The Rise of Retrocomputing

w1retap

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Found a pimp mouse for my A2000 the other day on Ebay, rofl. All joking aside, it is surprisingly good quality. (yes, it is mirror gold)

Qe82xSQ.jpg
 

blade52x

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If I had a stupid amount of money I'd build one of those random museums out in the middle of the California desert that would have a bunch of pristine and functional hardware. Every room would be a different decade. It'd be a circular arrangement of rooms where start and end both finish at the same time, so you'd have the option of goings backwards or forwards in time.
 

kju1

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Good question, the reason (if it breaks or indeed is now broken) I want to have a repair-path for it is because its financial value is irrelevant to me, it belonged to my grandfather who was writing a book and jotting down memories about his life at the time of his passing in the late 80's. He also had an Apple SilentWrite thermal-paper printer (Fax paper) but sadly those documents he saved-off have faded due to the relatively temporary nature of how fax paper works and how it was stored.

I still have the discs, still have the software (Bank Street Writer among others) and so if the hardware still works (it's been kept temperature and humidity controlled, not in a garage or attic) I'd like to be able to try and explore that option for repair if need-be. It might be lost to time, it might not, but if there's a dedicated community that repairs stuff like this I figured this was a good place (and thread) to ask in.

Last time I fired it up was probably a decade ago, and it worked fine, read discs......played a game of Dr. J vs. Larry Bird on it and then shut it down hoping the caps would last another 100 years.

Its amazing to pop the cover on those things and see where it all began. Typing LIST $ and BLOAD (well maybe I am mixing my Apple and Commodore syntax but I digress) was my first step to getting into tech which turned into a career to this day, so its more about the feelz than the dollars.

Not sure if its mentioned yet or not but there are companies who specialize in data recovery on older devices - I forget the name atm. Had to hire one at my last job when we found an old old system in the basement that died and was apparently running something important. Just a thought. I will try to dig the memory out of the old device in my head to see if I can remember the name of the company we hired.

You might also be able to order a working disk drive and then read the disks yourself using an emulator?
 

GiGaBiTe

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Ye gods. For a second I thought those were the "unlock your processer's full capacity with a license key" things. Glad that idea sank.

Did it though? Intel has had artificial market segmentation for decades at this point. They basically have a check box in the firmware that enables or disables things like ECC or SMP support, requiring you to buy a separate CPU and sometimes motherboard at a higher price point.
 
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1_rick

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Did it though? Intel has had artificial market segmentation for decades at this point. They basically have a check box in the firmware that enables or disables things like ECC or SMP support, requiring you to buy a separate CPU and sometimes motherboard at a higher price point.
Do you remember that particular little idea of theirs? You'd buy, say, a dual-core CPU with one core disabled, or a Celeron locked to a lower-than-normal speed, and you could buy a license key that you'd enter into special software that would unlock the second core or enable the CPU's full speed. I think that like one or two Gateway models had those CPUs and then the idea failed.

So they still certainly do practice segmentation but nothing that in-your-face egregious (some may feel differently, of course.)
 

AceGoober

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The most memorable for me was installing a 80287 alongside my 80286 12Mhz. Still wish I had that system and all the upgrades done to it over the course of 4 years.
 
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I wish I had kept all of my old parts (CPUs, Video Cards, etc) instead of selling them on Ebay over the decades. Just for nostalgia sake.
 

GiGaBiTe

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Do you remember that particular little idea of theirs? You'd buy, say, a dual-core CPU with one core disabled, or a Celeron locked to a lower-than-normal speed, and you could buy a license key that you'd enter into special software that would unlock the second core or enable the CPU's full speed. I think that like one or two Gateway models had those CPUs and then the idea failed.

So they still certainly do practice segmentation but nothing that in-your-face egregious (some may feel differently, of course.)

Yeah, I remember that product code upgrade card fiasco. One of the chips was a Pentium G6951, which when unlocked would upgrade to a Pentium G6952. It basically unlocked some extra cache and Hyperthreading functionality for $50. What's weird is that it functionally turns it into an i3 class processor, but there is no i3 equivalent in the Clarkdale lineup. The Pentium G being 2.8 GHz and the slowest Clarkdale i3 being 2.93 GHz.

