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View Full Version : help me identify a packard bell PC



oblivion
July 31st, 2012, 12:20 PM
I found this post on craigslist and it looks like a pent 1 PB pc. I cant seem to be able to identify it because for some reason info on packard bells on the net seems to be sparse (or my searching skills are that bad). id like to figure out the specs on this machine before i drive 30 minutes to pick it up. the seller is either incredibly lazy or is terrified by PC's though cause he won't tell me the cpu speed (maybe he really knows nothing about pc's thats ok) or give me the model number. any ideas?

http://phoenix.craigslist.org/nph/sys/3144997090.html

thanks

lyonadmiral
August 18th, 2012, 06:26 PM
If you can zoom in on the label in the first pic, or have the seller read it to you, all the specifications are there. It looks like a Pentium I-Windows 95 machine.

DOS lives on!!
August 19th, 2012, 04:49 AM
I believe that's a Legend Supreme of some sort. The model number however is much too small to make out.

NeXT
August 19th, 2012, 05:57 PM
The front model has NEVER meant the actual model. Seeing how it's the early Frog Design tower I would say it's an A940-TWR which is the chassis series model number printed not he back which last I checked supported up to a Pentium 133 and 64mb ram. It's a nice mid-range Windows 95 system.

Old Thrashbarg
August 19th, 2012, 06:36 PM
They used that same tower in a bunch of different models, I've seen 'em everywhere in the range of P75 to P200MMX machines. AFAIK they were all pretty similar internally, they may have even all used the same motherboard, but it's hard to say exactly what configuration it is/was just from the picture.

barythrin
August 20th, 2012, 09:10 AM
As with the others, looks like an older Pentium 75-120Mhz system.

oblivion
August 20th, 2012, 10:11 AM
that was my thoughts to but i wasnt sure. theres really not alot on the net (at least that i can find) on diffrent PB models and specs.

sirwiggum
August 24th, 2012, 12:27 AM
Is it fair to say that Packard Bell is held with some reverence in the States?

In the UK/Ireland it is a different story. Here they were sold exclusively through PC World / Currys, which are PC / electronics superstores that seem to sell third party warranties with computers as a sideline...
Mid 90s, when people first started wanting Multimedia PCs, they went here and got a PB. Therefore the brand ended up with the sort of "newbie" image that the likes of AOL seemed to have, from the jokes of the time. Their nickname was Packard Hell. From what I recall, you couldn't get at the BIOS by default, and they weren't overly well built.

oblivion
August 24th, 2012, 12:50 AM
Is it fair to say that Packard Bell is held with some reverence in the States?

In the UK/Ireland it is a different story. Here they were sold exclusively through PC World / Currys, which are PC / electronics superstores that seem to sell third party warranties with computers as a sideline...
Mid 90s, when people first started wanting Multimedia PCs, they went here and got a PB. Therefore the brand ended up with the sort of "newbie" image that the likes of AOL seemed to have, from the jokes of the time. Their nickname was Packard Hell. From what I recall, you couldn't get at the BIOS by default, and they weren't overly well built.

i wouldnt say there that thier highly regarded here either. in my experence i have to agree that they dont seem that well built. a friend of mine claimed his spontanoiusly caught on fire once and i've heard the term "packard hell" thrown around several times here. Thats not to say every single computer they built is garbage, if the price is right i still think they can make an ok early pentium or DOS PC.

barythrin
August 24th, 2012, 08:08 AM
I don't recall ever having one that I couldn't get into the bios but yeah the home line I think was cheap and from what I've heard majority wise Packard (b/h)ell did have a poor reputation. That being said our family certainly bought them because they were cheaper than the competition, were available at the store, and had 3rd party warranties. To be fair as well all the Packard Bells I have (486, P-120, and P200mmx) all work fine to this day. The only thing we had fail were the hard drives which were hard drive vendor warranty/manufacturing issues not the chassis/reseller. I also used the hell out of mine as well. Most were on almost 24/7. I hosted my bbs on the 486 and later since the internet was young and BBSes were popular but the web was catching on we had AOL since state agencies were started to drop their dedicated bbses and build AOL sites (later they had moved on to the www) but I shared out my computers connection to the other computers in the house. Sharing the 56K AOL connection via Windows 98 between 3 systems over my poor little network. Also enabled us and friends to do little lan gaming over IPX, etc at the time which was fun.

Chuck(G)
August 24th, 2012, 08:12 AM
Is it fair to say that Packard Bell is held with some reverence in the States?

No. Do not confuse them with Packard-Bell Europe, a Dutch firm still operating. As a matter of fact, the PB personal computer outfit was started by an Israeli tank driver with Israeli investment. So, strictly speaking, it's not a US-origin firm. The founder is still active in the US--but not in the PC business; he's a real-estate mogul.


Packard Bell sometimes benefited from misplaced name recognition, with consumers (especially first-time computer buyers) and even some salespeople erroneously associating the company with others of similar name, such as Hewlett-Packard, Pacific Bell, and Bell Laboratories. Packard Bell's old slogan, "America grew up listening to us. It still does", may have facilitated the confusion.[6] The company also sold nearly identical systems under different names, making comparison difficult.'

