Quadrachewski wrote on 2020-09-07, 18:52:
It's quite hard to find 286-386-486 systems that are in decent shape (so no battery corrosion and doesn't look like it's been dragged through the streets to the recycling center) and I don't have to break the bank to get one.
I pretty much gave up on these systems because there is too little gain for too much money. CGA or EGA? No, I don't want to sell my car to get one.
Depends on your idea of what's 'expensive'. Compared to other hobbies I find retro hardware affordable, even most vintage and rare items. Sure, if you want to own it all or only want the high end or rare stuff, yes then it starts to add up substantially.
In my country x86 pc's are quite sought after and less are offered for sale in recent years, but I remember a time when you couldn't give them away for free (early 2000's). Still, I can find a random x86 pc (most of them need a little TLC) for sale at the local Craigslist variant at any day of the week.
But what about more recent systems that are available everywhere?
Will these ever become as valuable as a 386?
Looking around online I see that complete S462, S754 and S939 systems are becoming quite hard to find. S478 are still quite common and most LGA775 pc's fall in the category 'stuff you can't get rid off at any price'. Even though most early 2000's pc hardware is still easy to find at a low price, you'll be surprised about what you will have to pay in the next 5 years for a lot of the hardware from that period. The 2000-2005 capacitor plague (for some manufacturers more like 1999-2006) has caused people to throw out hardware prematurely. It has affected the functionality of motherboards, graphics cards, power supplies etc. A LOT of that stuff, especially complete systems, has already been recycled and quite a lot still gets thrown out as of today. I would buy the stuff that you really want to own now. This is the time to buy. It's unlikely to get any more affordable. Premium graphics card like the GF 6800 Ultra are already sought after and quite expensive for my taste. A 386 pc is generally speaking more affordable than a high end 486 pc. It's hard to say what prices are exactly going to do, but it seems quite likely they (i.e.: for early 2000's stuff) will move in the direction of older hardware. That having said, there's a certain limit to what people can and will pay. The really old 1980's computers like Commodore 64 are not really going up in value anymore and Amiga's also seem to have hit the ceiling. In the end a lot of old computer hardware needs TLC. Most people don't have time to do that, they don't want to, don't have the tools or knowledge to do that. That's what keeps prices quite affordable for most of us.