I had mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it would offer customers to buy lower end hardware and have the ability to upgrade what they had without changing anything. On the other hand, it would have obviously been rife with abuse, no company is going to look at that not not think of ways to further extract cash from a consumer. Ethics about such things went flying out the window long ago.

I wonder if hardware hackers ever figured out a way to circumvent the unlock process to get a free upgrade. I can't really find much on it anymore since it had so little use for so short a period of time.
 

painintheworld

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Perhaps it's time to fire up my late Father's HP again. Mouse long since ran away. To do what I don't know. Should probably pass this on to someone who better appreciates it.

View attachment 318884
This is an amazing piece of hardware, Susquehannock! I have several really nice modern machines, including the laptop I'm typing this on (10850H, 2080, etc), but I still use my old machines more. This laptop and another are mostly used with tabs open with PDF manuals for various old machines.
 

MixManSC

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I need to drag a bunch of old stuff out and sell it off. Moving soon and dont want to deal with it. Old SGI Indy, Compaq Portable suitcase computers, lots of older cards and boards (doubt anything really special like rare video cards though).
 

deruberhanyok

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I don’t get retro builds. Having lived through a lot of these old PCs I can’t say I understand what anyone gets out of using one today.

way back when, I tried to revive some old hardware with then-new-and-revolutionary BeOS. And then when that worked, and I realized there was still nothing to do with those systems, I decided old hardware was just junk and haven’t had any interest in going back.

But I’m glad people are enjoying it.
 

matt167

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When I was ~10, my dad and I burned a dozen or so 386 motherboards which were NIB in the back yard. I forget how he got them, probably from one of the computer shows. I wanted to keep one but he told me they were worthless. This was 1997 or so and he had just built me a K6-2 box.. We took a truck load of AT&T computers to the landfill around the same time

I do have a C64 with all the extra's, and a PII Compaq Deskpro w/ serial connection to run the X1541 adapter, plus a Tandy 104 and an unknown Monochrome IBM thinkpad with 3.1 on it

A couple years ago I had a thrift store HP Pavillion that was PII and I never opened it up. I used it a little but eventually threw it out.. Later I realized it had a Voodoo card in it
 

Red Falcon

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I don’t get retro builds. Having lived through a lot of these old PCs I can’t say I understand what anyone gets out of using one today.

way back when, I tried to revive some old hardware with then-new-and-revolutionary BeOS. And then when that worked, and I realized there was still nothing to do with those systems, I decided old hardware was just junk and haven’t had any interest in going back.

But I’m glad people are enjoying it.
This is how I feel about the hardware of the 1990s and 2000s - I was there and lived it to it's fullest, so there isn't any personal reason for me to go back and re-live it again.
However, computer equipment from the 1970s and 1980s was much more enigmatic and interesting, as I had only used some of that equipment when I was very young, and not in any way beyond surface-level use.

So equipment from that era is much more interesting to me personally with being able to rediscover it, how it works, and how far we can now push it with modern software, techniques, and even hardware.
I think what we are seeing now is an interest in 1990s and 2000s computer equipment, as those who are now in their 20s would have barely lived in the 1990s, and must feel the same way about those eras of technology.
 

Red Falcon

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When I was ~10, my dad and I burned a dozen or so 386 motherboards which were NIB in the back yard. I forget how he got them, probably from one of the computer shows. I wanted to keep one but he told me they were worthless. This was 1997 or so and he had just built me a K6-2 box.. We took a truck load of AT&T computers to the landfill around the same time
Argh, I know, right - hindsight is 20/20.
I used to have so many parts and pieces of computer equipment from the 1980s and 1990s back in the 2000s, and at the time it was all virtually worthless.

The parts that then worth peanuts are now going for 3-4 digits, it's crazy.
Heck, the 10Base-T NIC (broadband adapter) for the GameCube was around $15 USD in 2013, and today it is going for well over $125 USD.

