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First post, by jasa1063

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I was thinking about the relative cost of acquiring retro computer hardware. Prices on eBay of course have done nothing but gone up, but if you look at it from a slightly different perspective, it is not always that bad. Take the case of a Macintosh IIci. When it was released in 1989, the base price was over $6,000. If you were to even attempt to max it out with 128MB of ram that would have set you back well over $7,000. You can now get a Mac IIci in the hundreds of dollars and a 128MB memory upgrade for under $100. The computers are not new of course, but if you consider a lot of the retro computers original asking price and the price of memory at the time, it could be considered a bargain.

Reply 1 of 37, by ThinkpadIL

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Considering that vintage computers are not only vintage and there is no practical use for them today, but also there is no guarantee that they will work tomorrow, I'd say that prices today are sky high. That's on one hand.

On the other hand, those are market prices and if you are ready to pay $25 for the Osborne 1 in working condition, and there is other one who is ready to pay $250, the price will be $250.

In other words, even though vintage computers are pieces of old crap from technical point of view, there is still a high demand for these things nowadays. You may ask me why. I ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Reply 2 of 37, by Shagittarius

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Mac isn't a good example though, most mac customers do not cherish their history, they look at them as disposable and worthless. Mac items, except for the very collectible ones, are always cheap. Look into a platform that is revered and cherished by its users like Amiga, or even PC and prices are much less reasonable.

There are more factors than this, such as availability due to numbers manufactured and sold, and also the fact that many macs just aren't as tinker-able as some other systems, limiting its fun as an experimental platform.

Reply 3 of 37, by Jo22

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The Macs are kind of a special case, yes.
Their users weren't always computer fans per se, but also casual users, artists etc.
Because of that, the Macs are seen more like tools, rather, I think.

Edit: But even here, exceptions exist.
The Apple II still has an active community similar to the PC/XT community.
Which isn't unnatural, because the Apple II was spiritually the same. Open design (clones!), same edge connectors for expansion boards (different pinout, though).

And then there are the historic pieces, the design classics.
The original cubical Macintosh series with the built-in mono CRT, the first iMac, Power Mac G3 Blue/White, the ibook, etc.
People still buy them as decorative pieces these days.
That's why a dated transparent Macintosh goes for a higher price, then, say, a Power Mac G5 or a Mac Pro 2.1..

The people still using such old Macs (like me, btw) are people who are curious about the "other side" of desktop computing.

Who want to experience the old AppleTalk networks, ancient commercial software with a GUI, who want to keep running Photoshop CS2 on a real Power PC Macintosh. Etc.

Or who want to use old Macintosh HTML editors that were already maturin a time in which PC users still used Windows 3.1 and dialed into BBSes.

That's in stark contrast to, say, the Amiga fans.
They're more of the, uhm, hardcore nerd fraction..

Sure, there were casual Amiga users, too, but they're more from the 1980s when the Amiga was a general purpose computer, still.:
The type of users that still actively work with Amiga hardware are geeks and fans of technology.

And then there's the crowd of nostalgic people that had an A500 in their bed room in the 80s/90s to play Lemmings.
You know, the typical kids who had that console computer next to a C64 for playing Turrican, Winter Games, etc.

These users do still value the memories of their A500 time, but aren't exactly religious about it.
Even if they still have their A500 in the attic, cellar or closet,
they nowadays rather use Amiga emulators or an Amiga A500 mini console for the sake of convenience.
Their real A500 is more of an memento to them, rather than anything else.
They rarely spend hundreds of bucks to have a working Amiga setup with everything needed.

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 4 of 37, by jasa1063

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I used the Macintosh as an example because it was the first thing that came to mind and the high cost at the time when it was new. This hobby can get expensive, there is no doubt. If you are into classic cars that is going to be whole lot more expensive yet. Some of us do this because it's a passion with a lot of nostalgia, others because of curiosity, some may just be plain old collectors who will never really use the computers they obtain.

