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Unknown_K
November 20th, 2009, 09:46 PM
For the people who collect and use XT to 486+ systems, do you prefer an OEM model (IBM, DELL, Gateway, etc) or do you prefer a generic home made system? Or does it matter at all?

krebizfan
November 20th, 2009, 10:01 PM
Doesn't the system need some noteworthy feature to be worth collecting? OEM systems often have more exotic cases or components and some have historical significance. I collect systems with brand names.

White box or home built systems that I pick up are mostly planned to be used as cheap sources of spare parts. The parts are so standard that most other systems of similar age can accept the transplant.

Ole Juul
November 20th, 2009, 10:08 PM
Yes, it does matter, and I would like to see less of the commercial run-of-the-mill systems and more of the computer buff ones. Part of the charm of "Vintage" is working within limitations.

The "as sold and marketed" commercial systems are important historically, but so is the "what people did" systems. I think it is nice to see, and I prefer to use, a system which is put together from miscellaneous parts that the builder/user finds attractive in some way. Just like many of us nowadays buy or scrounge parts that we think make a nice system, so we did back then. That is completely authentic. It is also something which is completely ignored by many vintage computer people.

NathanAllan
November 20th, 2009, 10:46 PM
Personally I look for the homebrewed machines. Some of the OEM machines are neat and there are quite a few (almost anything Tandy), but there's a XT crammed and "fitted" into an AT case that someone tossed here, and it's a very interesting piece of machinery. The previous owner had to make an external power supply for it and that has just so much character. Plus I get to see how it was done.

TomFCS
November 21st, 2009, 05:34 AM
I've always thought that with OEM machines you try should to keep all of the components as close to factory original as possible. Including documentation and a time appropriate OS installation. I see OEM's as for occasional use and for perhaps demonstrating something historically significant.

Clones on the other hand allow you the choice of installing a wider range of hardware and software. I see them more as daily drivers, DOS gamers or whatever you want to use them for.

I mostly collect OEM machines but do have a couple of clones I wouldn't want to part with also. Guess I'm kind of on the fence with this one.

Unknown_K
November 21st, 2009, 11:13 AM
I have always built my own so when I started going retro I just snagged parts and built 286/386/486 machines as needed.

The other day I snagged a mint ZEOS 386DX/33 machine from the local recycler (they started emailing me when they get old stuff) and love the way it was built (solid steel). The cool thing about it is that I installed a 2GB HD and it didnt have an issue with it (quite a few controller/motherboard BIOS have the 512MB restriction for IDE). It also was built with a removable battery pack so there is no battery corrosion on the motherboard you see with most 3rd party designs.

I have a bunch of IBM PS/2 systems but that is because they were the only ones (outside of a few rare examples) who did the MCA bus. One of my EISA systems is a Zenith Data system brand.

kishy
November 21st, 2009, 01:19 PM
Just to throw in my own experience/preference with a story:

I hate 386s. I think it has something to do with them just being boring...a 486 can be stretched to the point of doing modern things. A 286 is more or less vintage and has interesting limitations. The 386 however, despite being revolutionary (perhaps evolutionary is the better word) when it came out, gets no love from me. I gut and destroy 386 systems when I find them.

However, there is a 386 in my house. A PS/2 Model 56 (SX). I even hate that one to some extent because it's an SX and therefore crippled.

That one, however, gets a little love because it's an IBM. A pre-assembled, crippled-by-design system with the crippled version of the MCA bus. Expansion is limited so much it might as well be labeled non-expandable. There's a CD-ROM drive bay but you've gotta lose the hard drive if you put a CD drive in it.

Point being, despite their quirks and limitations (if not because of them), I prefer an OEM system when it comes to "old stuff".

Now, if we talk modern, I feel my heart sink into my stomach when I see some unfortunate soul using an Apple, HP/Compaq, Apple, Dell, Apple, eMachines, Apple or others (or Apple). I think most techy people would agree though that home built is the only way to go for modern machines.

JDT
November 21st, 2009, 02:12 PM
the only brand name that really matters to me is IBM, on 80's machines. Every other piece of equiptment I have is most what I've built myself in an attempt to have the "best" of whatever generation system I'm building.

Chuck(G)
November 21st, 2009, 09:57 PM
I hate 386s. I think it has something to do with them just being boring...a 486 can be stretched to the point of doing modern things. A 286 is more or less vintage and has interesting limitations. The 386 however, despite being revolutionary (perhaps evolutionary is the better word) when it came out, gets no love from me. I gut and destroy 386 systems when I find them.

Depends on your view of history.

When the 386 came out, it really was something very new and exciting. Imagine, an X86 that could execute 32 bit code and implement true virtual memory, not that brain-dead segmented 286 mode. There was a wonderful demo of QNX with browser and PPP connectivity that would run from a 1.44M floppy on a 386 with VGA.

I still have a couple of 386s--one is a 16MHz Micron that's pretty slow; the other's a 33MHz I-forget-what that's somewhat better. I don't believe either has an NDP chip.

I mostly have these around for very old hardware that won't work with anything faster. But both will boot Warp.

I find the 286 based systems far less exciting.

Unknown_K
November 22nd, 2009, 01:55 AM
The first machine I built in the early 90's was a AMD 386DX/40 setup (I recreated it a few years back since I sold the original to build a 486). I have a soft spot for 386/486 systems. My first PC was a packard bell 286 so I kind of don't like 286 systems much (but I have a few here). 286 systems were not that usefull because of memory management or lack of it, the world changed when the 32 bit 386 came out.

