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Phobos Anomaly

Retro PC circa 93/94 help

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So, the date is December 10th, 1993, and id Software just released a neato new 3d shootin' game called "DOOM"! Everyone is super excited! So am I, as I have been lapping up every detail on the software creations bbs. But, I realize in horror that my aged rig just won't run their newfangled, hyper-realistic game. Drats!

 

My question to you various internet peoples of the world of doom is this. If this had been my situation at that time, what rig would I need to run doom competently. In other words, something akin to what we call recommended specs today.

 

I would like to take full advantage of the game's features. Basically, I don't want a postage stamp window in low detail mode with green marble dominating my monitor, I want full screen, with fluid fps (as much as such a thing was possible). Limited to the hardware available at the time. MIDI is nice but not necessary, since my understanding is that that usually required something like an MT-32, but I would like to avoid beeper speaker sounds. If we have to reach further into 94 for all this, that's fine, but as close to the release date as feasible.

 

My guess would be something like:

486DX

DOS 5.0

4MB RAM (Maybe more?)

SoundBlaster card

 

This is based on what I've been able to find, but what I really want is some advice from someone who may have played the game back when the first version of shareware was released, and what kind of rig they used if they were able to run it smoothly.

 

Thanks for any advice!

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Should be at least an 486 DX-66, 4MB RAM should be enough, as long as you run the game in DOS. I think your VGA card should have at least 512 kB of RAM.

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Don't forget the hard drive. You'll need to have enough room to store it and any pwads you want to download, so you would probably want to invest in at least a 100 MB hard drive (assuming that you also want to do other things besides Doom).

 

You'll also need a modem, for downloading things and playing co-op and deathmatch (you said you wanted to take full advantage of the game's feature), so I would recommend a 14,400 baud modem. They were released in 1991. 19,200 was released in 1993 and 28,800 in 1994.

 

@cybdmn, it's somewhat splitting hairs, but I think you mean 486 DX2-66. I would counter that a 486DX (either 25 or 33) would handle the game perfectly fine. I played on a 486DX-33 back in mid-1994 and I don't recall any problems with lag and I was playing in DOS. I was playing single player, though, so maybe multiple players would cause an issue that I never encountered.

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Doom will run on a 386 but my experience is that you need a 486 to get decent performance. I used to use a 486SX/33 laptop and it was playable, although it didn't quite reach 35fps. I also had a 486DX2/66 desktop and that gave optimum performance.

 

RAM also matters a lot. Again, it'll run on 4MB but you probably want to install 8MB.

 

SoundBlaster or compatible card is also essential to get the full experience. Most PCs back then still only had a PC speaker and nothing else. IMO Doom was one of the first games that made it truly worth investing in a sound card.

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Thanks for the help guys, I'm currently trying to build a retro DOOM PC, something like a time capsule of 93/94 that would be a good demonstration to my friends of what it would have been like to play doom back in the day, and this advice helped me a great deal! Obviously a hard drive with a decent amount of storage would be helpful, as well as 5.25 and 3.5 floppy drives, for other classics of the day.

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Hm, there is also the option of flash storage. It obviously wouldn't be period-correct but hard drives can be notoriously unreliable, and I'm not even sure a hard drive from that period would still operate, or for how long...

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20 minutes ago, Phobos Anomaly said:

Hm, there is also the option of flash storage. It obviously wouldn't be period-correct but hard drives can be notoriously unreliable, and I'm not even sure a hard drive from that period would still operate, or for how long...

I don't have anything quite that old (my oldest system that has a hard drive is from around 2000), but I've never had any terrible issues with old hard drives, personally.  Maybe I'm just lucky.  They can be slow to access files though which you might experience as a "hitch" in Doom where it freezes for a moment to load a new sound effect or something.  Having SMARTDRV loaded tends to help with that.

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1 hour ago, Phobos Anomaly said:

Hm, there is also the option of flash storage. It obviously wouldn't be period-correct but hard drives can be notoriously unreliable, and I'm not even sure a hard drive from that period would still operate, or for how long...

All depends on what you're personally aiming for and how "authentic" you want it to be, but to be honest if I was setting up a retro DOS machine flash storage is what I'd go with. Old hard drives are probably the most likely component to fail and I don't think you're really sacrificing much in terms of authenticity besides not having to wait so long for your games to load.

