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What are the top 10 rarest vintage computer bits you own?

BrianS

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2013
Messages
179
I found the old Orchid PGA with EGA daughterboard, lots of "blue wires" on the back- they did not use white wires. I originally had two of these modified by the manufacturer to output an NTSC signal in addition to the standard IBM PGC compatible analog. I used them for animated computer simulations back in the 80s. I remember they charged me a couple $100 extra for the mods, and custom software to engage the NTSC output. Back when you called the company, spoke directly with the developer, told them what you wanted, and got "Yeah, that won't be hard. How about $400 for the mods." I probably have that software "somewhere", it came on a 3.5" floppy. The mods worked, but the NTSC signal worked with VHS but not on an NTSC Laserdisc recorder. I switched over the the Willow VGA-TV cards, based on the Tseng 3000 chipset. I ended up writing an emulator for the PGC/PGA commands to work with the VGA card.

My most rare "Computer Tidbit" is an original Manual for the IBM Mark I, signed by Grace Hopper. There were around 250 or so copies published, the book has a hand-written Serial Number in it. The expression on her face was priceless when I asked her to sign it after a Nano-Second presentation. I have the Grace Hopper Nano-second wire somewhere in the basement. Probably used it in a project, thought that was fitting.
Manuals for the Texas Instruments Advanced Scientific Computer, a total of Nine computers made.
Other manuals, mostly Fortran going back to Fortran with Format statement. I earned my way through college by converting ancient dialects for Fortran to vector Supercomputers. $960/hr of CPU time- I paid for myself several times over by optimizing code.

Other stuff, "Junk in my Basement not used in 25 years"- IBM PGC with 5175 PGC monitor in the Box, Zenith Z386-16 CPU board with Cyrix FastMath coprocessor;
Wang 360K Transistorized Calculator with Card Reader and Nixie Tube console;
IBM A/D board with break-out board;
Intel Aboveboard with memory expansion daughterboard;
Fergusan BigBoard from a Xerox 820-II;

I still use my TNT PharLap DOS extenders, go back to when they were on 5.25" floppy. I just bought four VortexDX3 PC104 format boards, 1Ghz/1GByte processors for $70 each. Just wow. They run my custom-manufactured PC104 cards. I can use Wordstar, PharLap, NDP compilers, and even the 2017 Watcom compilers on them. With I had these boards in the 80s. And I wish I had kept my Ampro Littleboard "Toaster ovens".
 
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SuperKato1K

New Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
6
Location
Denver, CO (US)
I'm really not 100% certain but I THINK my rarest may be a PS/2 Model 50z, the one with the unique microchannel architecture (such a neat computer, sadly the one-off MCA experiment just makes it harder to do anything with it these days). I also have an MCA Novell network card intended for PS/2 use, at least I think that's what it is. It's by far the physically largest vintage card I own.
 

allCAPPS

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2017
Messages
59
Location
Sacramento, CA
Probably the three rarest pieces I have are
- PS/2 Server 9595-3QT. I believe it's about the highest stock configuration there was for any PS/2.
- Complete Roland MPU-IMC in the original box
- Soundpiper 32 MCA - It's not a Sound Blaster MCV, but at least it's SB compatible!

Some of my favorite things in my collection are not necessarily all that rare but have an interesting history.

- PS/2 Model 56slc - my first PS/2 ever. I was a kid and got my dad to get it from a local government auction in the early 2000s. It was previously decommissioned from an air force base.
- PS/2 Model 80. The machine is semi-rare, but the special part is the original installation of OS/2 from when it was used by an IBM corporate salesperson. Neat!
 

Tooms

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2020
Messages
30
Location
Denmark
from 1994is

Philips CDD 521 CD recorder (big external scsi)
Back then it was before long file names, so it was only 8.3 dos filenames and limit directory deep, recorder software was dos command line.

My plan is to restore the setup and make an youtube video about cd recording from before it was common to have CDrom drives
 

njroadfan

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2011
Messages
1,542
-Apple II Video Overlay Card
-Applied Visions Future Sound GS (very uncommon sound card for the IIgs)
-Apple II 3.5" Controller (FDHD) Boxed
 

TheDrip

Experienced Member
Joined
May 13, 2019
Messages
355
Location
San Diego CA
Earlier this week I picked up a Tandy 3, serial number 126

Not a TRS-80 Model III, it's badged as a "Tandy 3" and has a pretty unique Catalog number of 71-1001.
 

theenginerdinglab

New Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2020
Messages
3
1) Tuscan Transam S100 CP/M 2.2 single-board computers from 1980. One with 5.25" Dual floppy which boots CP/M but due to faulty sectors is not usable. Reference http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/7010/Transam-Tuscan-S100/
2) The 2nd Tuscan Transam S100 CP/M 2.2 Machine with 8" Dual floppy drives. Never booted this one yet, I was told that it does work
3) Intertec Superbrain CP/M 2.2 machine that does boot occasionally but hit and miss. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hm4UQvI_r4M AlanC has a SuperBrain and told me that it could be PSU stability and replacing all the PSU Electrolytic Capacitors would be a good starting point.
 

theenginerdinglab

New Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2020
Messages
3
I have:-

1) Transam Tuscan S100 1980 CP/M 2.2 machine with 5.25" dual floppy drives, partial boots to CP/M but bad sector stops full boot.
2) 2nd Transam Tuscan S100 1980 CP/M 2.2 machine with 8" dual floppy drives, I never turned it on, however, I am told it does boot up. Hope to add 5.25" and 8" to same machine and create a 5.25" CP/M boot disk.
3) Intertec Superbrain that does boot when it likes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hm4UQvI_r4M Will be replacing power supply capacitors AlanC suggested that could be a good start.
 

s3freak

Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2019
Messages
14
Location
England
Many items that I decided are rare are in the same category, so I have listed them by category, a little over 10 items in total. They were very hard to find on eBay.

