What retro computing lifestyle do you want to live? Edit

What would you do if you could only have one retro computer system cluttering the house? Well, think about it... What would you choose?

Let me guess... A NeXTCube? BZZZT wrong answer. Here's why...

  • Everyone has or wants to have a NeXTcube.
    • Guess what -- they're not l33t anymore.
    • Guess what -- they're expensive on eBay.
      • And that magnesium case scratches up very easily. You think that one on eBay is in good condition? Think again.
  • If you get a NeXTcube, better plan to hang onto the huge CRT to go with it. Maybe you can build an adapter to hook it to a modern LCD, but that's not what I'd call a fun project.
    • Similarly, your SOL if you want to boot it headless
    • Furthermore, everything in a NeXTcube is wierd/custom. It may be fun to show off, but IMO it's not a fun project
  • NeXT == Apple. Are you really that much of an Apple fan? It's way cooler to hack on something completely obsolete.

I could give you some similar arguments if you would have chosen some old SGI or Sun box.

Ok, an SGI is kinda cool, but only if it's one of the ones that are the size of a refrigerator. Save yourself some time and just buy the case to use as a piece of furniture! (I did -- it's great! Maybe some day I'll put a mini-itx board in it just for kicks!)

Why the Atari TT030 is the right answer Edit

  • It's an ATARI WORKSTATION -- Need I say more?
    • If you still don't get it... This is a UNIX box with a CARTRIDGE PORT. How cool is that?
  • It came out right at that wonderful time around 1990 when the PC world was transitioning to modern CPUs. In fact, the TT030 has a 68030 -- it's got an MMU and all the features necessary to run a modern OS. It may be a little pokey, but it's no toy!
  • It's very similar to a PC
    • Which makes it easy to work with as a hobby
      • You don't need to be some sort of Atari expert to make this your hobby. I had never touched an Atari in my life before I bought my TT030 on eBay a few months ago, and now it's up and running NetBSD wonderfully!
      • Want a new drive? It's SCSI, knock yourself out.
      • Want to plug in a monitor? It's VGA, you can deal with that.
      • Want to copy files over? No problemo, it's got a standard floppy drive.
        • And in fact the floppy filesystem is (usually) FAT and native OS can read/write FAT just fine.
  • It's got ethernet (optional)
    • There's one VME bus slot and you can plug in an Ethernet board.
      • I was even lucky enough to obtain a rare Atari branded board for my system.
  • It may not be as eye catching as the NeXTcube, but it's still pretty unique and attractive in its own right.
  • It's relatively small and quiet (although this does vary depending on your choice of hard drive).
  • It runs NetBSD rock solid.
    • Some interesting hardware/software challenges remain that you can help solve and contribute back to this wiki!

So what are you waiting for! Go get yourself an Atari TT030 and start hacking!

David Ross 05:39, October 23, 2010 (UTC)