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How much is <part> worth?

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First post, by moog

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As all of you I'm very much aware of scalping going on in retro hardware markets.

Let's have a discussion about how much each part is worth to you. I'm doing this, because I'm afraid we'll sooner see the hardware destroyed and rotted away rather than sold at a reasonable price. To really rub it in - over here, a Voodoo 5500 is usually offered for a price of 5x Fiat Uno in typical condition, i.e. floor missing much like in a Flintstones' car, but at least it gets you fast from point A to B. I'd be more inclined if it were worth $20. Maybe $40 tops since I paid about $15 for a Voodoo 1.

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Reply 1 of 29, by gerry

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all those 'rare' things are not worth much to me for their utility

if the computing is done by a rare CPU the results are still the same

I'm sure a voodoo 5500 is cool but whatever game is being played will play just as well or better on a cheap agp card from a couple of years later

so the value to me is low, hence - i haven't bought anything 'rare' for many years! 😀

Reply 2 of 29, by RandomStranger

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About 30€ at most, but I generally stop at around 20. If you are patient enough and the thing you are looking for is not really rare and almost completely bought up by collectors or scalpers, sooner or later one will come around.

The only thing time I regret procrastinating is when 2 sc-55 popped up a couple of months apart for something like 70€. At that time I was saving my down payment and was really reluctant to spend on anything for non-essentials.

gerry wrote on 2022-06-28, 07:54:

all those 'rare' things are not worth much to me for their utility

if the computing is done by a rare CPU the results are still the same

You don't pay "utility value" for any collectible item. For retro computing, most of the times it's 0 or close to 0.

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Reply 3 of 29, by moog

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RandomStranger wrote on 2022-06-28, 08:15:

The only thing time I regret procrastinating is when 2 sc-55 popped up a couple of months apart for something like 70€. At that time I was saving my down payment and was really reluctant to spend on anything for non-essentials.

I missed a PSX Link cable and a fanless GeForce 1650 Ti like this :[
This cable went for $12, now scalpers sell it for $125. The GeForce is unobtainium since December 2019.

Audigy 2 ZS in FreeDOS
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Reply 4 of 29, by TrashPanda

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moog wrote on 2022-06-28, 09:18:
RandomStranger wrote on 2022-06-28, 08:15:

The only thing time I regret procrastinating is when 2 sc-55 popped up a couple of months apart for something like 70€. At that time I was saving my down payment and was really reluctant to spend on anything for non-essentials.

I missed a PSX Link cable and a fanless GeForce 1650 Ti like this :[
This cable went for $12, now scalpers sell it for $125. The GeForce is unobtainium since December 2019.

Youll find that teh GPU situation is about to be inundated as all the miners flood the market with their GPUs, it should drive the retail prices back down a bit and in return stock levels should normalise since the miners are no longer taking everything.

Oh noes, the cap let the shmooo out 😁

Reply 5 of 29, by gerry

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RandomStranger wrote on 2022-06-28, 08:15:
gerry wrote on 2022-06-28, 07:54:

all those 'rare' things are not worth much to me for their utility

if the computing is done by a rare CPU the results are still the same

You don't pay "utility value" for any collectible item. For retro computing, most of the times it's 0 or close to 0.

you're right, I'm not really a collector i just like having functional old computers and even there i realise that part of it is the fun of setting a computer up and the rest is actually about running software on computers. In that latter sense the development of dosbox, emulation, virtualization and re-released game on gog etc is kind of making it less and less necessary to keep old hardware.

all these things together make old components worth relatively little to me

Reply 6 of 29, by dionb

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Location makes a lot of difference here. In parts of the world where there was simply no money or market for devices when new, and where there was no big 2nd hand market when still current, things will tend to be unobtainable. The bigger the reach of a sales platform, the higher the total demand and so the higher the prices will be. An object sold on eBay with shipping anywhere in the world will inherently be more expensive than an object sold on the same platform with limited shipping, and that in turn will again inherently be more expensive than something sold on a specific local platform. The flip side is that it can be very difficulty to find, buy and get delivered a lot of stuff on such local platforms, and that those difficulties tend to correlate strongly with the price difference. If you're located in a country most people don't want to sell to and/or ship to, you're going to pay a premium.

Bottom line: it's better to live in US, Japan or EU, and if you live in unrecognized states or conflict zones, you're royally screwed, with a broad spectrum in between.

