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View Full Version : Poll. What age justifies a computer as vintage?



alexkerhead
May 9th, 2006, 11:38 PM
What age justifies a computer as vintage? Or do certain circumstances and rarity make a computer vintage?
Please vote, if you don't agree with the first 4 answers, then pick other, and then elaborate. If I annoy you, please choose option 6.

kb2syd
May 10th, 2006, 05:25 AM
IMHO...
The machine should be at least 10 years old, but it should represent either something unique, revolutionary, or at least obsolete. My aptiva 133 from 1994 would not qualify today. It might in 2016 though, but I doubt it. There were just too many of them. I think of it this way: Will the Dodge K series of cars ever be considered vintage?

Chris2005
May 10th, 2006, 06:34 AM
everything that's considerably old enough would be considered vintage at some point. Some things may be more collectible then others though. I hold more to a 20 year rule, with exceptions ;). F'rinstance, IMHO ALL Amigas are vintage, as are Atari ST's. I recently acquired a Canon Cat, and that doesn't meet the 20 year rule, but heck if that thing ain't a vintage item.
To alot of people, without necessarily knowing it, vintage and collectible means the same thing. Or should I say inherent in the designation of vintage is collectibility. But oldt is oldt ;).
No, it'll be a long while before a '386 or '486 would be considered vintage, or moreover very collectible. I seem to recall that Windows 95 (maybe the beta) would run on a '386. In some sense then, it's not entirely obsolete (of course I've yet to try running 95 on a '386, and just recently acquired the original stack of disks. Not this week though...

Terry Yager
May 10th, 2006, 06:33 PM
I think desirability is more a factor than age or rareness. Some very uncommon itemes are virtually overlooked by collectors, while other very common items are considered 'collectible'. I also make a distinction between 'vintage' and 'classic'. Vintage usually implys a certain old-age-factor, whereas, 'classic' can be of any age, including 'showroom-new', IMHO.

--T

EvanK
May 10th, 2006, 07:50 PM
It looks like I'm not the only one who choose "other"... as I said before the original post was removed yesterday, I feel the entire concept of defining 'vintage' purely based on age is itself outdated.

However, we've already (and fairly recently) had the thread on defining vintage, so I won't be redundant here. Use your search buttons. :)

CP/M User
May 10th, 2006, 10:52 PM
Okay, why don't I pose this viewpoint for all to consider...

Some people here have said that some vintage computers may not
necessarily be all that old - yet they are rare.

Some people here reckon my Sanyo Notebook 386 computer isn't
vintage - yet I use vintage software on it. And what would
happen if I just started talking about my TP program which
addresses the Video Card - it's only designed to work for that
card (AFAIK) - so it's something of a rare program, designed
for a Vintage OS.

What would happen if today I started to write a program for
the video card my new computer. It would be unique - cause it
would only work for that line of video cards.

There is a huge demand on Compatability nowadays - cause the
software developers know they need this to make money from
potential customers. Long time ago it was a series of machines
& machines weren't programmed for compatability as much (with
the exception of CP/M) - programs were written for specific
machines & those were programmed to address the hardware.
Nowadays it's mostly compatability which has us stuck in this
line of computers. This has been started mostly thanks for
CP/M - so perhaps CP/M isn't so vintage after all?

The only exception to the rule is CP/M exists on many types of
machines in many different forms & the only reason why it's
considered vintage nowadays - is because it's not typically
being used largely & is considered somewhat critically
endangered on some platforms.

CP/M User.

DoctorPepper
May 11th, 2006, 03:27 PM
I feel true "vintage" microcomputers come from the age from the late 70's through the mid 80's. This was (in my humble opinion) the "golden age" of microcomputers. Once the 80386 came on the scene, that age was basically over.

Ten years from now, I still won't think of a 386 machine as "vintage", but an Atari 800 or TRS-80 Model III will always be!

