VOGONS


First post, by chublord

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I've been looking for old desktops (486 through P3 era) at the l0cal scrapyards and thrift stores, but have not found any. The scrapyard had an entire pallet of old computers but they were not willing to let them go. (What a waste!)

A local computer shop has handful of them though. Apparently machine shops still buy them for the ISA slots.

There was a "Panavoice" 386SX desktop complete and a Pentium-133 complete tower, except for the hard drive (probably socket 5). There was also a Dell P3 tower and a few others that I did not open up. They were asking for $75 per machine. How much do you consider reasonable for a machine like this?

IBM Valuepoint 486 DX4-100, Opti 802G, 50 MHz FSB, Voodoo1+S3 864, Quantum Fireball EX 4.0 GB, Seagate Medalist 1.6 GB, 128 MB FPM, 256k L2

Reply 3 of 37, by BitWrangler

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It's not the best bargain in town, like free curb finds, $5 thrift store and yard sale finds, but when you can't rely on those, then $75 isn't totally unreasonable. Even before 2020 craziness, I think there would be an average $200 part-out value of PIII and prior machines.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 5 of 37, by BitWrangler

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Yah, I'd be picky for that money, it'd have to be close to a config I wanted, just need one or two nicer parts. Though at this point I guess the only things I might come close to paying that much for would be something like a Slot A or Socket 8 that I don't have. ... or I'd go that high on a 4th Gen i5 up that could take 16GB RAM and do modern stuff.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 6 of 37, by Joakim

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I played something similar for my CT 479 build.. Dunno if it was worth it cause they have never been sold on eBay.. 😮

@topic be patient.. I havent seen a single system for sale the while summer on my local thrift stores. Today there were 6...

Reply 7 of 37, by cosmicinsane

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I ended up paying $120 on eBay for an “untested” (which really means, it’s broken) 486 Packard Bell. I think that’s outrageous really, but I’ve been watching 8 thrift stores for the past year and never saw a 486 system. Add in the parts to repair everything and get it back up and running and I’ve got about $300 into it. I think a lot of it just ends up in dumpsters now because people are unaware of the demand for old hardware by the retro-computer community, which further reduces supply and pushes prices up. I think also the demand for such machines is increasing even as supply is dwindling. That’s most of the reason I was willing to pay the inflated prices, because I’ve wanted a machine like this for a long time and I don’t see them getting any cheaper or easier to find than they are now.

Reply 8 of 37, by Joakim

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Yeah well tbh I never seen anything older than a p3 in a thrift store. I think you are right...

In my country Facebook groups for retro stuff seem quite active but maybe more for Amiga and such systems, but maybe it was because Amiga was very big in my country.

Reply 9 of 37, by drosse1meyer

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Everyone's price point and value assignment is different of course. Looking at what's on eBay now, I think the $40 i paid for a complete packard bell P166 last year was pretty good.

Overall, 'working' vintage systems are pricey now, but you can also compare that to trying to source parts for a build. Just finding an empty beige case for a reasonable price can be very difficult. So if you're gonna have to pay 50+ just for only a case which is probably missing covers and rusting, it starts to make a little more sense to pay 100+ for a complete system. You can easily spend hundreds building a vintage system, personally when I go this route I search around to get an idea of the highs/lows and figure out a max I'm wiling for pay for each component, and take my time.

Also Ive found that many times patience is the key with ebay- saved searches and/or looking a few times each day . Adding an item to Watchlist is also a good move, oftentimes a seller will reach out with a discount. And don't be afraid to make Offers.

Other sites like Mercari are the wild west. Sometimes there are great deals, or are crazily overpriced. For example I missed out on a $50 SE/30 by minutes, but you also have kids selling their 6 year old "custom gaming" rigs for like $800.

IME living in a pretty densely populated area... thrift stores are crap and not worth the effort for vintage electronics anymore. Items are snatched up very quickly or are in a terrible state of repair. Unless you're looking for like VHS or DVDs or records or clothes.

