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First post, by blackmasked

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I am sure this subject may upset some of you, but this whole thing has been bothering me for quite a while and I really want to know how you guys feel about it.
My retro adventure started few years ago with a single build that I ended up doing due to nostalgia.
Fast forward few years and the hardware keeps piling up. Multiple computer builds, sound cards, graphics cards, boxed games, you name it. I try to convince myself that at least I use the stuff I buy, and I don't simply pile it up for the sake of piling up. I don't have a basement full of all this junk or a storage unit somewhere, therefore I am not as bad as others. I guess most of us treat it as a hobby, but sometimes it feels like something more sinister, an addiction, maybe a compulsive hoarding disorder.

Sometimes I feel like dumping all the hardware I gathered over the years and maybe keeping a single build. I don't have as much time for my retro related activities as I used to, it takes up a lot of storage, etc. Question is would parting with it all make me feel better or worse?

What is your experience? Do you try to control your urges somehow? Do you set yourself weekly/monthly limits? 😀

DOS build: Gigabyte GA-586T2, P200 MMX, 64MB RAM, Tseng ET6000 4MB, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, Roland SC-55mkII, Yamaha MU-80
98SE build: MSI MS-6163 Pro, PIII 650MHz, 256MB RAM, Voodoo3 3000, Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Platinum, Yamaha SW1000XG

Reply 1 of 23, by RogueTrip2012

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Like many others. It started off small and tumbles into alot. Like getting hardware you couldn't afford at the time or getting to experience something new to you. Building the best of something vs. Just what's lying around.

You can try to scale down your collection and be happy. For me I believe i'd be happy and then later regret letting it go.

Anymore I find not much need to collect after having soo many games a enough computers and consoles to play them. Especially as there is less time to mess with stuff as life goes on, but someday maybe more time will be available to me.

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Reply 2 of 23, by BeginnerGuy

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Honestly OP, everybody deserves to have a hobby. As long as you are keeping your collection neat and it's not causing you financial problems, I wouldn't call it an issue.

In the last 5 years or so I've seen DOS era hardware prices go up astronomically, so it's worth considering it as a financial investment as well. Look at the asking prices for Awe32 / 64 / GUS pnp on ebay.. 🤣.

If you really want to sell, see if you can get away with a net profit.. Then you can use the money to reinvest in new hardware that you can sell later at a profit 😊

Sup. I like computers. Are you a computer?

Reply 3 of 23, by slivercr

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Like the OP, I've given this some thought.

I started a few years ago, wanting to rebuild a 300a based computer I had when I was younger. Even from the beginning I was tempted and ended up with a dual slot1 PC. Afterwards I started collecting various parts and they piled up quickly, so I got cases and built a few machines that were up and running. At that point I realized I was spending more time building the machines and looking for hardware deals than I was actually using the machines, which was my original intent. Here's when I first started thinking about what my hobby actually was: using retro-computers, or collecting retro hardware? Whilst they can go hand in hand, they are not the same at all.

My tipping point came later, though: I started a build with the sole purpose of using a retro machine as a day to day machine. It was to be an overclocked Willamette P4 in a modern case, a USB3 card, SSDs, and Windows 7; I wanted to type LaTeX, read PDFs, and play the occasional light game like Sonic Mania, Torchlight, Diablo2... this was pretty dumb as I could already do all these things in my day to day Thinkpad. I realized I just wanted an excuse to keep buying things, and that I was just piling up stuff I would never get around to using. It was then I decided to sell most of what I had and kept only the original dual slot1 machine I built (the one in my signature), and a few different parts for that machine that I can use to benchmark.

If you have doubts, like it seems you do, I would advise you to think about what you enjoy most from the hobby, since its actually various hobbies in one: the hardware hunt and collecting, building different machines, actually using old hardware? Personally, my focus is now using / benchmarking the machine, instead of compulsively looking for hardware deals and piling up stuff. This actually gives me more enjoyment than collecting, but that's just me.

About selling the stuff I had, I haven't looked back: the only hardware I am "attached" to is my original 300a and maybe my original Athlon64, both of which I still have around though not in any build. I may actually frame them or put them on display because I find them cool. I sold a lot of things that will probably keep going up in price (P4EE, Voodoo5, MIDI stuff, etc), but I got decent money for them so I don't lose any sleep at night. I would tell you to sell something "expensive" from your collection, for a price that will allow you to reacquire it if you change your mind, and see how you feel after a week or so.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 4 of 23, by keenmaster486

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College cured me of this. But wait until I have a real job and money starts coming in instead of just going out, then we'll see...

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
World's foremost 486 enjoyer.

Reply 5 of 23, by DosDaddy

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I'd dare saying that the problem here seems to be "nostalgia" itself, and no surprise; that's the law of entropy spitting in your face.

Personally I don't fully get the nostalgia thing in this particular context because I never actually quit using the older hardware when I was circumstantially forced to upgrade my main, everyday rig (which continues to be a high end P4); in other words, my TRS-80's, my Amiga's and my PC's have always been there for me, so I've never really gotten to a point in my life where I have genuinely missed any of it.

