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Compaq Deskpro XL 560: Collectable or recycling problem?

Brcobrem

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Apr 23, 2015
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5
I thought I posted this yesterday, but I can't find it on the forum anywhere. Please let me know if this is somehow a double post and I'll delete it immediately. If it's somehow off-topic, let me know that too please. Here's what I thought I posted yesterday:

Hi,

I've been offered a Compaq Deskpro XL 560 for $100. Normally I wouldn't be interested in this late of a model, but here's the thing: It's brand new in the original box. Never used. No cigarette smoke, no dust, just OEM beige everywhere. There's the CPU, keyboard and mouse, but no monitor. Here's a 1994 ad from PC Magazine : https://books.google.com/books?id=r-5Zq-uW-N8C&pg=PA114&lpg=PA114&dq=%22Compaq+Deskpro+XL+560%22&source=bl&ots=B9ajFSQanf&sig=2dWdtmX8TRtltdmRiX7jx2YWUus&hl=en&sa=X&ei=BUM5VbuVHIXCggT0jIDwBw&ved=0CDcQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=%22Compaq%20Deskpro%20XL%20560%22&f=false
It looks like back in the day, this was their top of the line box. Even had native SCSI !

As I recall, in 1994, I was still living in Cryix 486 land.

So the $64,000 (ha) question is, to quote something I saw on another site, "Is this a collectable or a recycling problem?"

I appreciate your replies, thoughts, comments, jokes, etc..

Regards . . .

P.S. I really wouldn't have a recycling problem. I visit the local haz/electronic waste recycling center every month or so. I drop off my DOA stuff and batteries (and do a little dumpster diving if appropriate). Better yet, I'd offer it up as a gag gift at our local IT club's December holiday party. Post up something like, "This year, someone will win a free HP server, brand new in the box!" It would be worth it to see the look on the winner's face when I wheeled that ancient white and pink box in on a hand cart. Ha!
 

mR_Slug

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The 560 XL is a pentium 60, with an EISA/PCI bus, i would say its collectable. Its not one of the very first Pentium systems, but i think it was one of the first from Compaq with PCI/EISA. Not 100% sure, i think the XE may have had a PCI bus and came out before the XL. The 5/66M only had EISA. I wouldn't describe it as ultra rare, but if you want a 60/66Mhz PCI Pentium system, $100 doesn't seem bad, for new in box.

BTW the yellowing isn't caused by cigarette smoke, it yellows from sun damage. So if you want to keep it beige, dont leave it by a window. There is a fire retardant chemical that causes the plastic to go yellow.

Any working computer thats 20+ years old, really shouldn't be "recycled" if it can be helped. Someone may buy it on eBay, as it probably has some worth to someone.

Andrew
 

Brcobrem

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Apr 23, 2015
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Hi mR_Slug,

Thanks for the reply :) . This was my first post on vintage-computer.com . Also thanks to Erik who helped me with a registration problem.

About the yellowing: Back in the day, I remember it seemed like everyone smoked (including me). I always assumed the yellowing was from smoke. But now that I think about it, The boxes that were most yellowed were in south and west facing offices (in USA). I still have a working 486 w/ VLB that was decommissioned from one of those offices. I use it to run WFW v3.11 for a proprietary synthesizer card (Turtle Beach Tropez).

You mentioned, ". . . as it probably has some worth to someone." I heard something on a PBS radio report about a month ago. They were talking about some city in California that was starting up a desalination plant that they built 20 years ago for a drought back then. By the time they completed the facility, the drought was over. They ran the plant for 6-8 weeks, then shut it down. The PBS reporter who was at the site, said it was like stepping back in time, seeing green screens and floppy disk drives. I'll see if I can find that story now . . . Here it is:
http://www.npr.org/2015/04/05/397659871/will-turning-seawater-into-drinking-water-help-drought-hit-california
They actually said, " . . . Entering the control room and seeing its big computers with tiny memories — and floppy disk drives . . ." They have a pic there too on down the page. That's a good sized monitor for back then. Looks Like there's a digitizer tablet or similar too.

Byw, I bought the 560 XL this weekend :) I should have some compatible ram and maybe even a scsi-1 drive that should work around here somewhere. I'll post when I can get to that.

