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Modern day "tulip mania" with 1200XLs on eBay today


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#76 Timothy Kline OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 7, 2017 7:29 AM

If a few people are stockpiling comparatively huge numbers of 1200XLs, surely by definition 1200XLs are becoming rarer. Of course everyone has the right to own as many 1200XLs as they choose, but I have to wonder what the reasoning is for collecting them in huge numbers, other than as a financial investment (on the assumption that the price will continue to rise or at least remain high).

 

Contrast this with at least one notable community member giving away 1200XLs in large numbers a few years ago (I received one) - a gesture which is probably responsible for the large number of 1200XL owners today. I have three and would probably keep a fourth. Beyond that, it gets a little crazy. :)

 

I'll tackle the "Why?" from my personal perspective.

 

First, the obvious: there is no practical reason why I have as many 1200XLs as I do, since I can only ever use one, maybe two or three, without converting my entire home for accommodating the entire collection.

 

If I can't and likely won't be using each machine, then why keep them when someone else who could use one, even if only to complete their Atari home computer collection? Why not sell off the majority, keep a few for myself, and that's that?

 

I suppose I could say that I'm keeping the other machines for spares and parts as time wears out the 1200XLs, but the idea of scavenging the otherwise complete and working systems sounds like a terrible goal for me personally.

 

I mean, I was enchanted with the 1200XL from the first time I laid eyes on one in an ad. Never saw one in real life until I started adopting them last year-ish. Now that I'm older and have "discretionary" funds to work with, I'm able to fulfill the wishes of that late teens-early 20s version of me. Owning one, finally, made me want to have a couple others, for spares (at the time), so I adopted a 1200XL as they showed up. Originally, I was telling myself it'd be cool to own 10 or 12 of them. Fix them up, and resell them and hopefully make a bit of profit in the process since I would be selling them in much better condition than when they arrived.

 

But then 10 became 25. Twenty-five sounded like a good number, and since I could still buy them (and AFFORD them), I went ahead. Okay, just for laughs, let's aim for 30. But when I hit 30, I decided that was silly. I should just adopt 50 of them and be done with it. Since I was going to be 50 myself this year, that made it an even more enjoyable goal to try reaching.

 

And, of course, I managed to adopt those 50, with two more after that. My "50 plus 2" as I like to refer to them.

 

It was around that same time that I cleared my final goal of 50 that prices began to rise to where they seem to be trending currently. Much higher prices than I'm able, willing, or even need to pay, given my current 1200XL family size. Of course, if I see one listed with an irresistable Buy It Now price, I'll likely try to adopt it since I just appreciate the 1200XL as an Atari machine. Not for its flaws--although they provide the 1200XL's history, character, and personality, but more for its untapped potential when it comes to the modern-day mods, etc. In fact, the only issue I have with the 1200XL is the lack of a PBI port (maybe you, FJC, could do a YouTube video covering THAT monstrosity of a mod, lol).

 

Now, although in the very early stages of this I had planned on refurbishing and reselling most of the units, I have little interest in doing so. Given the current pricing trend, I stand a fantastic chance of earning profit on any number of units I could put up for sale. Yet as time went on, I began realizing that I wasn't interested in the financial returns, investment, profits aspect, so much as I am interested in preserving these machines for as long as I am able to do so. They are a stamp on history to my way of thinking.

 

And I'm also cynical enough to believe that the only way I'd make my money back on a given system would be to EBay it, as many here have already expressed the opinion that a 1200XL is only worth paying maybe a hundred, if that-- which is definitely less than what I invested in the collection. So it makes no sense for me to sell a unit to someone else for less than what I've paid into it. I'd prefer to keep the 1200XL, and wish the persons well in their hunt for one in a price range they are happy with.

 

I guess that means that I didn't build this Atari family as a financial investment after all. I built it to be its caretaker until such time as someone else must take over that responsibility.

 

Apart from all of the above, I do have a specific intent for the entire 1200XL collection, and have shared that privately with less than a handful of individuals online. That will remain under wraps, however, for the present time.

