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Portables Hardware

Atari 1200XL Stacked Up Against a Dell Inspiron 253

Posted by timothy
from the ok-it's-actually-stacked-on-top dept.
Bill Kendrick writes "My first computer was the short-lived 1200XL model of the Atari 8-bit computer line. I finally got ahold of one again, after having to settle with a lesser Atari system. My immediate reaction was: 'Damn, it's as big as my Dell Inspiron laptop!', and I couldn't resist doing one of those side-by-side comparisons, complete with photos of one system sitting atop the other. (I also put the 1983 storage and speeds in 2009 terms, for the benefit of the youngin's out there.) While in many ways the Atari pales in comparison to the latest technology they cram into laptops, I do get to benefit from SD storage media. It also still boots way faster than Ubuntu on the Dell, has a far more ergonomic keyboard, and is much more toddler-proof."
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Atari 1200XL Stacked Up Against a Dell Inspiron

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  • Longevity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mordaximus (566304) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @03:22PM (#28627795)

    That dell won't be running in 27 years to make a similar comparison. It may be huge and slow, but that atari is still running in 2009. That's no small feat.

  • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moblaster (521614) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @03:27PM (#28627853)

    It was a world where almost every kid grew up learning at least a little BASIC, because virtually all computers booted right into the BASIC command line. Which skill-wise puts the early 80s generation ahead of every generation before or after, young whippersnapper.

  • Sound (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bill Kendrick (19287) <bill@newbreedsoftware.com> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @03:38PM (#28627967) Homepage

    Plus... sound _always_ works on my Atari, unlike the latest version of Ubuntu ;^P

  • Keyboard (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Danathar (267989) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @03:45PM (#28628087) Journal

    The Atari Keyboard looks cooler. That's enough for me!

  • by east coast (590680) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @03:49PM (#28628129)
    As nifty as your comparison is I've always found that the computing experience is based more on the ass in the chair than the box on the desk.

    In other words: I knew how to get more out of my Commodore 64 at the age of 17 than my 17 year old nephew can get out of his Dell. At least as far as how to do it without Google support and a slew of gadgets and gimmicks.
  • by Cryogenic Specter (702059) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @03:59PM (#28628267)
    Oooh oooh I know! Compare an Asus EeePC to a Speak and Spell next! Or maybe an Asimo to a Teddy Ruxpin.
    I first read the comparison between a C64 and an iPhone and thought that was dumb, but I am surprised to see another "comparison" story.
    Yes, back in the day, things were old and different, but comparing them really does not do much.
    It might be more useful to compare an array of things like storage methods over time (washing machine platters, real to real tape, cassette, floppy, HD, zip, jazz, optical, cd, dvd, flash). Or maybe interesting memory storage methods, for example, did you know that there was a method of storing data in "memory" by keeping a pulse in a tube of mercury? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delay_line_memory) That is cool.
    Any more of these "comparisons" should compare more than one old school item to some modern device. That would make it more interesting and seem a lot less like comparing apples to ... rocks.
  • by abigor (540274) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:05PM (#28628333)

    Flame me if you want, but it seems like an Atari computer made in 1983 works better with peripherals than an Ubuntu does made in 2009.

    Let's be honest - that's not saying much.

    Seriously though, those early 8-bit computers were simply the greatest things ever for learning. They were small enough that you could comfortably learn them in a pretty complete fashion. My C64 Programmer's Reference Guide taught you everything you needed to know about that machine, supplemented by The Transactor, possibly the greatest technical computer magazine ever.

  • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:45PM (#28628813)

    Computers took entire buildings to house but were less powerful than a pocket calculator

    A very common misconception. Actually they were far, far more powerful than any modern computer. One mainframe could run multinational corporations, put a man on the moon, etc. In comparison, on a good day, a modern computer might be able to balance my checkbook, with alot of help, play a game, or maybe replay some music.

    That is what motivates people like myself toward retrocomputing... Its not that its a low clock speed, who cares about that, but that on my desk I can now use technology that ran entire research labs, major corporations, etc.

    You can either learn how to solve scalable, ultra high reliability, enterprise grade computing problems by studying how the ancients solved those problems, or flail around blindly while re-learning the ancient's wisdom... Your choice.

    Power is applied by changing the world, not toggling a flipflop at GHz speeds but not really doing anything out in the world.

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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