Regards . . .
 

billdeg

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Landenberg, PA USA
I consider this a very collectible machine. I have done a lot of research on what were the "first Pentium desktop computers mentioned in print" I found that the Compaq Deskpro 5/66M was the first Compaq Pentium desktop (despite the "P66" in the name, it's a P60), but this was a $10,000 server-type high-end machine or used for extreme high-end desktop stuff. The 560 XL was probably 6 months newer, the consumer model. The fact that it's in the box, consider it the find of a lifetime. Someday you'll be really glad you picked it up. The most valuable stuff always turns out to be the items people thought were trash...otherwise there would still be a lot of minicomputers from the 60's floating around.

One other thing...There was a lot going on with DEC and Intel about the Pentium chip, who invented it, etc. This also was the time was when Compaq was replacing Digitial-branded stuff. I have a Digital XL 566, which I suppose is identical-ish to the Compaq deskpro model in the same way Pontiacs/Chevy's were more or less the same. There is a lot of history at this time between DEC and Comapq. The Deskpro XL 560 is part of that time. I need to read more about this myself, but lately I have been poking around "post vintage" VAX, Alphas, Digitial-branded PCs all from the 1990's. I have a pretty sweet Digital 386 laptop too.

Bill
 
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Brcobrem

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Apr 23, 2015
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Hi Bill,

Somehow, I never received notice of your 5/13/15 post. Just checked and I do have instant email notification turned on. Wasn't in off-site or on-site spam either. I just revisited this post to give the link to a friend and noticed your reply. My apologies for the late reply. On well, blame it on a sun spot or such;) Anyway . . .

Thank you very, very much for that insight into these early P60 and P66 boxes. Ditto the relationship between Compaq and Digital in that era. Most interesting history there.

If I may ask your opinion, for insurance purposes, is there a value I should put on my "new" Deskpro XL 560 (other than the $100 I paid)? Or, is this something that's best left to stew for another generation or so before asking that question? I'd love to be able to tell the "boss" there's a valid reason I'm taking up more storage space with this 18 cubic foot box. Ha!

Regards . . .


P.S. :
First laptop I had for use at work was provided by a Hewitt Packard rep who was involved with a mainframe they sold to the company I worked at. Hey, check out this link to HP's "museum" I just stumbled onto looking for info on that:
http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/abouthp/histnfacts/museum/personalsystems/0036/
Check out the comments here to if interested:
http://h20435.www2.hp.com/t5/The-Next-Bench-Blog/HP-s-First-Laptop-The-HP-110/ba-p/55979#.VafBy_nCK_s

No one mentions it anywhere that I've found today, but the HP-110 (at least the one I had) had a normal 720k 3.25" floppy built in, an orange monochrome screen as I recall, and had Word Star and Lotus 123 installed. They called me "graph man", because I figured out I could use Lotus to run linear regression routines to do smoothed seasonal inventory analysis on many inventory items simultaneously. Before that laptop, I was using a hand held TI scientific calculator, one inventory item at a time, ugh. They also gave me (to use) a portable ink jet printer that was not much bigger than 2 boxes or spaghetti tapped together. At that time (~1984) I was dating a girl who's retired dad had worked at Sperry. He was involved with Univac. You should have seen him freak out when I showed this to him! I think it made his year.
 

billdeg

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The Compaq XL 560 would (I believe from what I read in PC Magazine and such) be the same thing as the DEC XL 560, re-badged. It was one of the first with a Pentium chip in the motheboard and not as an add-on card. It's not as rare as the first Compaq with a Pentium (Deskpro 5/60 M or 5/66 M). That said it's part of the Digitial / Alpha / Pentium / Intel story, and a machine first out of the gate after these two companies merged - a beneficiary of the Digital partnership/rivalry with Intel at the time, etc. My info comes from reading magazines and stories at the time, I am not an industry insider, I just like to read.

$100 is the market value, but eventually it will become more "important" historically and will at least hold that value plus inflation. It's a late 1993 Pentium, which is the first year they appeared. The Digital XL 560 or XL 566 came out in the late summer early fall 1993. Not sure exactly when the Compaq version came out, I assume no earlier but within 6 months later.

Why I find this interesting, I guess because part of my job at the time was getting laptops and PCs from sales reps, my job was to help pick which one to buy for the sales department (we bought laptops for sales reps and internally used same manufacturer). We had just dumped about 2000 GRiD 8086-based systems and I remember having a lot of cool new machines toplay with. We did not need Pentium stuff then but I remember getting to check out Win 95 betas and run fast Intel boxes, compare with IBM 6000 and VAX, etc. Paradise if you're into hardware.

