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Golden age of computing for personal computers

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Reply 100 of 115, by Intel486dx33

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What about the era with CPUs made with Gold ?
386 and 486

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Reply 101 of 115, by creepingnet

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Meh....gold value, the real value in those old chips is when they do something cool! I'd rather my money actually do something than sit around as a part of a brick of metal. I kind of hate the whole gold harvesting thing because it's ruining supplies of vintage chips in the name of greed.

~The Creeping Network~
My Website - https://sites.google.com/site/thecreepingnetwork/home
My Youtube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/creepingnet

Reply 102 of 115, by Namrok

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creepingnet wrote on 2021-04-07, 16:31:

I kind of feel the pre-95 "golden age" is exaggerated because that's when I Started. Few at my school knew what Monkey Island, Commander Keen, or Ultima was - they were at home playing Street Fighter, Sonic, and Super Mario Bros. Today it's made out like a lot of games and software of that time was some massive smash hit everyone had - heck, if you even had a computer it was a toss up between "whoah, cool, better graphics than PC Engine!" or "You nerd! Where's your pocket protector?".

It is sometimes illustrative to look at sales on different platforms. On the NES, Super Mario Bros sold 40m, Duck Hunt 28m, SMB3 sold 18m and Tetris sold 8m. The system itself sold about 62m. Almost 100 different titles sold over 1m copies. I see a list of over 50 games that sold over 1m on the SNES. The system itself sold 49m.
So that gives us a pretty good spread of the 80's and 90's.

I see estimates that put C64 sales around 17m, and it was the best selling 8-bit near as I know. Reading filfre.net you always hear 100,000 units sold on PC as the magic number of a serious hit. In the 90's, going off this list and sorting by date, through 1997, 31 computer games sold at least 1m. Not a one sold over 10m. Most really hugged the lower range.

When it comes to gaming, the contemporary cultural impact of pc gaming was miniscule compared to Nintendo or Sega.

All that being said, I want to point out again that a golden age does not necessarily mean the time of greatest commercial or cultural success, but the time of greatest strides. The time when the medium as it can mostly still be recognized today was formed. So tangents about comparative sales aside, if I had to pick an absolute peak for the golden age I say 1997. Before that a lot is still very primordial, after that the ruthless min-maxing of commercialization begins it's process of sucking the soul out of the medium.

Reply 103 of 115, by RandomStranger

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creepingnet wrote on 2021-04-07, 17:39:

Meh....gold value, the real value in those old chips is when they do something cool! I'd rather my money actually do something than sit around as a part of a brick of metal. I kind of hate the whole gold harvesting thing because it's ruining supplies of vintage chips in the name of greed.

Is that even worth it btw? The amount of gold a must be really small. By eBay prices you could buy about 2 or 3 486DX4 CPUs for the price of 1 gram of gold shipping excluded. Also I'd assume scrap gold worth less per gram than the current market price.

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Reply 104 of 115, by Namrok

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RandomStranger wrote on 2021-04-07, 18:07:
creepingnet wrote on 2021-04-07, 17:39:

Meh....gold value, the real value in those old chips is when they do something cool! I'd rather my money actually do something than sit around as a part of a brick of metal. I kind of hate the whole gold harvesting thing because it's ruining supplies of vintage chips in the name of greed.

Is that even worth it btw? The amount of gold a must be really small. By eBay prices you could buy about 2 or 3 486DX4 CPUs for the price of 1 gram of gold shipping excluded. Also I'd assume scrap gold worth less per gram than the current market price.

Gold is gold is gold near as I know. The spot price is the bare cost of the material. What you'd get as a scrap refiner probably depends on how many middle men you deal with. If you sell directly to businesses that utilize gold, you may be able to set your price a little over spot. If you sell to a distributer, probably a few percent under. If you're a guy selling to a refiner who sells to a distributor? I'm seeing estimation 10% or more below spot.

Reply 105 of 115, by creepingnet

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RandomStranger wrote on 2021-04-07, 18:07:
creepingnet wrote on 2021-04-07, 17:39:

Meh....gold value, the real value in those old chips is when they do something cool! I'd rather my money actually do something than sit around as a part of a brick of metal. I kind of hate the whole gold harvesting thing because it's ruining supplies of vintage chips in the name of greed.

Is that even worth it btw? The amount of gold a must be really small. By eBay prices you could buy about 2 or 3 486DX4 CPUs for the price of 1 gram of gold shipping excluded. Also I'd assume scrap gold worth less per gram than the current market price.

