And today on L G R , we have this debatably enjoyable new to me , old computer that I'm unjustifiably excited to have the E machines .
E tower 5 66 I R from the year 2000 one with the infamous never obsolete sticker emblazoned on the front of the case looking like some kind of scam .
Isn't it great ?
I think it's great in an admirably awful way which we get to .
But first where this came from , I picked this up recently while I was exhibiting at the vintage computer Festival Midwest show in Illinois .
And in between all the Apple leases S G I workstations , Amigas terminals , rare imported machines and so on .
There was this that's just talking to folks like , yeah , there's an incredible Twiggy Apple Lisa over there .
But have you seen that complete year ?
2000 S E machines E Tower with all the original stickers ?
I don't know .
I've been looking for a complete set up like this for years .
So this was my one computer purchase at the whole show .
Go figure , I'll have a full video about V C F Midwest in the future .
But for now I feel like unwinding with some E machines , silliness .
I quite like these things .
Not so much for the machine's capabilities but more the context in which the system existed .
They're precisely the type of budget computer that was endlessly present .
Growing up with several friends and relatives grabbing an E Machines Tower as their first computer in the late nineties , early two thousands .
And with good reason , the E Tower 5 66 series was often available at retail for the cost of $0 .
That's right .
Nothing for a handful of years around the turn of the millennium , you could wander into your big box retailer of choice and walk out with a complete brand new windows 98 or X P computer system without paying a dime from a certain point of view .
The catch was you'd pay the total cost up front usually between five and $600 and then you'd have three or four mail in rebates to take care of one from the store themselves , one from E machines and another , the largest one from a dial up internet service provider .
And often that meant committing to a couple of years of service at $20 a month or whatever .
After which you'd hopefully get all your money back through checks in the mail over the coming months minus local taxes .
Of course , why go with a $2000 Sony Vio or $1000 compact Presario E Machines was the dominant choice for many , if you were seeking a full internet capable PC , on a budget , granted , you'd be stuck with a specific dial up service for a couple of years at minimum .
But , hey , free computer .
If you are already gonna sign up with an ISP , regardless , it might just make sense .
And of course , there was the claim of being never obsolete an absurd sticker that seemed like some kind of sick joke to anyone who knew anything about computers back then .
Of course , this was nothing more than a marketing tactic , advertising the E Machines network plan which for 1999 a month included both MC I dial up internet and an upgrade path to a new PC every two years .
And I've talked about all this in the company's history before on L G R .
But the gist is that E machines tactics worked well becoming North America's fourth largest PC brand behind Compact H P and I B M .
Yeah , whatever though .
We've got a fine example of an E tower on the table .
So let's talk about it beginning with the case itself , which is this neat little beige micro A T X tower that was used in dozens of models .
Beginning in the late nineties , you get 25 and a quarter inch drive bays , one empty and one populated with an optical drive , which in the case of the 5 66 R here is a CD R W drive , an upgrade over the 5 66 I , which only came with a CD ROM .
And I believe it may have been replaced with a more generic drive here as others I've seen have this nice rounded face plate suited to the case .
Hopefully , I can find one of those to restore it someday .
And right below , there is a 3.5 inch disk drive planted above the hard disk activity light in the same drive bay and a hard on off power button that has a light yet rather satisfying .
Click to it .
Then down at the bottom is a sliding door hiding a USB 1.1 connection at a 15 pin game port for joysticks and the like plus stickers , all the dag on stickers and these were useful when displayed on a store shelf , but they were always there on the case from the factory .
So it's neat to see them still applied and not peeled off like most others I've seen .
Although I'm disappointed that the tacky AOL five point oh sticker is missing leaving behind a rather nasty discolored area on the front of the case .
So I'm just gonna go ahead and slap on a modern recreation .
Mm Nice and fresh obligatory .
Shout out to dot com because their products are awesome .
Anyway , around back is the standard I O allotment with zero surprises P S two USB serial V G A parallel and sound all integrated into the motherboard with undoubtedly mediocre results though this does leave four expansion brackets available since barely anything is installed inside .
On that note , three screws are all that's needed to free the case enclosure .
I like how that Q A sticker is still on there too .
Again , all these old stickers going on .
That's half the reason I bought this inside is a standard socket , 370 motherboard shared with multiple E tower models and one that's luckily unaffected by the capacitor plague .
It's loaded with an intel cellar on running at 566 megahertz as implied by the E machine's model number .
And as for memory , it originally came with 64 megabytes of PC 100 S D ram .
But this one's been upgraded to the max supported 256 and hard drive .
Well , it's been swapped out too now packing a beefy 90 gig S S D instead of the 15 gig ID E original .
And despite the claims of a GP graphics , there is no a GP slot with only a four megabyte intel 82 8 10 A GP chip set on board three PC I slots is all you get for expansion .
One of which used to be filled with a long gone 56 K modem card , considering there are four brackets around back .
It's a shame there aren't more slots .
But again , E machines built these cases to be used in tons of configurations .
So it is what it is on that note , the mouse is your standard E machines fare for the time .
A simple built to cost two button P S two ball mouse that is as underwhelming as it is decently usable in a pinch .
The same goes with the speakers which are unpowered , unbranded .
Little things that sound about as flimsy as they look , testing , testing .
This is me speaking through the speakers .
I can only speak for myself , but this sounds bad .
I'm pretty sure my toaster oven has better speakers .
But hey , at least these have an oddly cute look to them .
The keyboard is another nifty thing to have with this whole set up , check this out .
It may be a mega mushy membrane affair with key caps that make me sad , but I don't actually hate it either .
I guess there's something to be said for the nostalgic squish factor .
It also has this fascinating array of shortcut keys largely related to web browsing but also volume controls , which is nice since the unpowered speakers it came with , don't have controls at all .
You also get this big old row of oddly specific nonsense with shortcuts to things like banking tickets , brokerage , paying bills , auctions , games , and so on .
And my favorite greetings .
How could I resist a system with a dedicated greetings key ?
Unfortunately , I don't have the software that makes this work , but I believe most all of them just open a web browser to predetermined websites .
Finally , there's the E V 14 monitor , a 14 inch C R TV G A display built in November 1998 included with multiple E tower models .
There's a small selection of analog and digital controls for contrast brightness and basic geometry adjustments and around a 13 inch viewing area with a max 10 to four by 7 68 resolution at 60 Hertz that looks soft and shrunken .
So lower resolutions are ideal honestly , even with the light cosmetic damage here and there , the thing looks great , especially with low res doss games and whatnot .
All the phosphorus on this particular unit look nice and vibrant .
But what am I doing ?
Rambling on about all this ?
Let's move to a comfier spot and get stuck in with the E machine's E Tower experience circa 2000 .
Uh those little toy speakers , they try not as bad as a five and quarter in drag based speakers , of course , but you know , they are what they are anyway .
B 5 66 I R here is ready to go .
Unfortunately not with the original installation as far as I can tell .
I mean , like all the original software and bundled stuff is not on here .
I don't have the recovery disc .
But anyway , let's go ahead and test out some things .
So the monitor I have set to 6 40 by 4 80 since that is by far the most readable .
Very simple stuff .
In terms of that graphics controller , four megs of memory of some kind , I don't know if Tom board or shared with the system or what it is there though .
And , uh , here's another thing too .
Yeah , the mouse you see every time I lift it , it , like , it , it scrolls upward kind of a lot .
Like , I'm barely moving it just off the pad there and it just whoop , whoop .
So , um , I , I've looked in there and like , everything is fine .
It's , it's all in place .
It's just the roller , the one that goes vertical , uh tends to keep rolling whenever you lift the ball .
So if , if everything happens like that all the time when I'm moving the mouse or looking around in a game , that's why .
So while we don't have the original installation , unfortunately , the person I bought it from did fill it with all kinds of things to test out on here .
Yay ski free .
It looks and plays like ski free .
No surprise if it couldn't play this .
That would be devastatingly stupid .
Oh , it's also , I got the Microsoft Arcade one of these .
I remember playing this .
Uh , oh , man , I guess it was an Office Depot .
Never actually had it at home .
Uh , ok .
Well , that's not entirely true .
Uh , it was on an Office Depot demo .
PC could have even been an E machine for all I know .
And the games were small enough that I actually remember copying some of them and taking them home .
Don't tell anyone .
Look , at that .
It's only two megs for absolutely everything .
I remember having a battle zone and missile command in particular .
And look , those are only about one meg .
So anyway , uh go and try out a dos game or rather attempt to because uh well , this is interesting .
So these E machines have that integrated crystal sound thing which will be detected as a sound blaster of various types and things will detect it .
But whenever you try to run them , it will either straight up , freeze the system or shut down with an illegal operation like this .
And the same thing happens in DOS mode again , I don't have the original installation .
I really wish I did .
But uh , yeah , Crystal Sound Fusion is what it's recognized as in here and it's got the stuff , you know , 2 23 88 51 , I cannot get a single game to recognize the actual sound blaster portion .
A label work , um , kind of more on that in a sec .
But the sound blaster now it just , it freezes crashes , everything that runs a sound blaster .
So , uh let me go into ad lib .
Do you notice anything wrong ?
Like it actually sounds ok in terms of , uh , I don't know F M sent but the pitch is higher .
It's completely off like it's an , I don't know , an octave or two or something higher .
It's just bizarre .
Otherwise , it actually sounds like it's doing a decent job .
But uh , what's with that ?
I mean , at least it doesn't sound like intermittent farts .
Like the E machines .
E one .
And then you got stuff like Doom Two for instance , will actually open up .
But only , oh , well , no , it doesn't anymore .
I think I might have tried to get the sound going .
It will only work if you disable the sound or put it to PC speaker .
And then the PC speaker , it just sounds like garbage .
It's very quiet .
Tinny , terrible .
This is not good for dos gaming in terms of sound .
So if I were to actually be using this for any length of time , the very first thing that I would do would be to put a proper sound card of any kind in here and then just disable the onboard crap entirely .
All right .
So here's something else I always like to test Unreal Tournament .
After all this came out in 1999 the game did computers from 2000 .
So , uh we should be ok .
So far so good .
It will actually start up only in software rendering .
This doesn't have enough capabilities to do direct 3D .
It seems it just goes to a black screen and crashes when I try it , check out the player models it so you just get blocks , everything is made of blocks , Vaux looking dudes , but it is playable and perhaps not as badly as you might think in terms of speed and performance .
Don't get me wrong .
It's pretty bad but , uh , not as bad as I thought he'd be considering we're running purely out of software here .
Uh , there's that mouse again .
See that every time I lift up it starts raising , ah , uh , oh , I don't know what's going on with that .
Everything being made of blocks I think is pretty great .
I tried to run it on higher settings and software and it just like it would load it , get to the menu sometimes .
Other times , you know , like if I skip the intro demo but other times , yeah , nothing would even happen .
It would just freeze .
Uh , the system would hang blue screens , all kinds of fun stuff .
But , you know , hey , this is totally playable regardless .
So , if I'd have gotten this computer for , for free at a best buy or whatever , with a crap load of rebates , I would have been somewhat satisfied , I guess .
Yeah , it would have been ok .
All right .
So another one here , let's try this optical drive out .
It's pretty slow , but at least it opens and closes .
It closes much quicker .
But anyway , I'm still not entirely sure if this is the original drive or not .
I've seen a number of other photos of these 5 66 with this drive in it .
So it might actually be original to it just that they may be replaced it with a more generic one instead of the one that was shaped with the roundedness on the front .
I don't know , I would like the rounded one though just to match the case a bit .
So Moto racer love this game .
Love that name thingy .
And it's pretty much ideal kind of game to play on a system of this speed .
Let's go from a few years before the system came out .
So , yeah , running in direct 3D , it's very quick and very satisfying .
Good stuff .
I mean , I was still playing this game in the year 2000 .
So I would have been happy with this .
This is great .
Direct 3D acceleration .
Let's crash , bam .
Run me over , run me over .
Yeah , this is so good .
I could play this forever .
Let's , let's not though , try something else .
I do like that .
The CD ROM is nice and quiet too .
You really can't hear it , spinning anything up .
What you can hear is the fans , I think that may be the power supply .
Oh , here we go .
How about the one ?
I don't know if I've ever played on L G R before .
Command to Conquer Tiber , son , an old favorite and by old , I mean , I don't think I've played it in over 20 years .
So this will be good .
Yeah , this like in engine cut scene stuff is pretty rad , not , they came out nowhere loud and clear .
Waiting over .