Take Roland stuff. There are a few pretty universally sought-after models (i.e. MT-32 and SC-55). They were expensive when new, so never really widely sold - but those that were ended up disproportionately in Japan, with the rest basically being in US and EU. If you're now living in for example Brazil (somewhere the devices probably aren't available locally, but otherwise not a hugely problematic country in terms of payment or shipping), you're stuck with sellers with global reach and prices to match. In Japan though you could probably find the same stuff on local classified ads for a fraction of the price. It might be possible to buy remotely using a forwarding service (something I have done to get a Roland A-880 MIDI patchbay from Japan for less including shipping than the few that turn up in my corner of EU locally, let alone what one would cost on eBay), but that only works with some ads on highly automated platforms. For every device there, there's one on a piece of paper an old lady put up in a supermarket somewhere, or one in a car boot sale or attic clearance. Probably somewhere in Japan in this case. Whoever sees that, gets the device for the really nice price, and unfortunately chances of finding this sort of thing is not fairly distributed across the world.

So TLDR: what something's worth to me need not be the same as it's worth to you, even objectively.

Then subjectively... personally I won't spend really big money on old computer hardware; part of the fun for me is digging up nice bargains, buying a box of 'old computer stuff' and sometimes getting lucky (frequently less so, of course). Same goes for building systems, the compromise involved with not just shelling out for the 'perfect' parts is a significant part of the experience. So I'm not the one driving up the price of that V5-5500. I might however one day find one in an old box I paid maybe EUR 10 for. That's how I got my V3-3000 PCI after all, and my Apocalypse 3Dx was in a battered old system I picked up outside in my street 😉

Reply 7 of 29, by cyclone3d

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A large majority of the parts I have came to me either free or from scrap lots.

I do have quite a few pieces I bought for good prices as well and I have a few that I spent $100 US or more for.

It really depends on what it is and how long I have been looking for it in regards to how much I will pay.

Unobtanium parts I have been searching for that pop up in a BIN sale are usually clicked on instantly if the price is reasonable.

I've also bought whole computers to get a single piece in the computer, such as a VLB ATI Mach 64 which I then went and spent a decent amount on the upgrade board to make it 4MB.

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Reply 8 of 29, by schmatzler

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RandomStranger wrote on 2022-06-28, 08:15:

If you are patient enough and the thing you are looking for is not really rare and almost completely bought up by collectors or scalpers, sooner or later one will come around.

This is the most important part imho.

For a lot of items there's always an option to insta-buy them on eBay for a ridiculous price. I've fallen into this trap, too - when I really wanted a Voodoo II but there were no auctions, I insta-bought it for a lot more money. I could've saved that money by just patiently waiting for an auction to come up.

Sometimes auctions are really in your favor. If you run a search for a specific item and auction might come up that ends in the middle of the night and not a lot of people bid on it. Or it's at the end of the month and people haven't gotten their paychecks yet, or you just get lucky for some other reason and can make a really good deal.

Good things come to those who wait. With a saved search you might even get an insta-buy item with a very low price - sometimes sellers don't really know what they have and they just might want to toss out that old clunky computer from a deceased family member to free up some space.

Reply 9 of 29, by Baoran

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There is never objective value of something. It is all supply and demand and what people are willing to pay for something that decides a value of something and that changes over time.
If the people who try to sell something for higher price than before find buyers then objectively its value goes up and others will try to sell them at higher prices too.

Reply 10 of 29, by imi

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Baoran wrote on 2022-06-28, 22:59:

There is never objective value of something. It is all supply and demand and what people are willing to pay for something that decides a value of something and that changes over time.
If the people who try to sell something for higher price than before find buyers then objectively its value goes up and others will try to sell them at higher prices too.

yes there is.

food, water, air are objectively more valuable than any piece of hard or software :p
money is a human invention to ease the trade of goods and services, supply and demand is a capitalist invention to extort people and maximize profits, speculation is a sociopathic invention to profit off of human needs.

Reply 11 of 29, by Baoran

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imi wrote on 2022-06-29, 00:01:
yes there is. […]
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Baoran wrote on 2022-06-28, 22:59:

There is never objective value of something. It is all supply and demand and what people are willing to pay for something that decides a value of something and that changes over time.
If the people who try to sell something for higher price than before find buyers then objectively its value goes up and others will try to sell them at higher prices too.

yes there is.

food, water, air are objectively more valuable than any piece of hard or software :p
money is a human invention to ease the trade of goods and services, supply and demand is a capitalist invention to extort people and maximize profits, speculation is a sociopathic invention to profit off of human needs.

You need to separate how importance is separated from value. For basic needs it is the moden society that tries to make sure that the supply is always high enough. If supply for basic needs isn't enough it would make those more valuable than money itself.

Supply and demand worked in trading even before money was invented and goods were traded for goods directly so I cant see it being capitalism related. Like you said money is there to just make trading easier. You get paid for the time you use for work and how much of that time a piece of computer hardware is worth makes what it is worth to you and general value comes out of the highest of what is it worth to people when supply is less than demand.

Reply 12 of 29, by imi

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we're talking supply and demand for goods that are not really necessary, not food etc. which always was and always will be more valuable than money itself, of course there is also inherent supply and demand for that, but we obviously should always try and meet demand in this case as it is necessary to live... the CONTROL of supply, even with food, to control prices and increase profits, is a capitalist invention.

