Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Floppy Disk Drives

20 Companies And Products We Remember Fondly
By
Floppy Disk Drives

You're lucky (Ed.: uh, or not) to find a new PC with a built-in 3.5-inch floppy disk drive. For a long time they were standard, with popular PC games and programs spanning massive numbers of disks and eating up more than an hour to install.

When released, Windows 3.1 consisted of six 3.5-inch floppy disks. Windows 95 was significantly larger, loaded on a set of thirteen special Distribution Media Format floppies that were formatted to hold more than the standard 1.44 MB capacity. The big installation hog had to be Windows NT 3.1, which was packed in a set of twenty-two floppies.

Obviously, installing programs was somewhat of a pain. It was time-consuming, and sometimes floppy disks decided to play nasty, refusing to save or load data. Strangely enough, some of us still miss the format.

See more See less
Display all 112 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    alberthynek , June 11, 2010 6:26 AM
    wait the k6 300mhz launched in 1998, not 2008.

    "A final version clocked in at 300 MHz, and was launched May 2008"

  • 19 Hide
    frye , June 11, 2010 6:47 AM
    It's too bad I'm too young to have appreciate or remember any of these things, except for the floppy. Can't wait to see this list 15 years from now! (Whad'ya mean you only had a 4-core CPU!?!?!)

  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , June 11, 2010 6:40 AM
    Number 18 - The floppy disk.

    You haven't lived till you've sat through numerous installs of MS Office 4.3 which came on over 40 3.5" floppys.
Other Comments
  • 20 Hide
    alberthynek , June 11, 2010 6:26 AM
    wait the k6 300mhz launched in 1998, not 2008.

    "A final version clocked in at 300 MHz, and was launched May 2008"

  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , June 11, 2010 6:40 AM
    Number 18 - The floppy disk.

    You haven't lived till you've sat through numerous installs of MS Office 4.3 which came on over 40 3.5" floppys.
  • 19 Hide
    frye , June 11, 2010 6:47 AM
    It's too bad I'm too young to have appreciate or remember any of these things, except for the floppy. Can't wait to see this list 15 years from now! (Whad'ya mean you only had a 4-core CPU!?!?!)

  • 3 Hide
    mitch074 , June 11, 2010 7:11 AM
    Some errors in that retrospecive...

    - although mounted on an AGP card, the Banshee processor still worked in PCI mode, not enjoying the memory access granted by AGP (but using the bandwidth); there was hardly a difference in performance between the PCI and AGP versions.

    - Quake never used Glide; 3dfx wrote a miniport OpenGL driver for the Voodoo cards, and Quake used that.

    - the OPL3 was an advanced frequency modulator chip with stereo capabilities, and was coupled with the digital sound processor (the Sound Blaster Pro came with an OPL2 chip, the Sound BLaster Pro 2 had an OPL3, but both had the same DSP; the Sound BLaster 16 also had an OPL3 chip).
  • 7 Hide
    Kelavarus , June 11, 2010 7:17 AM
    Editor's note ftw.
  • 5 Hide
    unlicensedhitman , June 11, 2010 7:39 AM
    AOL = America On Lag is how I remembered using their 28.8K dial up.
  • 10 Hide
    carlhenry , June 11, 2010 7:57 AM
    i remember loading up dos and giving up windows 95 just to play a ton of apogee games. i forgot some but i still remember playing raptor. fighter jet ftw!

    oh, the wolfenstein screeny is very nostalgic! good 'ol days!
    i still remember 1995 that my pentium 166mhz was $1.2k! now i'm stuck with a ~$500 rig.
  • 3 Hide
    jhansonxi , June 11, 2010 7:57 AM
    Windows 3 was horrible. UAE errors all over the place. It wasn't really usable until WfW 3.11 was released.

    Don't forget about VESA Local Bus and the early battle with Intel and PCI v1.0 (which was garbage then).

    I also liked STB's cards before 3dfx bought them out. I loved my Powergraph Ergo with its S3 chip. But that was a long time ago and now I wouldn't use S3 chrome garbage in a print server.

