Collecting Vintage Computers You Grew Up With

93Flareside

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Something I've thought about lately, now that I've been on my own for close to 5 years now, I've floated the idea of collecting old computers that I fawned after as a teen. Yet I got rid of a bunch of stuff a couple years ago because I deemed it useless and a waste of space. Does anyone here also feel the need to collect old machines that they either used and want to relieve some old memories or just liked the look of them? most of the PowerPC era of Apple machines are some that I adored even if they weren't the most useful. I need to find an iMac G4 before they're all gone or priced sky high for sure...

Share your own, or something.
 

CraigB

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I'd like to have an Apple IIe and possibly a Coleco Adam, as they were the earliest computers I remember using. The Apples I used in school, my grandmother owned the Coleco and we'd okay games on it.

There's two things that stop me though, space and money. Looking at vintage Apple equipment is a bit pricey. At least on eBay.

Funny thing about the Coleco, they used tapes for storage and were known to create enough magnetic interference they could erase their own tapes if anywhere near the computer.
 

Matt2000

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Something I've thought about lately, now that I've been on my own for close to 5 years now, I've floated the idea of collecting old computers that I fawned after as a teen.

Admit it, you secretly want to be LGR. Me too. :p

I'd love to get hold of a machine identical to the first one I got in 1998. Just a Dell Optiplex GL5100 with a P100 and 64Mb of RAM but we had it for 5 years and I never got to dig in to it. I don't have space for it really.

1596213831988.png


I have my Dolch PAC 62 here in the cupboard next to me, a really quirky portable from 1994 that was designed as a portable packet sniffer and diagnostic tool for network techs (and probably hackers too). Example pic:

1596213864338.png


Like the old machine I had it's a P100 with only 32Mb of RAM this time, it does have a nice early LCD though and a great mechanical Cherry keyboard. The biggest snag has been that the onboard disk controller is SCSI only and few add-on IDE cards behave, it does run Windows 98 though from an SD card. I plan to buy a SCSI2SD but the import costs are crazy at the minute and someone is bound to bring one out in this country as soon as I get it. Blame for getting this falls on CuriosMarc with his series on his PAC 65. That's a later machine and it would be nice to get one of those too...

Something I could make space for is an IBM PC XT, I'd really like to create a replica case for modern hardware and it's just a nice, big, old machine. Going for high prices though now. LGR is to blame for me wanting one of those, the new Checkmate case he showed made me realise that there might be a market for replica cases for modern hardware and I think I could pull off an IBM...
 

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In the year or so after college I went on an eBay buying spree of weird laptops and portables from the 90s that had caught my eye in PC Magazine from those days. They included:
-Dell 320sli
-IBM Thinkpad 701c "Butterfly"
-AT&T Globalyst 250, a rebadged NEC Versa V/70
-IBM P70
-HP Omnibook 425 and 800c

Like a bad collector I sold all of them as part of a move, which is a shame because the Butterfly and the Omnibooks are worth a fair amount more right now.
 

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So I remember an IBM computer that I wanted to bad when I was young. I have no idea what it was but it was crazy big trinitron monitor and the CD and Floppy Drive were in a separate device that would raise up and lower out of sight.

I had a Mac and then after that just clone towers till I got a dell laptop. Most of them were cannibalized into the next.
 

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I had an Amiga 500 as a kid. A decade or so back I found a 600 that was about to be thrown away so I took it... sad I didn't grab the monitor as well.

The 600 is the compact version of the 500 with a slightly more modern design and no numeric keypad. And my example has a hard drive! First thing I did when I started it up was to check the "DPaintIV" folder and sure enough, there were some pictures of a scantily clad Samantha Fox and whatnot in there. Awesome.
 

93Flareside

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While I never had one, I still want to have the first gen iPod with the full-size FireWire port and physical rotating wheel. If I had to sie one, I’d get the 3rd gen iPod because the touch sensitive “buttons” were like magic to me.

I will still look on eBay for old Apple Performing 6400/180’s. it was the first computer we as a family had after moving from Round Lake. Bought it at a Circuit City in East Dundee that closed down in the 2000s, became a Big Lots, and is now a Firestone mechanics shop. The only thing special about that was it had a woofer built into the tower and speakers in the monitor it came with. That monitor was shit because about 3 years after, the red in the RGB crapped out and you had a blue tint to everything.

We kept that until purchasing an eMachines T2080. That wasn’t as special, but it was the first pc to do school projects on and play 3D games. It was also the poor machine to discover the internet.