Video Cards - Other than S3
1. IBM PS/2 Display Adapter (VGA) - IBM’s very first VGA card, which then became a standard, even to today.
2. Tseng ET4000/W32p VLB - PCI is more common.

Microsoft Software - Complete in box with manuals, etc.
1. Microsoft Windows NT 3.51 - One of the earliest versions of Windows NT, where Windows 10 is based on Windows NT.
2. Microsoft QuickBasic 4.50 - I was into QBASIC during childhood. QBASIC, which is included in the latest versions of MS-DOS, is a version of QuickBASIC, but cannot compile .exe files.

2.88MB Floppy Drives - 2.88MB floppy drives and disks are very rare, 1.44MB is much more common
1. TEAC FD235J - They are found in some old Nortel telecoms equipment.
2. Sony MP-40W

S3 Video Cards - Noticed my username?
1. S3 Trio 64 2MB VLB - VLB is very rare, PCI is much more common.
2. S3 Vision 968 4MB VLB - Same as above.
3. S3 Trio 64V2/DX 4MB - 4MB is very rare, 1MB / 2MB is much more common.

Intel Processors
1. Intel Pentium 90 - SX879 with FDIV bug.
2. Intel 486DX4/100 - SK096 Write Back is much rarer than the more common Write Through models
3. Intel 486DX2/66 - SX955 Write Back as above
 

Ksarul

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
445
My rarest bits are all TI related.

1. TI Dimension 4 prototype (three known to survive, and one of those is just a board set without the case). These later morphed into the TI-99/4.
2. Marinchip S-9900 computer (a TMS9900-based S-100 computer)
3. TI-99/4 p-Code sidecar (only four known to survive)
4. TI-99/2 computer.
5. Both major variants of the TI-99/8.
6. Cassette interface for Tomy Pyuuta Jr.
7. TI CC-40 Video Interface (HexBus peripheral)
8. Centronics Printer Interface for Tomy Pyuuta Mk II.

After that, there are a lot of really HTF items for all of the systems I collect. . .in addition to the common stuff.
 

shirsch

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
Messages
470
Location
Burlington, VT
3. TI-99/4 p-Code sidecar (only four known to survive)

Better make that at least five, unless you and I have communicated about this before :). Sitting here looking one I picked up on eBay about 10 years ago. It wasn't all that expensive at the time (< $100) and I had no idea they were rare.
 

Ksarul

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
445
Better make that at least five, unless you and I have communicated about this before :). Sitting here looking one I picked up on eBay about 10 years ago. It wasn't all that expensive at the time (< $100) and I had no idea they were rare.

Note that I'm speaking of the sidecar version--not the card for the PEB. And if you do have that sidecar type (joy, joy), I am glad another survives. Most of these ended up in schools and were scrapped when the TI computers were end-of-lifed, so their survival rate is significantly lower than that of the Video Controllers (sidecar or PEB versions) which ended up in schools and businesses.
 

shirsch

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
Messages
470
Location
Burlington, VT
Note that I'm speaking of the sidecar version--not the card for the PEB. And if you do have that sidecar type (joy, joy), I am glad another survives. Most of these ended up in schools and were scrapped when the TI computers were end-of-lifed, so their survival rate is significantly lower than that of the Video Controllers (sidecar or PEB versions) which ended up in schools and businesses.

Ack - sorry. My bad. The unit I have is the expansion box cartridge! Didn't realize there was an actual side-car. I do have a speech side-car, but I suspect those are more common.
 

Comp

New Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
6
Location
Alabama
I’ve got everything you are mentioning. Over 1000 new CPUs/ICs. Vintage and military spec. Even a few prototypes. I inherited everything and I want to find homes.
 

Ksarul

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
445
I’ve got everything you are mentioning. Over 1000 new CPUs/ICs. Vintage and military spec. Even a few prototypes. I inherited everything and I want to find homes.

Are you speaking of chips, systems, or both?
 

Timo W.

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2014
Messages
1,468
Location
Germany
He made 4 posts so far and they all start with "I've got". Not sure what to think about this. ;)
 

Mr Fahrenheit

Experienced Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2020
Messages
71
Location
North America
Just found this forum so your community is a bit new for me.

Not sure how rare you’d consider, but I have prototypes of Mac IIcx, IIsi, and LC. I have a lot of boxed software, some new sealed, which includes Apple System 5.0, AppleShare Server 1.0, 2.0. I also have the Apple Rhapsody developer release (original) for both x86 and PPC. I have install media for Apple A/UX 2.0 and 2.0.1. Desperately looking for other versions and documentation / full set.
 
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