As to the practical use aspect. Using a retro computer in the same context as you use a modern computer makes them totally obsolete. Using them because you are creating memories gives the retro computers I have a practical use for me. My journey here started when my dad passed away in 2019. This hobby helped fill a void that loss created. The other part of it is as retro computers get more expensive they will only go up in value. When I retire in 10 years or so I hope to make a decent profit on some the retro computers I have now.

Reply 5 of 37, by ThinkpadIL

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jasa1063 wrote on 2022-08-11, 16:49:

I used the Macintosh as an example because it was the first thing that came to mind and the high cost at the time when it was new. This hobby can get expensive, there is no doubt. If you are into classic cars that is going to be whole lot more expensive yet. Some of us do this because it's a passion with a lot of nostalgia, others because of curiosity, some may just be plain old collectors who will never really use the computers they obtain.

As to the practical use aspect. Using a retro computer in the same context as you use a modern computer makes them totally obsolete. Using them because you are creating memories gives the retro computers I have a practical use for me. My journey here started when my dad passed away in 2019. This hobby helped fill a void that loss created. The other part of it is as retro computers get more expensive they will only go up in value. When I retire in 10 years or so I hope to make a decent profit on some the retro computers I have now.

I wouldn't be so sure about vintage computers only going up in value with a time, cause many other collectors will also retire the same time as you and will also be interested more in selling than in buying vintage stuff. So, considering that prices are already quite high, I'd think about more reliable investment plan instead.

Reply 6 of 37, by jasa1063

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ThinkpadIL wrote on 2022-08-11, 17:07:
jasa1063 wrote on 2022-08-11, 16:49:

I used the Macintosh as an example because it was the first thing that came to mind and the high cost at the time when it was new. This hobby can get expensive, there is no doubt. If you are into classic cars that is going to be whole lot more expensive yet. Some of us do this because it's a passion with a lot of nostalgia, others because of curiosity, some may just be plain old collectors who will never really use the computers they obtain.

As to the practical use aspect. Using a retro computer in the same context as you use a modern computer makes them totally obsolete. Using them because you are creating memories gives the retro computers I have a practical use for me. My journey here started when my dad passed away in 2019. This hobby helped fill a void that loss created. The other part of it is as retro computers get more expensive they will only go up in value. When I retire in 10 years or so I hope to make a decent profit on some the retro computers I have now.

I wouldn't be so sure about vintage computers only going up in value with a time, cause many other collectors will also retire the same time as you and will also be interested more in selling than in buying vintage stuff. So, considering that prices are already quite high, I'd think about more reliable investment plan instead.

The investment aspect will only be a bonus if it happens that they do appreciate in value. For right now this is my hobby and something I truly enjoy.

Reply 7 of 37, by RandomStranger

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ThinkpadIL wrote on 2022-08-11, 17:07:

I wouldn't be so sure about vintage computers only going up in value with a time, cause many other collectors will also retire the same time as you and will also be interested more in selling than in buying vintage stuff. So, considering that prices are already quite high, I'd think about more reliable investment plan instead.

A coworker of mine (who's not into retro computing) once said he thinks this might be a 'generational' stuff. The retro hardware we are interested in are the hardware of our youth. Our elementary, high-school and maybe college age, stuff we are nostalgic or have dreamed about. His train of thought was that once the next generation comes around and ours leave the hobby, the demand for our generation's hardware might drop.

Though stocks will also shrink because in the meantime they'll keep failing. And I think this keeps prices high or further raises. Also, we came to a point where (post-XP) real hardware retro computing just don't make much sense. Everything just became a service. It's hard to retain/regain value if there is no software (support) to run on these hardware.

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Reply 8 of 37, by ThinkpadIL

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RandomStranger wrote on 2022-08-11, 17:29:
ThinkpadIL wrote on 2022-08-11, 17:07:

I wouldn't be so sure about vintage computers only going up in value with a time, cause many other collectors will also retire the same time as you and will also be interested more in selling than in buying vintage stuff. So, considering that prices are already quite high, I'd think about more reliable investment plan instead.

