Should we stop using retrocomputers to save them?

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Por AxelStone

Prophet (3199)

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17-07-2022, 10:34

wolf_ wrote:

Usually the PC is already running, so starting the emulator is a matter of seconds. The same discussion occurs in the synth community, in these endless hardware vs software discussions, where the hardware-fanatics yell 'you first have to switch on the PC, then load a DAW, then load the synth'. Usually this is not the reality.

I agree, PC is something that you have turned on usually and it's quite confortable to switch from one system to another.

Por Juanmi

Master (153)

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18-07-2022, 20:02

It cannot be said that the PC is continuously on. There will be people who, because of their work, will probably have it running all day long. But others, like me, don't need to have the PC on all the time. I usually switch it on when I get home late at night.

Anyway, the question is whether or not it is advisable to use the real MSX in case it breaks.

We are not talking about emulators VS real machine, nor which is more or less comfortable, or which is faster or slower.

Machines break if you don't use them, in general, not just the MSX. If you leave a motorbike standing for a while, that motorbike will certainly not start after a while.

If my MSX has to break down, let it break down by using it, giving it life. Not cornered at the back of a wardrobe, at the top of a shelf or in a dirty and dark storage room.

Por zadokallen

Resident (45)

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19-07-2022, 16:06

"Saving micros by not using them" is a pretty wild concept. What worth is preservation if nobody can actually experience the things we preserve? There will always be enough units for some museums, and the rest should be used till they finally succumb to the inevitable entropy. I I was a microcomputer I'm pretty sure I'd prefer to be "alive" than stored in some hoarders wardrobe.

The "but emulation" argument is also quite pointless. It doesn't matter how amazingly convenient or accurate an emulator is. Even if you made a 1:1 FPGA / mechanical replica it still won't give the same vibes (to some people) as the original hardware which was there at the beginning. It's not something you can replicate in any way. Saying this as somebody who mostly uses MiSTer for everyday operations, but absolutely loves using original HW too.

Por bore

Master (169)

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19-07-2022, 17:46

"Saving micros by not using them" is also a statement that isn't necessarily true.
You should start by asking if not turning it on will actually preserve it longer or if it will break earlier.

You can't just put HW in storage and expect that it won't break.
Electrolytic capacitors will either dry up or in worst case the electrolyte will corrode its way through the casing and and then the PCB.
Air humidity will eventually work its way through the solder joints.
Your typical closet or storage space also doesn't have the environmental control to store electronics for the future.

The way I see it you have no guarantee that not using the hardware will preserve it any better than using it, but if you power it up every now and then to make sure it works properly you will at least catch broken capacitors and batteries before they start to eat their way through the PCB.

Either way, if you have an MSX that is broken to the extent that it can't be repaired you can always save as many of the IC's as possible.
As long as those are available people can design a new MSX PCB and populate it with the old IC's.

Por mcolom

Champion (316)

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21-07-2022, 20:55

I'm also of the opinion that the real MSXs should be used. Of course, carefully. It's the right way to "preserve" them.
FPGAs are excellent recreations of something we really love, and even if the emulation is almost perfect it's not the real thing. And that's the point.
For the next generations MSX won't be so special. Sure, it'll have its importance, since it was one those first microcomputers of a very special epoch, and that has a value by itself. By for them it'll be just a "theoretical" importance, not linked to something they discovered as a child, as many of us. When I touch the real machine, I feel something special. But I know that it's just important for me, but I need no more.
So yes... absolutely we need to keep using our machines, repairing them, and taking care of them. And punishing the keyboard playing hard with FPGAs Smile

Por geijoenr

Champion (364)

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22-07-2022, 00:53

IMO real MSX should be treated in a similar way as collector's cars: you ride them every now and then on a Sunday. Using them just enough to enjoy the original experience while extending their life as much as possible.

Por AxelStone

Prophet (3199)

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22-07-2022, 12:08

geijoenr wrote:

IMO real MSX should be treated in a similar way as collector's cars: you ride them every now and then on a Sunday. Using them just enough to enjoy the original experience while extending their life as much as possible.

Probably is the best solution. I was using my original hardware every day, but I realized that this can be too much. I spent a lot of time in maintenance activities and every time I fixed a problem, another one appeared sooner or later. The I decided to jump FPGAs because MSX is something that I use every day and for me, a 35 years old machine can't be prepared for daily use even with maintenance.

Por SwissPanasonic

Expert (73)

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25-07-2022, 16:28

For those who have an MSX out of service, you can buy the MSX3 at the end of the year and several models announced. Some left the MSX a long time ago but keep the nostalgia. It will normally be possible with a download system to find certain games and software. On the other hand, if the sales of MSX3 remain confidential, I suppose that it will be difficult to have new software from big names in the field of games, programming or others.

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