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What vintage PC hardware is considered highly collectible or ordinary and unwanted?

computerdude92

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I came across lots of old computer parts throughout the years. I don't understand why a 386 and 486 are more valued than a Pentium 1 or Pentium II. I know of course a Voodoo card is a golden collectible. And obviously the mass market low end gear such as the cheap Riva TNT2 M64 are too unspectacular. I have the bad habit of e-cycling a lot of old stuff... So I want to know what your opinions are on what is worth saving. Which parts would people pay good money on? Take my rare working Athlon 1.4GHz model C for example. I don't want it but I know it's worth something to someone.
 
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SomeGuy

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There are lots of opinions here, but for me, this would be similar to what would make a good "tweener" system.

Off the top of my head, what I would look at:
-Generic AT or ATX form motherboards and cases.
-Have BIOS support for *two* real, internal floppy drives.
-Plenty of ISA, and/or PCI slots
-Faster CPUs with ISA, but also support for ISA DMA
-Support for a variety of OSes (drivers for OS/2, 3.1, 95, 98, NT, XP, the more the better)
-Bonus points if FDC supports FM encoding,
-5.25" floppy drives.
- For monitors, late 1990s CRTs. LCDs with proper 4:3 aspect and better lower resolution support.
-The motherboard should use a coin cell CMOS battery instead of a Dallas or Odin integrated clock/battery chip.
-Over all "no nonsence". Anything with retarded Blue LEDs goes in the chipper shredder.
 

falter

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Jan 22, 2011
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Vancouver, BC
I came across lots of old computer parts throughout the years. I don't understand why a 386 and 486 are more valued than a Pentium 1 or Pentium II. I know of course a Voodoo card is a golden collectible. And obviously the mass market low end gear such as the cheap Riva TNT2 M64 are too unspectacular. I have the bad habit of e-cycling a lot of old stuff... So I want to know what your opinions are on what is worth saving. Which parts would people pay good money on? Take my rare working Athlon 1.4GHz model C for example. I don't want it but I know it's worth something to someone.

I think 386/486 has a bit more nostalgia because that was a time where changing CPU made a noticeable difference in performance, without doing much else. Every change with PCs at that time was a new and exciting thing. That effect was largely gone with the Pentium. The first PC I had to myself was a 286 clone that I kept upgrading into a 486DX-66. It was just a really fun time. The 386 is particularly special for me because I couldn't afford to get one before they were superceded by the 486. My friend had a 383/33 tower and used to bring it over to play Falcon. The envy on my end (compared to my 286-10) was palpable.
 

Unknown_K

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Sep 11, 2003
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Ohio/USA
Generally anything people lusted after new will be wanted when people go retro.

Low end video cards are better then nothing, but they won't be worth much either. Last generation VLB cards with decent chipsets and 2MB+ RAM are no longer cheap. Gamer PCI cards are worth saving, same with gamer AGP cards.
I think Pentium 1 boards are getting collectable now, especially the last generation SS7 and the earlier HX chipset boards that can cache more then 64MB of RAM.
Any HD under 4GB is worth holding onto.

Last generation Socket A boards that can do 400FSB and run the last Athlon 3200+ would be a good bet (most went directly to the scrappers and were rare to begin with since people had moved on to Athlon 64 socket 754 by then).

286 to 486 stuff is probably not hitting the recycling bin much these days, those days are gone. But newer stuff people don't care about much now will be worth selling in a decade if you are still around and have storage space.
 

Plasma

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Nov 7, 2005
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I guess what's "worth" saving is really a time/space/money equation. If you hold on to anything long enough, it will likely become valuable again. In the early 90s nobody wanted a 5150.

Things in particular I have noticed increasing in value:

TTL monitors
AT cases
AT form factor motherboards (XT to Super Socket 7)
VLB cards
Gravis Ultrasound and Roland sound cards. About 12 years ago you could occasionally get a new GUS PnP on ebay for $30. Now they are going for around $200 used. Good thing I already have my stockpile...
 

mR_Slug

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UK
It seems a shame to just dump stuff that's working. Say you have a few cheap video cards why not offer them as a lot, on the trade section or ebay or whatever. Large items are difficult sometimes. Stuff goes up in value too. Once upon a time, I sold 12 PCI 486 motherboards on eBay for £1 + shipping! These had no historical significance and were nothing special. Today people really want these. I used to throw out stuff all the time, and I regret most of it. Also rarity or historical significance seem to have little to do with desirability. I found an Intel model 402 486 motherboard (one of the first) the other day for £20. It's rare but no one wants it, or even knows of its existence. If I could just find the memory card for it...
 

AlexC

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Jun 26, 2015
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Germany
It seems a shame to just dump stuff that's working.

Agreed, and it's unwise too. If I have no use/space for something then I try hard to sell it or even give it away rather than e-cycle it. Most of this equipment will never be manufactured again so it's a finite supply. Even if I don't want it myself (I'm not a hoarder), chances are there's somebody out there who does, or will. I'd rather give it away than end its life.
 

Casey

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Fairfield, Ohio
Last generation Socket A boards that can do 400FSB and run the last Athlon 3200+ would be a good bet (most went directly to the scrappers and were rare to begin with since people had moved on to Athlon 64 socket 754 by then).