A coworker of mine (who's not into retro computing) once said he thinks this might be a 'generational' stuff. The retro hardware we are interested in are the hardware of our youth. Our elementary, high-school and maybe college age, stuff we are nostalgic or have dreamed about. His train of thought was that once the next generation comes around and ours leave the hobby, the demand for our generation's hardware might drop.

Though stocks will also shrink because in the meantime they'll keep failing. And I think this keeps prices high or further raises. Also, we came to a point where (post-XP) real hardware retro computing just don't make much sense. Everything just became a service. It's hard to retain/regain value if there is no software (support) to run on these hardware.

Well, I see it more simple. If you've purchased PCMCIA sound card for $10 it is highly likely you'll be able to make some profit on it even today. And if you've purchased the same PCMCIA sound card for $600, I doubt you'll be able to make any profit on it even in next 50 years.

Reply 9 of 37, by creepingnet

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Honestly, you can still occasionally find old PC stuff in the cheaper slant every once in awhile. Last year I got a 486, K6, and a souped up Compaq Deskpro 386s/20 with a Blue Lightning for $0.00 from a guy at work who needed to clean his house out. I also periodically will catch a old PC in a thrift shop for cheap sometimes too. It's rare, but it still happens ifyou know where to look, or know how to really contort your search results on e-bay to yield what you want without pulling all the "**RARE** (Generic whitebox clone system from 1994 with cheap parts, untested, as/is) $295.00 + 167.00 S&H".

When it comes to Mac, there's a good reason I got out, and that's that a 10-20-30 year old Macintosh will not do the same things a 10-20-30-40 year old x86 IBM Compatible PC will, at least, not as easily. A 40 year old IBM will still be able to use mTCP to get on the internet and then surf using DOSLynx. A 39 year old Macintosh however, from what I've been told and udnerstand, is a royal PITA because the archetecture was "closed" and changed drastically from the 80's to the 90's to the 2000's, to the 2010's to now. Shoot, I struggle to open my GPT partitioned 1TB drive on my MODERN Mac from 2015.

What's funny is I have zero experience with any of the other platforms discussed. My only experience with an AMiga was using one in my Video Productions class in high school in 2000 - using Video Toaster. My only C64 experience was someone bragging their THundercats game up to me once. I had a TI-99/4a at one point but it just did not impress me like PC's did. Probably because I grew up around nothing but PC's and the occasional Macintosh here or there.

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Reply 10 of 37, by RandomStranger

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ThinkpadIL wrote on 2022-08-11, 18:19:
RandomStranger wrote on 2022-08-11, 17:29:
ThinkpadIL wrote on 2022-08-11, 17:07:

I wouldn't be so sure about vintage computers only going up in value with a time, cause many other collectors will also retire the same time as you and will also be interested more in selling than in buying vintage stuff. So, considering that prices are already quite high, I'd think about more reliable investment plan instead.

A coworker of mine (who's not into retro computing) once said he thinks this might be a 'generational' stuff. The retro hardware we are interested in are the hardware of our youth. Our elementary, high-school and maybe college age, stuff we are nostalgic or have dreamed about. His train of thought was that once the next generation comes around and ours leave the hobby, the demand for our generation's hardware might drop.

Though stocks will also shrink because in the meantime they'll keep failing. And I think this keeps prices high or further raises. Also, we came to a point where (post-XP) real hardware retro computing just don't make much sense. Everything just became a service. It's hard to retain/regain value if there is no software (support) to run on these hardware.

Well, I see it more simple. If you've purchased PCMCIA sound card for $10 it is highly likely you'll be able to make some profit on it even today. And if you've purchased the same PCMCIA sound card for $600, I doubt you'll be able to make any profit on it even in next 50 years.

Sure, if you buy cheap you can make a profit instantly. That's true for everything. But aside of scalpers we aren't in this for the profit. Some of us are collectors looking for very specific things to keep long term or outright hoarders who never sell anything. And those who buy high-end stuff when they are new, they don't plan to make profit by reselling it, if at all... aside of scalpers.