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1 hour ago, Phobos Anomaly said:

Hm, there is also the option of flash storage. It obviously wouldn't be period-correct but hard drives can be notoriously unreliable, and I'm not even sure a hard drive from that period would still operate, or for how long...

Hard drives are unreliable?

 

Do you really have to show off all the old equipment? I'd stick a nice new laptop inside an old tower, and run with it :)

 

If it has to be all old tech, I'd try to find a 486 DX-50 (straight 50, not a doubled 25), and a nice video card. 8+Mb of memory lets you run a disk cache (SmartDrv) which is actually discouraged in the manual. This is probably because having 8Mb or more was unusual, and you had to put the disk cache software in high memory, which took some skills to do properly. But the disk cache makes a big difference in Doom's load up time, and helps performance during levels, when pulling in new weapon/monster graphics.

 

Back in the day, I replaced a bad motherboard with a motherboard that supported "local bus" video cards. That setup rocked, and it almost doubled the frame rate! You'd probably never find this type of setup, though.

 

I'm not sure about your goals, but I think I'd go for a box that could also play Quake pretty good, which would mean 16Mb memory, Pentium/Pentium II proc, with nice sound/video.

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My rig when Doom came out, and which ran the original game just fine (map29 of Doom 2 tended to choke a bit due to the RAM, but Doom was never an issue):


486 DX2/66

4MB RAM

MS-DOS 6 (it had scandisk, so apparently it must have been v6)

420MB HDD

SVGA video card (1MB IIRC)

 

I didn't initially have a sound card - that came later.  This may be a factor in why to this day I play Doom without music.

 

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14 hours ago, Phobos Anomaly said:

Hm, there is also the option of flash storage. It obviously wouldn't be period-correct but hard drives can be notoriously unreliable, and I'm not even sure a hard drive from that period would still operate, or for how long...

It wouldn't be period-correct at all, but there are entire car enthusiast communities that delight in taking a period automobile and replacing the internals (engine, etc.) to modern standards, so you have an authentic-looking car that runs well and efficiently. Of course, there are other enthusiasts that look down their noses at these people because the car isn't really "authentic." You just have to figure out which camp you fall into on this retro gaming rig idea.

 

Since your stated purpose is to show your friends "what it was like to play Doom back in the day," (way to make those of us who did play Doom back in 1993-94 old) then you're probably not going to fall into the camp of "find a dusty old case from the mid-90's and put in all modern equipment." But it's your prerogative. Of course, a processor running at 2+ GHz with several cores and several GBs of DDR4 RAM on a modern motherboard with a new NVIDIA graphics card wouldn't really emulate how a computer performed back in the mid-90's.

 

On to my other thoughts...

 

I would agree with @ETTiNGRiNDER and @kb1. Overall, hard drives are not unreliable. In fact, they're still used in data centers (albeit in RAID setups for redundancy), which should speak to their anticipated reliability. Yes, part of that reason is one of cost, but if hard drives were so ridiculously unreliable, data centers (whose business revolves around the relative reliability of their components).

 

My parents bought a 1 GB Western Digital hard drive back in 1995 or 1996 and the grease between the platters was too thick (manufacturing defect), so the drive would occasionally not read because it wasn't spinning right. (At that time, my Dad's solution was to open the box and tap on the drive with a small screwdriver.) But after Western Digital replaced it, it continued to work with no problems for the next 10 or 15 years, at least. We gave it to my Aunt and she was still using it into the mid-2000's, probably longer. We also had given her our 286 with a 40 MB hard drive (that my parents bought in 1990 or 1991) and the hard drive was still good on it into the mid-2000's. The machine was having other problems, but the hard drive itself was still going. So, I wouldn't automatically say that older hard drives would be less reliable. In fact, one could make the argument (which I heard from a friend of mine who used to work for IBM) that older hard drives were more reliable because more companies hadn't fully embraced the idea of planned obsolescence and they were expensive enough that if the drive failed, you wouldn't just shrug and go to the store to buy a new one.

 

It was possible at the time to buy large hard drives, it's just they were usually external and ridiculously expensive (usually being used for servers and whatnot, I think). This site only extends to mid-2013, but according to it, in 1993, storage was $2/MB (which seems high to me, from what I remember); by 2013, the price was just over 6 cents per GB.

 

Where I'm going with all of this...