That was the sentiment 😀

I mean, would I rather dip 3 486 CPU into a vat of acid for such a paltry return - when I Could go pan the shores of a known gold area near me and get just as much for less effort and less danger? I'd rather just slap those 486 onto some motherboards and get em' going with some DOS Games - then start a Patreon and monetize my LPs.

Namrok wrote on 2021-04-07, 17:59:
It is sometimes illustrative to look at sales on different platforms. On the NES, Super Mario Bros sold 40m, Duck Hunt 28m, SMB […]
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creepingnet wrote on 2021-04-07, 16:31:

I kind of feel the pre-95 "golden age" is exaggerated because that's when I Started. Few at my school knew what Monkey Island, Commander Keen, or Ultima was - they were at home playing Street Fighter, Sonic, and Super Mario Bros. Today it's made out like a lot of games and software of that time was some massive smash hit everyone had - heck, if you even had a computer it was a toss up between "whoah, cool, better graphics than PC Engine!" or "You nerd! Where's your pocket protector?".

It is sometimes illustrative to look at sales on different platforms. On the NES, Super Mario Bros sold 40m, Duck Hunt 28m, SMB3 sold 18m and Tetris sold 8m. The system itself sold about 62m. Almost 100 different titles sold over 1m copies. I see a list of over 50 games that sold over 1m on the SNES. The system itself sold 49m.
So that gives us a pretty good spread of the 80's and 90's.

I see estimates that put C64 sales around 17m, and it was the best selling 8-bit near as I know. Reading filfre.net you always hear 100,000 units sold on PC as the magic number of a serious hit. In the 90's, going off this list and sorting by date, through 1997, 31 computer games sold at least 1m. Not a one sold over 10m. Most really hugged the lower range.

When it comes to gaming, the contemporary cultural impact of pc gaming was miniscule compared to Nintendo or Sega.

All that being said, I want to point out again that a golden age does not necessarily mean the time of greatest commercial or cultural success, but the time of greatest strides. The time when the medium as it can mostly still be recognized today was formed. So tangents about comparative sales aside, if I had to pick an absolute peak for the golden age I say 1997. Before that a lot is still very primordial, after that the ruthless min-maxing of commercialization begins it's process of sucking the soul out of the medium.

To me "Golden Age" means the period where things were great, and the cultural impact was big enough to have a substantiated scene - so regardless of sales info the late 80's through early 2000's were the golden age for computing, or at least PC's. Honestly I think everyone in this thread is going to have a very different view as things were way more "bubbled" pre-internet, and even is now somewhat. It was still golden. My comment was more on how things like "Monkey Island" are now "legendary", it certainly was to me, but compared to Mario or Sonic it did not even touch the impact those games had as a whole. Does that make the period less golden? Heck no. It was an exciting period of change and strides forward in technology that I don't think we will see again involving the PC and internet as we currently know it.

I feel tech wise the 486 era was the strongest - we started out with 486's being basically just another super-fast but 32-bit AT system acting as a super-fast XT, but by 1995, the 486 was still holding it's own with the latest stuff in some tasks, including some games, carrying the first specialized high speed hardware on a special bus (VESA graphics cards and HDD controllers). We watched the FPS grow from the 486's first year with Wolfenstein 3D to Quake by 1997. We saw the first 3D cards come out in that time frame, we saw the standardization of having almost everything on the motherboard and only a few cards in the system on Pentium and Pentium II systems during that time. If the XT was the PC's infancy, then the 486 was the PC's puberty - going from a black screen DOS machine running simple games and basic 80x25 text mode business software to serious WYSIWYG software, immersive quasi-3D games with online connectivity, and being connected to the internet with the nucleus of today's web already there.

~The Creeping Network~
My Website - https://sites.google.com/site/thecreepingnetwork/home
My Youtube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/creepingnet

Reply 106 of 115, by paprika

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85-early 90s when Amiga competed with PCs, and Demoscene flourished. Then late 90s when Richard Stallman traveled the world, homebrew devs were reverse engineering Windows drivers to support hardware in Linux, and there was real hope for Linux to win the Desktop. Excitement was in the air. Ever since then technology would have become more advanced... and boring.

