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Laptop ad from 1996

Perry.Matthew
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So girlfriend's mom had a South African newspaper from March 1996 in a box with childhood family items. Briefly looking through I saw this laptop ad and found it insanely fascinating 😆

570D0F81-703F-46F6-8B5C-36DD39AF8F9E_1_102_o.thumb.jpeg.1c3d9f8ac89fd412618d205298a26bba.jpeg

 

Price is ZAR. Adjusted for inflation in South Africa, R14 195 ($3 200 USD at March 1996 exchange rate) is ~ R66 000 today ($3 800 USD at today's exchange rate).

Just found the specs and pricing really fascinating. 

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Would be fucking hilarous to try getting technical support on that device from Acer lol. "Hi yes im talking about my AcerNote 950C, it keeps popping up with error messages and a black box with nothing coming up help!" And the look on the face when they see its a 26 year old laptop lol

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This era of computer hardware is nuts from a consumer perspective. This is my micron transport XPE from 1997:

36FEF4F7-A4D0-4E8C-84AE-340866F9BD38.thumb.jpeg.3a873ca2b3f7c8f696476185a9bf40e3.jpeg

 

This has a 166mhz Pentium MMX, 48mb of ram, a 1.1gb hard drive, floppy drive, cd rom drive, and an 800x600 display. Runs windows 98

This machine specced as it is (with the exception of windows 98) would have cost around $3800 USD in 1997. That is over $7000 in 2022.

And within 3 years this was showing it’s age heavily as the later Pentium 3’s and such hit 1ghz, ram went from sub 100mb to 128/256mb being common, 1gb drives to 20-40gb drives.

And 3-4 years after that this machine was nearly unusable, entirely outclassed in every way, Pentium 4’s at 2ghz+, 512mb to 1gb of ram, etc

 

Imagine if you bought a $7000 laptop 6 years ago, just 2016, Skylake era hardware. Like an i7 6700HQ and 16gb of ram with a 1tb nvme ssd, and right now that machine could barely function with modern demands and current gen hardware made it look like a toaster.

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59 minutes ago, Perry.Matthew said:

So girlfriend's mom had a South African newspaper from March 1996 in a box with childhood family items. Briefly looking through I saw this laptop ad and found it insanely fascinating 😆

 

 

Price is ZAR. Adjusted for inflation in South Africa, R14 195 ($3 200 USD at March 1996 exchange rate) is ~ R66 000 today ($3 800 USD at today's exchange rate).

Just found the specs and pricing really fascinating. 

If you like this, check out the internet archive, they have full magazines. Pretty funny to go back and read what was around in the late 90's/

 

 

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I used to own a laptop running 8086 with dual 720kb drives with no harddrive. It was an absolute unit. I tried running Windows on it, but with my limited knowledge back then, I deleted afaik as much stuff that I could without breaking the OS, but it was still too large.

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Lol,  I was born in march, 1996 😄 😄

MOBO: ASUS ROG STRIX Z490-G GAMING (Wi-Fi) | CPU: Intel Core i7-10700K @5GHz + Corsair H100x | GPU: ASUS ROG STRIX RTX 3080 Ti OC LC @2.1GHz | RAM: G.SKILL TridentZ RGB @3700MHz, CL16-16-16-36 | SSD: Samsung EVO Plus 1TB, Samsung EVO Plus 1TB, Crucial MX500 2TB, Crucial MX300 1.05TB | PSU: Corsair HX1200i | CASE: HYTE Y60 (White/Black) MONITOR: Samsung Odyssey G9 @5120x1440p, 240Hz, Samsung CRG9 @5120x1440p, 120Hz

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5 hours ago, 8tg said:

And within 3 years this was showing it’s age heavily as the later Pentium 3’s and such hit 1ghz, ram went from sub 100mb to 128/256mb being common, 1gb drives to 20-40gb drives.

And 3-4 years after that this machine was nearly unusable, entirely outclassed in every way, Pentium 4’s at 2ghz+, 512mb to 1gb of ram, etc

 

Imagine if you bought a $7000 laptop 6 years ago, just 2016, Skylake era hardware. Like an i7 6700HQ and 16gb of ram with a 1tb nvme ssd, and right now that machine could barely function with modern demands and current gen hardware made it look like a toaster.

