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The 25 Greatest PCs of All Time 207

theodp writes "As the IBM PC turns 25, the editors of PC World present their list of The 25 Greatest PCs of All Time (IBM & others) and the rationale behind their picks. What, no IMSAI 8080?" And my favorite compaq luggable is missing too. Clearly this subjective and arbitrary list is subjective and arbitrary!
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The 25 Greatest PCs of All Time

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  • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Informative)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Sunday August 13, 2006 @04:16PM (#15899300)
    By my definition "personal computer" and "Personal Computer" have totally different meanings.

    I'm not responsible for your definitions. PC is simply an abbreviation for "personal computer" and that's the way IBM used it. IBM did not sell 5150 "PC"s. They sold "IBM PCs."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, 2006 @04:28PM (#15899331)
    The Sinclair ZX Specturm was probably the best computer every built for its time in terms of bang for buck, apart maybe from the apple ][ in the late 70's. I know I'm a bit biased since it was the first computer I ever owned, and I got it after working on an IBM (original!) PC for a year or so, but I still liked it much more.
  • Re:WTH? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Skuld-Chan ( 302449 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:11PM (#15900023)
    The 500, while still a cool box, wasn't a great technological leap forward. It was merely a mass-marketing-wrapped version of the 1000. (And Commodore poorly mass-marketed it!) As the easter egg hidden inside one of the later versions of Workbench said: "We made Amiga, they [Commodore] f*cked it up".

    Actually the firmware that has that message stored inside it is pretty rare - as the message was discovered by the public shortly after the launch of the A1000. You'd have to have an early model A1000 as Commodore management recalled most of them. The A500 was in fact designed by the West Chester group probably because of that incident and most certianly wouldn't have contained roms that had that particular message in it.
  • Re:Error! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:47PM (#15900147)
    The term Personal Computer just didn't exist prior to IBMs release of that god awful expensive piece of junk.
    That's just not true, as anybody over the age of 40 who was involved with computers at the time knows. Apple used the term "personal computer" extensively prior to IBM using it, and the term was already in some use prior to Apple popularizing it. Why do you make such bogus comments? Either you weren't around at the time, or you have since gone senile. Given your grumpy and uncalled for slam on the IBM PC, I'll put my money on senility.
  • by cyclone96 ( 129449 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:58PM (#15900178)
    Indeed, the Thinkpad is so dependable it's been the only laptop used by NASA in space for over a decade, as described here []. In all fairness, some of that can also be attributed to the long relationship between NASA and IBM. IBM wrote the flight software for the Space Shuttle, among other things, and in general does an outstanding job on government contracts.

    The crew of the Space Station has around a dozen A31Ps that are used for both non critical office type tasks (those run XP) and critical command and control functions (those thankfully DO NOT run XP, they run RedHat). There's a few elderly 760XDs and 760EDs onboard that are used for some specialized functions that aren't worth certifying on faster machines as well.

    The Russian Segment also has a suite of Thinkpads (which, given the practical nature of Russian engineering to use what "just works" - is probably the biggest compliment).
  • by MsGeek ( 162936 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @01:18AM (#15900892) Homepage Journal the choice of model. The 600 series Thinkpad, released at the height of the Dot-Com Boom, has got to be the epitome of Thinkpad-dom. It was light, (5 pounds!) it was versatile, it could run as a "3 spindle machine" (HD, Optical and Floppy) if you put the Floppy Drive in an external case that connected to a proprietary connector by a cable. During the Dot-Com Boom, the 600 series Thinkpad was a status symbol. It was the laptop the Big Dogs carried, unless they were Mac fans in which case they'd have a "Wallstreet" PowerBook.

    The 600 series was the first to have official instructions on the IBM website on how to install Linux. (Red Hat, for the curious.) There was always a problem with the quirky sound chip, and it took IBM years to put out a driver (F/OSS, to their credit) for the MWave modem chip. Red Hat actually "certified" the 600 series Thinkpad, in spite of those problems.

    The 600 "DNA" was transfered to the T series of Thinkpads, a series still in continued manufacture by Lenovo. Whether the T60 is a worthy member of the line is something the jury's still out on, but the T4x series remain classics.

    Yes, the 700C was first. The 701C with its "butterfly keyboard" had more panache, and might have been a better choice for the Thinkpad niche. But the 600 series would have been the best choice of all, because it's the beginning of a continuum of perhaps the "best of the best" of the whole line.
  • A Very American List (Score:4, Informative)

    by uohcicds ( 472888 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @05:54AM (#15901458) Homepage
    This list is indeed very US-centric. And OK, there's nothing inherently wrong with that, being as it's a US site and everything, but there is something missing from this list.

    In the UK in the late 70's and early 80's a very different computing buzz was going on, so I'd like to mention the claims of two other machines: the BBC Micro and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

    The Spectrum was the machine (even more than the ZX80 and 81 before it) that switched lots of kids of my generation onto computing. And it's why, to this day, we have some of the best programmers, developers (and games people) in the world. It may not have had the graphics and audio power of the C64, but it took ingenuity to squeeze perfomance out of Uncle Clive's little rubber keyed wonder. A huge kitechen sink games market grew up around the Spectrum and many of us learned to program on it.

    The BBC Micro was damn near ubiquitous in British schoools in the 1980's and is probably the one thing about Margaret Thatcher's time in office that she called absolutely correctly: the need to get computers into schools. Sincalir came very close to winning the contract to supply BBC-badged computers to put into our schools (as apart of an initiative to introduce home computing to the masses), but in the end Acorn (later to become ARM) got the nod. For the time, the Beeb was a pretty powerful and expandable machine, with probably the best version of BASIC on the market.

    Both of these machines helped to kick start computing in the UK, but never really made it across the pond (though the Speccy was badged as a Timex sinclair and sold in the states). A whole generation of kids used the Beeb at school and came home ot a spectrum (the best seller here). Before the IBM ear, these were the machines that defined home comuting in the UK.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.