ONE OTHER THING... It seems like most all manufacturers launched/offered a 60 and a 66 Mhz version of the first pentiums at the same time, the 60 did not necessarily pre-date the 66 or visa versa.

Bill
 
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Unknown_K

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I like the early P60/P66 machines and EISA makes it even nicer. If the box has been opened (and you purchase it) take a look at the contents inside, could have been used and just put back in the box later (or who knows what's inside).

Packard Bell sold a ton of those early 5V Pentiums (I have one) and so did Gateway (have one of those as well).
 

Moondog

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Jun 12, 2015
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Location
Michigan
Here are some pictures of my favorites from this era,

Compaq 5/60 M
http://vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=612

DEC XL 566 (is this the same as the Compaq XL 56x?)
http://vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=585
(I still need to take internal photos)

Gateway P5 75
http://vintagecomputer.net/gateway/thm_Gateway2000_P5-75.jpg

The gateway P5 75 brings back some memories. A place I was working at didn't have the budget to buy any more new pc's for the year, however we were allowed to perform upgrades. This was 1999, and we pulled the P75 boards out and replaced them with Asus motherboards with a Pentium II 450 cpu and 64mb ram. The last batch of new pc's were PII 350 towers, so people noticed a difference between cases. Some would get upset when re-issued an "old" pc, until they saw how much faster they ran.
 

wesleyfurr

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As I recall, the Pentium 60 and 66 rolled off the manufacturing line together. The good ones would run at 66MHz and were stamped and sold accordingly, the rest became 60's.

Try finding a 60/66MHz Pentium or components on ebay...not a lot of them around...and most of the CPU's you find seem overpriced and usually trying to be sold for the scrap gold. I picked up a Socket 4 motherboard a little while back and finally acquired a P60 CPU and fan to go with it...now I need to find the time to put it together in a case and hope it all works...

It is amazing the things that just got tossed out...niche point in time items whose time had gone. Now they are unique and collectible. Fortunately I've managed to snag a number of things like that...or just lucked into hanging onto them...

Wesley
 

mR_Slug

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Here are some pictures of my favorites from this era,

DEC XL 566 (is this the same as the Compaq XL 56x?)
http://vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=585
(I still need to take internal photos)

http://vintagecomputer.net/gateway/thm_Gateway2000_P5-75.jpg

Your DEC XL 566, PCI right? Was that based on the Intel xPress platform (second version with PCI)? as the DEC 560 ST was based on the xPress platform (first version, EISA only).

If so, I doubt the DEC XL 566 is the same as the Compaq XL 56x. The reason for this is that Compaq had the Tri-flex architecture in their early 5/66M which was superior to the Intel architecture. The xPress platform only had a 32bit Memory bus. This is conjecture. The alternative is that DEC abandoned the Intel architecture of the DEC 560 ST and switched to the Triflex architecture used by Compaq.

The back of your DEC, looks suspiciously like the Intel xPress 8 slot configuration (there was also a 10 slot version). So a pic of the motherboard would be interesting.

I saw your Compaq 5/60M "holy grail", but I would have thought the xPress based systems were the "holy grail"?

I find these early Pentium systems very interesting as there were many approaches to the new 64-bit (as it was advertised) Pentium. I think the reason for this was two part. First was Intel, poor yield, and the redefinition of the 66Mhz version to run on 5.6v in November 93. Then you had Intel's poor 430LX chipset that had various bugs, particularly with EISA. It was apparently so bad manufactures refused to use it until the bugs were ironed out. Its surprising the Pentium didn't go the way as the Itanium.

Andrew
 

billdeg

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The Compaq 5/60 and DEC XL 566 are both EISA. Neither has an integrated Pentium chip in the motherboard. My interest in the Compaq in particular came about from research of articles and advertisements. There were no *desktop* Pentium systems that I can find mentioned before the Compaq 5/60 (or /66). If you can advise an article or advertisement published before July 1993...I'd be very interested. "First Pentium Desktop" is a tough trophy to hold but so far I have found nothing earlier, thus the "holy grail"...also 5/60's are almost impossible to find rare given they were almost $10,000 when new thus very few sold.
 