As an FYI everything a 2GHz P4 can do, a 1GHz PIII can do (SSE permitting). 
A 2GHz P4 (Willamatte/Northwood) is comparable to a 1.4GHz PIII (Coppermine/Tualatin) in terms of overall performance. On launch reviewers complained that the 1.5GHz P4 was a sidegrade to the 1GHz PIII. 
http://www.dansdata.com/p4.htm
https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/idf-2000,166.html

 

Not so much of a thing in the laptop world but on the desktop side there were SOME people going dual PIIIs in a server/workstationboard and slapping in TONS of SDRAM RAM for the same price as a single P4 with Rambus RAM. Nearly 2x the performance potential. 

3900x | 32GB RAM | RTX 2080

1.5TB Optane P4800X | 2TB Micron 1100 SSD | 16TB NAS w/ 10Gbe
QN90A | Polk R200, ELAC OW4.2, PB12-NSD, SB1000, HD800
 

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An modular laptop? What is this heresy?

(For the record, I owned one of those..they were fantastic back then)

 

So rise up, all ye lost ones, as one, we'll claw the clouds

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36 minutes ago, cmndr said:

A 2GHz P4 (Willamatte/Northwood) is comparable to a 1.4GHz PIII (Coppermine/Tualatin) in terms of overall performance. On launch reviewers complained that the 1.5GHz P4 was a sidegrade to the 1GHz PIII.

Don't forget about RD-RAM. That was a s***-show as well. lol

"Don't fall down the hole!" ~James, 2022

 

"If you have a monitor, look at that monitor with your eyeballs." ~ Jake, 2022

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2 hours ago, Sarra said:

Don't forget about RD-RAM. That was a s***-show as well. lol

RD-RAM was generally more performant on launch. If you had stupid amounts of cash to burn it was the right choice. 

The issue is by the time dual channel DDR1 came around... well dual channel DDR1 had ~5x the bandwidth of sdRAM. And then DDR2 upped that again. 

3900x | 32GB RAM | RTX 2080

1.5TB Optane P4800X | 2TB Micron 1100 SSD | 16TB NAS w/ 10Gbe
QN90A | Polk R200, ELAC OW4.2, PB12-NSD, SB1000, HD800
 

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7 minutes ago, cmndr said:

RD-RAM was generally more performant on launch. If you had stupid amounts of cash to burn it was the right choice. 

The issue is by the time dual channel DDR1 came around... well dual channel DDR1 had ~5x the bandwidth of sdRAM. And then DDR2 upped that again. 

It's been a while, but I recall you needed to terminate an adjacent RAM slot if you only used one stick of RD. At lower speeds, it was slower than PC-133, but it scaled pretty well at higher speeds. The problem was that not much supported the higher speeds, and Intel abandoned it pretty fast for the consumer market. I think it stuck around for servers for longer, but... I never even held a stick of it in my hand, much less used it.

"Don't fall down the hole!" ~James, 2022

 

"If you have a monitor, look at that monitor with your eyeballs." ~ Jake, 2022

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10 minutes ago, Sarra said:

It's been a while, but I recall you needed to terminate an adjacent RAM slot if you only used one stick of RD. At lower speeds, it was slower than PC-133, but it scaled pretty well at higher speeds. The problem was that not much supported the higher speeds, and Intel abandoned it pretty fast for the consumer market. I think it stuck around for servers for longer, but... I never even held a stick of it in my hand, much less used it.

I'd have to check but if I recall correctly the scenario you described would cut bandwidth in half. And yeah, "blank" DIMMs were needed if you only had half a pair. 
 

If you filled out all of the slots of an RD-DIMM based system it ran circles around sdRAM in terms of bandwidth. It had worse latency though. Also worse thermals and pricing. 

http://www.differencebetween.net/technology/difference-between-rdram-and-sdram/#:~:text=RDRAM (Rambus DRAM) is another,cost of an SDRAM module.