Chris2005
May 11th, 2006, 03:53 PM
any automobile is vintage once it's old enough. I can't think of any exceptions to this rule, though I'm hardly an expert on that subject. Emphasis on old enough. Some are far more collectible then others. 386's may not be very collectible in 10 years either, but we'll need to cross that bridge when we get there. It may take 20+ for instance for them to become truly interesting. The PC was just such a successful platform that anything past the first and second generation is just blah. For now at least. But just go back ten years and tell me how interesting a 5150 PC was? Or a Commodore 64.
I agree that the whole concept of rendering something as classic has to do with the items belonging to a different TIME period, a bygone era. So to say that ditching the age based criteria in favor of some other trumped up standard is assanine. Vintage means aged - period.

Unknown_K
May 12th, 2006, 10:32 PM
As far as X86 PC's go I say anything pre 386 is vintage to me. The way the 386 worked with memory made it very different from anything that came before it (more modern and usable).

People have all kinds of parameters for vintage, mine are 10+ years old preferable with a major change in hardware/software capabilities. DOS is vintage where Win 3.1 is marginal and win95 and after is current. I also consider ISA/VLB cards vintage (yes I know pentium 2/3 machines might still have a legacy ISA slot but who used them other then for modems).

CP/M User
May 12th, 2006, 11:13 PM
Unknown_K wrote:

> People have all kinds of parameters for vintage, mine
> are 10+ years old preferable with a major change in
> hardware/software capabilities. DOS is vintage where
> Win 3.1 is marginal and win95 and after is current. I
> also consider ISA/VLB cards vintage (yes I know
> pentium 2/3 machines might still have a legacy ISA
> slot but who used them other then for modems).

VLB is something which is found on a couple of my 486
mainboards & considerning you could get a 2Mb Video Card (yes
you could use them for other things besides Modems), it's not
really all that vintage - they are perhaps rarer than your PCI
slots though. I also got some useful ISA in the form of VIdeo
Cards (SVGA at 1Mb) & Sound Cards - even Input/Output cards
for Floppy Disks & Hard Disks. 486 also brought in the 72 pin
Simm Memory cards - as opposed to the 30pin simms found mostly
in 386s (I don't recall seeing a 386 with 72 pin simm memory
card - but by the same tokin a 386DX could handle a lot more
memory than a 386SX. And for the next smuck who calls an IBM
compatable an 8bit - I'll have them know that a 386SX has only
got a 16bit Data lines - yet can handle 386 instructions &
Protected Mode. By your logic of thinking that means a 386SX
should only be classed as an 16bit computer.

CP/M User.

Chris2005
May 13th, 2006, 07:27 AM
what about EISA card? To be honest, I have no recollection of the "standard" from back when it was current (lol whenever that was...I can't remember!). I believe the SGI Indigo 2s have these, but little if anything was made available sadly. If anyone is interested in learning more about those and the Indy's and whatnot, try obsolyte.com, siliconbunny.com, and from there you should be well on your way.

Micom 2000
May 13th, 2006, 07:21 PM
For what it's worth I have about 10 486 ISA-LB motherboards. Small form-facter. Can't remember who made them.

Lawrence

Terry Yager
May 13th, 2006, 07:30 PM
For what it's worth I have about 10 486 ISA-LB motherboards. Small form-facter. Can't remember who made them.

Lawrence

What's ISA-LB? Is that a Ampro LittleBoard form factor (same footprint as a 5.25" floppy drive)?

--T

Micom 2000
May 14th, 2006, 12:58 AM
No I was referring to a MB approximately 8"x10" with 6
ISA slots 3 of which have Local Bus extensions. They're all I believe with AMD 486dx2-80 and Amidos BIOS. Also have a bunch of low profile LB controller cards with SP, PP external ports and fdd and HD pins on them. Heat sink and fan on the CPU. Neat board.

Lawrence.

CP/M User
May 14th, 2006, 01:42 AM
Micom 2000 wrote:

> No I was referring to a MB approximately 8"x10" with
> 6 ISA slots 3 of which have Local Bus extensions.
> They're all I believe with AMD 486dx2-80 and Amidos
> BIOS. Also have a bunch of low profile LB controller
> cards with SP, PP external ports and fdd and HD pins
> on them. Heat sink and fan on the CPU. Neat board.