I expect that means I should keep the MSI KT4 Ultra system I have, no? It's a Socket A, runs at 400Mz fsb, but only have a 2Gz Athlon in it.

Have an older system based on an Asus A7M266 motherboard as well. Neither probably qualify as "tweener" as they're PCI only; no ISA slots. It is in a full tower with a 1.2M & a 360K floppy, though. ;)
 

computerdude92

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Alaska
It's really hard, I wish I could keep hoarding, but I can hardly find anyone local and it's a pain to ship stuff all the time. I often feel like I have no choice but to e-cycle a lot of it. Some of it does make it to Ebay auctions though.
 

computerdude92

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If I could, I'd give away all my vintage piles of crap all at once to the first person who asks me.

(Just joking, they're not crap... But I do wish I could get rid them all) ;)
 

creepingnet

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Feb 25, 2005
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Sparks, NV
Just my observations on what's collectible in the PC world and what's not.....

Currently late 486 and early Pentium stuff seems to be getting extremely popular on the DOS PC end of things. Though I'm seeing more and more "retro rigs" being made out of PII-P4 era hardware now. I was going to junk my Dell Dimension 4600 - now I'm holding onto it (esp since I have all the original docs/discs/drivers with it). I think some of it though is because those systems are not exactly "vintage" yet though so they can still be had cheap. The only way a 486 or early Pentium is still cheap is if you are like me, already have one (I have both actually) and are just looking for parts and buying them new from china (ie Cache RAM, SIMMS, etc...).

386 era is losing popularity, 286 seems to be still getting some attention. I see a couple of people on Vogons building out 286 systems this year. Seems the interest in them is their lack of commonality more than anything, and it seems what gets assembled from clone parts today for a 286 is usually a fairly modern ATX or AT tower case with older guts in it and some 486 era parts to make it work.

8088/8086/XT/PC era is just too out of reach for some people now due to the cost of those systems, probably CRT monitors being a big problem because whose going to pay $450 to some I.C. hardware provider to buy a 14" EGA LCD panel they will only use with a small section of early eighties PC clones?

As always, the big names (IBM, PC's Limited/Dell, Compaq, and so on) are popular as usual for historical purposes.

One thing, through me collecting all this stuff, it seems PC's go through these phases - unlike Hobbyist computers of the 70's which ALWAYS required some technical knowledge and a soldering iron to keep going.....

1.) PC is new, costs a ton of money
2.) PC is a few years old, not worth as much, but still usable to comfortable to use
3.) PC is getting old, replaced by new one, kept in closet/attic/basement
4.) PC Is really old, given to kids, useless, kids break it, gets donated, trashed, etc....
5.) PC is totally junk in everyone's eyes, this is where the lot of them get junked/scrapped or destroyed, the rest go to nostalgic old gits like me who buy them cheap (like I did 80486 in 2001)
6.) PC's original audience of it's generation gets older, gets nostalgic, a few start buying them cheap
7.) PC's sellers get wise and notice they could push prices up,. prices go up
8.) Noticeable holes in the PC's current needs either based on old hardware (or not) lead to many indie maker-types to make replacement hardware (I'm talking XT-IDE, that 3D Printed Drive tray a few threads below, the IBM PC 5150 motherboard kit from that little scientific company, etc)
9.) It gets en vogue (for as in vogue an old computer can become) because those new technologies above make it easier to get into those machines, and it negates the expensive risk (like in the case of XT-IDE and solid state drive on modules vs. buying 30+ year old hard disk drives that may or may not work, and their associated host adapters).
10.) Machines officially become vintage, supplies are dwindling, so people without the inclination/repair skills to go deeper than a screwdriver and error codes leave said hardware to those willing to don a soldering iron and test equipment and save a poor dying piece of hardware from disappearing by actually fixing it from the board level
11.) Machines become very scarce, prices get insane, investor types sell their stuff off for $1K+, those who love it or have parts mutts keep going with their new ever-growing knowledg
 

jamesbeat

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Apr 19, 2017
Messages
71
Location
Long Island, NY
If prices on eBay are to be believed, even old Pentium II, III and 4 machines are worth hundreds of dollars.
I'm trying to get a beige desktop (horizontal) case, and the bids always go up to ludicrous amounts.

I actually have a couple of old Pentium II and III machines. Maybe I should sell them and retire early :D
 

Caleb Hansberry

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There is no way old beige machines are actually valuable. There's a ton of beige Macs on ebay for nearly the price of shipping and I can't get anything for mine.
 

jamesbeat

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Long Island, NY
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There is no way old beige machines are actually valuable. There's a ton of beige Macs on ebay for nearly the price of shipping and I can't get anything for mine.

I didn't say they were actually worth it :D

I've been looking at HP Vectras, because some of them have cases that would be suitable for my project.
Some of the buy it now prices are astronomical!

And if you think these old machines aren't actually selling for these prices, I searched for a machine I own just to see what it's worth - a Gateway GP6-400.
I searched for items that had actually sold, and the same machine went for $213.75 plus $93 shipping!

I totally agree that they aren't worth what some people are asking for them, but someone's buying them...
 
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