3900x | 32GB RAM | RTX 2080

1.5TB Optane P4800X | 2TB Micron 1100 SSD | 16TB NAS w/ 10Gbe
QN90A | Polk R200, ELAC OW4.2, PB12-NSD, SB1000, HD800
 

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3 minutes ago, cmndr said:

I'd have to check but if I recall correctly the scenario you described would cut bandwidth in half. And yeah, "blank" DIMMs were needed if you only had half a pair. 
 

If you filled out all of the slots of an RD-DIMM based system it ran circles around sdRAM in terms of bandwidth. It had worse latency though. Also worse thermals and pricing. 

http://www.differencebetween.net/technology/difference-between-rdram-and-sdram/#:~:text=RDRAM (Rambus DRAM) is another,cost of an SDRAM module.

I do remember the pricing being flat out brutal, especially compared to DDR. Then again, I ran Socket A all the way up to Socket 940, then 939. And then didn't have a computer for a good long time. I had a kit of DDR that I won the silicon lottery with; I actually ran it, stable, at somewhere close to 2.3X it's rated speed. 90% of the time, I ran it at flat out 2X, since the voltage had to go a bit high for 2.3X, but it was fast. Shockingly fast. Like mid-range DDR2 fast. Then again, it was two 128MB sticks, when 512MB was more standard, but I didn't care, it was so bloody fast. It was first gen GEiL DDR, basically equivalent to BDies of today.

"Don't fall down the hole!" ~James, 2022

 

"If you have a monitor, look at that monitor with your eyeballs." ~ Jake, 2022

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24 minutes ago, Sarra said:

I do remember the pricing being flat out brutal, especially compared to DDR. Then again, I ran Socket A all the way up to Socket 940, then 939. And then didn't have a computer for a good long time. I had a kit of DDR that I won the silicon lottery with; I actually ran it, stable, at somewhere close to 2.3X it's rated speed. 90% of the time, I ran it at flat out 2X, since the voltage had to go a bit high for 2.3X, but it was fast. Shockingly fast. Like mid-range DDR2 fast. Then again, it was two 128MB sticks, when 512MB was more standard, but I didn't care, it was so bloody fast. It was first gen GEiL DDR, basically equivalent to BDies of today.

Probably Winbond BH5 ICs. 


http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?102082-the-BIG-ode-to-Winbond-BH5

Either that or Samsung TCCL. I had 2GB of Samsung TCCL that I ran at 500MHz. If I weren't afraid of voltage at the time it probably could have done 600MHz. 

3900x | 32GB RAM | RTX 2080

1.5TB Optane P4800X | 2TB Micron 1100 SSD | 16TB NAS w/ 10Gbe
QN90A | Polk R200, ELAC OW4.2, PB12-NSD, SB1000, HD800
 

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16 minutes ago, cmndr said:

Probably Winbond BH5 ICs. 


http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?102082-the-BIG-ode-to-Winbond-BH5

Either that or Samsung TCCL. I had 2GB of Samsung TCCL that I ran at 500MHz. If I weren't afraid of voltage at the time it probably could have done 600MHz. 

 Could you imagine getting some DDR5 6000 RAM and running it at 12000? Or running DDR4 3600 at DDR4 7200? My brain just can't process that lol

"Don't fall down the hole!" ~James, 2022

 

"If you have a monitor, look at that monitor with your eyeballs." ~ Jake, 2022

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36 minutes ago, Sarra said:

 Could you imagine getting some DDR5 6000 RAM and running it at 12000? Or running DDR4 3600 at DDR4 7200? My brain just can't process that lol

getting 2x speed on DDR1 generally means getting something rated at the slowest speed of the generation and going up 2x. 

I can imagine DDR4 RAM going from 2133MHz up to 4200MHz. 
I can image DDR5 RAM going from 3600MHz up to 7200MHz. 

The only real caveat is that memory manufacturers are generally going to leave less headroom in their ratings. This definitely happens with CPUs as well. I still remember taking a Celeron 420 from 1.6GHz to 3.2 GHz on the stock cooler at stock voltage. 

 

3900x | 32GB RAM | RTX 2080

1.5TB Optane P4800X | 2TB Micron 1100 SSD | 16TB NAS w/ 10Gbe
QN90A | Polk R200, ELAC OW4.2, PB12-NSD, SB1000, HD800
 

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17 hours ago, cmndr said:

getting 2x speed on DDR1 generally means getting something rated at the slowest speed of the generation and going up 2x. 