 

There are also a few projects I have in mind for several of them, but I'm still in the process of inventorying and going through everything I picked up over the past year and a half or so, and that's delaying me getting to my projects. Plus, I'd like to get back to the business of programming, as I came into Atari at the very end of its days and never progressed past BASIC and BASIC XE programming, apart from a couple interrupts I'd concocted in assembly. Then, I could wrap up some unfinished business (ideas) I've contemplated all these years since I first left the 8-bit computing life all those years ago.

 

Sorry for the long post. o.O

--Tim



#77 flashjazzcat OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 7, 2017 7:47 AM

The "caretaker" observation is very valid. In one sense, I'd regard the ownership of large numbers of 1200XLs as a method of protecting them from unscrupulous modification (a category which hopefully the PBI / 5V PSU mod on one of my machines doesn't fall into, although it's not something I would repeat on a second machine), although I think most people who acquire them look after them pretty well nowadays. The best method of ensuring the preservation of these machines is debatable when it comes to the size of an individual's collection, but be preserved they must. Even the aforementioned PBI modded machine looks stock from the front and from the back seems like some factory deviation. The reasons for modding (from my point of view) are to make the machines usable in modern times: replacing the RF modulator with an RGB jack is hopefully a change few would deem it desirable to "undo".

 

When I owned only one 1200XL, it sat in the original shipping packaging for over a year until I decided to modify it. The stock video was unusable, the 64K RAM restrictive, and the lack of the PBI connector made the machine less useful as a firmware development tool. And yet as soon as I modified that machine and turned it into a daily driver, I felt the need for something else to go in the display cabinet, so to speak. And now - with three 1200XLs - I find a second is an appealing proposition as an NTSC testing machine (the PBI one is PAL). So - I find, at least - there's this constant balancing act between preservation (and the feeling that one is a curator of historic artifacts) and the desire to actually use the things. This concern can only really be addressed by three or four 1200XLs. :)

 

Anyway: it's interesting to hear these opinions. I suppose the collecting side of the hobby continues to evolve just like everything else.

 

PS: Restoring a beleaguered 1200XL with broken screw pillars, scratched perspex, discoloured case, etc, is surely one of the most satisfying acts of philanthropy. :)


Edited by flashjazzcat, Wed Jun 7, 2017 7:50 AM.


#78 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 7, 2017 8:08 AM

Good observations, all.

PS: Restoring a beleaguered 1200XL with broken screw pillars, scratched perspex, discoloured case, etc, is surely one of the most satisfying acts of philanthropy. :)

My Ugly Duckling machine falls into that category to me. Once I get the board running again I will replace a broken controller jack, retrobrite the horribly yellowed case, then find someone local who can fabricate and polish a new piece of acrylic for the broken one currently on the machine. It will be very rewarding when it’s done.

P.S. Someone giving away 1200XL’s, please send another one my way. :)

#79 flashjazzcat OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 7, 2017 8:15 AM

My Ugly Duckling machine falls into that category to me. Once I get the board running again I will replace a broken controller jack, retrobrite the horribly yellowed case, then find someone local who can fabricate and polish a new piece of acrylic for the broken one currently on the machine. It will be very rewarding when it’s done.


If you require a replacement perspex strip, I have one here with only a couple of small imperfections. Bob was kind enough to send a "perfect" replacement part, but if the removed part will save another machine, you're welcome to it.

#80 ivop OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 7, 2017 8:45 AM

Contrast this with at least one notable community member giving away 1200XLs in large numbers a few years ago (I received one)

 

Yes, I received one, too, and am still utterly grateful for that! Obviously I had to pay shipping to The Netherlands, but other than that it was free! Haven't decided yet whether I'm going to mod it or not though. Right now it's just part of my (small) collection :)

 

Similarly I once got 16 7800 Ballblazer PCBs, including the Pokeys, for 8 bucks plus S&H! I only had to desolder them :) Have given away some of them later to fix broken machines.