Reply 13 of 29, by Baoran

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imi wrote on 2022-06-29, 11:00:

we're talking supply and demand for goods that are not really necessary, not food etc. which always was and always will be more valuable than money itself, of course there is also inherent supply and demand for that, but we obviously should always try and meet demand in this case as it is necessary to live... the CONTROL of supply, even with food, to control prices and increase profits, is a capitalist invention.

When it comes to old pc parts the supply will go constantly down when parts get older and more of them fail and nobody makes new ones while it seems more and more people are nowadys interested in them. It is normal for sellers to try to find the richer people among those who are interested to test how much they are willing to pay for them. When supply gets really low the only people that can get them are those who are willing to pay the most.

Reply 14 of 29, by RandomStranger

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Baoran wrote on 2022-06-29, 16:13:

When it comes to old pc parts the supply will go constantly down when parts get older and more of them fail and nobody makes new ones while it seems more and more people are nowadys interested in them.

I'm not sure about the second part. People enter and leave the hobby. If the supply goes down even if the demand stays the same, it'll drive the prices up and appear as the interest is also going up. Also, just because someone gets into retro computing, that doesn't mean he is market for everything. A lot of us starts out of nostalgia. For example my interests are very specific. I'm interested in PC stuff from 386 (my first PC) onward peaking in the 1997-2008 period (my age 7-18), the sixth and seventh generation gaming consoles (roughly the same time frame), from handhelds PSP only, and that's about it. Whatever the supply is, I have no interest in getting an XT or a non-x86 PC platform. I also have no interest in Nintendo stuff, so no NES, SNES or GameCube for me. Given the opportunity I'd save them from being binned and sell them for a non-scalper price, but I wouldn't buy one for any price. I'd leave them for people with genuine interest in them.

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Reply 15 of 29, by Baoran

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RandomStranger wrote on 2022-06-29, 17:02:
Baoran wrote on 2022-06-29, 16:13:

When it comes to old pc parts the supply will go constantly down when parts get older and more of them fail and nobody makes new ones while it seems more and more people are nowadys interested in them.

I'm not sure about the second part. People enter and leave the hobby. If the supply goes down even if the demand stays the same, it'll drive the prices up and appear as the interest is also going up. Also, just because someone gets into retro computing, that doesn't mean he is market for everything. A lot of us starts out of nostalgia. For example my interests are very specific. I'm interested in PC stuff from 386 (my first PC) onward peaking in the 1997-2008 period (my age 7-18), the sixth and seventh generation gaming consoles (roughly the same time frame), from handhelds PSP only, and that's about it. Whatever the supply is, I have no interest in getting an XT or a non-x86 PC platform. I also have no interest in Nintendo stuff, so no NES, SNES or GameCube for me. Given the opportunity I'd save them from being binned and sell them for a non-scalper price, but I wouldn't buy one for any price. I'd leave them for people with genuine interest in them.

It applies at least to my country from my experience. It has been increasing clearly past couple years.

Reply 17 of 29, by cyclone3d

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Jed118 wrote on 2022-06-29, 19:05:

In the end, it's worth whatever someone is willing to pay.

Exactly!

And claiming that supply and demand is a capitalist invention just shows the purposeful failure of the education system no matter where you are.

How else is it supposed to work effectively?

What, the government dictates prices for everything and no prices are allowed to change unless the government says so?

You would also have to eliminate the second-hand market as well as somehow make sure that there is the exact amount available to meet the demand.

What about the cost of materials, transportation, and on and on?

If you think that any other system actually works besides capitalism then you are either just blindly following what the elites tell you or you don't understand economics.

You think people will just make whatever and do whatever work is forced upon them? If you take a real look, you will see that almost all real innovation and meaningful inventions come from people trying to better themselves by making something that will be profitable for them.

It is insane to think that most people will want to take a risk and work on something new just because it might better humanity somehow when it will not really benefit them at all in the end.

Attaboy's and pats on the back don't do anything in regards to making somebody's financial situation better.

And if you have government mandated crap and the government tried to force people to do things, you end up with very unhappy / disgruntled workers that will drag their feet and on purpose slow things down as much as possible.

So blindly think that capitalism is the problem instead of doing actual research into the matter.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 18 of 29, by moog

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Wow, we've gotten from 0 to 100 pretty quick. I think it's important we preserve hardware like this, that's why I try to keep things documented, publicly available and I post those capacitor threads every once in a while. It's not as much of a collector's item for me, but it's something I can study and play with, and learn to break and fix. Old hardware from 80s to mid 2000s really shows us how much we could do with so little. We should learn from it and make the most of this precious knowledge.

Audigy 2 ZS in FreeDOS
LinLin adapter documentation
+ various capacitor list threads