Maybe not 1996 PCs, but 1987 Macs did it well
It was 1987 and although the start-up I was working for had just flamed out, the one client we had committed to deploying our system was building their new trading floor and were not about to fill it with Quotron terminals. Instead, we deployed a fleet of Macs, both color and black&white, both ethernet and localtalk, to handle the traffic. I did the transport layer, both server-side and client-side. Riding up on the train one day, inspiration hit me and I came up with a semi-reliable (reliable enough, as measurements proved) UDP broadcast protocol that solved our "TCP can't possibly handle hundreds of machines" - at that point, with the Mac II being the most powerful machine we could buy. And yes, it handled Black Monday later that year with aplomb.