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Beauty Shots of Retro Machines
Computers and stuff at my YouTube Channel

Reply 107 of 115, by jasa1063

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2021-04-07, 16:44:

What about the era with CPUs made with Gold ?
386 and 486

I have rescued a few CPUs from the Gold scrap pile, but that is only a drop in the bucket. I look at it like rescuing a dog from a puppy mill. Unfortunately the world is full of those who only have a financial motive and everything else is secondary. Thankfully there groups of people like those that are members of this forum that will at least keep some of that CPU history alive and going. Every retro computer or component you hold onto is one more thing to pass along to future generations for preservation. Be proud you are a part of that culture!

Reply 108 of 115, by mothergoose729

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Namrok wrote on 2021-04-07, 17:59:
It is sometimes illustrative to look at sales on different platforms. On the NES, Super Mario Bros sold 40m, Duck Hunt 28m, SMB […]
Show full quote
creepingnet wrote on 2021-04-07, 16:31:

I kind of feel the pre-95 "golden age" is exaggerated because that's when I Started. Few at my school knew what Monkey Island, Commander Keen, or Ultima was - they were at home playing Street Fighter, Sonic, and Super Mario Bros. Today it's made out like a lot of games and software of that time was some massive smash hit everyone had - heck, if you even had a computer it was a toss up between "whoah, cool, better graphics than PC Engine!" or "You nerd! Where's your pocket protector?".

It is sometimes illustrative to look at sales on different platforms. On the NES, Super Mario Bros sold 40m, Duck Hunt 28m, SMB3 sold 18m and Tetris sold 8m. The system itself sold about 62m. Almost 100 different titles sold over 1m copies. I see a list of over 50 games that sold over 1m on the SNES. The system itself sold 49m.
So that gives us a pretty good spread of the 80's and 90's.

I see estimates that put C64 sales around 17m, and it was the best selling 8-bit near as I know. Reading filfre.net you always hear 100,000 units sold on PC as the magic number of a serious hit. In the 90's, going off this list and sorting by date, through 1997, 31 computer games sold at least 1m. Not a one sold over 10m. Most really hugged the lower range.

When it comes to gaming, the contemporary cultural impact of pc gaming was miniscule compared to Nintendo or Sega.

All that being said, I want to point out again that a golden age does not necessarily mean the time of greatest commercial or cultural success, but the time of greatest strides. The time when the medium as it can mostly still be recognized today was formed. So tangents about comparative sales aside, if I had to pick an absolute peak for the golden age I say 1997. Before that a lot is still very primordial, after that the ruthless min-maxing of commercialization begins it's process of sucking the soul out of the medium.

Computers in the 90's were expensive and few people needed one. Why spend 3000 dollars on a compaq or a HP when you could spend 199$ on a SNES? It didn't make any sense. Nobody I knew growing up had a computer until after the year 2000. When people finally did get a computer, it was a old windows 95 computer used or a hand me down, or at best one of the new low cost dell and emachines. Even then, people didn't buy computers for games, they bought computers to get on the internet.

Reply 109 of 115, by creepingnet

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mothergoose729 wrote on 2021-04-07, 21:36:
Namrok wrote on 2021-04-07, 17:59:
It is sometimes illustrative to look at sales on different platforms. On the NES, Super Mario Bros sold 40m, Duck Hunt 28m, SMB […]
Show full quote
creepingnet wrote on 2021-04-07, 16:31:

I kind of feel the pre-95 "golden age" is exaggerated because that's when I Started. Few at my school knew what Monkey Island, Commander Keen, or Ultima was - they were at home playing Street Fighter, Sonic, and Super Mario Bros. Today it's made out like a lot of games and software of that time was some massive smash hit everyone had - heck, if you even had a computer it was a toss up between "whoah, cool, better graphics than PC Engine!" or "You nerd! Where's your pocket protector?".

It is sometimes illustrative to look at sales on different platforms. On the NES, Super Mario Bros sold 40m, Duck Hunt 28m, SMB3 sold 18m and Tetris sold 8m. The system itself sold about 62m. Almost 100 different titles sold over 1m copies. I see a list of over 50 games that sold over 1m on the SNES. The system itself sold 49m.
So that gives us a pretty good spread of the 80's and 90's.

I see estimates that put C64 sales around 17m, and it was the best selling 8-bit near as I know. Reading filfre.net you always hear 100,000 units sold on PC as the magic number of a serious hit. In the 90's, going off this list and sorting by date, through 1997, 31 computer games sold at least 1m. Not a one sold over 10m. Most really hugged the lower range.