Now, I am what you'd call a "keeping hoarder", as opposed to a "buying hoarder"; I don't throw anything away (or sell it for that matter), and I carefully service whatever hardware I've gotten along the years so that I can keep it functional and thus meet the relatively low demands of my hobby, but I don't go around blowing a bunch of money on something I know for a fact won't do anything significant for me, and that goes for both old and new stuff.

If you're not actively using most of the items you're hoarding (and neither have you been for any significant period of time), common sense tells me you should get rid of it (I'm assuming you still can, because you yourself have suggested that as a way out) and make sure it lands in the hands of somebody who will appreciate, use and properly take care of it; that way you won't feel all that bad about letting go of it.

As for lack self-control in the general sense, that's a sign of a serious issue running much deeper than we normally think, and something that can't generally be solved by the will of man.

Reply 6 of 23, by SpectriaForce

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I have a limited amount of projects with goals that I enjoy. Recently I bought the last pc part according to my plan. Once all systems are assembled and/or restored and installed with software, then all that’s left is playing. My mission is to have several (ca. 15) different (e.g. graphic capability) fully working like new systems that are good enough for 90’s and early 00’s games. And yes I actually do use the systems that are already finished. I have learned in the past that just collecting old computers and parts doesn’t lead to anywhere. I simply need to stick to a certain plan that involves actual usage. I have also learned what for computers, consoles and games I like and sold the rest.

for ready to use retro game pc's click here

Reply 7 of 23, by Qjimbo

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Hey blackmasked, I like your avatar - Diggers is an underrated classic!

As for how I keep my hobby under control, usually I follow these kinds of steps/rules:

* I think about how much I really need something.
* I limit myself by matching components - e.g. I want to end up with a computer and monitor with matching brands/styles, so there's no point getting another computer when the monitor won't look right with it.
* I will sit down with the computers I do have and use them.
* I don't want to clutter up my room!

It is quite difficult when I go to the recycling centre and I see a dumped Compaq Presario and I want to save it, but I know I have to just focus on what I really need. I appreciate what I have, and realize I'd gain nothing by having yet another computer lying around. Sometimes I think the real issue is having available time to use the computer - I feel like if I get a computer I'll have more time for my hobbies, almost like I'm trying to "buy time", which isn't the case.

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Reply 8 of 23, by blackmasked

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Qjimbo wrote:

Hey blackmasked, I like your avatar - Diggers is an underrated classic!.


It certainly is underrated. It's a great shame that the sequel was (in my humble opinion) a step in the wrong direction.

I currently have 6 ready to go systems that I actually use and few boxes of spare parts, enough to build anoither few, just in case 😀
I do not have shelving units filled with parts that are still sealed like some nutters. This is something I will never be able to understand.
However, I often think that what I have accommodated over the last few years is still a bit much, but judging from your responses I've got my habit under control, or maybe you guys are as bad as me ;]

DOS build: Gigabyte GA-586T2, P200 MMX, 64MB RAM, Tseng ET6000 4MB, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, Roland SC-55mkII, Yamaha MU-80
98SE build: MSI MS-6163 Pro, PIII 650MHz, 256MB RAM, Voodoo3 3000, Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Platinum, Yamaha SW1000XG

Reply 9 of 23, by The Serpent Rider

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I collect crucial computer parts mostly (CPUs, video cards, sound cards, motherboards) and usually skip any HDD, CD drives, PSUs and cases, those are easily expendable. Most of my recent purchases were triggered by looming on the horizon price madness. So I've grabbed most of the 386/486/Socket 7 era well known stuff while it's still cheap or affordable.

Old boxed games might be a problem though...

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 10 of 23, by keenmaster486

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If the acquisition of the stuff is constantly on your mind, then it is a problem. Constantly on the drug addict's mind is where and how he will find his next fix.

It's not the quantity of stuff so much as it is the obsession with getting more of it.

And hoarding is a separate issue altogether.

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
World's foremost 486 enjoyer.

Reply 11 of 23, by Qjimbo

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keenmaster486 wrote:

And hoarding is a separate issue altogether.

I was involved in cleaning out the suite of a relative who was a hoarder when he was getting evicted - he always rented and could barely afford keep a roof over his head but we wanted to try and save his personal things. Single guy in his 50s, never married. It was an absolute nightmare, but what really became apparent was that he collected things things to fill an emotional void. He had over 7 bedding duvets for example. Had to cut ties with him when he started demanding we buy back all the stuff that was thrown out and had no room for or got lost in the chaos. Anything thrown out was replaceable, everything sentimental/irreparable like photos and documents were kept and safe, but that didn't matter to him. He was so mad that we got rid of anything of his, when it was just piles and piles of junk that we didn't have the room for. Bare in mind he couldn't afford a storage locker so we really had no choice in the matter.

I think we've all felt lonely and lost at one point or another, it's important to recognize those kinds of signs that can lead to harmful behavior like that. "Things" cannot replace caring for others, friendship and love.