 

If you're really concerned about period authenticity (or near-authenticity), go on eBay or Craigslist (or whatever site of that type) and find a used hard drive, 1 GB or smaller, that is still functioning. Avoid Deskstar (the same IBM friend told me they called them Deathstar hard drives for their propensity to fail). I doubt you'll have much trouble out of the hard drive, especially considering you're probably not going to be using this computer that often.

 

If you're only partially worried about near-authenticity, get a used hard drive and new flash drive and set the flash drive up to mirror the hard drive periodically to allay your fears of losing data in a hard drive crash. As I said in my previous point, I don't think that would be too likely to happen, but, still, peace of mind can be a valuable thing.
 

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4 hours ago, Pegleg said:

Since your stated purpose is to show your friends "what it was like to play Doom back in the day," (way to make those of us who did play Doom back in 1993-94 old) then you're probably not going to fall into the camp of "find a dusty old case from the mid-90's and put in all modern equipment."

 

Thanks for your advice Pegleg. I'm not exactly a snob about storage solutions, to me flash would be easier to work with, I would like to keep everything else period correct.

 

As far as making you feel old...I was born April 20th, 1988. So I was 5 when doom was released, and I didn't actually play it until I was 8! But Doom has been a huge part of my life ever since. It is my favorite game of all time. I grew up with older systems, like my brother's NES, in the 90's, and old computers. Speaking of my birthday, I was raised and still live about 2 miles from Columbine High in Littleton CO, and we all know what terrible things happened there, and how it was so inextricably linked to DOOM in the mind of the public...that shooting was on my 11th birthday, what a day that was. All that is to say that it seems my life is tied to DOOM in a weird way. So maybe I'm a bit younger than most people who use these forums, but DOOM is my life! That's why it's so important to me to have a working time capsule of DOOM history in the form of a period PC.

 

But I digress...

 

I suppose I was a bit too harsh on Hard Drives. I suppose I should have put what I said in context; Hard Drives are unreliable in comparison to solutions like SSD and Flash. Sure, HDDs don't exactly crash heads after a couple of months of use, but it's a possibility and when dealing with older hardware, I'm a bit cautious. Honestly, I DO want to keep the vast majority of the PC period correct, but I think I would settle for a flash solution to storage.

 

This is something I've been wanting to do for years now, and only now do I have the ability and funds to do such a thing. I'll see what I can come up with based on all the great advice you guys have graciously provided.

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32 minutes ago, Phobos Anomaly said:

As far as making you feel old...I was born April 20th, 1988. So I was 5 when doom was released, and I didn't actually play it until I was 8! But Doom has been a huge part of my life ever since. It is my favorite game of all time. ... So maybe I'm a bit younger than most people who use these forums, but DOOM is my life! That's why it's so important to me to have a working time capsule of DOOM history in the form of a period PC.

I would say there's a wide range of ages on these forums, but I don't think you're younger than most. There was a 9 year old who posted his first maps seeking feedback, and he probably isn't the youngest. There's people in their teens, twenties, thirties, forties, and on up. And that's one of the things that makes this community so great.

 

35 minutes ago, Phobos Anomaly said:

This is something I've been wanting to do for years now, and only now do I have the ability and funds to do such a thing. I'll see what I can come up with based on all the great advice you guys have graciously provided.

Best of luck to you and have fun!

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Since it's very difficult to get a hold of a functional and reliable period-accurate hard drive (for obvious reasons), a common replacement is to get an older slow-ish CompactFlash card and a IDE->CF converter.

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You guys can knock yourselves out with those SSD/Flash drives with the fancy price tags and limited write cycles. If you frequently write/delete/overwrite large temporary files, you're wearing out your Flash solution.

 

I'm currently running 18Tb online, with another 16Tb offline storage, and I've had no problems. In my career, I've had a total of 1 80Mb HDD go bad, and it was in a trash-rescue PC.

 

Here's the secrets to having and keeping your magnetic HDDs reliable:

  • Maintain as constant of a temperature as possible, preferably in a comfortable range.
  • Maintain room humidity 35% to 65% if possible.
  • Avoid moving or shaking the PC.
  • If you have to move the PC inside/outside, wait a few hours before powering it up, for the temperature to stablize.
  • Never change the orientation of the PC (upright vs. sideways). The pull of gravity can make ever so slight changes in head position.
  • Keep other appliances and sources of magnetism away from your PC.
  • Every device connected to your PC should always be on UPS battery backup. Voltage spikes can zap your drive, especially if it's reading/writing at the time.
  • Keep the inside of the PC dust-free, especially if you smoke around the PC.
  • Avoid smoking around the PC.
  • Occasionally defrag, or better yet, move the contents to another drive, then move it back, which refreshes the data, and naturally defrags (if done file-by-file vs. track/sector copy).