When it comes to gaming, the contemporary cultural impact of pc gaming was miniscule compared to Nintendo or Sega.

All that being said, I want to point out again that a golden age does not necessarily mean the time of greatest commercial or cultural success, but the time of greatest strides. The time when the medium as it can mostly still be recognized today was formed. So tangents about comparative sales aside, if I had to pick an absolute peak for the golden age I say 1997. Before that a lot is still very primordial, after that the ruthless min-maxing of commercialization begins it's process of sucking the soul out of the medium.

Computers in the 90's were expensive and few people needed one. Why spend 3000 dollars on a compaq or a HP when you could spend 199$ on a SNES? It didn't make any sense. Nobody I knew growing up had a computer until after the year 2000. When people finally did get a computer, it was a old windows 95 computer used or a hand me down, or at best one of the new low cost dell and emachines. Even then, people didn't buy computers for games, they bought computers to get on the internet.

This! Right on. And it's easy to forget considering how things are today.

The only reason I had family members with PC's in the 1980's and 1990's was because those family members had a business need. The Tandy 1000 SX I had belonged to my mom's ex-husband (70's) originally who was a Scientist. My older sister - a national merit scholar - got her 386 because she was going through Vet school and needed to use things like WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, and Harvard Graphics for her assignments. Our family friend who worked at Ampex had one because he did business work there. My friend whose dad gave me my first Windows machine ( a Flight 386 SX) was in the Military doing I.T. and they funded his computer usage - so I Was able to obtain some REALLY NICE hardware starting out in 2001 - like a GEM Computer Products 386 DX/20 that was built sometime around 1988-1989 - he said it cost $3000 when he got it. NOBODY I knew had a laptop. My NEC Versa 40EC came from a Ford Motor Company engineer, my NEC Versa M/75 frankenstein is partially an old AAC system for someone with ALS that cost $6550 in 1994, my P/75 looks like it traveled around with a New York Executive for a decade and was a refurbish just like my v/50. The first time I ever saw someone using a laptop, it was 1998, at an internet cafe/record shop, and it was a middle aged guy in a suit and tie who probably had a six figure paycheck, and his laptop was an older early Pentium or 486 model as I remember it being very thick and small in screen size.

I remember asking my mom for a computer in the 90's like most silly kids probably did - her response "I'm not spending thousands so you can have a glorified game console! If you want a computer, save your money and buy your own!".

If you installed games back then, you could only install one or two at a time given HDD space was at a premium. My sister's 386 for example, she was FORBIDDEN fform putting games on it, so it was a well kept secret that she had them. She bought The Secret of Monkey Island in 1991 - the first edition VGA big box release (which I still have and is one of my most prized possessions) - $45.00 from Sears. When we beat Monkey Island, we had to remove it and install Freddy Pharkas because out of an 80MB HDD, there was only about 16MB of space left when you counted in all her documents, all the WORK programs she had (Lotus 1-2-3, WordPerfect 5.1 with many expansions, a Harvard Graphics 3.0 - not to mention all the artwork I did in Harvard Graphics on that thing which I'm sure ate up a TON of space). When I got Ultima VI, we had to remove Freddy Pharkas and backup all my drawings and her documents. Granted there was another games directory on there with a lot of much smaller stuff (Wheel of Fortune, JEopardy, Rackets, Klondike, PIrates of the Barberry Coast....etc...). BTW - no mouse!

And when we got internet - the whole hard disk had to be wiped clean of games to fit the clients and all that mess. Early internet was a BIG deal. You had to block off time to dial in, you had to know EXACTLY where you were going because access was charged in minutes. If you were smart, you only had it for a good reason - like e-mailing your colleagues, or working your assignments remotely.

~The Creeping Network~
My Website - https://sites.google.com/site/thecreepingnetwork/home
My Youtube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/creepingnet

Reply 110 of 115, by rmay635703

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mothergoose729 wrote on 2021-04-07, 21:36:

Computers in the 90's were expensive and few people needed one. Why spend 3000 dollars on a compaq or a HP when you could spend 199$ on a SNES? It didn't make any sense. Nobody I knew growing up had a computer until after the year 2000

Must be a regional thing

A lot of the people I knew growing up had A computer by the mid 90’s

The key was back then all computers had value so the computer might be a c64 or an Apple 2 a PC Jr a Tandy 1000 or the rich kid with a p60

People would beg, borrow or buy any old working pc and hold onto it.

