The Retro Machines
Vintage computers! Vintage consoles! I love old electronics! I love seeing what makes them tick, and when they don’t tick, I love figuring out why!
These are the vintage computers I currently have. I keep meaning to make a more robust, searchable database of these, but…who has the time?! Some of these were just found, some of them came from Craigslist, some from friends who are into the vintage scene, some came from eBay, either whole or in parts. Almost all of them have been upgraded to the gills. I’ve written up some short descriptions, but I’ll go back through this and add some more detailed information as time allows.
IBM 5160 (PC XT)
This computer was rescued from the HP salvage center many years ago. When I found it, it had 512 memory, a 10 MB full height drive, and a full height floppy drive. It still has the floppy drive, and the MFM drive is sitting (unplugged) in the case, but it now has a 64 MB DOM drive hooked up to a XT-IDE in it, plus a number of other upgrades. It has 640k, which is really all the memory anyone will ever need.
IBM Thinkpad T41
This was an eBay purchase. I’ve run OS/2 and Windows XP on it. I think currently it has XP with a pretty typical loadout installed based on when it was current.
Classic Breadbox Commodore 64. More fun than anyone person should be allowed to have. I have a 1702 and a 1541 that go along with it.
This was sitting unused in a buddies closet. I liberated it. I have a 1084S, a 1541-II, and a 1581 that go along with it.
I bought this at a yardsale a buddy of mine had in the early 2000s. It’s been heavily upgraded.
I fixed a bunch of IIc motherboards with bad memory and got this as a payment for my services. I’ve upgraded the memory and added a RTC to it. It’s pretty spiffy, but the keyboard is…not great.
Apple Macintosh SE/30
This might be the prize of my collection. It has 128MB RAM (yes, really) and a SCSI2SD drive in it. I’ve got System 6, System 7, and A/UX installed on it. It also has an Asante network card installed.
Apple Macintosh Performa 475
I bought this on a whim from a local eCycler. It was pretty dirty and had no hard drive, so I talked him down to $40 bucks. I replaced the ’low-cost’ 68040 in this (with no math coprocessor) with a full fledged 68040, and upgraded the memory and the hard drive. It’s a pretty spiffy machine.
Apple Power Macintosh G3
A buddy of mine gave me this. I have big plans for it, but honestly, I haven’t done anything with it yet.
Apple iBook G4
This is a classic white iBook G4, running at 1.4GHz, I think, with the memory maxed out and a 32 GB SSD installed. It was a pain in the neck to get the hard drive installed.
Lumpy the 386 is the closest machine I have to the first ‘real’ computer I owned, which was a 80386sx clone I built myself with money my grandparents gave me. It’s running MS-DOS and is a great late-80s DOS gaming machine. It’s running an AMD chip.
This is a VLB 80486 machine I bought ’not working’ from eBay. It had some pretty substantial battery damage that had killed the keyboard, but I was able to blue-wire it back to life. It lives in an open chassic that was sold on Amazon for mining setups (it actually looks pretty cool). It’s got a DX266 in it at the moment, I believe.
I couldn’t find a PC AT case for this, so I ended up modding a ATX case and mostly got it looking decent. I actually built it as an OS/2 machine, so all of the parts in it have OS/2 drivers avalable, as well as Windows. I believe it’s set up for dual booting.
HP Thin Client
This has a Transmeta Crusoe chip in it, pretending to be a Pentium III, I believe. It has Windows 98 SE installed and is primarily used as 95-99 Windows gaming machine. Not the best for FPS, but great for games like Baldur’s Gate, Age of Empires, etc.
Tandy Color Computer 2
This was an eBay purchase. It was really cheap because it didn’t have the extended BASIC chip, only had 16k, and was in pretty rough shape. The case cleaned up really well, and I’ve managed to upgrade the memory to 64k and find the extended BASIC chip. I’m still trying to find a better video solution for it, because it only has RF out.
These are the vintage (or previous gen, anyway) video game consoles I currently have. I used to have a lot more, but quickly realized that I was never actually going to hook those early 8-bit machines up to a television and spend more than 15 minutes messing around with them.
Nintendo Entertainment System
I remember spending many hours over at my buddies house playing Mario, Duckhunt, Zelda, and the other usual suspects. I later got one of my own and spent a lot of time playing StarTropics, Rushin’Attack, Karnov, and Airwolf on it.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
My highschool girlfriend’s family had one. I spent a lot of time hanging out with her in their living room, playing Tetris, Dr. Mario, and the usual Mario games.
Nintendo Gameboy Advance SP
I picked up a used one when I was in college and it helped get me through a bunch of really slow, really dry 100 level classes.
Sony Playstation 2
This was a birthday present from the girl I was dating when this was the ‘current’ playstation. Right now it’s modded and has a 500 GB hard drive in it, mostly because I’m trying to save the optical drive from wear and tear.
Sony Playstation 3
I had the wii, the 360, and the PS3 for this generation. The only generation where I had all of the currents. This is the one that stuck with me, though, so it’s the only one I kept. This is a ‘fat’ model with the actual emotion engine, so it’s fully compatible with Playstation, Playstation 2, and Playstation 3 games.
Sony Playstation Portable (PSP)
I bought this at our local Kmart when it was new and Kmart was still in business. I remember being astounded at how good the screen looked. I still fire it up to play Lumines!
Nintendo DS Lite
This was mostly a ‘catch up with franchises I loved on the GBA’ kind of device. There are a lot of great games on it, though, and it’s still a solid little ‘on-the-go’ machine for pick-up gaming.
Sony Playstation 4 Pro
This is my second PS4. I sold the first one when the Pro came out and used the money for the upgrade. Currently it’s hooked up in the basement next to my work systems, and still gets a fair amount of love in the evenings and on the weekends when the TV upstairs is otherwise engaged.
Sony Playstation Vita
It’s too bad Sony didn’t spend a little more time and effort trying to get this platform to succeed. I suppose between the dominance of Nintendo with the 3DS and the advent of the smartphone, it never stood a chance, but it’s a great little device.