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Reply 12 of 23, by jheronimus

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I blew a bunch of money this year, but I feel like my collection is almost complete. I was mostly interested with sound stuff and Voodoo, and I definitely got almost everything I could ever use in games. So now comes the hardest part:

a) persuade myself I don't need any more hardware (because I really don't);
b) sell off the doubles;
c) get rid of my habit of monitoring the local ad sites every 2-3 hours.

Well, let's hope it all works out 😀 (still would love to get my hands on a VFX1, though).

Reply 13 of 23, by slivercr

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jheronimus wrote:

...
c) get rid of my habit of monitoring the local ad sites every 2-3 hours.
...

This was an eye opener for me when I noticed it: I would get upset over missing a deal, even if I already had the part in question. I'm much more relaxed after figuring out which items I actually use and want to keep, and selling the rest.

Outrigger: an ongoing adventure with the OR840
QuForce FX 5800: turn your Quadro into a GeForce

Reply 14 of 23, by keropi

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I used to spend thousands on amiga hardware... I know this addiction too well.
Nowdays I just keep what I will use or really like and maybe a spare if possible. I have clearouts where I gift or sell the extra stuff I amassed and this works good for me, keeping only 10~20% of stuff that there is a real chance I'll use.

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Reply 15 of 23, by badmojo

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Yep not easy to control the stash creep but important I think - I found myself fretting about losing my hoard in a fire / break-in / etc when we went on a family holiday a few years back and realised what a ridiculous reaction that was. I don't want my stuff owning me.

Life? Don't talk to me about life.

Reply 16 of 23, by JidaiGeki

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jheronimus wrote:
I blew a bunch of money this year, but I feel like my collection is almost complete. I was mostly interested with sound stuff an […]
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I blew a bunch of money this year, but I feel like my collection is almost complete. I was mostly interested with sound stuff and Voodoo, and I definitely got almost everything I could ever use in games. So now comes the hardest part:

a) persuade myself I don't need any more hardware (because I really don't);
b) sell off the doubles;
c) get rid of my habit of monitoring the local ad sites every 2-3 hours.

Well, let's hope it all works out 😀 (still would love to get my hands on a VFX1, though).

I think it is a very common affliction, and we share the same symptoms!

It is something of a relief to look at the big pile of stuff and realise that you don't need more, but by that time it's out of control. I'm making an inventory to clarify what I have, and where it's going. Otherwise my head will keep spinning every time I'm in the garage.

Reply 17 of 23, by tayyare

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I think some "limits and borders" and "being tidy and neat as a principle" helps a lot. I have a single closet for spare parts, a 5-case-shelf for passive rigs, and a desk space for only 4 active rigs.

Re: post up pics of your "computing area"

Limited space and tidiness helps a lot for helping your family respect (or at least not object) to your collected shit.

Actually I did not buy anything for collecting ever. I don't care about "historical significance" or "sealed boxes", heck, I like tearing them open infact 🤣

If I buy something, it is either to be used, or as a spare part (if the price is ok) to my active rigs. Or an upgrade (again, if the price is good enough) to the exisiting systems that I coudln't find while I'm building that rigs. Considering that all my active rigs are having the almost exact specs that I aimed for at the moment, and spares for most of the important things on them, I'm actually buying things very rarely for the last 2-3 years.

Of course I have collected shit and staff during all the time i'm into this (15 years?) which I have no use for at the moment but they almost all came as free from friends and other sources like IT guys from work, who knows I'm that weird guy who likes old computer parts a lot. 🤣

Being married with kids and not having a huge amount of income also helps you put things in perspective 🤣

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Reply 18 of 23, by jheronimus

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Oh, there's one more thing — I often keep the stuff because I think that one day I might learn that it can do something really cool that I didn't know initially. Of course, in all two and a half years I've been doing this, this literally only happened once. That was when kanecvr discovered that my Socket 7 Lucky Star 5V-1A can downclock to near XT levels of performance.

Reply 19 of 23, by snorg

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I wouldn't say I'm an addict, I do window shop on E-bay a little more often than I should. I'm sure if I went back through my history, I'd find I spent quite a bit more than I'd have liked to, but not an amount that keeps me from paying my bills, or saving for retirement, or any of that.
But I probably could have had a fairly high-end modern rig, for what I've spent over a 4 year period. But you could say that about anything, like going out to eat, or any other hobby/activity you might engage in, there is always something else you could have spent the money on. So I try not to get anything new, unless it is something that has been on my list for quite some time, or something that amounts to impulse purchase money (like $5-$10 for a boxed or even loose game).

So while I have pretty much every system that I've been looking for, I have a hard time finding the time to get everything up and running. I think back to the days when I used to work on my systems back in HS or college, back before most stuff was plug and play, and that sort of saps my motivation to start a project when I remember that any given upgrade could result in 6-12 hours of jackassery to get everything working again.

I also have, between my GOG and Steam account, something like 700-800 games, so at this point I don't think I could possibly finish them even if I made it a full time job. So yeah maybe I'm an addict from that stand point but I bet I didn't spend more than $1500 on games over a ten year period. It is hard to resist those Humble Bundle and Steam and GOG sales. 😁 But yeah I'm definitely unlikely to finish those before I drop dead.