They had pretty boxes (thanks to Frog Design), but the innards were nothing to crow about.

evildragon
August 24th, 2012, 08:26 AM
We had a Packard Hell from '94. It was our first color computer, and is what replaced our model 25.

When Windows 95 came out, to our disappointment, it kept running the hard drive controller in 16-bit MS-DOS compatibility mode. Ugh! It was never fixed.. Packard Bell promised a BIOS update, they sent us a floppy, and it was the wrong BIOS and hosed the computer, and didn't want to take responsibility for sending the wrong disk (which the disk or the utility doesn't even mention what model it was for). We ended up having a computer repair shop fight for us and got a new BIOS chip sent out.. With the new BIOS.

Still, we saw this:
http://www.techrepublic.com/i/tr/cms/contentPics/t01620020529shu01_A.gif

And it wasn't even correct, it was a properly formatted HD, but this error kept coming back and the computer ran like crap. Sometimes if you hit the reset button on the front of the machine, it'd boot up correctly and NOT do this, but more often than not, it wouldn't.

Piece of shit. We still have it, with the case severely falling apart. It now has one funny quirk, NIC's no longer work on it.. All brands, nothing. It sees it, but driver installation fails.. Turns out it's a PIC failure now.

NeXT
August 24th, 2012, 09:26 PM
Packard Bell in North America got its bad rep from poor quality tech support coupled with their secret of building systems with used components. There was a massive s***storm that hit when the latter got discovered.

sirwiggum
August 31st, 2012, 02:46 AM
No. Do not confuse them with Packard-Bell Europe, a Dutch firm still operating.


My main memories of Packard Bell were in the 90s, back then PB Europe and PB US were still the same company.
It was around 2000-ish that they stopped selling in the US, PB Europe became a separate entity.
I worked near their factory in Livingston Scotland for a while, used to pass by it, with a couple of years it got renamed from NEC to Packard Bell, then closed down completely.

I remember the Navigator, which was like MS 'BOB', you clicked through rooms to get to your applications (usually things like Microsoft Bookshelf or Encarta 95 - the saviour of many a research homework) and games (Fifa 96 seemed to be installed by default).

Interesting slimline designs when most PCs were beige boxes. Light grey cases, dark grey rippled highlights along the bottom. The corner unit was useful when back then PCs tended to be put into a corner, with the monitor tilted at 45 degrees and the keyboard beside it (not in front) on a desk.

I have a PC World (UK computer supermarket that sold them) brochure with PB products in from the mid 90s that I keep meaning to scan and post up.

patscc
August 31st, 2012, 03:18 AM
I seem to remember referring to them as Packard Smell when they crossed my path.
patscc

dpatten
August 31st, 2012, 08:17 AM
We called them Puke erd Bell...

patscc
August 31st, 2012, 08:35 AM
Packard Hell, anyone ?
Does anyone know if they ever sold any systems running Geoworks ? I had a 386sx in the early '90's, and I'm trying to remember if it was a Laser or PB.
patscc

Caluser2000
August 31st, 2012, 01:09 PM
IIRC early PBs had their own menu system with Lotus Works bundled.10115 Various early PB menu systems are talked about http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?26776-Packard-Bell-DOS-Manager-program. Later menu system were windows orientated from win 3.1 up.

Knuckledragger
August 31st, 2012, 06:06 PM
WOW! I must have been of the luckiest SOB's in the U.S. back in the early 90's. We had two of them I bought when my girl and boy got up needing and wanting one when WIN 3.1 hit the ground. I bought the P'Bells because of the fact they were cheaper than a Compaq, IBM, etc... and I needed two of them so they could each have one. I could have only afforded one at the time had I went the other way. We never had a problem with either of them. I even later upgraded both of them to WIN 95 for the kids. I can't rememer the name of the outfit and they have long since been out of business, but there was one of those rent to own outfits that featured P'Bell multimedia desktops in the mid-late 90's in some parts of the country here in the U.S. A lot of people did that back then that could not afford to drop all of the cash down on a home computer. They even rented Lexmark printers to go with them for a few bucks a week. Hell I think some people still do that today though I can't for the life of me see why. But back then you could not run down to Walmart and grab a $200 desktop like people do these days. So like a lot of others before them Packard Bell met a need and introduced a whole lot of people to their first PC and even more to their first PC with a CDROM.

GottaLottaStuff
August 31st, 2012, 07:11 PM
I remember when I got my first adult-sized tax refund. I took it to Toys-r-Us and got to choose between a Packard Bell 286 with CGA or a Commodore 128D with the 1084s. (They were the same price at the time, maybe $600?.) I picked the 128D. Never regretted it, either. :)

patscc
August 31st, 2012, 07:33 PM
I'm *still* waiting for an adult-sized tax refund.
patscc

sirwiggum
September 3rd, 2012, 05:18 AM
Tax rebate? If only.

PB Navigator 1.1:

http://toastytech.com/guis/pbnav.html

PB Navigator 3.5 (the one I remember from a friends pentium PB)

http://toastytech.com/guis/pbnav35.html