I imagine that laptop drives are built a little bit better to handle shock and temperature changes, but I'm not sure. Either way, I would bet that laptop drives are a bit less reliable. That swings the vote towards using Flash storage for laptops, in my opinion.

 

For PCs, I can justify using a Flash drive for the OS, if a strict policy is used to avoid putting any user data on the Flash drive. I don't currently run a system with a Flash drive, but a nice setup would be:

Flash Drive: OS, swap file, temporary file location

HDD Drive: Everything else: Programs (of which no hard copy install exists), configuration files, data, media, etc.

 

If you must go all retro, it should be quite easy to find a (near) period box with HDDs and other components installed. Make sure you also get a keyboard and mouse. Older boxes don't use USB. Typically the mouse/keyboard will be PS2, or even AT style. The mouse might even be serial, or have a proprietary card.

 

It's unbelievable how much easier USB and Plug & Play made things. Anyone remember setting IRQ/port settings manually on the card, for sound cards, modems, even the bus mouse? How about jumpers on the HDDs? Good times.

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3 hours ago, kb1 said:

How about jumpers on the HDDs? Good times.

Jumpers to set the master and slave drives. I remember them. Good times.

 

In 1994ish, my parents bought a second hard drive. It was larger than the original drive. Not knowing any better, we hooked it up as the slave, since the other (original) drive was already set as the master. This configuration started to slowly cause all sorts of problems. It finally reached the point where to actually do ALMOST ANYTHING on the computer, it became necessary to immediately exit to DOS and start Doom. I'm not making this up.

 

Setting the jumpers so the larger drive was the master ended up fixing the problem. Ah jumpers. Good times.

 

However, to this day, my friends will still occasionally bring up "the time Doom took over your computer."

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On 1/19/2018 at 7:25 PM, kb1 said:

You guys can knock yourselves out with those SSD/Flash drives with the fancy price tags and limited write cycles. If you frequently write/delete/overwrite large temporary files, you're wearing out your Flash solution.

...

For PCs, I can justify using a Flash drive for the OS, if a strict policy is used to avoid putting any user data on the Flash drive.

Your fear of SSD endurance is grossly overblown.  While I'm not going to deny that hard drives can last a long time since I still have Maxtor drives and sub 1GB drives that work, the reality is that under non artificial workloads an SSD should last just as long.  The normal high end drive is typically rated at 2-3 full drive rewrites per day for 3 years with write intensive drives exceeding 6 drive writes per day.  Cheaper drives go down to 0.3 drive writes per day, but I don't hear people talking about how unreliable SSDs are so it seems that most people don't even hit that.

 

So far the only flash I've seen wear out were removable flash (USB drives, compact flash, SD cards).  These are generally made from significantly cheaper flash with very low endurance and cheap controllers, but I've only been using SSDs for 4 years.  That said the first SSD I've deployed is a 0.3 DWPD 120GB Kingston drive that is used daily and still going strong 4 years later as the only storage in the system.

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1 hour ago, Blzut3 said:

Your fear of SSD endurance is grossly overblown.

 

I can concur with that.

 

I have been using SSDs since 2013 and exclusively since 2014 in my computer and there's absolutely no sign of wear. And looking in how they work it's easy to do some math.

 

On a normal computer with normal workloads the daily average of written data ranges between 20 and 50 GB. The last time I read up on the subject it said that a flash cell could be written to 4000 times before wearing out. Let's just halve the value for discussion's sake and consideration of cheaper hardware in the field.

 

If you take a 256 GB drive, such a workload will mean you write through it once in 5-10 days. Multiply with 2000 and you arrive at 30-60 years! It is far more likely that the drive's controller will wear out before the actual storage - and now we are in the exact same realm as with magnetic hard drives. I have never seen a single hard drive fail on me because the actual storage broke - but worn out controllers I have definitely seen a few times.

 

But it looks like some people get hooked up on some theoretic numbers but never think through what they actually mean.

 

Personally, I won't go back to a magnetic drive - it's just too slow to get a good working experience.