#81 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 7, 2017 8:46 AM

If you require a replacement perspex strip, I have one here with only a couple of small imperfections. Bob was kind enough to send a "perfect" replacement part, but if the removed part will save another machine, you're welcome to it.


Thank you, Jon. That’s very generous! I’ll message you later this evening. :)

#82 Stephen ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 7, 2017 11:53 AM

Regarding modifying 1200XLs.  I have two, got them both probably 8 years ago and I don't think I paid more than $50 for either one.  My first one is built in USA, and will remain 100% stock.  The other one is a Taiwan model, and has had various upgrades in it over the years.  I'm not sure where it will eventually end up.



#83 kheller2 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 7, 2017 4:32 PM

I will typically snatch up any and all Atari gear that shows up for a decent price and I believe most people would do this anyway.   However, once you have a dozen or so 1050s, 6 800s etc.. you start to look for the things you can't just find laying around.  For me that would be 1200XLs.  I can find 800s, 800XLs, and the occasional XE, but never a 400 or 1200XL.  I don't want the 400, so that just leaves me with wanting that sexy 1200XL.  Probably because I so heavily desired a 1450XLD in the 80s that I'm still obsessed with them, and at the moment, I'm obsessed with obtaining plastics!  I have several parts boards from over the years, but lost a lot of plastics in a fire back in the 90s. 

 

So if a 1200XL shows up the first thing I do is evaluate if its worth what the person is asking for it.  eBay is certainly not worth it for me.  In a long winded response, i guess I hunt 1200XLs because they are rare and one of the best looking machines.  But I'm not at the point of buying every one that shows up as that is nuts as I could buy many 800XL's for the price of one 1200XL on eBay now.

 

(I used to have a large collection of Indus GT drives.  I got over that.)

 

1200XL's have turned into the 3D Color Vectrex Imager of yore from a collector's POV.


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#84 santosp OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:51 AM

My opinion on the subject.  :)

 

Before some time ago, a good friend here exchanged with me one of his 1200XLs for a full modified PAL 800XL.

 

It was a stock NTSC computer with some ancient -very bad- ram modification, who from what I remember it made me very difficult to find some information's  how to get it back to its  original condition.

 

After that I did a fully recap, fresh heat conducting paste on the regulators, keyboard restore according the guide of "retrobits", and convert it to a complete PAL computer using the kit which sells the Dropchek on her website.

 

In an effort to make it a more complete machine, I added the "Ultimate 1MB" and an old "VBXE" that I bought directly from the author, and it had remained for many years in my closet.

 

Eventually when all this craze passed me, this 1200XL is sitting on my closet for a very long time, because look to me more practical to use my modified 600XL for all my daily needs.

And this, before the arrival of smaller "all in one" FPGA's....



#85 Kosmic Stardust ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:28 AM

 

I'll tackle the "Why?" from my personal perspective.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Sorry for the long post. o.O

--Tim

I'd say sell them off one by one as no reserve auctions. The price is high right now. Think hoarding is preserving? If something happened to you, your family would be too overwhelmed at the prospect of selling them so they would likely get curbsided or go to an electronics recycler, who if we are very lucky, may see the value and resell, but more than likely will scrap for the mineral content. Either way, your family will get pennies per unit if that.

 

And if everyone is hoarding multiple computers, that contributes to the high price. So if you care about the community, sell them here at below market, or eBay if you want to maximize the return on investment. But hoarding them in this lifetime will only burden your family when you are gone.

 

My two cents.


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#86 Timothy Kline OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:38 AM

I'd say sell them off one by one as no reserve auctions. The price is high right now. Think hoarding is preserving? If something happened to you, your family would be too overwhelmed at the prospect of selling them so they would likely get curbsided or go to an electronics recycler, who if we are very lucky, may see the value and resell, but more than likely will scrap for the mineral content. Either way, your family will get pennies per unit if that.

 

And if everyone is hoarding multiple computers, that contributes to the high price. So if you care about the community, sell them here at below market, or eBay if you want to maximize the return on investment. But hoarding them in this lifetime will only burden your family when you are gone.

 

My two cents.

