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View Full Version : Current and Fair Price for Altair/IMSAI system?



ArchieX
January 30th, 2017, 06:29 PM
I am determined to save up a bit of cash this year in the hopes of finally owning and using an early 8080 system after so many, many years of wishing, but I honestly don't know how much one of these things are currently worth realistically!

I mean, we're all aware of the abhorrent markup that the occasional eBay listing offers them for - but how far off are they, really? I guess what I'm asking is if you had one up for sale, how much would you ask for it? How much would having a unit that doesn't function properly or has broken parts such as toggles affect the price?

MicrocomputerSolutions
January 30th, 2017, 07:17 PM
It depends on the condition of the box/mainframe, whether it includes any S-100 boards (OE or Aftermarket), whether the boards work, what other peripherals are included (printer, modem, disk drives?), and what condition they are in.

A Genuine IMSAI Mainframe with Front Panel that needs some TLC might go for $500 without any S-100 boards. Prices rise as S-100 boards are added, or if a floppy or a hard drive is/are added and may top at $5000 for a complete running system with drives, software, and a quality set of S-100 boards.

An IMSAI Clone, built with some Genuine IMSAI components at a lower than IMSAI Price would be a Fulcrum I8080. A company by the name of WW Component Supply bought some of the remaining IMSAI parts after IMSAI declared bankruptcy and built some high quality computers with the IMSAI name on them (and later using the Fulcrum name). Fulcrum I8080 computer are even more rare than Genuine IMSAI, although they usually sell for less money that a Genuine IMSAI

I have a working Fulcrum with set of working Compupro boards and copies of CPM and CPM-86. I got it last year, and I'm getting bored with it already. The price would be about $1500 without disk drives. I have a set/pair of Shugart double-sided SA-850 full height 8" floppy drives in a Compupro Disk Enclosure that you could have for another $800.

billdeg
January 31st, 2017, 03:01 AM
Think of it like this, retail price is what you pay when demand is greater than supply, such as on Ebay, no point busting on Ebay for providing an efficient marketplace. Pay anything less than retail then good for you. A working front panel lIMSAI 8080 with original parts will consistently fetch less than a similar Altair 8800. The newer 8800b is cheaper but still more than the IMSAI. The IMSAI's are less hassle.

The best bang for the buck is with the IMSAI 8800, if you want a working supportable unit. $1500 retail should get you a basic but working IMSAI 8080 if you are patient. Assume some repairs or maintenance will be necessary even with a "working" unit.

Prices for the IMSAI 8080 might fluctuate but over time the prices on average have stayed the same for the past 10 years. Altair 8800 prices have pulled away, so from an investment standpoint, then Altair has appreciated in value more than the similar model IMSAI. That trend will continue.

You're not going to find a working orig 8800 for $1500 on ebay, that's for sure.

ArchieX
January 31st, 2017, 08:28 PM
Given that I'm in Canada in regards to the current exchange rates between U.S. and Canadian dollars, as well as shipping rates that I will also have to pay for, what you two suggest for current prices does seem to fall in line with what I was expecting which is about $1500 to $2000 CDN for a basic working system in fair condition. Pricey for me, yes, but not outside of the realm of possibility of saving up that much to invest in a good purchase, especially for something which I've been coveting for decades.

Thanks for the information!

glitch
February 1st, 2017, 06:10 AM
You won't find a *working* system for that money, unless you just get extremely lucky on a local deal. A barebones Altair 8800B Turnkey system will run around $2000 USD nowadays, with shipping and everything.

Corey986
February 1st, 2017, 06:58 AM
You won't find a *working* system for that money, unless you just get extremely lucky on a local deal. A barebones Altair 8800B Turnkey system will run around $2000 USD nowadays, with shipping and everything.

I haven't even seen an 8800/8800A that works on ebay in years. I don't consider the lights blink working... It has to run MITS-BASIC. When people get one running, they don't sell at any price !!!!

glitch
February 1st, 2017, 11:12 AM
I haven't even seen an 8800/8800A that works on ebay in years. I don't consider the lights blink working... It has to run MITS-BASIC. When people get one running, they don't sell at any price !!!!

That'll change before too long, I've accumulated too many parts bucket Altair systems, I'll probably have one or two together and sold this year :) But yeah, they're not exactly easy to keep up and running if you're going with MITS boards, motherboard, power supply, et c. The 8800B Turnkey is probably the most reliable, but of course the least desirable.