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mpickering
October 30th, 2009, 02:14 PM
Recently, I've been acquiring some additional hardware. Not vintage in the old computer sense but networking hardware and previous generation 1U rack machines being retired from service.

I've got a Cisco 2509 terminal server and a pair of Cisco 3620 routers. I'm using the 2509 to manage the rack machines from their serial consoles.

The 3620s are pretty much equivalent of later model Pentiums. 80Mhz MIPS processor, 64MB RAM, 32MB flash, 2 serial ports (console and aux) plus whatever network modules you install.

Nice hardware to play with embedded operating systems on now that various generations of these older hardware are being retired.

So I wonder how stuff like this fits into "vintage" collecting. While I wouldn't consider a Netra X1 or T1 to be vintage hardware as compared to a SPARCstation, they are no longer mainstream systems as new hardware replaces them. Eventually they along with the machines of their generation will become old and forgotten.

Does anyone else here consider such retired hardware from the mid-to-late 90s and early 21st century "vintage"? Does it have a place within the idea of collecting vintage machines? Will people set up home racks filled with mid-90s Cisco hardware as vintage networks running stodgy IPv4 protocols?

Just thinking aloud.

Matt

Unknown_K
October 30th, 2009, 11:35 PM
If it was made, somebody will collect it. Some people collect modems, I avoid them if possible. Routers, especially high end ones will end up being userfull when the current internet morphs into something the old hardware cannot connect to anymore.

One thing I am curious about is if anyone collects the original NOVELL server machines (Novel netware68 running on a 68000 custom machine).

There are many computer related devices that fall outside the common desktop machines most people get their hands on (or old mainframes and minis). Printers tend to get recycled and few collect them, new printers are USB or network only good luck getting a 5150 to hook up to that and print.

Ole Juul
October 31st, 2009, 01:48 AM
I think network hardware will eventually become valuable, but it will probably take a very long time. I would compare to the radio era. Many will collect old receivers but most will gladly throw out anything from the transmitting end of the chain - no matter how historically important it is. I think it's a matter of familiarity. Common objects are more collectible because the collection becomes recognizable by more people. Eventually the less common becomes so rare that the true value becomes undeniable.

Networking, and the internet, is becoming one of the most important developments of modern times, and tracing the evolution of the hardware that made that possible is going to be an interesting subject. Unfortunately, few people know much about it. I've posted questions about network stuff here a couple of times and gotten zero answers. It's just not sexy - yet. :)

Chuck(G)
October 31st, 2009, 10:41 AM
There's a lot of vintage stuff that's gone by uncollected.

At one time, word processors were probably more common than personal computers. Yet how many people collected those? It's probably too late now.

Or old peripherals, such as printers and terminals? Terminals at one time were far more common than any microprocessor setup.

How about old modems? How many people have a collection that extends back to the 1960's? How many people even have a 1980's Bell 209 modem in their collection?

This seems to be very common in all fields, with the result that later generations get a very lopsided view of the way things were.

Unknown_K
October 31st, 2009, 01:28 PM
There's a lot of vintage stuff that's gone by uncollected.

At one time, word processors were probably more common than personal computers. Yet how many people collected those? It's probably too late now.

Or old peripherals, such as printers and terminals? Terminals at one time were far more common than any microprocessor setup.

How about old modems? How many people have a collection that extends back to the 1960's? How many people even have a 1980's Bell 209 modem in their collection?

This seems to be very common in all fields, with the result that later generations get a very lopsided view of the way things were.

The local recycler had a complete word processor setup in boxes and wanted to sell it to me for $15, I passed since I don't collect those and I am short on space as it is.

Some cool items are not worth the shipping costs even if you give them away, and you cannot save everything.

Chuck(G)
October 31st, 2009, 02:16 PM
One single person can't collect everything--eventually, one has to specialize, I suppose.

The distressing thing is when there are no collectors of significant bits of technology.