 

An interesting opinion.

 

If I had adopted my 1200XL family with the intent of financially gaining, then I'd be inclined to agree with you: sell 'em off now, while the anvil's hot. But no, I'm thinking bigger picture here. I might add that it's my opinion that the recent spike in eBay-priced 1200XLs was interesting for the reason that evidently there are individuals out on the marketplace willing to pay that much for a 1200XL. I don't fall into that group because I don't believe we've hit the famine yet where 1200XLs are concerned.

 

Which brings up the matter of "hoarding."

 

What does any reasoning human being do when they know that a famine is coming? They hoard food and supplies. If anyone thinks 1200XLs are hard to find, or rare, how was I able to adopt 51 of them on the open market sites like eBay and GoodWill (a few were adopted from 3rd parties, including Steve Tucker) over the course of a single year? And I didn't win every auction, either— so there were several more than these 51.

 

But it's coming. That famine where 1200XLs won't be out on the open market any longer. You suggest that I'm not helping the Atari community any by hoarding these 50. I am telling you that I'd rather be there in the days when you can't find 1200XLs any more, and be able to open the storehouse and have something to offer that community. I'll leave it to you to judge which is the more reasonable direction.

 

Just to be clear: I'm not "hoarding" this collection of 1200XLs to make sure nobody else can have them: I'm "hoarding" them so somebody will be able to have one when the day comes that you really can't ever see one on the open market.

 

It's requiring patience and planning on my part, but this will be worth it.

 

You'd mentioned the hardship it would be for my family if something were to happen to me and here is all of this Atari stuff-- what in the world should we do with that?-- and off it all goes for pennies on the dollar. I'm paraphrasing you, but this does seem to sum up what you wrote.

 

First: It would be irresponsible of me to adopt the Atari collection I am still inventorying due to its diversity, and not have discussed with my family what is to be done with this collection, should anything happen to me. They know; and for my part I have been watching online communities such as here (AtariAge), Atari Sector, and AtariMax's forum for individuals in the Atari community overall who have a reputation that would be such that I'd feel confident in approaching them privately to discuss having a part in carrying out my wishes regarding this collection, working in conjunction with my family and able to offer their extensive experience with the Atari community to make the most of those wishes.

 

Second: I had to chuckle when you suggested that if I care about the Atari community, I should promptly sell them for less than what I invested in adoption fees, as it were. Like that would make sense. Or flip them on eBay and profit while I can. I'll admit that for practical reasons, I do have a value assigned to the various systems and such I'm in the process of inventorying. In most cases, that value falls below what I paid for an item, yet is what I would sell it for. And always below what a person could pay for a new one from B&C or Best Electronics!! That always slays me when I see items auctioned off on eBay for twice what you'd pay if you just ordered it from the remaining Atari dealers. If you can buy such-and-such brand new, then that's your top price line, right? Anything used then falls somewhere below that based on condition.

 

Alright, does my having a collection of Atari 1200XLs cause the market to rise in prices? No. Yesterday, a 1200XL sold on the GoodWill auction site for under $170. And two recent auctions of 1200XLs on eBay have sold for under $230 (last year's upper price ceiling). We'll have to watch how prices trend this year, and how many are still showing up on the open market before we better understand where we're at with accessibility to the few remaining 1200XLs out there. Or any other Atari home computer hardware, for that matter. o.O

 

--Tim



#87 GlowingGhoul OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:50 AM

Many of us, myself included, seem to be aflicted with a benign mental illness. 50 1200xls, a dozen Indus gt's. A therapist would probobly link this to some sort of denial or unfulfilled desire linked to our childhood.

For a while there I was collecting Happy boards. Guess what I didn't have but really wanted as a kid...

Atarimania? Eightbitophilia?

Ok, maybe not entirely benign to our wallets or storage space...

Now I've even begun moving towards machines I never had but whose "never released for the atari 8 bit" software ads sparked unfulfilled lust. So I've now begun an apple ii and c64 collection. It's odd, learning systems that are completely new to me, yet simulraneously ancient. And I must say there's 8-bit magic to be found with those previously hated "enemies" of atari too.