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Reply 11 of 37, by Jo22

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creepingnet wrote on 2022-08-11, 19:25:

When it comes to Mac, there's a good reason I got out, and that's that a 10-20-30 year old Macintosh will not do the same things a 10-20-30-40 year old x86 IBM Compatible PC will, at least, not as easily. A 40 year old IBM will still be able to use mTCP to get on the internet and then surf using DOSLynx. A 39 year old Macintosh however, from what I've been told and udnerstand, is a royal PITA because the archetecture was "closed" and changed drastically from the 80's to the 90's to the 2000's, to the 2010's to now. Shoot, I struggle to open my GPT partitioned 1TB drive on my MODERN Mac from 2015.

Amusingly, I was just casually browsing the web today and found a story in which a Mac always "won" against an early PC.. :)

"For my science fair project, I matched an IBM PC 5150 (the original / 1st-generation PC)
running Chess88 against a Macintosh Plus running ChessMaster.
The Mac won every match by a wide margin, and I won first place at the science fair! [..]"

Source: https://imgur.com/gallery/0EyJmbJ

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 12 of 37, by Shagittarius

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Jo22 wrote on 2022-08-13, 15:25:
Amusingly, I was just casually browsing the web today and found a story in which a Mac always "won" against an early PC.. :) […]
Show full quote
creepingnet wrote on 2022-08-11, 19:25:

When it comes to Mac, there's a good reason I got out, and that's that a 10-20-30 year old Macintosh will not do the same things a 10-20-30-40 year old x86 IBM Compatible PC will, at least, not as easily. A 40 year old IBM will still be able to use mTCP to get on the internet and then surf using DOSLynx. A 39 year old Macintosh however, from what I've been told and udnerstand, is a royal PITA because the archetecture was "closed" and changed drastically from the 80's to the 90's to the 2000's, to the 2010's to now. Shoot, I struggle to open my GPT partitioned 1TB drive on my MODERN Mac from 2015.

Amusingly, I was just casually browsing the web today and found a story in which a Mac always "won" against an early PC.. 😀

"For my science fair project, I matched an IBM PC 5150 (the original / 1st-generation PC)
running Chess88 against a Macintosh Plus running ChessMaster.
The Mac won every match by a wide margin, and I won first place at the science fair! [..]"

Source: https://imgur.com/gallery/0EyJmbJ

What does it prove with 2 different Chess programs? Someone should have gotten an F for their hypothesis.

Even if they were the same program, how would you decide how to limit the cycles? Max by time? Even if one considers more moves than the other, doesn't mean it will pick the best move. Stupid.

To me this just points out how mystified the kid was about computers. She thought the computers are playing chess, which is smarter?

Reply 13 of 37, by creepingnet

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Jo22 wrote on 2022-08-13, 15:25:
Amusingly, I was just casually browsing the web today and found a story in which a Mac always "won" against an early PC.. :) […]
Show full quote
creepingnet wrote on 2022-08-11, 19:25:

When it comes to Mac, there's a good reason I got out, and that's that a 10-20-30 year old Macintosh will not do the same things a 10-20-30-40 year old x86 IBM Compatible PC will, at least, not as easily. A 40 year old IBM will still be able to use mTCP to get on the internet and then surf using DOSLynx. A 39 year old Macintosh however, from what I've been told and udnerstand, is a royal PITA because the archetecture was "closed" and changed drastically from the 80's to the 90's to the 2000's, to the 2010's to now. Shoot, I struggle to open my GPT partitioned 1TB drive on my MODERN Mac from 2015.

Amusingly, I was just casually browsing the web today and found a story in which a Mac always "won" against an early PC.. 😀

"For my science fair project, I matched an IBM PC 5150 (the original / 1st-generation PC)
running Chess88 against a Macintosh Plus running ChessMaster.
The Mac won every match by a wide margin, and I won first place at the science fair! [..]"

