It sounds like you are off to a very good start with the FinalGROM99. Considering you were a power user in the past, you may want to be one again, so might not want to lock yourself into a narrower path.
The sidecar TIPI route is much smaller to be sure, but from a dollars and sense angle might not be too far apart (price-wise) from a PEB if you plan on putting a case around the parts for protection. The good cases, with the 100 micron print will come to around $100.00 (before shipping) from Canada. With the side car version, you'll need to purchase the 32K sidecar(1), then you'll need to purchase the TIPI(2),then two power supplies(3) one for the Rpi, two cases(4,5) as well as the Rpi(6). With the cost of multiple shipping expenses on top of the assorted parts, it will still probably be cheaper than a PEB, but not as much as you think.
If you go the P-Box route, you'll eliminate the two cases and one power supply off the top, along with multiple postage and handling fees, but that savings may be eaten up by shipping one P-Box, but you'll retain the capability of future expansion like running a 1meg SAMS board instead of 32K, possibly getting another Triple Tech some day, (if you are very lucky)... or even using something that has not even come out yet.
Sorry to dump all that on you at once, but since you have not committed yet to a path yet, I thought one more perspective might be useful. In the final analysis, when it comes to the pre-shipping price between the sidecar TIPI hardware and the PEB version, it's only around $20.00 cheaper to go with the P-Box version, factor in the cases and you are into full blown P-Box prices. In the end, it's six of one and a half-dozen of the other on price, but one route gives you future expansion options.
Yeah, cost-wise, minus shipping on the P-Box, it's about a wash. I already ordered the 32K sidecar and case, but have not yet pulled the plug on ordering the TIPI. For overall desk real-estate purposes, internet, and storage options, the TIPE route on top of 32K sidecar is attractive.
That said, I've never forgiven myself for letting my old system go (had a rare MBX for it too). It kills me to have to hunt and peck and pay more for stuff I already had. The only issues on my old system were the overheating problem on the SoB (anyone else have that same problem w/ TIM/SoB?) and the console-internal 32K I had from before I owned my P-Box (about 100 solder points on ribbon cable off the back of cartridge port go brittle over time...Bud Mills actually repaired that for me once back in the day).
IF at some point I pick up a P-Box again, whaat would I want in it today:
* Flex Card
* One of the quieter fan mods...probably
* Wonder how reliable those old power supplies are almost 40 years later?
* I'd want that old Myarc FDCC that let me run the 3 1/2" floppy...forget if it topped at 720K or 1.44 version...? But beyond that...most of what I ran on floppy back then would be a moot point.
* RS232...? debatable...not gonna run a printer off of it, and I haven't had a land line in years, so a modem is a moot point.
* Triple Tech...yeah...though now it'd be just about the speech synth...maybe the clock cal...again...not likely to use it or printing
* TIPI-for PEB...yeah...like that idea!
* Horizon RAMDisk/PGram cards...don't see a need for those with FinalGROM99
* F18A MK2 in P-Box form factor kind of like the old Dijit card did for vide? Kind of an intriguing idea, though that one still required jumping the 9918 to sleep if I'm not mistaken. (My TIM/SoB was in socket replace of VDP and Groms 0 & 1 (1 &2?)
What other cool P-Box cards have come out in recent years? That 1 meg SAMS board might be cool...how reliable vs flaky is that w/ memory maps, etc?
Edited by patrickmcmichael, Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:14 PM.