I can imagine DDR4 RAM going from 2133MHz up to 4200MHz. 
I can image DDR5 RAM going from 3600MHz up to 7200MHz. 

The only real caveat is that memory manufacturers are generally going to leave less headroom in their ratings. This definitely happens with CPUs as well. I still remember taking a Celeron 420 from 1.6GHz to 3.2 GHz on the stock cooler at stock voltage. 

 

I don't remember the specific speed of the memory kit. I do remember that it was one of the faster kits, when DDR1 was still pretty new. I'm guessing it would be the equivalent to DDR4 3000. I also remember that obscene OC memory wasn't a thing back then, like DDR4 6000 is now.

 

Back on the original topic. I got curious, so I used a historic currency converter. The laptop ad in the first post, that worked out to be around $4,000 USD in 1996. That seems to be quite expensive, even for the time.

"Don't fall down the hole!" ~James, 2022

 

"If you have a monitor, look at that monitor with your eyeballs." ~ Jake, 2022

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1 hour ago, Sarra said:

around $4,000 USD in 1996. That seems to be quite expensive, even for the time.

Pretty standard for top line business machines.  Even today they're ridiculously expensive. 

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Quote

Modular design for easy upgrading

This was a marketing point for mainstream consumer tech just a couple decades ago. 

Quote me if you want me to get a notification. (if it's not my own thread)

Assume I'm using Linux as you would assume other people use Windows. Using since 2016, daily driving since 2018. 

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Lifetime technical support. Would be funny to call them up and have a tech support chat about a computer from the 90's 😁

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On 12/7/2022 at 11:20 AM, cmndr said:

As an FYI everything a 2GHz P4 can do, a 1GHz PIII can do (SSE permitting). 
A 2GHz P4 (Willamatte/Northwood) is comparable to a 1.4GHz PIII (Coppermine/Tualatin) in terms of overall performance. On launch reviewers complained that the 1.5GHz P4 was a sidegrade to the 1GHz PIII. 
http://www.dansdata.com/p4.htm
https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/idf-2000,166.html

 

Not so much of a thing in the laptop world but on the desktop side there were SOME people going dual PIIIs in a server/workstationboard and slapping in TONS of SDRAM RAM for the same price as a single P4 with Rambus RAM. Nearly 2x the performance potential. 

I loved my PIII. It was a 500MHz that I could easily overclock to 1GHz. Unfortunately my sound card couldn't handle that high of a bus speed so it was either 1GHz or having sound. So I had to downclock it to 800 something.

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Oof.

Remembering all the time i spent playing apogee and ID games in those days... Fuck, i feel old and nostalgic now

I miss those simple days

“What you must remember, is that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

- Alucard

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On 12/8/2022 at 9:20 AM, Heliian said:

Pretty standard for top line business machines.  Even today they're ridiculously expensive. 

I feel like an expensive "business" laptop is more like $2000 these days. A lot of people can get away with basically any not bad processor, 16GB RAM and a half TB SSD. Everything is stored/done on the cloud. 

Other costs might come from monitors, docks, etc.

3900x | 32GB RAM | RTX 2080

1.5TB Optane P4800X | 2TB Micron 1100 SSD | 16TB NAS w/ 10Gbe
QN90A | Polk R200, ELAC OW4.2, PB12-NSD, SB1000, HD800
 

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20 minutes ago, cmndr said:

I feel like an expensive "business" laptop is more like $2000 these days. A lot of people can get away with basically any not bad processor, 16GB RAM and a half TB SSD. Everything is stored/done on the cloud. 

Other costs might come from monitors, docks, etc.

You can definitively do even better than $2K for a perfectly nice business laptop. Hell, I don't even know if it's even possible to get something like a new T-series ThinkPad up to 2 grand.

However, spec out a mobile workstation, and your eyes will water.

Main PC: Ryzen 1600 @4GHz, 16GB 2933 MHz DDR4, 1060 6GB blower card.

Laptop: ThinkPad T580 (i5, iGPU, FHD, 16GB RAM, 256 SSD+1TB HDD). Used with both the regular and extended-run batteries (RIP power bridge).

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