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billdeg

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Your DEC XL 566, PCI right? Was that based on the Intel xPress platform (second version with PCI)? as the DEC 560 ST was based on the xPress platform (first version, EISA only).

If so, I doubt the DEC XL 566 is the same as the Compaq XL 56x. The reason for this is that Compaq had the Tri-flex architecture in their early 5/66M which was superior to the Intel architecture. The xPress platform only had a 32bit Memory bus. This is conjecture. The alternative is that DEC abandoned the Intel architecture of the DEC 560 ST and switched to the Triflex architecture used by Compaq.

The back of your DEC, looks suspiciously like the Intel xPress 8 slot configuration (there was also a 10 slot version). So a pic of the motherboard would be interesting.

<snip>

Andrew

Took a few pictures with the lid removed.
http://vintagecomputer.net/digital/XL566/
When first I got this machine I brushed it off as old but not really that exciting. Later I read through Intel/Compaq/DEC ads, articles, and announcements around 1993. During the summer of 1993 Pentium was not part of the standard commercial DESKTOP offering of any company.

The XL566 was one of those converted 466 machines with a Penitum chip add-on board.

Pentium was initially considered a server chip to take on DEC/Alpha. In the Pentium story DEC/Compaq/Intel were the important players. There was a lot of overlapping platform types and no standardization. The Alpha chip was more popular in the first part of 1993, Pentium did not knock Alpha out of the server market right away. So imagine meetings at DEC about Intel and the new Pentium, The Compaq buys DEC, DEC sues Intel claiming the Pentium was using patented technology related to the Alpha. and so on...

It was right then Compaq was making moves; Compaq bought DEC. Compaq issued the first Pentium *Desktop* when 99% desktops were still 486 going into 1994. They leap-frogged over DEC who never attempted to put their Alpha into a cheap home desktop. Alphas were more expensive workstations.
 
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386_junkie

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Keep it.

People still look for parts in these.

I spent a while recently looking for a processor board for an older deskpro.

If you recycle it... you'll be taking it and everything inside off the market... reducing supply of parts, harder to get a hold of which increase prices!
 

mR_Slug

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Sorry took me a while to respond, I've been playing with a 486 EISA system.

I'm a bit confused. You say:
The Compaq 5/60 and DEC XL 566 are both EISA.

Then you show these pics:

Took a few pictures with the lid removed.
http://vintagecomputer.net/digital/XL566/

Which shows PCI/ISA slots as far as I can tell. I cant see any EISA in the pics.

There were no *desktop* Pentium systems that I can find mentioned before the Compaq 5/60 (or /66). If you can advise an article or advertisement published before July 1993...I'd be very interested. "First Pentium Desktop" is a tough trophy to hold but so far I have found nothing earlier, thus the "holy grail"...also 5/60's are almost impossible to find rare given they were almost $10,000 when new thus very few sold.

I did see one on eBay recently for ~£500. I am looking for a 5/60 but not at that price!
From what i can tell this looked like the overall best system in the first wave of Pentium systems.

I have found a few articles before July 1993 but nothing concrete that would indicate the Pentium version of the xPress was introduced before the Compaq. As far as the XPress being a desktop system, according to this help file:
http://www.elhvb.com/mboards/intel/files/help/XPRESS.HLP
there was a version described by Intel as "Desktop".

Articles:

I have actually searched through Infoworld, PC Mag and Computerworld for the whole of 1993 for the term pentium. And have more links if you want them i will post them all. These are ones from before July:

InfoWorld Mar 22, 1993 p103
+Existing chipset designs are not really compatible due to the P5 using 64bit memory
+Cache architecture is also a problem
+HP to introduce dual P60 system in may.
+Wont be many pentium systems about.

InfoWorld Mar 22, 1993 p29
+82430 PCI chipset
+Add in boards (PCI cards) require 2 connections!?!?
+PCI systems and by extension Pentium systems expected to ship in May

Computerworld Mar 22, 1993 p2
+Pentium systems start shipping may 17th

InfoWorld May 17, 1993 p25
+ALR Evolution V ships July VLB/EISA

InfoWorld May 24, 1993:
p37 - Compaq ships Pentiums systems
p40 - AST ships Pentium systems including 4 CPU server
p40 - HP to ship Pentium servers in June
p46 - NCR ships Dual to 16 way pentium systems.