For some reason this reminds me of that Z80 computer that had
a mainboard the size of a 3.5" Disk drive. But when I think
about it - a Gameboy is a classic example of a Z80 based
console which incorporates everything. Has anyone managed to
squeeze a 386 into a real small space? It should be possible -
since Notebooks now are quite thin with more power & hardware
beyond dreams imagiable - still they don't seem to require a
floppy disk drive - which takes space.

I'd like to see some old CPU hardware with an old OS
incorporate some of the new stuff. Some DOS programs exist
which allows access to USB Jumpdrives - something with full
USB support in DOS would be cool! ;-)

CP/M User.

Terry Yager
May 14th, 2006, 07:22 AM
The smallest (general purpose) Z80-powered machine I have is the PMC MicroMate, a SBC with a footprint about the size of a 5.25" floppy, running CP/M. Smallest DOS/CP/M compatible would be one of the LittleBoards. I have an LB-186, which is DOS only, and an LB-PC, which uses a NEC V40 CPU, so it can run CP/M as well as DOS natively.

--T

canuck46
May 15th, 2006, 08:17 PM
On a related topic(?) I think a Computer is Vintage (or will be) if it is one that was the first of its kind or one that started a trend. As I am fairly new to the older computers(Vintage?) you guys are better able to talk about it than me. My oldest Computer is a IBM 5150..... which in my mind does or will fall into the Vintage catagory. Theres lots that were before that which were unusual at the time....but caught on. Other Computers that I think(in my humble opinion) will be considered Vintage at some point will be the Eagle PC and Compaq Portables... As for the X86''s ,they were so so heavily mass produced that I dought that they'll ever be considered Vintage although some might fall into the "Unusual" catagory...hense making them collectables.

Dave:rolleyes:

CP/M User
May 15th, 2006, 10:55 PM
Terry Yager wrote:

> The smallest (general purpose) Z80-powered machine I
> have is the PMC MicroMate, a SBC with a footprint
> about the size of a 5.25" floppy, running CP/M.
> Smallest DOS/CP/M compatible would be one of the
> LittleBoards. I have an LB-186, which is DOS only,
> and an LB-PC, which uses a NEC V40 CPU, so it can run
> CP/M as well as DOS natively.

Just getting back off-topic, surely though, that LB-186 should
be able to handle CP/M-86 since it can handle DOS?

If my XT were working mate - I could assure you it would be
able to take CP/M-86 v1.1 for the IBM PC/XT as well as DOS
natively. Or is this LB-186 real fussy-fussy like?

CP/M User.

alexkerhead
May 15th, 2006, 11:00 PM
Canuck46, the Compaq portables are already considered vintage..

CP/M User
May 15th, 2006, 11:11 PM
alexkerhead wrote:

> Canuck46, the Compaq portables are already considered
> vintage..

That's the thing though - Compaq portables maybe rare where
you are, a machine maybe more common elsewhere - which
technically speaking my canuck46's logic shouldn't make that
machine vintage.

The number of machines produced don't mean jack - Amstrad PCWs
according to one site is something like 8 million - so
technically speaking it's not vintage based on numbers. Can
you say though that there's 8 million PCWs still in use today?

CP/M User.

carlsson
May 16th, 2006, 05:18 AM
Rather off-topic, but the local radio station did a feature about a vintage tractor club. There was one model in particular from the 50'ties that had sold about 38,000 and of those it was estimated that 15-17,000 still remained, most in perfectly working order. Not all in pristine condition of course.

Having that said, I don't think the number of remaining units should be a major factor whether an item is interesting to discuss or not. Sure, something unusal or rare is nice to show at an expo, but it should not be a tie-breaker what's on and off topic in a general vintage computing forum. For that matter, a machine that very few have heard of or still have should spring less meaningful discussion as theoretically fewer have facts to contribute.

Terry Yager
May 16th, 2006, 08:31 AM
Just getting back off-topic, surely though, that LB-186 should
be able to handle CP/M-86 since it can handle DOS?

