Power PC's

  LastChip 17:09 27 Feb 2005

Sorting through some old PCA magazines this afternoon, I couldn't help noticing a Special 50th Issue dated November 1999.

As has been the tradition for a while, PCA published their list of Power PC's in descending order. The Best Buy of the day, was a Mesh Matrix 650P, which as you might have guessed contained an Athlon 650MB CPU, and was the only machine in the group to offer this high powered processor, a whole 128MB of RAM and a 56Kbps modem. The package also included a 19" monitor, respectable even by today's standards, although it was of course a CRT, a sound card and CDRW. Graphics were presented by way of a Matrox Millennium G400/32.

You could have all of this for £1,799+VAT.

How times have changed in a little over five years!

  Dan the Confused 18:23 27 Feb 2005

I think I bought my PC early 1999 (450mhz were the fastest around). It was entry level back then: 233mhz Cyrix processor, 32mb RAM, Rage Pro II+ graphics card and onboard sound, CD 32x drive, 3gb HD, with Win95. It cost around £600 from Impact Systems.

Now it has AMD 500mhz K6-2 processor, 192mb RAM, NVidia 440 MX SE graphics card and SB16 sound card, CDRW 52x32x52 & 16x DVD ROM combo drive, 32gb HD, with Win98.

Still primitive, but works like a dream and my keyboard, 15" CRT monitor and speakers are still original.

It'll be interesting to compare it with the new laptop I've ordered (which still hasn't arrived, but that's another story).

  Dan the Confused 18:30 27 Feb 2005

*NVidia GeForce 4 440 MX SE graphics card (which doesn't give any better performance than my beloved Voodoo 3 card).

  Dennis Goycoolea 00:14 28 Feb 2005

I thought this thread might be about, well, PowerPC (click here).

It is interesting how quickly things move on, I was looking though some old PC Gamer magazines a while ago, I found a booklet that came with one all about creating "the ultimate games machine".

They reckoned the brand-new Pentium was still overpriced for its speed, and the best bet was a 66Mhz 486 DX/2. This was illustrated with a product shot of a couple of Pentiums and a DX/4, "close to a grands worth of kit" according to the caption.

It's interesting that the Pentium name is still being used. It was Intel's way of getting around not being able to trademark the numbers '586', but the marketing was good enough to keep the name for the i686, i786...

Back to PC Gamer. 16 MB of RAM was about right - 32 MB apparently "luxuriant". "Hex-speed" CD-ROM drive were recommended for the deep-pocketed, everyone else was advised to go for dual-speed. If only they'd carried on the dual- quad- hex-speed nomenclature right up to 52x. :)

This was a around the time I got my first IBM compatible, a 486 with 4 MB RAM, the worlds nastiest 8-bit soundcard and a not-bad-at-the-time 120 MB Quantum disk. It lasted well but had poor onboard Cirrus Logic graphics; no way to upgrade really as it lacked VESA Local Bus slots.

I was still using it until I upgraded to a Celeron 533 with 128 MB RAM a good five years later. This was one of those legendary overclockers, bump up the front side bus from 66 to 100 MHz and it runs rock-solid at 800 MHz, this alone recently saved it from being scrapped. Sadly enough, I still use that CPU and board - I was seeing how 'bleeding edge' I could make an Ubuntu Linux install today and needed machine which wouldn't matter if it became completely unusable.


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