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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, 2006 @03:43PM (#15899178)
    Self built beige boxes must be the greatest PC's of all time because I've not owned anything else in over a decade.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @03:46PM (#15899190)
    A PC is by definition a Personal Computer.
  • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @03:58PM (#15899237)
    Useless list.
  • by Frequency Domain ( 601421 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @04:08PM (#15899281)
    I know everybody is going to complain that their personal favorite is missing, but I can't believe that NeXT isn't on the list. I think it was one of the most influential systems of the last twenty years. In addition to all the innovations with graphics, removable storage, onboard DSP, drag and drop e-mail attachments, object-oriented framework, etc., the first web browser was developed on a NeXT.
  • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @04:40PM (#15899381) Journal
    I remember playing Bruce Lee and a ton of pirated games my parents bought for $1 a disk(all they were really worth).
    It took us a while to find out: LOAD"*",8,1 or sometimes only LOAD"*",8
    But once we unlocked all those games, it was a party time that finally broke the era of boring Atari 2600 games. Commodore rocked so hard. Then came Nintendo 8 bit which didn't entirely blow C64 out of the water, but was the 2nd biggest step in gaming, the first being Atari2600 or Colleco(from your vantage point) to C64.
    I loved my c64 and would have kept it if someone didn't offer me $300 for it in 1993 when internet PCs were just starting to make it for the public.
  • by KozmoStevnNaut ( 630146 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @05:35PM (#15899561)
    How the hell did an IBM Stinkpad make the list?!?!?!?!

    Let's see...
    Perhaps because it was one of the first proper and usable laptops?
    Because Thinkpads are some of the most dependable laptops you can find?
    Because they have always been and always will be quietly stylish (black is always cool) instead of in-your-face?
    Because Thinkpads are the laptops most often chosen by companies whose employees depend on their laptops working perfectly all the time?

    I have a T42 myself, and the only laptops currently available that I would even consider switching to are:
    A) A newer Thinkpad, preferably an X model.
    B) A Panasonic Toughbook (One of the "semi-rugged" ones).
    C) A Macbook (If they finally figure out how much thermal paste to apply and sort out a few other bugs in the process).

    It may not be flashy, it may not have all kinds of silly features or ultra powerful graphics or a super high resolution monitor, but it's built tough, every built-in function works perfectly every single time, the bundled Windows software is actually useful, the keyboard is the best laptop keyboard ever made, the Linux support is second to none and the configurability is very nice (4- or 8-cell battery in the main battery bay, DVD-drive can be swapped for another type of drive or an additional battery).

    Yes, I am very happy with my Stinkpad. It runs Windows XP and GNU/Linux better than any other brand of laptop I have encountered, and it does what I need perfectly.
  • the emate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maynard ( 3337 ) <j.maynard.gelina ... minus cat> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @07:16PM (#15899860) Journal
    OK. Sp Apple's emate is on this list, which is very cool. The emate is essentially an MP2100 Newton screen, in a clamshell with a built-in keyboard. The processor is a little different between the 2100 and the emate, but they're both arch compatible. Anyway, what matters is not the chip, but the user and programming environment. Due to the recent /. discussion on the Q1 vs. MP 2100 article, I ebayed myself a newton out of curiosity. It *IS* pretty amazing. And *awfully* slow. I mean horribly slow. Newt's Cape (web browser) can take over ten minutes rendering in *plain text*! In comparison, my trusty old 386sx/16 from 1990 used to browse the net with lynx no trouble. Real fast.

    This is not to insult the Newton dev team. The Newton was never intended to browse the net anyway, and never had any internal acceleration for text manipulation and rendering. And the environment - whoa. It's the prettiest thing since LMI and Symbolics. NewtonScript is an ease to hack. If you care you can code up c++ snippets and call them from within Newtonscript. So, you can write fast stuff - but you're still limited to NewtonScript to interact with the OS for drawing and datebase access (no filesystem, a relational db for data storage instead). Actually, I bet the relational db is part of why the Newton is so slow too.

    The Newton has a lot to teach for UI consistency and streamlined design. It really was a beautiful product. I look at Squeak and think: THAT should be the next Newton. Not Gnome, KDE, or Windows XP Tablet edition (Never mind CE). *sigh*

    Want to have fun? Check out Einstein [], a Newton emulator for MacOS X and Linux/ARM: You'll have to use your nefarious hax0r sk11z too find a Newton ROM and then you too can learn 'bout the Newton (and emate) without having to ebay one.

  • by Ster ( 556540 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @07:25PM (#15899895)
    Yeah, because NeXT took the world by storm, driving both Apple and IBM to bankruptcy in a matter of months. So popular did NeXT machines become that Microsoft quit the software business and started making beanbag chairs and pet rocks, because everybody who was anybody cast aside their PCs and Macs and went NeXT.

    You jest, but remember that Mac OS X is a direct decendant of NeXT. When Apple bought them, several of the key management positions (esp. CEO (Steve Jobs), but also VP of Software Engineering and later CTO (Avie Tevanian) quickly ended up in the hands of NeXT people. People have referred to it as Apple paying NeXT to take them over.

    So you're half-right: a large percentage of those who ran Mac OS 9 now run NeXT, as Mac OS X.


  • Re:IBM PC not #1? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @10:31PM (#15900455)
    Only middle/uppermiddle class and above bought a "computer" back then, but it was the IBM-PC (and later, the "100% compatibles") that truly brought PCs to every household...

    The IBM-PC and PC/XT just weren't designed to be home machines. In the US, Commodore, Atari and Apple computers were all more affordable than the PC. IBMs were equipped more for business use. Monochrome graphics were standard on the IBMs, and they often had HDDs in the 10-30 MB range, not really needed in home apps then. You could get CGA color for IBMs, but it really wasn't worth it -- the home computer world is more than green, puple, black and white. 16 color C=64s and Ataris were far better for home applications where more colors was more important than higher resolution.

    Even an XT clone like a "Leading Edge" was very pricey at $2000 or so in the middle of the decade. A Commodore 64 around the same time could be had for $300, another $300 or so for the floppy. A TV would do for a color monitor if you didn't want to spend another $200 for a dedicated S-Video monitor. If you bought a C=64 or an Atari for home use instead of an IBM PC, you'd have money left over to get a printer and modem and a subscription to compuserve or Q-Link. And your non-IBM comptuers had sound!

    IBM tried to crack the home market with the PCJr in the 2nd half of the decade, but this annoyed and insulted home users more than anything. The keyboard, in particular, was a huge failure with the wireless interface and chicklet keys.

    I'm not knocking IBM PCs. They were great business (personal) computers, and the clones made possible by the "openness" of the bus design did greatly influence home computing later. They just weren't a good choice for most homes (in the 1980s) where computers might be used to play games, run education software, some word-processing and maybe a little finance, in that order -- sort of upside-down version of what the IBMs were good for.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky