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Thread: What are the top 10 rarest vintage computer bits you own?

  1. #201


    I found the old Orchid PGA with EGA daughterboard, lots of "blue wires" on the back- they did not use white wires. I originally had two of these modified by the manufacturer to output an NTSC signal in addition to the standard IBM PGC compatible analog. I used them for animated computer simulations back in the 80s. I remember they charged me a couple $100 extra for the mods, and custom software to engage the NTSC output. Back when you called the company, spoke directly with the developer, told them what you wanted, and got "Yeah, that won't be hard. How about $400 for the mods." I probably have that software "somewhere", it came on a 3.5" floppy. The mods worked, but the NTSC signal worked with VHS but not on an NTSC Laserdisc recorder. I switched over the the Willow VGA-TV cards, based on the Tseng 3000 chipset. I ended up writing an emulator for the PGC/PGA commands to work with the VGA card.

    My most rare "Computer Tidbit" is an original Manual for the IBM Mark I, signed by Grace Hopper. There were around 250 or so copies published, the book has a hand-written Serial Number in it. The expression on her face was priceless when I asked her to sign it after a Nano-Second presentation. I have the Grace Hopper Nano-second wire somewhere in the basement. Probably used it in a project, thought that was fitting.
    Manuals for the Texas Instruments Advanced Scientific Computer, a total of Nine computers made.
    Other manuals, mostly Fortran going back to Fortran with Format statement. I earned my way through college by converting ancient dialects for Fortran to vector Supercomputers. $960/hr of CPU time- I paid for myself several times over by optimizing code.

    Other stuff, "Junk in my Basement not used in 25 years"- IBM PGC with 5175 PGC monitor in the Box, Zenith Z386-16 CPU board with Cyrix FastMath coprocessor;
    Wang 360K Transistorized Calculator with Card Reader and Nixie Tube console;
    IBM A/D board with break-out board;
    Intel Aboveboard with memory expansion daughterboard;
    Fergusan BigBoard from a Xerox 820-II;

    I still use my TNT PharLap DOS extenders, go back to when they were on 5.25" floppy. I just bought four VortexDX3 PC104 format boards, 1Ghz/1GByte processors for $70 each. Just wow. They run my custom-manufactured PC104 cards. I can use Wordstar, PharLap, NDP compilers, and even the 2017 Watcom compilers on them. With I had these boards in the 80s. And I wish I had kept my Ampro Littleboard "Toaster ovens".
    Last edited by BrianS; August 10th, 2020 at 11:20 AM.

  2. #202
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Denver, CO (US)


    I'm really not 100% certain but I THINK my rarest may be a PS/2 Model 50z, the one with the unique microchannel architecture (such a neat computer, sadly the one-off MCA experiment just makes it harder to do anything with it these days). I also have an MCA Novell network card intended for PS/2 use, at least I think that's what it is. It's by far the physically largest vintage card I own.

  3. #203


    Probably the three rarest pieces I have are
    - PS/2 Server 9595-3QT. I believe it's about the highest stock configuration there was for any PS/2.
    - Complete Roland MPU-IMC in the original box
    - Soundpiper 32 MCA - It's not a Sound Blaster MCV, but at least it's SB compatible!

    Some of my favorite things in my collection are not necessarily all that rare but have an interesting history.

    - PS/2 Model 56slc - my first PS/2 ever. I was a kid and got my dad to get it from a local government auction in the early 2000s. It was previously decommissioned from an air force base.
    - PS/2 Model 80. The machine is semi-rare, but the special part is the original installation of OS/2 from when it was used by an IBM corporate salesperson. Neat!
    Collecting IBM PS/2 and earlier, and productivity software for DOS, OS/2 and Windows 3.x

  4. #204


    from 1994is

    Philips CDD 521 CD recorder (big external scsi)
    Back then it was before long file names, so it was only 8.3 dos filenames and limit directory deep, recorder software was dos command line.

    My plan is to restore the setup and make an youtube video about cd recording from before it was common to have CDrom drives

  5. #205


    -Apple II Video Overlay Card
    -Applied Visions Future Sound GS (very uncommon sound card for the IIgs)
    -Apple II 3.5" Controller (FDHD) Boxed

  6. #206


    IBM 5161 and IBM 5162
    Once upon a time, the internet sucked because it came through the phone. Now the phone sucks because it comes through the internet.

  7. #207


    Earlier this week I picked up a Tandy 3, serial number 126

    Not a TRS-80 Model III, it's badged as a "Tandy 3" and has a pretty unique Catalog number of 71-1001.


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