PC Mag Jun 15, 1993 p37 - Review of Pentium systems
+ALR Evolution V VLB/EISA
+ALR ProVEISA (a 486 upgraded to p60)
+Compaq Deskpro 5/66M (a 486 upgraded to p60 - but well designed)
+DEC 560 ST (a 486 upgraded to p60 - but based on intel Xpress (64bit cache))
+HP Netserver LM (a 486 upgraded to p60 - but based on intel Xpress (64bit cache))
+NOTE: None of these systems use PCI


PC Mag Jun 29, 1993 p120 - Review of early pentium systems
+IBM PS/2 Model 95 - Best throughput
+ALR ProVEISA V
+Compaq Deskpro 5/66M
+AcerFrame 3000MP (4 cpu)
+DEC pc 560ST
+HP Netserver 5/60 LM
+Unisys PW^2

PC Mag Jun 29, 1993 p132 - Tech details of system designs
+Memory architecture seems to be a major factor of speed. 64 or 128bit bus to ram, and running
+the ram at cpu speed seem to be the way to go for speed.
+More important seems to be cache. lots of cache
+EISA/VLB system recommended
+avoid adapted 486 designs.
+Intel's OEM board (Xpress?) uses a cache to ram data path 32b wide, relying on the cache.
+PCI systems expected in the fall

PC Mag Jun 29, 1993 p139 - Massive servers
+AST Manhattan (16 cpu)
+NCR 3555 (16 cpu)
+Continued review of systems on p120


PC Mag Jun 29, 1993 p108 - Review of early pentium systems
+Intels OEM systemboard used by DEC and HP, IS the XPress
+PCI systems expected in the fall
+NCR 3360 Dual pentium 66 system, MCA
+NCR 3555 16! processor pentium 66 system MCA, only $100,000
+128bit Memory bus considered great, 64 ok, 32 slow

PC Mag Jun 29, 1993 p144 - PCI review

PC Mag Jun 29, 1993 p150 - Upgrade Paths:
+Off the shelf Pentium-based motherboards are not available (except oem xPress)

PC Mag Jun 29, 1993 p299 - Pentium servers, analysis of first gen Pentium systems (rejigged 486)
 

eccofonic

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I too have one of these EISA/PCI 1st gen Pentium PC's: A Dell Omniplex 590. I searched for "Omniplex" on this forum and no hits, so...

It has a conversion board for a socket 5 Pentium CPU to fit into a socket 4 (although not labeled as such).

I then put a 100mhz Pentium into it and increased the bus speed (jumper) to 66mhz.

96mb ECC RAM (6 slots). Has built-in NCR-based SCSI too. 4gb Seagate Barracuda ST15150N drive running Win NT 4. And a Toshiba 12x SCSI CD-ROM.

Probably could buy one of those SCSI2SD cards and go all solid state.

The IDE bus has one of those 512mb BIOS limits on the hard drive, so I don't use it. The SCSI has a 1gb limit too for a boot partition.

It has on-board ATI Mach 32, but I put a #9 Imagine S3 PCI 4mb card in it.

An old EISA Compaq server 10-baseT card is also installed for ethernet.

Last time I took it out of the basement (a few years ago, LOL) it worked... geez is it slow when running Mozilla (SeaMonkey) with any kind of script involved.
 

AriesMu

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Jun 23, 2016
Messages
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Hi, do you still have the Compaq Deskpro XL 560? Would you be interested in selling it now? If not, do you have the contact info of the owner you dealt with?

Thank you so much.
 

Dimi Pana

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May 18, 2017
Messages
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Hi, do you still have the Compaq Deskpro XL 560? Would you be interested in selling it now? If not, do you have the contact info of the owner you dealt with?

Thank you so much.

I still have a Compaq Deskpro XL 560/60 in fine working condition. Currently using it as a "museum piece" at a community college where I teach Computer & Electronics Technology. It comes with the main unit, an original vocalyst keyboard, a two button mouse from that era and a bunch of software necessary to make it work and maintain afterwards. It has a scsi and ide subsystems I am currently using the IDE but everything is functional on this PC from 1993/94. I may be interested to sell it to the right person under the right circumstances. Feel free to contact me if interested.
 

billdeg

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Landenberg, PA USA
Some day this will be "the Pentium 1" to have IMHO...which is why I was looking for one for so long. Took a few years to locate. First production mainstream Pentium desktop (or 2nd don't want to make a claim I can't prove absolutely).
 
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