I should emphasis that that was an extremely common part for a GameCube, which was hardly a rare console, let alone some proprietary or esoteric equipment from the 1980s or 1970s... good luck with any of that. :eek:
 

w1retap

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I mainly like retro PC's because emulation doesn't always get it right (sound/graphics), games can have issues on modern systems, and the overall feel of the speed and sounds of the system is much different. It's also pretty fun to go back and install the original OS on an old system, set the FSB/multiplier/voltage jumpers, SCSI ID's, IDE master/slave jumpers, etc. Plus when something fails, it is much easier to repair versus the BGA mounted stuff of today. Oh, and you can now purchase things for pennies on the dollar versus what they were back in the day. I now have tons of stuff that I only dreamed of owning back in the 80's and 90's.
 

Starfalcon

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I mainly like retro PC's because emulation doesn't always get it right (sound/graphics), games can have issues on modern systems, and the overall feel of the speed and sounds of the system is much different. It's also pretty fun to go back and install the original OS on an old system, set the FSB/multiplier/voltage jumpers, SCSI ID's, IDE master/slave jumpers, etc. Plus when something fails, it is much easier to repair versus the BGA mounted stuff of today. Oh, and you can now purchase things for pennies on the dollar versus what they were back in the day. I now have tons of stuff that I only dreamed of owning back in the 80's and 90's.

Yeah same here, I like setting up an old rig to play some of my old games. Same as with old consoles, you can emulate them, but it just isnt the same as setting up the real thing.
 

travm

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Did it though? Intel has had artificial market segmentation for decades at this point. They basically have a check box in the firmware that enables or disables things like ECC or SMP support, requiring you to buy a separate CPU and sometimes motherboard at a higher price point.
Thank God for chiplets.
 

Format _C:

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I was given my uncle's old Tandy 1000 for my 12th birthday which was ironic as the computer was also 12 then in 1996 it was the rare model also! When I moved to another apartment with my Mom after my grandfather passed it got tosses as old junk (if I only had or what I had as a kid I would be rich same if I knew then what I know today I could fixed some good stuff) I don't miss configuring hardware jumpers though! kids have it too easy! I remember playing Leisure Suit Larry - Land of the lounge lizzards I remember needing Mom's help to answer the "Are you sure you're really xx which is what ever age you put over 18"
 

erek

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Nvidia Executive: "Even really old cards are selling for insane amounts on ebay."
Jensen: "Dig through the dumpsters and find those crappy chips we couldn't find a use for 3 or 4 years ago"
 

Nside

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Anyone know where someone might get a vintage Apple II+ recapped and rechipped? At the very least I'd be shocked if the belts in the Disk][ Drives are still good, figure I plug it in, it starts to make that familiar boot-up sound...........and explodes, releasing the all-powerful Blue Smoke that we, in the know, understand is the magic that computers run on........

So long as I don't plug it in and try to get it to work, it still works in my mind.
There's an Apple ][c+ sitting in my parents basement, still worked last time it was used 30 or 35 years back.

It's not recapped, but it is in a house with chain-smokers, so there is a protective nicotine film on the components and circuit boards.
 

Format _C:

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There's an Apple ][c+ sitting in my parents basement, still worked last time it was used 30 or 35 years back.

It's not recapped, but it is in a house with chain-smokers, so there is a protective nicotine film on the components and circuit boards.

LoL! at "protective nicotine film" better on the computer then any more of the smokers lungs!
 

sc5mu93

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I do think modern computing could learn a few things from vintage computer marketing/packaging.
 

DogChainX

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I've been into retro computing for over 10 years now. I was at local thrift store and saw an old AT computer for $5. I thought, what the hell. Why not? So I brought it home and have been hooked ever since. The golden age of computing is awesome nostalgia trips from my childhood. And now that I'm older and understand how to fix a great deal of electronics, trouble-shooting is half the fun as most problems are now very-well documented and have a huge online community. Vogons.com is awesome....
 

w1retap

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Wow, I appreciate your reverse engineering skills. Though maybe you think this way easy, it's like that sometimes.
This one was pretty simple since I had clear pictures and the board was all through-hole. It only took about 30min to make the schematic. But it is pretty challenging when you don't have the physical product and you're going off low resolution pictures from 20 years ago lol.
 

hity645

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I'm in the same boat. I still play the odd old game with dosbox, emulators, etc. But I really don't need more junk around the house.
I got bored the other day and created a VM of Windows 98 for some retro gaming. I had one of Windows 2000 but I misplaced the drive it was on. It was fun trying to get the drivers to work correctly and actually get the game to launch.
 
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