Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 23rd Mar 2007 22:32 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems "Misery, heartbreak, sorrow, and despair. No, I'm not talking about adolescence; I'm referring to what happens when you're stuck with a PC from Hell. Systems that were overpriced and underpowered, parts that failed two days after the warranty expired, marathon phone calls with brain-dead tech support staff - over the years we've suffered more than our share of ills, and so have millions of other innocent PC users. But picking these 10 Worst PCs of All Time wasn't as easy as it sounds."
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RE[2]: The original IBM PC
by Cutterman on Sun 25th Mar 2007 11:19 UTC in reply to "RE: The original IBM PC"
Cutterman
Member since:
2006-04-10

"ZX81 which had b&w graphics, 1kb ram and no sound."

The XZ81 was a brilliant little machine, it cost next to nothing and a 16k memory add-on was cheap. It even had a sparky little printer. Mine still works 25 years later!

Of course its nothing to what we have today, but I cut my programming teeth on it with Sinclair Basic and assembler until the Spectrum came along.

Sinclair/Timex raised a whole generation.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: The original IBM PC
by deathshadow on Sun 25th Mar 2007 12:00 in reply to "RE[2]: The original IBM PC"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

>> Of course its nothing to what we have today, but
>> I cut my programming teeth on it with Sinclair
>> Basic and assembler until the Spectrum came along.


As someone who owned a ZX-80 (and upped it to the 8k ROM for ZX-81 compatability) I couldn't agree more. It was the first series of machines that were truly affordable - the ZX-80 being a $199 kit when the next cheapest kit computer was well over $400, and nobody even offered a sub $600 assembled computer (the Atari 400 again topping the short list). We're talking a 3.85mhz Z-80 processor when the top end offerings from both R$ and Apple were barely squeaking out 1.8mhz.

While at work and school I had access to much better machines, at the time of it's introduction the ZX-80 was the best I, and a LOT of others, could afford at home. It is a testament to it's simplicity that the TS1K continued to sell the same basic layout up until the late 80's... Mostly from it's low low price of $30 USD. For it's time, it was the poor man's C=64 and a good number of people's introduction to the world of computing.

Besides, it sure beat the hell out of my first home computer, with it's wire wrapped circuits and amazing user interface that consisted of nine toggle switches, 8 LED's, 8 TTL lines (meant for motor control) and a single push-button. Switch one up, enter in binary the address on the other eight switches, push the button, switch one down, enter in binary the value to the memory location, hit the button. All switches down, start executing from the current address. That whopping 128 bytes of static RAM let you do all sorts of useful stuff.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: The original IBM PC
by madcrow on Sun 25th Mar 2007 19:35 in reply to "RE[3]: The original IBM PC"
madcrow Member since:
2006-03-13

>We're talking a 3.85mhz Z-80 processor when the top end
>offerings from both R$ and Apple were barely squeaking
>out 1.8mhz.

You can't compare the Z80 (as found in the ZX-8x, etc) and the 6502 (found in the Apple II, C64, etc) on MHz basis. Z80 was VERY CISC-ish, with a focus on big instructions that did lots but maybe used lots of cycles, while the 6502 was proto-RISCish, with an emphasis on a few simple instruction that executed quickly.

For simple integer math, a 1.8 MHz 6502 could do at least as well as a 3.5 MHz Z80, although the Z80 pulled ahead for anything involving 16-bit values, floating-point and moving large chunks of data in-memory.

R$ (as you put it) used the 6509, which is widely regarded as the most advanced 8-bit CPU ever...

In short things just weren't that simple performance-wise.

Reply Parent Score: 1