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

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    Probably not the rarest or most desirable stuff around, but still not stuff I see a whole lot.

    10.) XT-IDE 1.0 - I don't know if anyone's still using these anymore. I bought mine sometime around 2010 and it lived in the case my 486 is now as an IBM Industrial PC in clone clothes at that time. Now it runs in my Tandy 1000 with a 3GB Seagate from a NEC Ready 9522 Tower. I'm still running with the firmware I put on it way back when and as of late seeing frequent use with as much as I'm BBSing with my Tandy 1000 these days. It seems most people are using Lo-Tech and newer variants aimed at CF cards. I'm still running nothing but oldschool PATA and occasional adapter'd SATA in my oldschool boxes these days. This was the one the forms sold back when we were called just "Vintage Computer Forums"

    9.) A Mac SE FDHD with a still working original 20MB HDD, manuals, 2 original Mac SE mice, and even a Trackball whose brand escapes me at the moment that has a passthrough for the keyboard or to run it inline with a regular Mac mouse (which is what I usually do). I hardly play with this setup though because I want to find a NIC for it but those seem to be worth the Ark of the Covenant on e-bay so I never even bother to offer for them.

    8.) A boxed copy of Las Vegas Super Casino for Windows 3.1x on CD-ROM and 3.5. My friend who restores thinkpads gave me this a few years ago. Kind of neato to see this kind of budget software in it's original packaging with original documents all these years later. Actually, probably the more interesting stuff I have that's not common is working boxed software.

    7.) A huge lot of Sierra Adventure games in the original boxes I bought for a buck each back in the 2000's. Seems like someone around South Everett dumped off their Tandy 1000 and associated equipment around that time. Within that period, I found Emporers BeQuest, Triple Pack, Kings Quest III and IV in individual boxes, The Black Cauldron, Space Quest I & II in their respective boxes with stuff, and Police Quest I (I have II on the triple pack with Hoyle Card Games and Manhunter II), and a original copy of Manhunter.

    6.) A sealed Linksys Ether16 LAN card from the 1990's, ISA. I found 3 of these at the south Everett Goodwill in the late 2000's, I've used 2 (in my 286 and 486 currently). But I kept one in the shrinkwrap. I don't think you'll find ISA cards shrinkwrapped in the original box that much anymore. But hey, I could be wrong. The shrinkwrapped is the "open in case of emergency" one.

    5.) I have a boxed copy of OS/2 2.1 with Win OS/2 and Multimedia Extensions that came with 5.25, 3.5, and CD-ROM editions. I still install it periodically but I' have never really fully explored it. I picked it up waaaaaay back in the early days of Creeping Net circa 2001-2002ish. Most of the time I tend to isntall it on VMs on my Linux box to play around every once in awhile. Still has all the manuals as well, though missing the 3.5" install media.

    4.) NEC Multisync II JC-1402HWA 14" CRT - I've been blessed by having TWO NEC Multisync 9-pin monitors in my time, but this one is my favorite. I saved it from a pitiful fate in a scrap pile at Computer Surplus in Redmond in 2017 and all I had to do was bodge-wire the input board back together and it's been a real workhorse on my vintage PC's ever since. It's the first monitor I ever actually tore down and fixed, and it's been rock solid. What's really cool is it works with my VGA systems, as well as the CGA Tandy 1000, and EGA systems I might run across if I'm lucky (kind of wish I had my Deskpro 386 again).

    3.) The XT Case on my 486. I bought it from bjsurplus in 2004 on e-bay, and that's the only place I've ever seen one other than davejustdave's youtube channel - which I suppose he bought the same case from the same place I did as it seems they had that thing on E-bay for almost a decade at least. It's kind of an odd design that is made to be able to offer 4x half height or 2x full height slots like an XT, or the covers can mimic a "Mini-AT" look by leaving the middle two external drive bay covers in place for a hard drive(s). Of course, I use all four since I soup the heck out of my systems.

    2.) The AT Case on my GEM 286, which I believe is Songcheer brand like my XT, but more deluxe. It has an odd chocolate milk-ish hue rather than beige. I've not seen another one like it until E-bay this year, which is about 15 years since I bought the 286 in 2005. It also interestingly is powder coated on the inside the same color and texture as the back cover, and the front plastic is molded in white but painted gray from the factory. Bland subject, yeah, but most AT clone cases I've found are either trying to copy IBM by being black in back or having a plastic bezel in really rare cases like the AT originally had, while most are plain bare steel. GEM Always had weird cases on their stuff, my favorite is still the full AT clone of a Compaq Deskpro 8086 case my GEM 386 had years ago.

    1.) Tandy Deluxe Mouse - I have this on my Tandy 1000A, I just got it, and I've been looking for it for a little over 10 years so far off/on. I was admittedly a little scared off from it by the TV Dog Tandy 1000 FAQ due to it's limited movement but I actually find it to be quite a nice and useful addition, though it does indeed handle differently than a regular mouse. Hoyale Card Games for DOS has gone from being a "Why the heck do I have this" game to one of my favorite DOS card game collections, esp with the proper Tandy 1000 sound.

    Whats funny is the most valueable stuff to me are my ratty or well used stuff like my frankenstein 486 XT box with Case in #3, the NEC, and my original VGA release of Monkey Island in beat to hell box with a bolted-together Dial-A-Pirate wheel that is STILL - after 30 years - a staple on EVERY Creeping Network PC I deploy on my home LAN.


      I don't think I have 10 ultra rare ones, but here's my short list:

      Enterprise 128. It's a Z80-based machine built to compete with the ZX Spectrum in the UK. There's no particular manufacturer, all that's known is a group of Hong Kong businessmen were behind it. It came out in 1983 which was a bit too late so it was a market failure. Leftover stocks were purchased by the Hungarian government to be distributed as school computers - but that never happened, they were sold in retail instead. Many Hungarian kids grew up on the Enterprise, and it's indeed very nice little machine of remarkable qualities.

      Videoton TV Computer. A Hungarian built clone of the Enterprise from 1986. I'm fairly sure I own the only working specimen in North America. It's a perfect representation of the Eastern Bloc: a well designed, but poorly built computer based on the East German clone of the Z80, way behind contemporary Western models (the Amiga 1000 and the Atari ST were already out by this time!) but it survived solely due to the weird state of the market of the 1980's. Hungarians were not allowed to possess Western currency or import Western computer technology. Although these restrictions were largely disregarded both in East and West and Hungarians flocked to Austria to bring home all kind of consumer goods, it was still not that easy to get your hands on a good computer like a Commodore 64 or enough Austrian schillings to buy one. The Videoton TVC was sold for Hungarian currency, in Hungarian stores, and for about half the price. Software support was mostly crap, but there was a dedicated user community porting ZX Spectrum games to it. It's still fairly popular even today, although few working examples survived mainly die to poor workmanship.

      An ORIC Atmos. Alas it's only the machine, I have no PSU or anything else.

      Acorn Archimedes. The obscure 16 bit competitor to the Amiga and the Atari ST.

      Hmm, I think that's all... The rest I have aren't that mindbogglingly rare, though some aren't the most common either. Unfortunately I still have most of them packed away in Budapest, waiting to be shipped over to Montreal someday. I could open a museum when they arrive.


        Originally posted by Holmes View Post
        1) Apple II Rev-0 with toggle power-supply
        You're the only other person I've come across who owns one of those. I have Serial #1195. It was given to me gratis, along with the red and blue books. All my rare systems were freebies - never quite understood that tendency.

        • KIM-1 in anodized industrial case
        • Apple Lisa 2/5
        • Apple ///+
        • Commodore SuperPET
        • Dimension 68000
        • Corvus Concept
        • Commodore SX-64
        • Ohio Scientific Challenger 1P


          I have an exidy sorcerer which I found in the dirt at a waste dump in amazing condition considering where it was.
          Came with the S-100 expansion bus and ome disk drives.

          Might be restoring it future.
          But have to focus on the 5160 project for now.

          Good to be here.


            Originally posted by uridium View Post
            [LIST][*]MicroBee's .. quite a few
            Whoo, another Microbee collector what models do you have ?



              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 10, 2020, 10:20 AM.


                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.


                  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


                    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


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


                        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.


                          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.


                            1) Tuscan Transam S100 CP/M 2.2 single-board computers from 1980. One with 5.25" Dual floppy which boots CP/M but due to faulty sectors is not usable. Reference
                            2) The 2nd Tuscan Transam S100 CP/M 2.2 Machine with 8" Dual floppy drives. Never booted this one yet, I was told that it does work
                            3) Intertec Superbrain CP/M 2.2 machine that does boot occasionally but hit and miss. AlanC has a SuperBrain and told me that it could be PSU stability and replacing all the PSU Electrolytic Capacitors would be a good starting point.


                              I have:-

                              1) Transam Tuscan S100 1980 CP/M 2.2 machine with 5.25" dual floppy drives, partial boots to CP/M but bad sector stops full boot.
                              2) 2nd Transam Tuscan S100 1980 CP/M 2.2 machine with 8" dual floppy drives, I never turned it on, however, I am told it does boot up. Hope to add 5.25" and 8" to same machine and create a 5.25" CP/M boot disk.
                              3) Intertec Superbrain that does boot when it likes Will be replacing power supply capacitors AlanC suggested that could be a good start.


                                Many items that I decided are rare are in the same category, so I have listed them by category, a little over 10 items in total. They were very hard to find on eBay.

                                Video Cards - Other than S3
                                1. IBM PS/2 Display Adapter (VGA) - IBM’s very first VGA card, which then became a standard, even to today.
                                2. Tseng ET4000/W32p VLB - PCI is more common.

                                Microsoft Software - Complete in box with manuals, etc.
                                1. Microsoft Windows NT 3.51 - One of the earliest versions of Windows NT, where Windows 10 is based on Windows NT.
                                2. Microsoft QuickBasic 4.50 - I was into QBASIC during childhood. QBASIC, which is included in the latest versions of MS-DOS, is a version of QuickBASIC, but cannot compile .exe files.

                                2.88MB Floppy Drives - 2.88MB floppy drives and disks are very rare, 1.44MB is much more common
                                1. TEAC FD235J - They are found in some old Nortel telecoms equipment.
                                2. Sony MP-40W

                                S3 Video Cards - Noticed my username?
                                1. S3 Trio 64 2MB VLB - VLB is very rare, PCI is much more common.
                                2. S3 Vision 968 4MB VLB - Same as above.
                                3. S3 Trio 64V2/DX 4MB - 4MB is very rare, 1MB / 2MB is much more common.

                                Intel Processors
                                1. Intel Pentium 90 - SX879 with FDIV bug.
                                2. Intel 486DX4/100 - SK096 Write Back is much rarer than the more common Write Through models
                                3. Intel 486DX2/66 - SX955 Write Back as above