Plus vs Dual Core AMD

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Jon's picture
Last seen: 12 years 6 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
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Plus vs Dual Core AMD

Found via a comment on Markie's Geektechnique blog, the vintage 1986 Mac Plus is compared to a new and fast AMD machine, in term of user productivity. The Mac kicked the AMD to the ground. In 2 decades the atual time to get the same work done hasn't changed. Of course capabilities and new features have.

Eudimorphodon's picture
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Joined: Dec 21 2003 - 14:14
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My old TRS-80 Model I still stands out in my mind as one of the fastest computers I've ever used. That machine booted my favorite DOS, NEWDOS80v2, essentially instantaneously (Maybe 3 seconds, counting the time it took for the floppy drive to spin up.). Program loading was similarly quick, which makes sense when you think about it. A *big* program for that machine might be 16-20k of object code, which with a double-density board meant the machine needed only to read about four tracks worth of data. Even a *slow* floppy drive (30+ms stepping time) can do that in a second or two. (Of course, I "hot-rodded" my machine by upgrading the drive chassis to double-sided drives stolen from surplus IBM PCs. 5ms stepping, baby. Woot!. With drives like that even large "virtual memory-esque" programs like SuperScripsit were quite snappy. About the only thing that was significantly slower then a modern machine was spell-checking.)

One particularly ironic thing about this comparison is that in its day the Mac Plus was often criticized for being *slow*. For tasks like recalculating a spreadsheet Lotus 1-2-3 on an IBM XT with an 8087 could easily beat it. (Without the coprocessor they'd be about equally matched, with the overhead of the display circuitry and GUI on the Mac just about canceling out the CPU speed advantage.) Comparing it to an AT would be downright embarrassing. ;^)

I really have to wonder sometimes whether many of the "capabilities and new features" the GUI age has spawned are bigger distractions then they're worth. Are documents better now that they come with proportional fonts and embedded clip-art, or do they just *look* better? They're certainly not quicker to produce, and good presentation != good ideas. PowerPoint is notorious as being *the* tool for making bad thinking look good to decision makers, and the GUI revolution is wholly to blame for it. Feh!

Pardon me why I go throw my wooden shoes into the machine.


dankephoto's picture
Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
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fun article and thread

Many respondents missed the point - not that the new machine could do more, but that with all the technological advances since 1986, there's precious little actual improvement in the way things get done.

dan k

Last seen: 7 years 7 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 211
Way back when a Plus was current

Way back when a Plus was current, I used to create 1MB RTF files on a VAX, download them to a Mac Plus and open them with Word 3. Than I went for lunch. If I was lucky, the file would have completed opening in Word 3 after an hour. So some things have definitely improved...

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