I have an infatuation with the desktop form factor. I don’t know if it’s because the first several PC’s I had were desktops or if I just like the compact nature of them: the monitor sits nicely on top, everything’s neat and tidy.
By the mid 1990’s, towers seemed to be replacing desktops in the home. At all the dealers in our area, the only home desktops seemed to be several years old and underpowered compared to their tower brethren. I’m certainly not going to say that was a trend everywhere, but it was noticeable. In the business world, however, the desktop form factor continued to be the standard, likely for the above-referenced “neat and tidy” angle. Often, desktops had pass through power for monitors. One power cable, keyboard, mouse, and a phone line for the modem. Easy.
A few years off the expensive failure of the PS/2 line, and shortly after the follow-up ValuePoint, IBM was trying to claw its way back into the business market it had effectively abdicated to cheaper clones. I’ve covered the ValuePoint line before and I have fond feelings for it. They were simple, compact, and generally got the job done, though generally at a slower pace than their competitors. They also topped out at a 60Mhz Pentium during a time of rapid speed increases.
The IBM PC Series succeeded the ValuePoint. IBM was harkening back to the name that made them famous. In many ways, the PC Series was far more open and upgradeable than the machines that preceded it. In other ways, well…IBM is IBM. We’ll get to that shortly. Despite some issues, though, the PC Series was a rock solid line for business applications, equipped out of the gate with either OS/2 or Windows NT (switchable using the recovery CD that was included in the box).
Given the business focus, it’s unsurprising that Ethernet cards were more common than sound cards. You didn’t need sound to work on a spreadsheet. The machine may or may not come with a CD-ROM drive, with curved bezels adorning the front of the case if no option drive was selected. This design led to their motto at the time: “Reliable. Boring. Beige.”
I may have that wrong. Maybe reversed the order or something.
Anyway, given the business focus, what kind of performance can we get out of this as a retro gamer? Is this machine any good for some old-school DOS/Windows 95 gaming goodness? Let’s find out.Continue reading