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(October 1994)


Originally uploaded to the Dragon's Lair BBS ("Amiga vs. ibm" Section) on 21st October 1994.
Reprinted in "Reality Module No.4" (ANZAPA) in June 1998.
(Included for historical interest only!)

*Dateline 1981*

IBM PC. 64K RAM, expandable to 640K (huge!) - Segmented memory map. 8/16bit Intel 8088 CPU running at 4.77MHz. Twin 360K formatted 5 1/4" floppy drives. Monochrome green screen with 24 lines of 80 characters. Optional graphics card. Single-tasking command line interface.

"Great!" say the mundanes, "No gimmicks. It's a SERIOUS BUSINESS COMPUTER!"

*Dateline 1985*

Amiga 1000 appears. 256K RAM, expandable to 8.5 megabytes - Linear memory address space (i.e. no 640K DOS limit.) 16/32bit Motorola 68000 CPU running at 7.18MHz with custom coprocessors to assist with screen graphics, sound, and input-output. Single 880K 3 1/2" floppy disk drive. Colour bitmapped screen with resolutions up to 640 x 512 pixels (interlaced) and maximum 4096 onscreen colours. Basic graphical user interface with full pre-emptive multitasking. Four channel 8-bit sound.

"Bah!" say the mundanes, "Colour, sound, animation - it's a bloody GAMES MACHINE!"

*Dateline 1994*

"This PC," says the salesman, "Has 8 megabytes of RAM expandable to 64. A 32-bit Intel 80486DX2 CPU running at 66MHz. A 1.44M 3 1/2" floppy drive and 340 megabyte harddisk. DOS 6.2, Windows 3.11, SVGA monitor (typical resolution 800 by 600 pixels in 256 colours). Windows has co-operative multitasking. There's a double-speed CD-ROM drive, and 16-bit soundcard."

"Wow!" say the mundanes, "Colour, sound, animation - it's a MULTIMEDIA PC!"

*Moral* People's expectations of microcomputers go up, but they still hold onto outdated prejudices.

Note added when reprinted in "Reality Module 4" in June 1998:

It is odd to look at this piece from the perspective of 1998. A fairly typical new PC now has a 200MHz Pentium MMX CPU, and 32 or 64Mb of RAM. It has a 2Gb Harddisk, runs Windows 95 and has a 20-speed CD-ROM drive. (Amigas now commonly come with coupled 250MHz 604e PowerPC and 60MHz Motorola 68060 CPUs - rather faster than my set-up.)

4 years ago in computer-land is a completely different world!

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Copyright © 1994 & 1998 by Michael F. Green. All rights reserved.


Last Updated: 16 March 2003