 

 

 

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On 1/18/2018 at 10:36 AM, fraggle said:

Doom will run on a 386 but my experience is that you need a 486 to get decent performance. I used to use a 486SX/33 laptop and it was playable, although it didn't quite reach 35fps. I also had a 486DX2/66 desktop and that gave optimum performance.

 

RAM also matters a lot. Again, it'll run on 4MB but you probably want to install 8MB.

 

SoundBlaster or compatible card is also essential to get the full experience. Most PCs back then still only had a PC speaker and nothing else. IMO Doom was one of the first games that made it truly worth investing in a sound card.

I'm not sure I entirely agree with that; Wing Commander II had partial voice acting a year before Doom, and lots of games from '90-92 had rich soundtracks that made an AdLib or (for rich people) MT-32 more or less a necessity, and though those didn't support PCM audio, they made noise and they didn't come standard with a PC so they were "sound cards" all the same. You could play The Secret of Monkey Island with a PC speaker (just like Doom), but it was definitely not the way you were meant to play it.

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To experience the soundtrack in its full right, you should switch the soundblaster for a GUS (Gravis ultrasound) which handled both music and sfx. Or do a dual soundcard setup with soundblaster 16 for sfx and, say Roland RAP-10 for music. Ah, good times

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On 1/21/2018 at 1:25 AM, Blzut3 said:

Your fear of SSD endurance is grossly overblown.

 

On 1/21/2018 at 3:23 AM, Jerry.C said:

I can concur with that.

Your arguments describe certain read/write patterns, but definitely do not cover the patterns I use. Imagine a database that gets rebuilt at regular intervals. Or just gets sorted. Some database engines pre-allocate contiguous chunks of the drive for their data. What if that data is being overwritten frequently? Maximum of 4,000 table row updates? That's nowhere near acceptable. What about programs that build temporary files? Internet browsers, video editing, compression, conversion. Even WAD editing.

 

The "average user" may not have any problems for a long time. My data is too valuable to me to trust SSDs, at their current state. I'm sure they will improve. I'll wait.

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On 1/21/2018 at 2:34 PM, Uncle 80 said:

To experience the soundtrack in its full right, you should switch the soundblaster for a GUS (Gravis ultrasound) which handled both music and sfx. Or do a dual soundcard setup with soundblaster 16 for sfx and, say Roland RAP-10 for music. Ah, good times

That goes beyond just "a sound card". Anything better than an AdLib or later a SoundBlaster was ruinously expensive in the 1990s. My SC-55 cost me $100 on eBay but it cost its original owner closer to $700 (and add another couple hundred for the MPU-401), and that's in early '90s money. Unless you were truly loaded, a 486DX2/66, 8MB RAM, and a SoundBlaster 16 was the best you were going to get up until 1996 or so.

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2 hours ago, kb1 said:

 

Your arguments describe certain read/write patterns, but definitely do not cover the patterns I use. Imagine a database that gets rebuilt at regular intervals. Or just gets sorted. Some database engines pre-allocate contiguous chunks of the drive for their data. What if that data is being overwritten frequently? Maximum of 4,000 table row updates? That's nowhere near acceptable. What about programs that build temporary files? Internet browsers, video editing, compression, conversion. Even WAD editing.

 

The "average user" may not have any problems for a long time. My data is too valuable to me to trust SSDs, at their current state. I'm sure they will improve. I'll wait.

 

You're making a terrible mistake if you're trusting any storage device with your valuable data. You should assume it will fail, suddenly and unexpectedly, and have a backup ready to go if it's worth that much to you.

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1 hour ago, kb1 said:

 

Some database engines pre-allocate contiguous chunks of the drive for their data. What if that data is being overwritten frequently? Maximum of 4,000 table row updates?

I think we found your false assumption here.  You appear to think that SSDs work like HDDs in that over provisioned space only gets mapped in when a cell dies, but the reality is that any SSD in at least the past 4/5 years is constantly remapping cells.  Not only does this allow wear leveling to occur, but it also prevents the drives performance from degrading after you've written to it.  Since there are several gigabytes of over provisioned space odds are there are enough precleared (garbage collected) cells to handle whatever write you throw at it.  By the way this is also why TRIM isn't as important as it once was.

 

Preallocate to your heart's content, but there's no direct mapping between block level sectors.  So really you can look at it as "how much do I write per day" in gigabytes and find a drive that has an endurance rating that exceeds your write rate.  Doesn't really matter what your access pattern is.