If my XT were working mate - I could assure you it would be
able to take CP/M-86 v1.1 for the IBM PC/XT as well as DOS
natively. Or is this LB-186 real fussy-fussy like?

CP/M User.
True that, but I just prefer CP/M-80, especially on a hot machine like the V40 (10MHz clock). Actually, I've never built-up the LB-186, it's still virgin.

--T

Chris2005
May 16th, 2006, 01:39 PM
"On a related topic(?) I think a Computer is Vintage (or will be) if it is one that was the first of its kind or one that started a trend."

That's a worthwhile premise, but deeming something vintage is often much more then that. Remember the earlier post where it was said that a vintage item belongs to a different time period, and in some way represents the age in which it belonged (particularly inside the collector's head). Therefore whether or not something stands out based on technical merit could be considered irrelevent. Remember - vintage and collectible aren't necessarily the same thing, though they're often related. Needless to say then, an IBM PC is absolutely vintage - old enough, and started a trend (if ever a computer did).
If we're going to start weeding out machines that have similar architec-tures, many of the z80 will also fall by the wayside. ALL computers are far more similar then they are different. The logic of invalidating any particular group because they're "so similar" doesn't really hold water. They're all the blooming same thing to a large degree - a uP, memory, I/O, ancillary storage, etc.

Sinisterdragon
June 3rd, 2006, 06:50 PM
Hi all,

I think this is really a fairly comparitive thing. I personally feel that only post 386 IBMs and compatibles are what we might consider "vintage". Maybe we should be a bit more careful about what we consider "vintage". I hesitate to label something thus unless it is old and or rare. I personally dont consider any IBM after the 386 "vintage", and wont add it to my collection unless it is in some way unique or unusual.

Having said that, my collection has a range of systems starting at an EDUC-8 micro trainer, right through to some more modern pentium systems. I dont really consider the "newer" systems vintage, just collectable. I "collect" anything computer related also, and though I have some old, wierd, and unusual items, would not consider them "vintage". A Tandy "Armatron" toy robot arm that I have in storage is a good example for instance.

The Sinister Dragon

billdeg
June 3rd, 2006, 08:17 PM
I don't think that anyone would disagree that practially any computer or part made before 1977 is vintage, as defined by this site at least. After that date you will never get a consensus. I agree with Mobilemaster basically, it's not the date, it's the evolutionary significance of the thing in question. Good wines being corked today are made to be "vintage" and so too are some computers manufactured this year because they break new ground or take the industry down some quirky dead end.

I have come to the conclusion that this topic will never be settled, and that defining vintage is simply a personal thing. Every time this discussion comes up I brace myself for the illogical diatribes.

All that said, my personal interest in old computers starts to drop off with systems that are newer than 1986.

Mad-Mike
June 4th, 2006, 02:32 AM
The thing about collecting vintage computers is that unlike any other item, except maybe guitars (as there are millions of knock off Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster copies made every year by various names, but they are at least done by a couple "ghostbuilders"), there are TONS, I mean TONS of no-name knock-off "clones" out there from the 8088 based XT's on forward. It's a tough call weather to make such "generic" devices collectable or not, since it's hard to gather all the manufacturers over the years.

You have your major Manufacturers: Compaq, IBM, Dell, Gateway 2000, Epson, Tandy, and so on, but for every one of them you got a whole pile of white box Manufactuerers like: GEM, Flight, Cactus Computers ID., AMT, CSI, a million Everex, Kingspao, MSI, In-Win, SongCheer, ASUS, and other chassis all labeled with a myriad of names, some don't even have nametags as they were built by their original owners (and sometimes second and third hand too). You also have "ghostbuilder" stuff too, like take for instance, I had an IBM PS/Valuepoint computer awhile back, that one, instead of IBM PS/Valuepoint on the front, it had GTSI Desktop Computer on the badge. I also recall some kind of custom made Compaq 386 system made in the late 80's for some special purpose that went under a different manufacturing name (Compaq was the "Ghostbuilder").