Edited by GlowingGhoul, Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:58 AM.


#88 robcatron OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:10 AM

I have two 1200XL in my collection.  One is in the box (box is decent) with the original boxed PSU inside.  The second unit is quite yellowed.  

 

To no one's surprise I'm sure, when I pulled them out to play with them last week, neither keyboard worked (I was especially disappointed that my pristine boxed unit was whacky too).  So a quick order to Best and Bradley sent me the mylar replacement.  I just ordered one for the pristine unit to try it out.  It worked superbly and was a piece of cake to install (but I'm sure that everyone here knows that).  

 

I paid the $49.45 for it just for the fact that it is an investment for the nice unit.  Boxed and nice and white as it is, I think it would bring $500 (not planning to sell just yet, though it is my least favorite 8-bit), but it was easy to justify the $50 with my wife due to the fact that it would bring upwards of $500.

 

So this weekend, I've been playing with my original, beloved 800 (Xmas gift, 1982 from Sears Wish Book!), my newer 130XE (I was long into ST by the time the XE came out) and the 1200XL.  I like comparing Video output, compatibility, etc.  There have been a lot of discussions on this, but I do believe that the 130XE has the upper hand on Composite Video out.  The 800 is close - very close.  So close that I will use it for most of my gaming because I just love the unit (mainly for nostalgia, but also because of quality and cart port placement).  The 1200XL trails behind the others quite dramatically.  I would put it between composite (800 Quality) and RF output.  

 

Enjoy your 8-bits!

Rob



#89 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:36 AM

So this weekend, I've been playing with my original, beloved 800 (Xmas gift, 1982 from Sears Wish Book!), my newer 130XE (I was long into ST by the time the XE came out) and the 1200XL.  I like comparing Video output, compatibility, etc.  There have been a lot of discussions on this, but I do believe that the 130XE has the upper hand on Composite Video out.  The 800 is close - very close.  So close that I will use it for most of my gaming because I just love the unit (mainly for nostalgia, but also because of quality and cart port placement).  The 1200XL trails behind the others quite dramatically.  I would put it between composite (800 Quality) and RF output.  

 

Just as a point of comparison, my experience with the unmodded video on those units would mirror yours. However, having seen what an 800 puts out on S-video, you'll be astounded how bad the rest of them look with composite. But if you do Bryan's Quick and Easy 800XL Video mod, you'll be astounded how much better it can look. Better still, put one of his UAV boards in the system. After having them in my daily-driver 800XL, and another in one of my 1200XL's, I'll never go back to using stock Atari video, except maybe S-video on my 800's. 



#90 tjlazer OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:38 AM

It's not  just the 1200XL that has increased in price.  ALL retro computers have gone up in price.  I own two Atari 1200XL's.  One is stock and mint, the other one is a Steve Tucker decked out 1200XL.  Pulled them out recently and both keyboards were dead.  But pressing down the keys hard many times got them all working.  Annoying!



#91 Kosmic Stardust ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:24 PM

Many of us, myself included, seem to be aflicted with a benign mental illness. 50 1200xls, a dozen Indus gt's. A therapist would probobly link this to some sort of denial or unfulfilled desire linked to our childhood.
 

Check out this thread for some nice insight into the minds of fellow AA members including myself. I think anyone who collects 30-year-old hardware (most people on this forum) has a few screws loose... :dunce:

http://atariage.com/...buyers-remorse/



#92 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:40 AM

It's not  just the 1200XL that has increased in price.  ALL retro computers have gone up in price.  I own two Atari 1200XL's.  One is stock and mint, the other one is a Steve Tucker decked out 1200XL.  Pulled them out recently and both keyboards were dead.  But pressing down the keys hard many times got them all working.  Annoying!

 

All 1200XL's have that problem eventually.  There are articles on how to fix it.  It's really easy, you just need to use some conductive paint to fix a few traces.



#93 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:11 AM

 
All 1200XL's have that problem eventually.  There are articles on how to fix it.  It's really easy, you just need to use some conductive paint to fix a few traces.