Source: https://imgur.com/gallery/0EyJmbJ

And that makes perfectly good sense because an optimized 68000 software for mac is going to be faster than a optimized 8088 software for PC. Wasn't the 68000 32-bit? Or am I remembering wrong. It's been awhile.

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Reply 14 of 37, by Shagittarius

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creepingnet wrote on 2022-08-14, 04:10:
Jo22 wrote on 2022-08-13, 15:25:
Amusingly, I was just casually browsing the web today and found a story in which a Mac always "won" against an early PC.. :) […]
Show full quote
creepingnet wrote on 2022-08-11, 19:25:

When it comes to Mac, there's a good reason I got out, and that's that a 10-20-30 year old Macintosh will not do the same things a 10-20-30-40 year old x86 IBM Compatible PC will, at least, not as easily. A 40 year old IBM will still be able to use mTCP to get on the internet and then surf using DOSLynx. A 39 year old Macintosh however, from what I've been told and udnerstand, is a royal PITA because the archetecture was "closed" and changed drastically from the 80's to the 90's to the 2000's, to the 2010's to now. Shoot, I struggle to open my GPT partitioned 1TB drive on my MODERN Mac from 2015.

Amusingly, I was just casually browsing the web today and found a story in which a Mac always "won" against an early PC.. 😀

"For my science fair project, I matched an IBM PC 5150 (the original / 1st-generation PC)
running Chess88 against a Macintosh Plus running ChessMaster.
The Mac won every match by a wide margin, and I won first place at the science fair! [..]"

Source: https://imgur.com/gallery/0EyJmbJ

And that makes perfectly good sense because an optimized 68000 software for mac is going to be faster than a optimized 8088 software for PC. Wasn't the 68000 32-bit? Or am I remembering wrong. It's been awhile.

I mean, what's the point of the experiment? It doesn't make any sense to me.

Last edited by Shagittarius on 2022-08-14, 05:24. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 15 of 37, by Jo22

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creepingnet wrote on 2022-08-14, 04:10:
Jo22 wrote on 2022-08-13, 15:25:
Amusingly, I was just casually browsing the web today and found a story in which a Mac always "won" against an early PC.. :) […]
Show full quote
creepingnet wrote on 2022-08-11, 19:25:

When it comes to Mac, there's a good reason I got out, and that's that a 10-20-30 year old Macintosh will not do the same things a 10-20-30-40 year old x86 IBM Compatible PC will, at least, not as easily. A 40 year old IBM will still be able to use mTCP to get on the internet and then surf using DOSLynx. A 39 year old Macintosh however, from what I've been told and udnerstand, is a royal PITA because the archetecture was "closed" and changed drastically from the 80's to the 90's to the 2000's, to the 2010's to now. Shoot, I struggle to open my GPT partitioned 1TB drive on my MODERN Mac from 2015.

Amusingly, I was just casually browsing the web today and found a story in which a Mac always "won" against an early PC.. 😀

"For my science fair project, I matched an IBM PC 5150 (the original / 1st-generation PC)
running Chess88 against a Macintosh Plus running ChessMaster.
The Mac won every match by a wide margin, and I won first place at the science fair! [..]"

Source: https://imgur.com/gallery/0EyJmbJ

And that makes perfectly good sense because an optimized 68000 software for mac is going to be faster than a optimized 8088 software for PC. Wasn't the 68000 32-bit? Or am I remembering wrong. It's been awhile.

The 68000 was a 16/32-Bit hybrid, so to say.
It's really hard to say, because some people define bitness by
- the length of the instruction set,
- while some define it by how wide the ALU is
- and some people go by the bitness of data bus.
- A few people also consider the wideness of the physical address bus.

So the 8088 might be considered an 8/16/20-Bit CPU.
8-Bit the data bus (multiplexed), 16-Bit instructions and 20-Bit address bus (1024KB can be addressed).