There wasn’t the focus yet of being really focused on only having the latest equipment, a computer was a computer and it was fun to try and make software physically run on a machine it wasn’t supposed to work on.

The horrifying terror of security and continuous forced updates wasn’t a thing

I was extremely poor growing up and got a Tandy 1000rlx in Dec 1992

Reply 112 of 115, by RandomStranger

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mothergoose729 wrote on 2021-04-07, 21:36:

Computers in the 90's were expensive and few people needed one. Why spend 3000 dollars on a compaq or a HP when you could spend 199$ on a SNES? It didn't make any sense. Nobody I knew growing up had a computer until after the year 2000. When people finally did get a computer, it was a old windows 95 computer used or a hand me down, or at best one of the new low cost dell and emachines. Even then, people didn't buy computers for games, they bought computers to get on the internet.

This also brought with itself another thing. Today we argue whether 10-15 years old tech is old enough to be called retro. Most of, but especially the higher end is still alright for everyday tasks with modern OS.
Back than, at least where I live a 5 years old office PC was so hopelessly obsolete, you could buy them very cheap or sometimes get them for free from a recycling center. A top-end 486 or maybe early Pentium PC in 1997-1998 you could buy for around 60-70$, maybe up to 100. You couldn't play the latest and greatest 3D accelerated games, but a lot of games fairly new at the time still ran alright.

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Reply 113 of 115, by Tetrium

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jasa1063 wrote on 2021-04-05, 23:38:

I really never expected this much discussion on this topic. It is great to hear everyone's opinion. Retro computing has really taken off in the last few years. I remember being able to buy complete Tandy 1000 systems for less than the cost of shipping. I bought 3 in 1999 for $25 a piece on eBay. Oh my how times have changed! Maybe be there should be a Golden Age for buying retro computers as well😀

I reckon something from 2000 to around 2010 or so was the golden age of buying into retro computing:P

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Reply 114 of 115, by creepingnet

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Tetrium wrote on 2021-04-08, 15:51:
jasa1063 wrote on 2021-04-05, 23:38:

I really never expected this much discussion on this topic. It is great to hear everyone's opinion. Retro computing has really taken off in the last few years. I remember being able to buy complete Tandy 1000 systems for less than the cost of shipping. I bought 3 in 1999 for $25 a piece on eBay. Oh my how times have changed! Maybe be there should be a Golden Age for buying retro computers as well😀

I reckon something from 2000 to around 2010 or so was the golden age of buying into retro computing:P

Yep. That's when I got into it..... It kind of ties into this guy below's post too...

RandomStranger wrote on 2021-04-08, 06:01:
mothergoose729 wrote on 2021-04-07, 21:36:

Computers in the 90's were expensive and few people needed one. Why spend 3000 dollars on a compaq or a HP when you could spend 199$ on a SNES? It didn't make any sense. Nobody I knew growing up had a computer until after the year 2000. When people finally did get a computer, it was a old windows 95 computer used or a hand me down, or at best one of the new low cost dell and emachines. Even then, people didn't buy computers for games, they bought computers to get on the internet.

This also brought with itself another thing. Today we argue whether 10-15 years old tech is old enough to be called retro. Most of, but especially the higher end is still alright for everyday tasks with modern OS.
Back than, at least where I live a 5 years old office PC was so hopelessly obsolete, you could buy them very cheap or sometimes get them for free from a recycling center. A top-end 486 or maybe early Pentium PC in 1997-1998 you could buy for around 60-70$, maybe up to 100. You couldn't play the latest and greatest 3D accelerated games, but a lot of games fairly new at the time still ran alright.

I think a lot of that was ignorance at the time. It seems today, us "computer people" for lack of better terms are a LOT more with it than we were back then as far as knowing what can and cannot be done with a machine, and the fact that retro-computing has become a scene has really shown that even these older systems could get quite far in usability even at 10-15-20, even almost 30 years old.

When I started in 2001, I did not get into retro-computing to be "retro", I got into it because I was a penniless teenager with no computer, who wanted to participate in online conversations with his band mates who all had internet at home. For the last 10 years up to that point - people had endlessly beat into my head that I could "get by" on a 486. So I finally got one, and had to teach myself. Attempting ot reach out and find resources without internet just lead to me getting laughed at, marketed to, and told I'm "Stupid" for wanting to fix up a "Doorstop/dinosauar/boat anchor".

Skip ahead one year, 2002, I had a FLEET of 486 machines. People were handing me these left and right, and I was making them work. I started a website - "The Creeping Network" and wanted to start supporting the 486 and older class machines as actual usable workstations. Because they were. Nobody knew because young kids like me wanted the hot new sexy tower case with the window, LED lights everywhere, lit fans, water cooling, and a million doodads, some ridiculous, in the external expansion bays. In those days, I could get paid to take away 486 machines, or otherwise they were everywhere from $Free to $20 at most.

That's not to say some machines were not retaining value. I remember buying the Twinhead Slim Note because it was only $15 on e-bay - even back then an IBM ThinkPad 300 or 755CD would set you back at least $100-150, not because it was vintage, but because laptops were still not cheap, and a third hand 486 laptop was better than nothing. Heck, I looked at NEC Versas back then and even THOSE were over $100 because the plastic on most had not yet begun to crack.

I actually gave up on everything here in 2010 thinking it'd mean nothing - boy was I wrong. I come back 2 years later building another 486 and lamenting not keeping a lot of spares that passed through my hands over the years, we have LGR, iPad guy becomes 8-bit Guy......and suddenly people in life get a hint that I own vintage x86 hardware and suddenly it's a "cool" thing and I'm shocked because I get to add one more "I told ya so" to my already ever-growing pile.

But I agree, the golden age of buying old hardware was 2001-2010....... here's just a bit of what I picked up in that time....one per year

1997 - Tandy 1000 SX - Free
2001 - Flight 386 SX - upgraded to ZEOS w/ Modem and Printer, this was over $100, but it was basically a "main machine" and not a "Vintage PC" yet
2002 - GTSI Desktop 433 DX/D (Rebadged IBM PS/Valuepoint) - Free from Private school a friend
2003 - 3 486 Laptops for $45 - AT&T Safari 3151, NanTan "Duracom" 5110D, Nan Tan Notebook 3500
2004 - Micro Configuration's Corp 0A XT Clone - $45, XT's were starting to go up by then
2005 - GEM Computer Products 286 - $35 - I still have this computer and still love it
2006 - IBM ThinkPad 755CD - $75 - And it was not used as a "Retro PC", I used it on a PC Refresh for work at AT&T/Cingular
2007 - Tandy 1000A - Still have this one too! - $10.00 at Value Village
2008 - Apple PowerBook 510C - $25 at Value Village, I kind of regret selling it
2009 - 486 DX-33 Server Tower - $25 at Goodwill
2010 - IBM PS/2 Model 30 8086 - $15.00 at Value Village

Today.....all those systems would equate to enough to build the highest end gaming box or desktop-based server you could build in 2021 in price. But at the time they were "e-waste". I still have the 286 and Tandy, if I still had that ThinkPad I would not have an NEC VErsa (or 4), and the AT&T might even still be living in my childhood closet with a POST issue.

~The Creeping Network~
My Website - https://sites.google.com/site/thecreepingnetwork/home
My Youtube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/creepingnet

Reply 115 of 115, by RandomStranger

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creepingnet wrote on 2021-04-08, 17:09:

But I agree, the golden age of buying old hardware was 2001-2010....... here's just a bit of what I picked up in that time....one per year

Technically we are still at that golden age. It's just now is a different 'old hardware' era. There are a lot of 10-20 years old stuff given away for $free to $20 as you said for 486 PCs earlier. Those are as old as those were back then. People just waste them, then in the next 10 years they truly become retro and probably those same people will be killing each other for them. Hardware from the earlier parts of those 10-20 years already became or on the way of becoming collector's items. A lot of 2000-2003 thigs went up in price nicely in the past couple of years. Not the Pentium 4, at least not yet, mostly the higher-end expansion cards and AMD platforms.

Probably now is the time to hoard Radeon X1800/1900/1950 and Geforce 7800/7900/8800 series graphics cards. Even among those the 7950GX2 8800 Ultra and HD2900 series are already fetch a good price. And lately it seems to me the more budget oriented cards (anything above 9600GT) are also slowly starting to creep up. Maybe the Radeon R400 and Geforce 6000 series is the turning point now. Also, it seems to me that the average price of the Audigy 2 went up over the past 1 or 2 years. The Ageia PhysX accelerator is also at a weird place. It was mostly a gimmick hardware and never particularly common and especially the branded ones (Asus P1) aren't all that cheap.

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