P1 Build: Packard Bell - 233 MMX, Voodooo1, 64 MB, ALS100+
P2 Build: Dell Dimension R400 - 400 Mhz, GeForce2/32MB, 128 MB
P3 Build: Custom PIII - 1 Ghz, GeForce2 GTS/64MB, 128 MB

Reply 10 of 37, by Intel486dx33

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Forget about 386/486 if you want a good gaming computer.
Look for a Pentium 100 thru 500mhz.
The Newer the Better.

For DOS/Win95 computer - An Intel Pentium 200mhz thru 400mhz will play most DOS games with good performance.
Or AMD K6, K6-2.

For Win98 computer - An Intel Pentium 450mhz thru 1ghz. Or AMD K62, K6-3 , Duron, or Athlon.

Reply 11 of 37, by jakethompson1

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chublord wrote on 2021-08-25, 15:48:

I've been looking for old desktops (486 through P3 era) at the l0cal scrapyards and thrift stores, but have not found any. The scrapyard had an entire pallet of old computers but they were not willing to let them go. (What a waste!)

A local computer shop has handful of them though. Apparently machine shops still buy them for the ISA slots.

There was a "Panavoice" 386SX desktop complete and a Pentium-133 complete tower, except for the hard drive (probably socket 5). There was also a Dell P3 tower and a few others that I did not open up. They were asking for $75 per machine. How much do you consider reasonable for a machine like this?

Well hopfeully the scrapyard is sending them to Eastern Europe or China or whatever for people to dismantle them and sell the parts back to the US on eBay 😁

To be honest, if those machines are tested, it seems like you're mostly paying for labor to test them right? Especially if the $75 includes an AT case in good condition.
I also miss the late 90s/early 2000s time when you'd run into complete 486 systems (matching monitor, keyboard, mouse and all) at yard sales for like $20.

Reply 12 of 37, by Byrd

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drosse1meyer wrote on 2021-08-25, 17:33:
Everyone's price point and value assignment is different of course. Looking at what's on eBay now, I think the $40 i paid for a […]
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Everyone's price point and value assignment is different of course. Looking at what's on eBay now, I think the $40 i paid for a complete packard bell P166 last year was pretty good.

Overall, 'working' vintage systems are pricey now, but you can also compare that to trying to source parts for a build. Just finding an empty beige case for a reasonable price can be very difficult. So if you're gonna have to pay 50+ just for only a case which is probably missing covers and rusting, it starts to make a little more sense to pay 100+ for a complete system. You can easily spend hundreds building a vintage system, personally when I go this route I search around to get an idea of the highs/lows and figure out a max I'm wiling for pay for each component, and take my time.

Also Ive found that many times patience is the key with ebay- saved searches and/or looking a few times each day . Adding an item to Watchlist is also a good move, oftentimes a seller will reach out with a discount. And don't be afraid to make Offers.

Other sites like Mercari are the wild west. Sometimes there are great deals, or are crazily overpriced. For example I missed out on a $50 SE/30 by minutes, but you also have kids selling their 6 year old "custom gaming" rigs for like $800.

IME living in a pretty densely populated area... thrift stores are crap and not worth the effort for vintage electronics anymore. Items are snatched up very quickly or are in a terrible state of repair. Unless you're looking for like VHS or DVDs or records or clothes.

I think I align with your post the post, being patient with your build will reap rewards. Buying some untested box which probably has the most basic stock parts is always a disappointment, unless you have a few goodies to put in after. Also agree with watching items I'm finding more sellers offer discounts too; likewise with making a Best Offer at the start of the auction, 1/10 of the time might result in a good deal. And yes, thrift stores are not great anymore around my part of the world - I haven't seen anything electronic in them for years, it all goes to e-waste.

Reply 14 of 37, by dormcat

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Just went to an electronic scrapyard / recycling center; they had the following price tags:

Case: NT$ 200
Power: NT$ 70
MB: NT$ 200
CPU: NT$ 100
RAM (SDR SDRAM or older): NT$ 50
Video cards and all "big sized" interface cards: NT$ 100
PCI sound, network, and all "small sized" interface cards: NT$ 50
HDD: NT$ 100
ODD: NT$ 50
FDD: NT$ 20

For the record, US$ 1 = NT$ 28 today.

