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Originally uploaded to the Dragon's Lair BBS ("Amiga vs. ibm" Section) on
21st October 1994.
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!"
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!"
"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*Moral* People's expectations of microcomputers go up, but they still hold onto outdated prejudices.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!
Copyright © 1994 & 1998 by Michael F. Green. All rights reserved.
Last Updated: 16 March 2003