eBay Purchase #12 – Honeywell 101WN AT Keyboard

honeywellkb-1eBay Purchase Price: $20 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Excellent

Lately I haven’t been trawling through eBay until only just a few days ago. When I did this keyboard was found, known as a Honeywell 101WN.

In more recent times of owning 486 and early Pentium PCs, I didn’t find much in the way of keyboards. IBM mechanical keyboards have the reputation as being the best, with ones in excellent condition easily going for $200 or so, sometimes more. Alternatively I took the approach of picking up a couple of new Microsoft PS/2 keyboards, as they were cheaper and easier to find. These would then be plugged into an adapter to convert PS/2 to the old 5-pin DIN connector on the motherboard.

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eBay Purchase #11 – Matrox Mystique 220 PCI Video Card

MatroxMystique220-1eBay Purchase Price: $275.50 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Excellent

Purchased from the same seller as the Creative SBS10 speakers, this was a highly contested item at auction. The desirability of the card was based on a combination of factors, though was a rather uncommon example of finding one with retail box and all. Here I’ve installed the card in one of my 486 PCs.

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eBay Purchase #10 – Creative Sound Blaster SBS10 Speakers

sbs10speaker-1eBay Purchase Price: $20.50 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: New Old Stock

After scoring a brand new sound card for my 486 build, a Sound Blaster AWE 64 Gold, it crossed my mind as to the likelihood of finding a PC speaker set of similar vintage. After searching for a while on eBay, the chances looked rather slim. Then out of the blue, these new set of speakers came out of nowhere and fortunately I had won the auction. With the lack of thrift stores compared to North America, finding items such as these makes it all the more challenging.

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Corsair Carbide 600C ATX Case Review

CorsiarCase-1Lately I’ve been spending some of my spare time on considering my next major desktop PC upgrade.

The combination of having less room at home with a second baby on the way, aging desktops, and enough new standards such as DDR4 and M.2 SSDs, it seemed to be a good time to consolidate and update. While this blog is focussed on earlier computing, it will however be part of the PC I’ll eventually use for further updates here.

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In The Eyes of 1998 (Part 1)

1998-1

Front cover of PC Magazine, June 1998

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”

That was a quote from Bill Gates’ book, “The Road Ahead”, published in 1996.

I thought it was fitting for this post, after recently coming across a feature article from  a magazine (PC Magazine) dating back to June 1998. Describing their predictions for computing in the years 2001 and 2010, let’s see what was accurate, delayed, and just didn’t happen.

In Part 1 of the series, I’ll be covering processors, home network devices, the TV PC, and digital video.

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Pulling Out My ThinkPad 755Cs

thinkpad755cs-1One of my earliest laptops is this IBM ThinkPad 755Cs dating back to 1994. According to the website ThinkWiki this model came with a colour display, either a 486 DX2 50 or DX4 75 Mhz processor, 4 MB RAM, 1 MB Western Digital WD90C24 video, Cirrus Logic CS4248 for audio, and a choice of a 170, 340, or 540 MB hard disk drive.

This particular one was maxed out with the DX4 processor and 540 MB drive, so it fetched some decent coin when new. It had also been upgraded to 20 MB RAM at some point.

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When Having 8-bit Colour Was Good

Monitors-1Since around the year 2000, LCD (liquid-crystal display) and later LED (light-emitting display) monitors gradually became the de facto standard replacing the earlier CRT (cathode ray tube) technology available. Over the years the size and resolutions of the monitors have increased significantly. These days when selecting one to buy it’s really just about choosing the desired screen size and whether it’s capable of 1080p or 4K resolution. No consideration for colour depth is required for instance.

Of course, during the 1980s and 1990s this wasn’t the case. A series of acronyms were used to give an indication of the monitor’s capabilities, and were frequently stated. Some of these acronyms were EGA and VGA. Over a number of years now low-end or built-in video adapters in motherboards, have no problem with displaying millions of colours on a 1920 x 1080 resolution screen. However, in the past it was more pertinent to ensure that the video adapter was capable enough to handle the monitor’s capabilities or vice versa.

In this post, I’ll be covering from the CGA and MDA standards of the early 1980s through to XGA in the 1990s used by IBM and compatible PCs. Before closing out, they’ll be mention of some of the other standards that became available. PCem is used for many of the screenshots due to the lack of physical hardware.

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IBM ThinkPad 380 Series on SpeedSys

ibm_logoIBM released the ThinkPad 380 series back in 1997 as a mid-range laptop to use essentially as a desktop replacement. These were part of the long running 300 series dating back to the early 1990s when IBM released a 386 laptop known as the ThinkPad 300. While initially housing the original Pentium processors, the 380 series had typically used a Pentium MMX or later a Pentium II. From what I can tell, these normally were preloaded with Windows 95, though drivers are available for Windows 3.1, NT, and OS/2 as well.

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