With the exception of RAM (DDR RAM are more expensive: 100 for DDR3 and 80 for DDR/DDR2), all other components have the same price regardless of size, performance, vintage or condition, as they are all UNTESTED. And all sales are FINAL.

Therefore, It's up to your personal judgement and gambling to decide what to buy from them. You could end up lucky with a working Core i3 (first-gen Westmere) / Xeon / Phenom II / Athlon II for just NT$ 100 (US$ 3.57) each, or you could just purchased some completely useless trash.

So I ended up with NT$ 890 for an entire system; a bit more expensive than I expected but the system is exceptionally clean and free of rust. I've never seen a 20-year-old computer with NO DUST ON ANY OF ITS FANS (CPU, video, northbridge, and 2x chassis); will add more detail and photo later.

Reply 15 of 37, by RandomStranger

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An old PC from 486 to P3 era can have a lot of things that affects the price. Reasonable price can be basically anything from $0 from a battery damaged entirely proprietary low-end prebuilt 386/486 era PC with all the generic components to several hundreds for a custom built PC with rare components. A GUS can easily go for $150 on it's own and if it's part of a dream build the price can be absolutely shameless yet still reasonable.

I think for a moderately generic PC in decent condition with standard parts from that time frame about $30-40 is reasonable.

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Reply 16 of 37, by Caluser2000

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Shreddoc wrote on 2021-08-26, 03:07:

In New Zealand I'd pay $75.

In California, probably not. Under the assumption that there's a ton more volume there, and that scarcity is therefore much less.

Old computer systems here in NZ have certainly gone up in price in the last few years $25o plus for running systems.

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Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 17 of 37, by gerry

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i'd have agreed with the 10-25 range ($,£,Euro..) for an average PC thats around 12+ years old

I accept that older than pentium is becoming rare and if specific models are wanted, can be much more

i dont think a pentium 200 is worth more than a p4 system for example, and yet often it can be because of its 'vintage' status, maybe in some cases it's warranted for specific features though

there is a kind of moving target for cheap whole (more or les) systems, at the moment the cheap ones tend to be early 64bit, like 775s and P4/late celerons from 32 bit era

in my view a two core early 64 bit PC is excellent with linux or as win7 games machines for 2005-2010 games given suitable graphics and late 32 bit machines will often be very nice with mix of DOS and win32 games and applications, covering a huge range, so right now is the right time to pick up these kinds of PC, but tougher if wanting something more vintage or rare

Reply 18 of 37, by dionb

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As with everything, there's a tradeoff between price, selectivity and convenience, and location makes a lot of difference.

If you live in an upmarket neighbourhood, chances are computers are replaced regularly and when that happens, they go straight to the scrapyard, which may not be helpful in letting you get hold of them. Further down the food chain things are different, people on low income hold onto computers longer and tend to be less neat about how they dispose of them. You get a whole ecosystem of people who scavenge junk metal left out on the street. If you can tap into that, you can get very interesting stuff very cheaply - but it will involve getting some very shady characters beer.

I live in a (by Dutch standards) rough neighbourhood with that sort of stuff going on. Since I've gotten involved in a community gardening project I'm actually talking to my neighbours a lot more. I help dig ditches (most people gardening are small and frequently elderly or disabled females, I'm a large generally healthy male), they appreciate it and tip me on old hardware. Not actually turned up anything really interesting yet (best so far was some late Philips low-end CRTs in decent condition), but sooner or later it will. Of course no guarantees on exactly *what* it will turn up though.

If you want something very specific and you want it now, you'd better have a fat wallet.

Reply 19 of 37, by chublord

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Thanks for the replies. I knew "reasonable" means different things to different people (and different places), but it sounds like $75 for a complete tested machine may not be out of line...especially if it has some unique components.

Where I used to live there was a yearly garage sale at the local high school where there would be piles of computers for almost free. I miss that!

I have heard about a big local 'swap meet' (TRW Swap Meet) that supposedly is a decent place to find old equipment, but haven't tried it yet.

IBM Valuepoint 486 DX4-100, Opti 802G, 50 MHz FSB, Voodoo1+S3 864, Quantum Fireball EX 4.0 GB, Seagate Medalist 1.6 GB, 128 MB FPM, 256k L2