The thing I think a lot of people forget is to separate the Vintage from Collectable. Vintage is an age Vint-AGE, collectable is weather it's actually worth anything or not. I consider most computers 15 years old or older vintage, which includes pretty much anything 486/100 on down. Once it can happily run Windows 2000 or XP, it's pretty much moot to collect it, since a modern machine can do it.

Now the real collectable stuff in the x86 category, original IBM PC 5150's, 5160 XT's, 5170 AT's, Compaq Deskpro 8086/286/386 (preLPX, they did not make many of those early computers as they were Top of the line when they came out), the original Compaq Portables pre-laptop, the original foldable Laptop jobs by Zenith Data Systems sometime between 1986-1988, weird oldies like the Amdek 286/a (which was manufactured by Wyse, and used a backplane/daughtercard design, and a standard Wyse terminal keyboard).

On top of it, you have some really weird clones, like the GEM computers I have are pretty strange (one of em' has a Deskpro style case that I have not seen ANY other manufacturer use), you have some XT clones that have the Car-Hood-Like "flip-top" cases, rare IBM Blue Lightning motherboards in some early 90's systems. There's so much out there just in X86 it's hard to list it all and make a definite answer on it, unlike, say, things such as the COmmodore 64 and ATari 400/800, which were in their own design league with their or archetecture. Macintosh is 1000X easier to classify and estimate value on than an old IBM Compatible, because the variables in collecting IBM compatibles is practically through the roof, and subject to TONS of sub-classifications (portables, XT desktops, Semi-Compatibles, AT Desktops, Clones, Originals, Rarities.....yadda yadda).

In the end though, vintage to me is just whatever the mainstream is not using, I even consider some Pentium I machines vintage now, because you don't see people with a Pentium 60 very often anymore, most of those machines were junked at least 4 years ago.

Jorg
June 4th, 2006, 02:38 AM
Some funny idea came to me: Its vintage when it can only run an OS that the majority of people can't work with anymore..

dongfeng
June 4th, 2006, 04:05 AM
Vintage to me is pretty much pre-Pentium, but early Pentiums are getting uncommon now. It's really a hard things to judge.

For cars, "Vintage" applies to anything built between 1919 and 1930.

Personally, I collect the systems I either have a personal interest in (ie, I used to use them) or I find interesting :)

atari2600a
June 4th, 2006, 04:32 AM
pre-Pentium sounds like a good defenition of vintage...

Chris2005
June 5th, 2006, 04:24 PM
"I agree with Mobilemaster basically, it's not the date, it's the evolutionary significance of the thing in question."

"Every time this discussion comes up I brace myself for the illogical diatribes."

Bill, you and whoever else would seek to separate the discussion of vintage items from an age based criteria really need to enlist the services of a dictionary. We are hear and now taking part of a discussion on vintage-computer.com. Not evolutionarilysignificantandehkindaoldputers.com. I hate to be so frank, but stating that vintage is anything other then an age based criteria is the most illogical conclusion one could possibly draw.
Did Erik voice his opinion on any of this yet? Let's ask Erik! He's not intentionally staying out of it by some chance is he??? LOL LOL

Erik
June 5th, 2006, 04:36 PM
Did Erik voice his opinion on any of this yet? Let's ask Erik! He's not intentionally staying out of it by some chance is he??? LOL LOL

I've thrown out my opinion before.

Vintage is what you make of it. People will invariably have different opinions of that and there's nothing wrong with that.

I don't think anyone is trying to get us to think of GeForce 6800s as vintage since they've been supplanted.

I, myself, don't deem anything worthy of my collection unless it's 286 or earlier or it has some historical significance or coolness factor (NeXT, BeBox, etc.) but that doesn't mean I don't have a fondness for some 386 and 486 boxes. . .

Chris2005
June 5th, 2006, 04:45 PM
dude, you and I are so on the same page. It's all about kewelness and the phun-phactor. I couldn't have said it any better.

Vlad
June 5th, 2006, 06:19 PM
Indeed, Well said Erik!

-VK