The 68000 has a 24-Bit physical address bus (16 MB), so it's closer to a 286 here.
However, the 68010 -or 68020- may be more like the 286, strictly speaking.
The 68010 has virtual memory fornthe very first time, -like the 80286 on x86-,
and can also drive a simple MMU, the 68451.
A strange derivative, the 68012 has 31-Bit, btw.

https://hackaday.io/project/169484-68010-68451-mmu-homebrew

Personally, I think what makes the old Macintoshs and the Lisa so interesting
is its use of an API in ROM/on floppy and its corresponding GUI.
The so-called "Toolbox" was like an early mixture of BIOS and UEFI.

It made hardware abstraction possible and allowed for running real applications as we know it, but in 1984 and before (Lisa).

That's why Macintosh software is/was so unique, perhaps.
It was the only popular 80s computer platform with applications that were truly scalable.
A GUI application for Mac from 1985 can be run, say, on a 2005 Power Macintosh in 1920x1080 resolution.
If that Mac runs Mac OS 8/9 or has OS X running Classic Environment.

(An Amiga or Atari ST application usually cannot do this.
It's designed for one or two fixed resolutions).

In essence that scalability is also true for PCs and Windows 2.x applications.
They run on any resolution and colour depth Windows can handle.
But they weren't as popular, unfortunately.
Most Windows applications weren't out until the end of the 80s.
And they didn't support networking, sound i/o or any other features.
And they will glitch on Windows 3.1 or Windows NT sometimes.
Thanks to the compatibility issues (written with Real-Mode and non-scalable fonts in mind).
Speaking of, the Macs had a similar issue. The 24/32-Bit software compatibility thing.
It was solved by a third-party company, not Apple.

Speaking of compatibility, the Lisa computer was a proto Macintosh.
If MacWorks was booted, it could run Macintosh software.
A later model, the Macintosh XL, essentially was an upgraded Lisa.

So emulation always was part of the Macintosh eco system.
The Atari ST and Amigas used to have various emulators that booted System.

They were even faster than a real Macintosh.
That's because the Macintoshs had a very simple design.

Everything ingenious was done in software.
That's why Apple was so overly protective about the system ROMs and System, I think.

Things like mouse coordinate reading was done in software. The mouse itself was barely digital. More like an X/Y mouse on C64 (used the analogue paddle inputs of the SID).

The display system was very basic (monochrome), being essentially a simple frame buffer with zero IQ.
The network card was implemented through a fast serial port, the logic was in the software.

The later ADB ports were implemented through an early PIC microcontroller, which The Whoz programmed.
Again, magic was in the software.

The excessive use of emulation mirrored into the use of diskette images, even.
Mac OS archives (SIT, HEX etc) are virtual floppies. Because, System needs meta data (what application can open this file?).
And this resource data is stored separately in the floppy/HDD/CD-ROM file system (HFS often).
The unixoid Mac OS X is even able to mount PC images in IMA/IMG format out if box.
A simple rename to *. DMG will do.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 16 of 37, by gaffa2002

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I think the point is... the science project was a very bad way to compare two computers. Not just bad, it was in fact misinforming people about how computers actually work.
Computers are calculators and there is no such thing as smarter or dumber calculators, they always give you the correct result otherwise they are defective.
Having two general use computers playing a chess match doesn't prove which one is faster nor which one is "smarter", whatever that means.

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Reply 17 of 37, by MarkP

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Stupid comparison alright.

I've never paid more than $150NZ For any old computer. That was on an Acorn RiscPC 600 that had been upgraded to RiscOS 4.x along with add on SB compatible sound module, added ram and 486 co-processor card. I always wanted one when they where released.

All my 486 systems had been updated with cpu replacements and extra ram. One was originally sold ith a 386/486 mobo. The original owner updated it to a 486DX2/66 and more ram. I've got the original sales details specifying a 486 DLC33 cpu when it was first purchased.

Reply 19 of 37, by Shagittarius

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gerry wrote on 2022-08-23, 15:06:

not sure taking the original price then is useful but in strict value terms it's true. Comparing a vintage PC price to a new one might be though, as its the nearest equivalent in time terms

Even then it's going to be an interpretation to performance levels of comparison.