Image Map Image Map
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 31

Thread: The de-evolving computer

  1. #1

    Lightbulb The de-evolving computer

    Ive noticed that in the modern world, a lot of computers and their parts are made of very cheep materials. The odd thing is I have a 7 year old XP machine that is supposedly a "good computer" because it lasted that long. Have computers de-evolved (or a better term would be de-engineered) over the years. We still have 30+ year old computers on this website which are still operational. Another thing I have noticed is that a lot of computer parts don't seem to last as long as they used to. Now granite i'm only 14 and haven't been around long enough to actually see computers as they are now, but I do know that I have had many HDD's and Processors, motherboards, ect. which seem to fail a lot faster in newer computers than in older computers. And that's an accomplishment since the number of vintage computers in my house outnumber the recent computers 2 to 1. A lot of recent computers I have seen have odd styling and things that just look plain ugly. Vintage computers often look good and are plain at worst, but not ugly like many computers I see in stores today. Is it just me, or have computers been getting worse since 2000? Have any of you noticed anything similar?

  2. #2

    Default

    Well, my knee-jerk reaction would be to say "yes", computers (along with many other things) are poorer quality and that's a reflection of our throw-away disposable society. Computer components aren't built to last, as they will be obsolete very soon.

    Personally I have no proof of this though and the opinion above is probably simplistic . In theory, given surface mount and LSI technologies, computers SHOULD be a lot more reliable nowdays than say 30 years ago and perhaps they are. I haven't owned enough newish computers to know one way or the other.

    Someone who has been dealing with computers at the hardware level for 30 years or so should have an idea.

    Tez
    ------------------------------------------------
    My vintage collection: https://classic-computers.org.nz/collection/
    My vintage activities blog: https://www.classic-computers.org.nz/blog/
    Twitter: @classiccomputNZ ; YouTube Videos: (click here)


  3. #3

    Default

    I find that if I just stay away from PC Chips, I'll be good. However I don't buy brand-new, in the box systems. If I'm going to get a brand-new system, I would want to build it myself to make sure I get good quality stuff.

    My IBM PS/2 model 25 has been chugging along for 23 years and still works fine. So far I haven't managed to kill anything in it yet and let's hope it stays that way. Yeah it most likely will fail sometime soon (<joke>oh look it just did</joke>) and with as knowledgable as the peopple here are, I feel I can learn about how to repair.

    One thing I have learned is that if the computer is older than you, ask questions about it, not answer questions about it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    33,371
    Blog Entries
    18

    Default

    A laptop or desktop is expected to put in, what, at most 2 years of service before it's replaced? So there's no point to over-engineering them.

    In the 80's, many computers were upgraded with new motherboards and peripherals, but that's very rare today. And laptops, which are now outselling deisktops, aren't upgradable anyway.

    It's still possible to build a good looking system, but it'll cost ya. I like the look of some of the HTPC cases, for example.

  5. #5

    Default

    Interesting topic, and I can only speak from my limited experiences.
    What I'm finding is that I still have several computers I've bought since 2002. Mine aren't wearing out - they simply become obsolete, or un-upgradeable for one reason or another. My current PC is a Compaq Presario SR1620NX, with a pretty basic 2 gig Sempron CPU. I've upped to 1.5 gig RAM and a eVGA Geforce GS7300 video card since my wife bought me this computer as a retirement gift in January of 2006. I must say, I've been impressed with it since the first day I pulled the side cover.



    It's a breeze to work on with it's simply slide trays for DVD and HD. The front pops right off too. I accidentally got tangled in a joy cord while walking by it one day and as I tripped the PC took a head over heels tumble from a 3' high desk onto the floor, landing upside down. Didn't hurt it one bit inside. It dented the case a smidge, but nothing to brag about. It takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' My point is it still has all it's original stuff, with some add-ons and I don't figure this machine would wear out anytime soon. I suppose my explanation of 'wear out' would be a defective motherboard. Everything else is pretty much an easy household replacement part.
    I also have perfectly running - an Emachines T1100 and an Emachines T2200. They are just somewhat obsolete to me. So all the machines I've had since 2002 are still running fine.
    I have many pristine 25 year old computers and they still run fine too. One reason may be that many of the vintage machines I own, I suspect were left in closets for much of their life. The machines I've been using since 2002 have undergone high traffic use and so I can't compare these apples to those oranges.
    I do believe hard drives made today are of much lesser quality. Internal drives seem ok, I have yet to lose an internal - but external drives for me, are dropping like flies! I've lost 4 externals in the past couple years. In fact I won't buy another external!
    _________________________________________________
    Real programmers don't document.
    If it was hard to write, it should be hard to understand.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    33,371
    Blog Entries
    18

    Default

    Compare your Presario with some of the 90's era Vectras and Deskpros in terms of quality construction. There's a big difference.

  7. #7

    Default

    Well, there are a few things to consider.

    Computers used to be expensive. Today you can buy a really nice machine (performance- and featurewise) for very little money. A lot of money might not get you quality, but a little money gives you crap.

    Computers used to be built to last for a long time. Today you get a service contract for 2-3 years and when it runs out you are expected to buy a new one. Quite sensible when the performance gained in an upgrade was worth it.

    Computers used to be serviced! Today you throw it out when it breaks (which is why I find machines with simple problems in the trash often). The manufacturer are inclined to make serviceable computers if they expect to get them in for service.

    So yes, computers have poor quality today compared to yesteryear.
    Looking for: anything from SGI or DEC/digital
    Pictures of my collection: www.pdp8.se

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    4,560
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    I think the overall quality is about the same now as compared to 30 years ago. Budget systems were meant to be tossed away once a connector broke; no real change from super cheap Sinclairs to super cheap Dells. Initial models of any disk technology were unlikely to work; whether looking at 5 1/4" floppy or the latest hard disk, the problems should be expected. I think there are fewer systems that just plain won't work than back in the past. No currently sold computer was as unreliable and useless as the Pascal Microengine.

    I don't like the change to easily reconfigured software. Flashing a BIOS is much quicker than waiting for IBM to ship a replacement planar board. But that very ease leads to a wholesale ship before testing mentality.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by linuxlove View Post
    I find that if I just stay away from PC Chips, I'll be good. However I don't buy brand-new, in the box systems. If I'm going to get a brand-new system, I would want to build it myself to make sure I get good quality stuff.
    I do that alot though it is usually quite a bit more expensive than buying an "in the box" system. They are of a good quality however (most of the time).

    Quote Originally Posted by pontus View Post
    Computers used to be expensive. Today you can buy a really nice machine (performance- and featurewise) for very little money. A lot of money might not get you quality, but a little money gives you crap.
    That has just about always been true, in 1983 you could buy a Timex Sinclair 1500 for $79.95 (counting inflation that would be about $172.71 today), it was not the best computer (by far) but it was cheap. The original IBM PC from 1981 went for about $3000 ($7080.43 today), which was expensive and had many cheeper clones which were faster, and had more memory at a lower price (ex, compaq desktops).

  10. #10

    Default

    Some of it has to due with "Restriction of Hazardous Substances" (RoHS), which went into effect in 2006. The high levels of lead, mercury, and other contaminants that were used in electronic components now must be reduced to very low levels. Circuit boards, integrated circuits, resistors, and other components all had to be redesigned to comply with RoHS. And just like removing trans-fats from foods, some say the quality isn't as good anymore. Also because of RoHS, some electronic products which were made for years and years are now no longer available, because rather than redesign them to comply with RoHS, they simply ended production in 2006.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •