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Foreshadowing the value of P4 hardware

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First post, by feipoa

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A local web-based company in town was getting rid of some old computer hardware and I ended up taking the whole lot of computers, servers, hubs/switches, etc.

I kept all the motherboards, CD-ROMs, PSUs, RAM, LAN cards, CPUs, HDDs, etc. I now have about 4 dozen motherboards. The only item I am really interested in are the dual PIII-Tualatin IBM rackmount servers, the eserver xseries 330. I have 7 of them. They all seem to function, but I am waiting for the C2T cable to arrive. They have 2 PCI-X slots which can accompany the 2 expansion cards, even in a 1U chassis. I am curious to see the memory performance of these IBM servers and hope that my Matrox Parhelia PCI-X card works with Windows drivers. The other PCI-X slot would be for a sound card.

I am wondering if the P4 motherboards/CPUs are worth holding into for another 20 years in hopes of selling them for some value. Do you think 20 years is enough? 30 years? Or was the P4 era so expansive that there will always be hardware from this period kicking around?

My list of motherboards is as follows,

Aopen MX46-800N (4 units)
Intel D845GEBV2 (8 units)
Gigabyte GA-8IG1000MK (1 unit)
Gigabyte GA-8PE800 (1 unit)
Gigabyte GA-8S661FXM-775 (1 unit)
Asus P5S800-VM (1 unit)
Gigabyte GA-7VM400AM (1 unit)
Unknown 8S661FXMTIU (1 unit)
Gigabyte GA-7VKMP (1 unit)
Elitegroup K7VMM+ (1 unit)
Intel E210882 (1 unit)
Gigabyte 8I915AE (1 unit)
Asus P5GL-MX (1 unit)
Intel Entry Server S845WD1-E (8 units)
Intel Entry Server S875WP1-E (1 unit)

List of rack mount servers as follows,

SuperMicro SuperServer 5013C-m [motherboard: P4SCI] (2 units)
Dell PowerEdge 750 (1 unit)
IBM eServer xSeries 306m – dual P4 HT (2 units)
IBM eServer xSeries 336 – dual Xeon - U320 RAID (1 unit)
IBM eServer xSeries 330 – dual PIII-1.4 - U160 SCSI (7 units)

The problem with 1U rack mount servers was that they are loud because they don't have the luxury of fans with large diameters. To make up for that, they used several 1" tall fans at high RPMs. The dual PIII are quieter because they require less cooling.

My next question is, if I were to select 2 motherboards to build systems around (for web browsing), which two would you select? I kept 2 of the least ugly black desktop cases. These are the first black-coloured desktop cases I have ever owned.

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Reply 1 of 106, by ODwilly

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For web browsing one of the 800fsb 478 boards (aopen board and intel entry server s875wp1-E stuck out to me) or the lga 775 boards. Preferably if you can find one that will support a Core2. The Gigabyte GA-8S661FXM supports the Pentium D (which isn't as bad as people make it out to be) and paired with a late agp card would make a perfectly usable setup for Windows 7 even. EDIT: The amount of high quality 478 systems you acquired is awesome, I always find absolute garbage.

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Reply 2 of 106, by Skyscraper

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Most socket 478 and early socket 775 boards are worth ~$10 today, with time I guess the price will rise to ~$20 but not much more.

Interesting boards in good working condition like Asus and Abit top boards are worth $20+ today and the prices will rise to $50+ just as with earlier platforms.

This is looking 10 years ahead, looking 30 years ahead is not easy as you cant compare to whats happend to earlier platforms.

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Reply 3 of 106, by TELEPACMAN

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feipoa wrote:

I am wondering if the P4 motherboards/CPUs are worth holding into for another 20 years in hopes of selling them for some value. Do you think 20 years is enough? 30 years? Or was the P4 era so expansive that there will always be hardware from this period kicking around?

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

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Reply 4 of 106, by 2fort5r

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I wish I'd bought a dozen or so new VCRs circa 2000 and put them in storage. They would turn a nice profit now. I actually thought about doing this at the time. Space was the problem of course.

'3D printing' is the wild card in future speculation of this kind. It's still very basic, but in 20-30 years you may be able to make your own vintage motherboards in your own basement.

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Reply 5 of 106, by Unknown_K

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I think the vast majority of P4 era systems (and after) are going straight from use to recycling so there will not be a large amount of them around in 20 years when people start to want them.

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Reply 6 of 106, by jwt27

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Unknown_K wrote:

I think the vast majority of P4 era systems (and after) are going straight from use to recycling so there will not be a large amount of them around in 20 years when people start to want them.

Why would anyone "want" a P4 though...?

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Reply 7 of 106, by candle_86

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jwt27 wrote:
Unknown_K wrote:

I think the vast majority of P4 era systems (and after) are going straight from use to recycling so there will not be a large amount of them around in 20 years when people start to want them.

Why would anyone "want" a P4 though...?

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Reply 8 of 106, by calvin

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It's a strange detour in Intel's history, and the design will be essentially like a brutish muscle car.

P4 boards are common as dog crap though. Cap plague took out most of the early boards, and the rest are either pedestrian or crippled OEM boards or quality Intel/Asus/Abit/omgwtfbbq boards worth keeping for the collectors.

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Reply 10 of 106, by obobskivich

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Skyscraper wrote:

Most socket 478 and early socket 775 boards are worth ~$10 today, with time I guess the price will rise to ~$20 but not much more.

Interesting boards in good working condition like Asus and Abit top boards are worth $20+ today and the prices will rise to $50+ just as with earlier platforms.
.

I've seen some of the more exotic S478 boards listed for $50+ recently. That said, I don't think Pentium 4 will enjoy the trendiness/hipness that Pentium 2/3 hardware is currently experiencing, for two reasons: there's a lot more Pentium 4 hardware in circulation (seriously I think Intel probably made enough of those chips for every man, woman, and child on earth to own one), and history has not been kind to it whereas the Pentium 2/3 have been almost deified in some cases. Currently there also doesn't seem to be much of a dire need for machines from that era - a lot of games, operating systems, and software from the 2000s will run on more modern machines, and I'm guessing it's more likely that Core 2 will end up being the "winner" if and when "Windows XP Retro Rig" becomes a very popular thing. 😊

Of the hardware you have, it'd probably be worth holding onto one or two choice boards, simply so that you aren't kicking yourself down the road if you decide you want a S478 machine (unless you already have one that you like), but otherwise I'd probably recycle or donate or whatever the stuff you don't have an immediate need for. 😀

Reply 11 of 106, by candle_86

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obobskivich wrote:
Skyscraper wrote:

Most socket 478 and early socket 775 boards are worth ~$10 today, with time I guess the price will rise to ~$20 but not much more.

Interesting boards in good working condition like Asus and Abit top boards are worth $20+ today and the prices will rise to $50+ just as with earlier platforms.
.

I've seen some of the more exotic S478 boards listed for $50+ recently. That said, I don't think Pentium 4 will enjoy the trendiness/hipness that Pentium 2/3 hardware is currently experiencing, for two reasons: there's a lot more Pentium 4 hardware in circulation (seriously I think Intel probably made enough of those chips for every man, woman, and child on earth to own one), and history has not been kind to it whereas the Pentium 2/3 have been almost deified in some cases. Currently there also doesn't seem to be much of a dire need for machines from that era - a lot of games, operating systems, and software from the 2000s will run on more modern machines, and I'm guessing it's more likely that Core 2 will end up being the "winner" if and when "Windows XP Retro Rig" becomes a very popular thing. 😊

Of the hardware you have, it'd probably be worth holding onto one or two choice boards, simply so that you aren't kicking yourself down the road if you decide you want a S478 machine (unless you already have one that you like), but otherwise I'd probably recycle or donate or whatever the stuff you don't have an immediate need for. 😀

well XP retro rig is already kind of a thing, but the ones Ive seen like my own, focus on single core CPU's for games like COD and the like that act funny on multicore systems.

Reply 12 of 106, by obobskivich

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candle_86 wrote:

well XP retro rig is already kind of a thing, but the ones Ive seen like my own, focus on single core CPU's for games like COD and the like that act funny on multicore systems.

Yeah, it's certainly gaining some attention, but not to the extent 9x has recently. I think mostly because many XP games (and XP itself) will work on newer machines. P4 also isn't the only path to single-core performance, and it seems like AMD systems from the same era are enjoying more popularity right now.

Reply 13 of 106, by HighTreason

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P4 stuff will probably resemble P1 stuff. P4was not the first to run XP-era stuff, so it won't have the appeal of the 486 (First thing made for 3.11/95 era). It also isn't as powerful as the last-in-line XP gear, such as the older Core i processors, essentially making those have the appeal of PII/Early PIII and some K6 gear (Generally the fastest for Win95/Late DOS stuff).

My prediction is that the late PIII's will just become more expensive, the Core i stuff will be priced in the middle somewhere and the P4 gear will be the cheap, abundant stuff you can get for free from your grandma (If you're a young enthusiast at that time - heh...). Having said that, if the crazy shit Michael Dell slaps his name on continues, who knows what kind of bullshit we might encounter at that time.

An interesting thought is, I wonder if any Athlon and Athlon 64 machines will even be working at that time, they seem to be more prone to catastrophic failure than the P4.

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Reply 14 of 106, by Skyscraper

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Perhaps people will find the need for very very fast Windows 98 systems 😀.

I doubt stuff will become really expensive but Im pretty sure a Fujitsu Siemens Intel 865pe board will be worth $50+ in only a few years.

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Reply 15 of 106, by jwt27

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What was the last chipset to support ISA DMA again? Was that a P4 chipset too?

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Reply 16 of 106, by alexanrs

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I believe socket 478 might get somewhat expensive as fast Win98 machines as Athlons dry up, but LGA775 P4's will be considered trash. You can just drop a Pentium D or Core2 processor on most LGA775 mobos and get much more performance.

Reply 17 of 106, by obobskivich

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jwt27 wrote:

What was the last chipset to support ISA DMA again? Was that a P4 chipset too?

Afaik, Intel 800-series, like 845, and there's an AMD K7 platform that can apparently do it too.

Reply 18 of 106, by NJRoadfan

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jwt27 wrote:

What was the last chipset to support ISA DMA again? Was that a P4 chipset too?

The 865 is the last to support PC-PCI DMA and Windows 9x. You can still buy 865G boards BRAND NEW, complete with Socket 775 and Core2 support. Personally if I had to save a Socket 478 board it would be a 865/875 board. 915/925 isn't worth saving since its overshadowed by 965/975. Same with the 845.

2fort5r wrote:

I wish I'd bought a dozen or so new VCRs circa 2000 and put them in storage. They would turn a nice profit now. I actually thought about doing this at the time. Space was the problem of course.

Depends on the VCR really. Run of the mill VHS decks are dirt cheap at the thrift store. The high end Panasonic and JVC SVHS/DVHS decks with TBCs on the other hand...

Reply 19 of 106, by snorg

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feipoa wrote:
A local web-based company in town was getting rid of some old computer hardware and I ended up taking the whole lot of computers […]
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A local web-based company in town was getting rid of some old computer hardware and I ended up taking the whole lot of computers, servers, hubs/switches, etc.

I kept all the motherboards, CD-ROMs, PSUs, RAM, LAN cards, CPUs, HDDs, etc. I now have about 4 dozen motherboards. The only item I am really interested in are the dual PIII-Tualatin IBM rackmount servers, the eserver xseries 330. I have 7 of them. They all seem to function, but I am waiting for the C2T cable to arrive. They have 2 PCI-X slots which can accompany the 2 expansion cards, even in a 1U chassis. I am curious to see the memory performance of these IBM servers and hope that my Matrox Parhelia PCI-X card works with Windows drivers. The other PCI-X slot would be for a sound card.

I am wondering if the P4 motherboards/CPUs are worth holding into for another 20 years in hopes of selling them for some value. Do you think 20 years is enough? 30 years? Or was the P4 era so expansive that there will always be hardware from this period kicking around?

<stuff deleted>

My next question is, if I were to select 2 motherboards to build systems around (for web browsing), which two would you select? I kept 2 of the least ugly black desktop cases. These are the first black-coloured desktop cases I have ever owned.

My personal opinion is there were so many of these made that they won't be worth much, especially for OEM crap. If there are enthusiast-grade boards, save those, otherwise (as other folks have mentioned) donate/recycle the rest.

Assuming you have the space and want to hang onto them, and your crystal ball is telling you they are going to go up to $500/each (I don't think this will happen unless we have significant inflation) then by all means, hang onto them. If you want to make a substantial sum of money 20 years from now, you'd be better off putting $500 in Vanguard index fund and letting it sit 20 years.