Retrocomputing: would you buy an obsolete but beloved computer now?

Fair warning: high geekery field here!

I am so tempted by those old, cheap Amigas on sale on eBay. I could grab one for a relatively small price, and then get a blast from the past, spend many hours redescovering those games I liked and digging out the programs I wrote, and feel nice and cheerful. The problem is, what’s the point? There are emulators, and after all in my small flat I don’t have so much space.

On the other side, a man’s gotta have his toys, right? Right? And I don’t have a jillion pairs of shoes or a squillion clothes that I won’t wear anymore like Mrs Aruns (sorry love!), so my space usage is irrelevant, relatively speaking. And an Amiga 1200 or a good ole 4000 might still be useful for something, with the right accessories. But all in all it would still be a useless purchase.

Did you ever have this kind of urge for retrocomputing? For buying that old, beloved computer that is connected to many happy memories? If you did it, how did you feel afterwards?

Oooh, I’d love to get a BBC B. No idea where I’d fit it into my house, though!

Sure, I picked up an old mac a ways back. I don’t use it much, but it’s occasionally fun to haul out and toy around with it. Worth every bit of that 50 bucks I spent.

The only thing you have to be careful of is that parts and upkeep can be a pain if it breaks. It’s not like you’ll be able to hit the local computer store to get them. :slight_smile:

I do. I bought a Sun IPC a year ago. But just the shoebox, can’t tell if it works, no monitor, etc. I loved my old one.

I also bought a Timex Sinclair 1000 a couple years ago. Fun for a few hours. But again, just use an emulator and it’s a whole lot easier to run old stuff that way.

I’ve kept all the parts of my first XT-clone. But the case currently houses a K6-2 500Mhz system. It’s next on my list to case-mod to an ATX format MB. Retro on the outside, modern(-ish) on the inside.

I’ve been throwing out a lot of computer junk the last few weeks. Dozens of cases, MBs, monitors, etc. Even a couple of busted old laptops. Let me tell you, it’s been painful. I have no idea why throwing out QIC/Irwin-80 tapes feels bad.

I’d have a hard time passing up an Epson QX series, if I found one cheap. They were pretty damn cool for their time.

Mr Cazzle bought an old Vic-20 just to muck around with. Five years, 400+ obsolete computers and a $10,000 shed later, he’s hoping to open a museum someday. Let that be a warning to you all.

Oh… but as he sometimes sells old Amigas on eBay let me just say that it’s a great idea Lars and you should really do that! Bid high matey! :smiley:

Go for it!

A couple years ago, I shelled out a bit over a grand for a Lisp Machine (a Symbolics MacIvory II).

Do it, do it, do it! :wink: Old hardware needs love too; the uniquer the better.
(I also have a VAXStation and an Alpha-based Digital Personal Workstation–both running VMS, of course.)

Heck, I’m practically running an obsolete but beloved computer as my main box!

::hugs his 1998 still-chugging WallStreet PowerBook::

But yeah, I’ve got an LC running System 6.0.8 sitting right next to me as I type. And I’ve been thinking about getting an Amiga myself (never had one, want to see what they’re like).

Well, I’ll think about doing the purchase… Can anyone suggest good reasons to use with the wife? Good arguments for “We don’t have enough space for my clothes?” :slight_smile:

BTW, that would make a good thread topic: the different attitude of men and women on spending for their own hobbies and on the other partner’s.

::drool:: The very machine I came in here to talk about. If I could buy one obsolete computer, a Lisp Machine would definitely be it. Too bad about the prices, though; I can find old PCs in the CS department trash hall, if I’m patient, but basically everything by Symbolics gets hoarded.

Do emulators count? 'cause I’ve got my old Atari 800 and a bunch of games emulated on my current machine… :slight_smile:

It still worked when last tried 3 years ago. Vintage 1983 16K computer. Yes 16K. I taught myself to program on it in basic. It also played some interesting cartridge games. Of course all saved programs were on cassette tape and there is little chance of them still working.

I am posting from a North Star Horizon.



If you’re going to be using it outside the home, and someone else is going to be paying the power bills, the old, washing-machine sized Symbolics hardware is pretty cheap.

Of course, IIRC the kind of hard disks they use are ageing, obsolete, and nearly impossible to replace.

I still have a number of old Macs, back to a couple Mac IIsi’s. I wouldn’t mind picking up an old original Mac or Mac SE just for the novelty of it. Plus, I could drag out my old disks of Dark Castle and Beyond Dark Castle and play them again… :slight_smile:

One of the IIsi’s didn’t want to fire up last time I tried it, but I have a couple of LCs that I can run System 6 (and 7) on and fire up some old games.

I frequently pick up used machines at surplus auctions, too – usually ones that are more recent, to grab parts from, and/or maybe fix up and sell. Every once in a while I see some old old old machines go through those. I’m keeping an eye out for one of those ancient original Macs. (Although in my mind, there’s not much point in picking up an old 486 or earlier, on the PC side. Too much of a PITA).

Now… I wonder if there are still any TRS-80s running around… :wink:

I’ve com across quite a few recommendations of using a 486 or even a 386 as a Linux mail server on a home network. Which actually makes sense, assuming you know what you’re doing - there’s nothing that’s going to strain the hardware, and it has plenty of benefits.

I’ve got a Horizon in my bedroom. I haven’t used it in years out of fear of starting an electrical fire. But, it should still work.

I buy obsolete computers all the time. I just do it at garage sales and flea markets. I get more stuff for less money.

Good point. I should clarify and say that I can’t think of any reason to pick up an old 486 or earlier to run anything related to DOS or Windows… :wink:

Linux – yes, I can see doing that on it.

Me, too – although I usually pick them up at the surplus auctions my university has every two months. I’ve picked up a number of pretty decent machines there, like Pentium IIs and IIIs. The PIII’s I’ve picked up there were for $15 and $10, respectively (although those usually get bid up higher than that. Call it good timing.)

Fair enough! And actually, the recommendations I’ve seen are more the ‘what to do with the computer in the attic’ variety than actually suggesting buying a 486.

At work we’ve got a 386, from which I retreived a whole load of important data recently, and it’s now sat in a corridor functioning as a dirty-cup-holder.