View Full Version : Directions for a newb on aquiring its first computer ?

March 9th, 2010, 12:22 AM
Apart from the Tulip (for which I'm still waiting vacation to build the PSU), I don't own any other vintage equipment, nor do I posses any experience, apart from said computer.
Software-wise, my knowledge goes back up to general DOS usage, as for hardware, the oldest standard I know is the ISA one (non-PnP I presume).

So, all this vintage era is pretty much a mysterious wonderland for me.
I did read the above threads regarding "what is vintage" and the other where you guys talked about general mistakes made by newbies, but I'm certain there's a hell of a lot more to find out.

With this in mind, I want to bring a companion for my Tulip, but I don't know where to start.
Firstly, I searched on the local market and the national e-bay equivalent; no dice.
Tried to see if the local universities had old equipment they wanted to scrap; no result.
My only chance is the "interwebs".

Anyway, what kind of computer would you recommend a first-timer like me to get ?

March 9th, 2010, 01:02 AM
Get something that is common, cheap and with plenty of documentation and user groups. It might be anything mainstream like a XT clone or 286, perhaps a home/gaming computer like a C64, possibly an old 68K Mac, Amiga or Atari ST if those are of your liking. If it is inexpensive, you can play a bit more without risking valuable damage. If it is common and with lots of users, chances are you will find plenty of software and relatively simple ways to transfer it to the target machine.

Does the Tulip machine run MS-DOS, CP/M etc? You may either want another one of similar function, or a computer that runs a completely different opereating system.

March 15th, 2010, 06:49 PM
I agree. Your first vintage system should have plenty of docs to go with it. I usually read the docs of an unfamiliar computer from cover to cover before I even start working on the system. I also take the chassis off to inspect or clean before I do anything. Start with something cheap that you can afford to blow up by accident.
Have fun.

March 16th, 2010, 12:49 PM
I agree with the first two replies, something common and well documented. And something with a good easily-available selection of software and accessories.

I'd also strongly suggesting buying something that Works. Not much fun starting with a pile of crap that doesn't even boot.

My favorite that meets the above criteria is the TI99/4a. Commodore 64 or 128 would be excellent choices as well. You can often find any of these on eBay in practically new-in-box condition.

Good Luck!

March 16th, 2010, 02:50 PM
I agree, my first vintage computer was an Amiga 600 with lots of documentation, and believe me, it helped a lot.

From my personal experience, you should talk with the seller (if possible) and ask him pictures of all acessories, extras, of the computer working, and search on the internet for pictures of that computer, if you don't find any similar to the ones you received then you can believe the seller (I've received some times pictures taken from the internet, while the seller guaranteed that the pictures were taken by him).

March 16th, 2010, 03:15 PM
I also agree with the above.

Based on my own experiences, I wrote some tips on what to look for when buying a vintage computer (http://www.classic-computers.org.nz/blog/2010-02-09-tips-on-buying-a-vintage-computer.htm). It's slanted towards New Zealand readers but hopefully it will help.


Anonymous Freak
March 16th, 2010, 09:42 PM
And eventually you end up with things like early HP PA-RISC machines running HP-UX (which you've never even seen before,) with no documentation, or even proper adapters, and figure 'em out however you can! :-P