Bungo Pony
November 22nd, 2009, 05:33 PM
Now, if we talk modern, I feel my heart sink into my stomach when I see some unfortunate soul using an Apple, HP/Compaq, Apple, Dell, Apple, eMachines, Apple or others (or Apple). I think most techy people would agree though that home built is the only way to go for modern machines.

LOL!

I'll agree that home-built systems are the technological way to go, but Apple does have it's charm with it's proprietary everything. Besides, most of the real classic computers were all proprietary, and that's what gives them their character and charm. The only thing I wish is that they ALL had serial ports on them. Getting data off a classic mac is extremely painful.

However, the Macs of the 90s were very bland. They wanted to look like PCs, but they didn't want to behave like them. It made for some very ugly computers. The iMac series have brought back character, even though I'm not fond of ANY version of MacOS.

kishy
November 22nd, 2009, 05:50 PM
Depends on your view of history.

When the 386 came out, it really was something very new and exciting. Imagine, an X86 that could execute 32 bit code and implement true virtual memory, not that brain-dead segmented 286 mode. There was a wonderful demo of QNX with browser and PPP connectivity that would run from a 1.44M floppy on a 386 with VGA.

I still have a couple of 386s--one is a 16MHz Micron that's pretty slow; the other's a 33MHz I-forget-what that's somewhat better. I don't believe either has an NDP chip.

I mostly have these around for very old hardware that won't work with anything faster. But both will boot Warp.

I find the 286 based systems far less exciting.

I did try to address that with my remark about them being revolutionary chips...I certainly recognize that. It is indeed a matter of perspective. I dunno, get a 386 online browsing the internet with Win95, it's nothing special because it's something it is known to be able to do (people will recall having 386s and using them for exactly that).

Get a 286 online browsing the internet...now that's a bit more of a feat. Not impossible, but that will really "wow" some people.


LOL!

I'll agree that home-built systems are the technological way to go, but Apple does have it's charm with it's proprietary everything. Besides, most of the real classic computers were all proprietary, and that's what gives them their character and charm. The only thing I wish is that they ALL had serial ports on them. Getting data off a classic mac is extremely painful.

However, the Macs of the 90s were very bland. They wanted to look like PCs, but they didn't want to behave like them. It made for some very ugly computers. The iMac series have brought back character, even though I'm not fond of ANY version of MacOS.

Heh, I did mean to mention DESKTOPS of course. I'm typing on a Dell but it's because it happens to be a laptop, and for both my needs and price range a used Dell is more than competent.

Apple...well...is Apple. They did it differently. I think I've mentioned before how I dislike software simplifying or dumbing down computers...case in point: MacOS.

Certainly in this crowd, "simplifying or dumbing down" could count as using a GUI at all, or to some perhaps having a system that can use a monitor, so when I say simplifying/dumbing down it's relative to how computers were when I first started using them (my first was a 486)

I agree the 90s ones are sort of bland. I have an LC 580 (think Performa 575/580 with no FPU) and there's nothing really redeeming about it. I just keep it because there's something fun about browsing my own website on an old copy of iCab...but the 640x480 resolution results in some interesting disasters.

Apple certainly has some "collectability" though, particularly compact Macs (perhaps because you can tuck them in the corner and not actually lose any space) and obviously the pre-Mac ones.

To be fair I think every older Mac did have a serial port, but it was a mini-DIN port and I have no idea if you could, for example, do something like LapLink between it and a "PC".

geoffm3
November 24th, 2009, 11:36 AM
Even the "ugly" Apple cases are still some of the best designed computer cases IMO.

The most hated vintage machines for me were Compaqs. Maybe it's because I had to stuff one too many hard drives in them and deal with their crummy BIOS that didn't support a user defineable drive type, or the fact that they used non-standard drive rails that were only available through Compaq.

That said, I thought their "portables" were neat. :)

Bungo Pony
November 24th, 2009, 07:31 PM
Even the "ugly" Apple cases are still some of the best designed computer cases IMO.

I've had problems with the plastic that 90s macs are made from. The stuff is incredibly brittle and snaps if I look at it the wrong way. Makes for easily disposing of an unrepairable one.

I also must say that I like all the signatures pressed into the original mac case. That was a really neat touch :)

Unknown_K
November 24th, 2009, 08:14 PM
In my experience the 8500 and 9500 powermac cases are made of very brittle plastic. I have 7500 and 8600/9600 cases that are built like tanks. Older units seem decent and so are the later Beige G3s so it must have been found and corrected in productions (bad batches?). My major complaint is the plastic start button and those PCI slot holder parts are the ones that snap off easily, screws holding the cards down or those things DELL uses to clamp on a whole row of cards would have been better.

Old macs also tend to yellow badly.

Chuck(G)
November 25th, 2009, 03:04 PM
I've had problems with the plastic that 90s macs are made from. The stuff is incredibly brittle and snaps if I look at it the wrong way. Makes for easily disposing of an unrepairable one.

Up until late last year, I had an Apple monitor that would spontaneously shed bits of itself. I'd pick up some bit of beige plastic on the floor and wonder where it came from. After awhile, the answer became obvious.