Anyway , as you can see , this runs perfectly well , this is pretty ideal for strategy games .
From like the mid nineties to early two thousands .
You'd run into stuff or problems with stuff like age of mythology .
For instance , any kind of 3d game is going to be a bit rough .
Even like Sim City 3000 unlimited .
If you were content playing games that were a few years old , like , I certainly was at the time and , you know , friends who had never had a PC before or had really slow ones before .
This was a great option .
And you , this is not bad .
Not bad at all .
Let's see .
I guess we could run clipping .
Uh , I mean , oh , he's a bike now .
There he is .
Nope , that's enough of that .
I decline .
What's he gonna do if I decline ?
Is it gonna kick me out , uh , clip ?
He's like , I don't want no part of this .
You are declining anarchy .
Uh , oh , yeah , Tony Hanks per Cater two PC .
I might have to turn down the music because I know I was gonna get copyright stuff .
Unfortunately , as good as the sound track is youtube .
Let's go .
They'd help if I remembered the controls .
I think , uh , this is gonna be ok .
It's like Z X CV or something along the , I'm not looking at the screen , I'm looking at the keyboard .
Ok , let's get this , let's get this .
Yeah , I landed one .
Ah , shoot .
Don't press that button .
Yeah , it runs pretty good again , I got some direct 3D acceleration going here .
So , you know , it's not like an incapable little graphics chip .
It's just , well , he's gotta know its limitations .
Something like Unreal Tournament .
Uh , not so much .
It's again , technically capable .
I , I think it is .
All right .
Let me , uh , let me try one more time with Andre Tournament because , yeah , running a software mode perfectly fine .
Direct 3D on the other hand .
Well , crap .
It's actually working this time .
Hey , look , we got faces .
Wow , Lore , but they are there .
Yeah , this totally wasn't working when I first tested it , but then I have upgraded uh Direct X and a couple other things since .
Uh maybe it's just good now .
I don't know .
Oh , yeah , dude .
Yeah , it's blurry and stuff but like whatever , this little tiny monitor , it actually kind of works well with it .
I , I would have been pretty thrilled for this for such cheapness .
I mean , in case you're not quite getting it , I was pretty easy to please when it came to computers .
I just wanted to play my games .
I wasn't like obsessed with visual fidelity or resolution or even frame rates .
I just wanted , I just want to be able to play my games like this was , you know , oh , heck of a lot better than what my A R S spire could do that .
A spire was a 233 megahertz K six .
Even with a voodoo card installed and everything and upgraded the ram to 64 megs .
It , it wasn't anywhere like this .
It's awesome .
Maybe not so much for the year 2000 , but hey , whatever .
Can't complain with the price of almost free dish , sort of with lots of asterisks and rebates .
Heck yeah .
Head shot .
Well , sweet .
I didn't think this was actually working .
Uh , dude , this is , this is nominally better than I thought it was .
It's still slow and clunky and whatever .
But that's kind of not the point .
Yeah , like I said , for me , the point really is the context that this existed in , you know , all the never obsolete nonsense and the fact that it was such a decently capable internet PC that could burn C DS and play 3D games sort of and had a little bit of hard drive space and USB and like , you know , this was pretty cool for an intro to computing as it was for so many thousands of people .
And that's really just what interests me in these systems , you know , I never owned and E machines like this , I think we maybe had one much later on , but certainly none of these early ones but friends did , family did random people .
I ran across it .
It was like , oh , yeah , this , uh , this silly thing with the never obsolete sticker .
I had one of those and maybe weren't the most fond memories , but they are memories regardless .
And I think these uh deserve a bit of preservation and their place as a weird footnote in computer history time when things were just hit rock bottom in terms of prices and mediocre .
But like , it was getting stuff out there to the masses , getting people online , getting them to burn C DS and play games and , you know , hop on a Napster and like , do all that whole turn the millennium thing .
I , I don't know , just filled a need and did it in an affordable way .
And if you enjoyed this , look back at the machine that is absolutely never obsolete , then do check out my other videos on other things that are certainly obsolete .
But hopefully , I never am .
I don't know , I probably am .
I don't want to think about that .
Anyway , new L G R videos in the works , including the V C F Midwest one .
So stay tuned for those or subscribe if you like .
And as always , thank you for watching .