 

Oh and database servers are a common use case for SSDs in the data center.

1 hour ago, kb1 said:

What about programs that build temporary files? Internet browsers, video editing, compression, conversion. Even WAD editing.

These are exactly what people do with SSDs and I don't hear anyone complaining about premature wear out.  Again I put a 0.3 DWPD 120GB drive in a machine used daily for web browsing 4 years ago and it's still going.  These days I have SSDs in every one of my systems (including my retro builds thanks to IDE to SATA adapters (by the way StarTech's IDE2SAT2 works really well if anyone is looking for such a device)) and I'm not concerned about any of them, but I don't want to extrapolate too much from that since this only happened in the last 2 years.  I do a lot of compiling, run VMs, and build multi-gigabyte disk images daily.

 

I'm not trying to convince you to go buy an SSD, but I think your post is unfounded FUD.  Especially the part where you advised against putting any user data on flash.

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15 hours ago, Woolie Wool said:

That goes beyond just "a sound card". Anything better than an AdLib or later a SoundBlaster was ruinously expensive in the 1990s. My SC-55 cost me $100 on eBay but it cost its original owner closer to $700 (and add another couple hundred for the MPU-401), and that's in early '90s money. Unless you were truly loaded, a 486DX2/66, 8MB RAM, and a SoundBlaster 16 was the best you were going to get up until 1996 or so.

Never the less, my friend had a GUS and my stepdad had a RAP 10. None of them were "loaded", and the year was still 1993. The Roland soundboards may have been costly, but the GUS was at least more affordable - the SB16 was not much cheaper. And OP is asking for the full experience. :)

 

BTW, The RAP 10 is an internal soundcard, and as such probably a lot less expensive than the SC-55 external module.

Edited by Uncle 80

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20 hours ago, Woolie Wool said:

 

You're making a terrible mistake if you're trusting any storage device with your valuable data. You should assume it will fail, suddenly and unexpectedly, and have a backup ready to go if it's worth that much to you.

Sure, back up. On media you trust. From media you trust.

 

20 hours ago, Blzut3 said:

I think we found your false assumption here.  You appear to think that SSDs work like HDDs in that over provisioned space only gets mapped in when a cell dies, but the reality is that any SSD in at least the past 4/5 years is constantly remapping cells.

Right, you can't overwrite 1's with 0's - deleted cells have to be "pruned" back to a zero state, which is a different process than writing data, in which only the 1's are written. So, yes, writes must find virgin cells to write into. I think the failures occur on the prune stage, when a cell can no longer be coerced. Which brings me to my point.

 

20 hours ago, Blzut3 said:

I'm not trying to convince you to go buy an SSD, but I think your post is unfounded FUD.  Especially the part where you advised against putting any user data on flash.

 

 

That's good, because, essentially, I am the one that has to trust my data. But, no FUD - that would assume that I was trying to convince anyone else. I am not. I would love to go solid state, and I will when it matures to the point that it becomes inexpensive, and when I feel I can trust it. Currently I can't. To me, it's like using an LED vs. an incandescent lamp.

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9 minutes ago, kb1 said:

To me, it's like using an LED vs. an incandescent lamp.

Please don't say you still use incandescents because you don't "trust" LEDs...

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1 minute ago, Linguica said:

Please don't say you still use incandescents because you don't "trust" LEDs...

I would assume he's talking about the cost of LEDs, not a lack of trustworthiness of LEDs.

 

Of course, he could be a big fan of the warm glow of an incandescent bulb and just finds the LED cold and sterile, but, without further evidence, I would side with my first statement.

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1 hour ago, kb1 said:

Right, you can't overwrite 1's with 0's - deleted cells have to be "pruned" back to a zero state, which is a different process than writing data, in which only the 1's are written. So, yes, writes must find virgin cells to write into. I think the failures occur on the prune stage, when a cell can no longer be coerced. Which brings me to my point.

I'm not sure you followed what I wrote.  You said that being able to rewrite a row in your preallocated table a "maximum of 4,000" times is unacceptable.  My response is that if you took any modern SSD and hammered the same logical block you'd get several orders of magnitude more than 4,000 writes since you'd actually write to a different physical block each time the row was updated ergo the part of your message that I quoted was blatantly false.  Or do I not follow your point?

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