These days, I enjoy looking at the odd PowerBook G3-G4’s specifically the Pismo and Titanium versions. While I never had one when they were new, a friend of mine’s father worked for a school system and I used to get old iBook Clamshells. Wonderful toilet seat looking things. The hinges on those were so strong I remember riding my bike around town with it partially open while I rode with headphones.
 

Matt2000

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Er, so remember I said I wanted to buy an equivalent to my first family computer? Well I accidentally exactly that. I've not long finished stripping, cleaning and reassembling it. These pictures are kind of all over the place.

This is how it looks now, it what will be its home under the scanner. The important thing about this one is that the stickers are in the same place as they were on the old one we had.



It's a Dell Optiplex GL+ 5100. We had a GL 5100 when I was a kid so this is an upgrade. It came with 16MB (4x4MB) of RAM but I was fortunate to find a single seller with two 32MB SIMMS for sale. I wasn't exactly sure if they were the correct type but gambled and they were, so it now has 64MB as ours did back in the day.

After cleaning and partial reassembly, a bed makes a decent workbench when you have no other space.


I took lots of photos when disassembling it, this is the funky ATX power that Dell used. I was able to find a pinout online as it's apparently non-standard. Just a random shot of the HDD, I think our old machine had two HDDs so I have no idea how they got the second one in. This is a Quantum Fireball, not sure if I'll use it or if I'll use my IDE to SD thingy.
 

93Flareside

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This came back randomly in my head and I figured I would share. Back in 2013 I was finishing up a mostly defunct degree program with the local community college that my company used for the single attendee apprenticeship program (me). Because the effects of the market crisis were mostly gone and stuff was picking up, less folks were going back to school and attendance was down. So my class for Duct Balancing was done as an independent study with the teacher in his place of employment. He was chief engineer of Motorola Solutions. A few mornings if i was early enough, I could have breakfast in the company cafeteria and talk with my teacher as well as this old man named Chester.

Chester was Motorola's longest employee and after he tried to retire decided he wanted to keep working and became The Guy in the museum area who spent time restoring old equipment to put in the museum. I met and spoke to Chester a few times and he seemed like a wealth of knowledge. Sadly, Chester died in January 2015 at the age of 92. A couple of years ago, Motorola tore down the building the museum was in and sold it to become a driving range. I have no idea whatever happened to all the museum stuff, but I'm keen to find out as that was so cool to see Motorola's history. Especially something like "hey, this world renowned company was started right here in Illinois, something cool happened here." Motorola Solutions now basically is the company who builds and maintains data centers for all emergency services in the country. I imagine other places too, but I don't know exactly.


 

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I have an Amiga 600 in the closet somewhere. A 600HD/40 even! It was about to be thrown out about a decade and a half ago and I deeply regret not grabbing the matching monitor I saw in the same pile of computer scrap. I wonder if I could make my 65” TV work with it.

Yes, of course it has DeluxePaint IV on it. Yes, the DPaintIV folder contains a couple of vintage nudes. Samantha Fox and the like.

The 40MB hard drive has to be the noisiest 40 megabytes I’ve ever heard.
 

93Flareside

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I hope they donated that items from the museum to another computer museum. Chester reminds me of CuriousMarc of Youtube fame and the others who run the old IBMs at the Computer History Museum in California.

I called Motorola Schaumburg today and was told they moved most of the equipment to a Chicago "Innovations Center." The guy I talked to could not confirm whether or not the same amount of stuff was kept as the museum is much smaller than the old place. This guy I talked to is under the impression they rotate things out. I may need to contact someone in the Chicago office then.
 

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Funny my dad called me the other day, he was doing cleaning around the house, so he asks me if he can throw away my old computers. I have a Pentium II 450 mhz (that cartridge slot processor) around somewhere still, a couple celerons, stuff like that. Need to go back home and see which ones still work.
 

Matt2000

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Now definitely isn't the time to throw them away! I'd be surprised if they don't work, the biggest factor will be the type of battery, if it has leaked and if any of the capacitors have gone bad. I don't think they would be old enough for the latter.

I got a CD-RW from eBay that I thought was the same as the one we had in the original Dell we had, that's actually not quite true. It's actually the much faster 48x model we had in the later (crappy) Packard Bell machine, shown here with the old 16x CD-RW we took out of the Dell. Still looks the part, the fact that it's much whiter than the rest of the beige Dell box is part of the charm.

 
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