    A lot of motherboard chipset vendors used to compete on high-performance desktop boards but we're down to three now. When was the last time you saw a high-end MB with a Via or ALi chipset?

    Same goes for a lot of motherboard vendors. I really liked my old AOpen board. They had a lot of nifty designs. Remember the one with the tube amplifier?

    Some good system builders disappeared when margins shrunk down to nothing, like Northgate. Of course some we're better off without like Packard Bell.
  • 7 Hide
    stridervm , June 11, 2010 8:09 AM
    I know and used all of these devices except the commodore tape drive. Does that make me old? :( 
  • 0 Hide
    dEAne , June 11, 2010 8:47 AM
    Yeah I remember one of them, and I miss them too.
  • 2 Hide
    DjEaZy , June 11, 2010 8:54 AM
    ... i have the 3dfx Voodoo in the first picture... and it still working...
  • 1 Hide
    bodyknight , June 11, 2010 9:09 AM
    It was Unreal that used glide api.
  • 0 Hide
    mitch074 , June 11, 2010 9:18 AM
    @bodyknight: Unreal (first of the name) shipped first with a Glide and a software renderers. Subsequent patches added:
    - Direct3D support
    - OpenGL support
    Version 2.25 (experimental) for example had near perfect OpenGL support but it was cut back in 2.26, the last version of the patch), and Direct3D support matched Glide in 2.26 (it actually exceeded it, as it supported resolutions higher than 800x600 and 32-bit colours).
    Before these patches, one had to use a Glide wrapper to run accelerated Unreal on a TnT card; when the Unreal patches came out (and the DirectX palette patch for Final Fantasy 7) , I removed the Diamond Monster3D card I had kept alongside my Asus v3400 TnT 16 Mb and never looked back.

    I still have that v3400 TnT in a box, by the way: that baby, properly tweaked, patched, cooled and driven, was quite the powerhouse, in no small parts due to its (huge for the time) 16 Mb frame buffer and AGP 2x+Sideband Addressing support.
  • 8 Hide
    crazybaldhead , June 11, 2010 9:52 AM
    A fine article, Kevin. Thanks.
  • 2 Hide
    wiga , June 11, 2010 10:24 AM
    Have all the hardware.All working & still used.Love my hardware more than my wife.Yes i have an addiction & yes iam old.
    Great article thx.
  • -1 Hide
    guid_aaa000001 , June 11, 2010 10:30 AM
    Wheres the 21st Picture?
  • 10 Hide
    letsgetsteve , June 11, 2010 10:35 AM
    OK so yeah I remember the good old days but I cant help but feel kinda ashamed that I'm using a mouse with a ball still..... in fact a week ago I had to pull the lint out of it... maybe time for an upgrade.
  • 0 Hide
    Onus , June 11, 2010 11:30 AM
    One of my fonder memories was of setting up and using DesQview (with QEMM386!) to multi-task DOS programs. Much more stable and responsive than Windows 3.x.
    I could waste hours and hours online talking to friends, but I didn't play games yet (MUL doesn't count...). The thought that a graphics card might need its own fan was absurd.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 11, 2010 11:53 AM
    Regarding the 'Math Co-Processer' (or the MCP); it didn't just go away because of more powerful processors (as the article seems to imply), it is because eventually thanks to transistor compaction all the processors came with the MCP built on chip, making a discrete MCP redundant, just like the thing with the modern on-chip memory controller.
  • 6 Hide
    eric_son , June 11, 2010 12:02 PM
    I had to suffer 2 years of owning a C64 Datasette before my parents got me a disc drive. Towards the mid-80's games like Ghostbusters and Raid Over Moscow had this funky turbotape loader trick that was very sensitive to tape head alignment. When those games came out, my datasette was already old and the head already misaligned. I remember having to adjust the head alignment with a small screw driver a number of times before I can successfully load Raid Over Moscow. .... the horror!
Display more comments