Yep. I did the keyboards on both of mine 3 years ago.

http://retrobits.net.../keyboard.shtml

#94 Skeeter OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:55 PM

Not a 1200XL but I just bought a 800 on eBay. Reading through this thread has me thinking I overpaid @$195. But it looks to be in very good condition, I'll know for sure when it arrives. If it's as good as I hope, I'll be happy. This will be my first A8 since I sold off my 400 and 800 27 years ago. Of all the A8 models the 800 is the one for me and getting one in the best of conditions was very important. So if it lives up to the hype I'll consider it well worth the price.

 

If not, I'll be wishing I went with a cheaper alternative.



#95 Kosmic Stardust ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:46 PM

Not a 1200XL but I just bought a 800 on eBay. Reading through this thread has me thinking I overpaid @$195. But it looks to be in very good condition, I'll know for sure when it arrives. If it's as good as I hope, I'll be happy. This will be my first A8 since I sold off my 400 and 800 27 years ago. Of all the A8 models the 800 is the one for me and getting one in the best of conditions was very important. So if it lives up to the hype I'll consider it well worth the price.
 
If not, I'll be wishing I went with a cheaper alternative.

But it's not the latest and greatest... :rolling:



#96 ACML OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:50 PM

Not a 1200XL but I just bought a 800 on eBay. Reading through this thread has me thinking I overpaid @$195.

It's getting harder and harder to find Atari 8-bits in great cosmetic condition.  When you find one, it's worth the price.  A very good condition 800 or 1200XL can fetch twice that of a "rode hard and put up wet" one.  If it's what you want, it's worth every penny.


Edited by ACML, Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:51 PM.


#97 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:46 AM

At risk of sabotaging my own efforts, don’t forget local sales listed on Facebook or newer apps like LetGo or OfferUp. I picked up a good condition 800 and 410 about ten days ago for $50.

#98 EzdineG OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:46 AM

Not a 1200XL but I just bought a 800 on eBay. Reading through this thread has me thinking I overpaid @$195. But it looks to be in very good condition, I'll know for sure when it arrives. If it's as good as I hope, I'll be happy. This will be my first A8 since I sold off my 400 and 800 27 years ago. Of all the A8 models the 800 is the one for me and getting one in the best of conditions was very important. So if it lives up to the hype I'll consider it well worth the price.
 
If not, I'll be wishing I went with a cheaper alternative.


As with all our retro units, It's worth whatever you deem it to be. If it is in good condition, I wouldn't get too upset over it.

#99 Kosmic Stardust ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:10 PM

At risk of sabotaging my own efforts, don’t forget local sales listed on Facebook or newer apps like LetGo or OfferUp. I picked up a good condition 800 and 410 about ten days ago for $50.

If I ever delve into 8-bits, it will be the XEGS, possibly with AtariMax cart and a keyboard. So hopefully the XEGS doesn't skyrocket. I don't have usage for disk drives and other junk.



#100 robcatron OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:21 PM

 

Just as a point of comparison, my experience with the unmodded video on those units would mirror yours. However, having seen what an 800 puts out on S-video, you'll be astounded how bad the rest of them look with composite. But if you do Bryan's Quick and Easy 800XL Video mod, you'll be astounded how much better it can look. Better still, put one of his UAV boards in the system. After having them in my daily-driver 800XL, and another in one of my 1200XL's, I'll never go back to using stock Atari video, except maybe S-video on my 800's. 

 

Just wanted to update you.  After reading your reply about S-video quality, I received my S-Video cable today and all I can say is "wow" on the 800 S-video output, with the 130XE being a definite wow as well.  The 800 (or mine at least) is a bit too bright in fact, but the sharpness is incredible.  The 130XE is incredibly sharp and the brightness level is spot on, so I am giving the nod to the 130XE until I can figure out why the 800 is too bright.  

 

I have used composite on the 8-bit for many years now, but have never seen anything quite like the S-Video output!


Edited by robcatron, Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:24 PM.





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