engineering – that PC was really heavy.

(The DX2s and DX3s were 486 processors typically running at 66 and 100 MHz)
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

cheapskate
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:18 am

Re: Power Old and New.

Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:40 pm

My first home server was a DIMM-PC, an AMD 486 clone with 16Mb of RAM. That was enough to run Apache, Samba and a few other odds and ends. HOWEVER, this was Kernel 1.3 on Slackware.

Modern Linuces seem to have ditched low-end support, so that basic useful stuff now consumes tens of megabytes of RAM per program to do what Ye Olde Slackware did in 10 or so in total. Ubuntu have actually stopped supporting processors that don't implement certain SIMD instructions, so you can't put it on old Pentium-class machines, like the Via Eden range.

So, with all this moder bloat, I wonder if you could really make a useable web-email-wordprocess-spreadsheet basic computer work in 256Mb of RAM anymore?

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ledow
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:55 pm

Re: Power Old and New.

Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:11 pm

Yes, but back then my video RAM was about 256Kb and a streaming rate of about 18Mbyte/s to keep it constantly changing (640x480x256 colours, 60fps).

Now my laptop does 1680x1050x32-bit (i.e. 7Mbytes of RAM for a single frame!) and refreshes 60 times a second.  That's a 420Mbyte/s stream required just to show a blank screen.

Back then, we could do a lot with a little.  Now we do humongous amounts with a lot.  People don't realise this.  You can't dig out your 286 and expect it to work well with anything approaching a modern task.  When it was made, most word-processors were text-only, video was 80-column text or EGA, there was no support for fonts, colour, multi-tasking etc.

The simple things that we take for granted have ALWAYS used humongous amounts of processing.  I can remember having to "optimise" my 25Mhz 386 so that it could play a low bitrate MP3 without skipping, and that was pre-multi-tasking on the PC so there was NOTHING else running.  DVD-decoding required a separate add-in card even in the era of the early Pentium (and it's funny that DVD's still warn about the need for one!).

Though we waste an awful lot of cycles now, we do it on things that we see as "essential".  Just clearing a modern LCD screen using the chip-speed of an old processor would take an age, let alone keeping up with modern memory rates.  SD cards have access times that would have crashed some programs under DOS 4 because they assumed it had taken "0" seconds to read the whole file - something considered impossible by the programmer.  Hell, even providing DOS-based support for a modern BIOS in a modern machine will struggle to fit on a 1.44Mb floppy anymore and we used to do that on 360kb disks!  The code to provide a USB port with operational drivers would have been unimaginably huge in the early DOS days, and the speed of it unfathomable.

Computers are a lot faster now, but they also do a whole lot more than they ever did.  Hell, software RAID was basically impossible at one point, now people have it on their BIOS built-in.  Sound was always separate hardware, now you just load codecs into the CPU and the "sound card" is nothing more than an IO pin at audio levels.  Graphics cards accelerated NOTHING, not even a simple blit.  Hell, even modems (in their dying years) became a generic interface where the software did the DSP analysis.

Old computers worked well, but let's not forget - you'll struggle to play a movie on the RPi without the proper driver, even with nothing else running.  Sure, you can run a DOS program at 2000% or something crazy, but you won't be compiling your kernel on your RPi (not unless you're particularly sadistic) and certainly not in under a few hours.

Docteh
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:20 am

Re: Power Old and New.

Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:17 pm

Optimized versions of tools show up if there is a need, busybox will give you a kitchen sink of tools for around a megabyte. Has a webserver or there is always nginx.

Ubuntu tries to be super desktop distro, which is why they would drop old support, but there is always slackware and debian.
Nothing stopping us from being efficient except for time

riggsre
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:25 pm

Re: Power Old and New.

Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:50 pm

My first was an Apple IIc.

Processor: 1 (yes one) MZ

128 k (yes "K") ram

No hard drive.

rpt
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:09 pm

Re: Power Old and New.

Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:59 pm

My first computer had 256 bytes of RAM.

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Vindicator
Posts: 314
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Location: Susanville Ca USA
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Re: Power Old and New.

Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:15 pm

Mine and my brothers first ZX81 kit with 1k internal and 16 k external

2. trs 80 color computer 16k .895 Mhz

3.color computer 2 64k same cpu speed

4.tandy hx100 1.7Mhz I think and 256k memory single sided 720k 3.5 drive and added 130Mb hard disk kit (one of my brothers old machines)
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