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What is your retro computing most "irrational want?"

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I want modern upgrades for my retro machines to cost what the Arduino and similar things cost. Those are made for a much larger audience, and they tend to use small boards with few components, so it's easy to make them $5-50 each or less in quantity, depending on what they do.

 

But even a small board with half a dozen chips for retro machines cost in the neighborhood of $60-200 or even $300, even if the chips themselves are often nowadays the same ones you see in other low-cost devices. I understand the economies of scale, but still.

I somewhat agree with this. However, sometimes it can't be helped. For example, the F18a's main FPGA chip is around $23 or so. 25% of the total cost. And FPGA is harder to build by hand so there has to be some labor.

 

It really depends on the item.

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I somewhat agree with this. However, sometimes it can't be helped. For example, the F18a's main FPGA chip is around $23 or so. 25% of the total cost. And FPGA is harder to build by hand so there has to be some labor.

 

It really depends on the item.

 

True enough, but for example the Uthernet II for the Apple // series sells for about $70 and it's mostly just some buffering, an Ethernet jack, and a Wiznet W5100. I question whether or not it's a real W5100, but you can get an Arduino shield that claims to have the same chipset for $10 on eBay. Less if you don't mind it coming via the slow boat from China or just want a breakout of the W5100 not in shield form factor with microSD socket.

 

So where does the $60 come from? It comes from the fact that the guy who's selling it has to make them in small batches with some assembly required (the Ethernet jack mostly) to make it affordable to make them in quantity less than 10,000. He makes a little on them, but not a lot.

 

The CFFA 1.2 was cloned and sold for around $100 which cut Rich out of a little cash on each one sold. Possibly his margins on those aren't incredibly tiny, but I doubt he could make the current CFFA3000 with microcontroller, CPLD, USB, and CF sockets for under $100 in batches of 4-500 at a time. So it's irrational to want to see that board for $50 unless there was reason to make 10,000 of them at once. That'd pretty much guarantee eBait prices go way, way up if it ever made sense again to make that many.

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True enough, but for example the Uthernet II for the Apple // series sells for about $70 and it's mostly just some buffering, an Ethernet jack, and a Wiznet W5100. I question whether or not it's a real W5100, but you can get an Arduino shield that claims to have the same chipset for $10 on eBay. Less if you don't mind it coming via the slow boat from China or just want a breakout of the W5100 not in shield form factor with microSD socket.

 

So where does the $60 come from? It comes from the fact that the guy who's selling it has to make them in small batches with some assembly required (the Ethernet jack mostly) to make it affordable to make them in quantity less than 10,000. He makes a little on them, but not a lot.

 

The CFFA 1.2 was cloned and sold for around $100 which cut Rich out of a little cash on each one sold. Possibly his margins on those aren't incredibly tiny, but I doubt he could make the current CFFA3000 with microcontroller, CPLD, USB, and CF sockets for under $100 in batches of 4-500 at a time. So it's irrational to want to see that board for $50 unless there was reason to make 10,000 of them at once. That'd pretty much guarantee eBait prices go way, way up if it ever made sense again to make that many.

 

I understand what you're saying. However, I don't think I would ever compare prices from Chinese eBay sellers and the actual authors of a device. Again, using the F18A as an example, if it suddenly became available on eBay (from China) for $10 I would question the quality. Also keep in mind that most of this stuff is made in China anyway. I saw a video one time where a designer said he/she (can't remember) discovered that they were selling a widget for $10. The cost from China was $5. But what the company was doing was building TWO for $5. Selling one to the author and selling the other on the black market for $8. Numbers are off but you get the idea. So much of the stuff you get from China are like that.

 

Now, that isn't a jab at the Chinese. I'm sure there are many legit Chinese companies. Just saying...

 

Anyway, my original point is that I understand some markup from the builders because they make small quantities. So they don't get the bulk pricing. But, again, depends on the product.

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If you look at the example of Exxos, he spends time developing boards, getting components including PCBs, and lots of time and money putting together various upgrades and updates.

 

If there wasn't some sort of margin to allow for further development, these projects would stop.

 

These guys aren't in it to make money, but they do need to make some in order to carry on.

 

The market for these sort of things is quite limited, and nobody is going to become a millionaire selling these bits of kit.

 

Low volume=higher prices, so you'll need to expect prices to be a bit higher.

 

I could probably buy all of the components for some of the upgrades I have for pennies, but to put them altogether ins something that works, takes talent. I couldn't do it, so I'm happy to pay somebody a little extra if they can, and produce something worthwhile.

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If you look at the example of Exxos, he spends time developing boards, getting components including PCBs, and lots of time and money putting together various upgrades and updates.

 

If there wasn't some sort of margin to allow for further development, these projects would stop.

 

These guys aren't in it to make money, but they do need to make some in order to carry on.

 

The market for these sort of things is quite limited, and nobody is going to become a millionaire selling these bits of kit.

 

Low volume=higher prices, so you'll need to expect prices to be a bit higher.

 

I could probably buy all of the components for some of the upgrades I have for pennies, but to put them altogether ins something that works, takes talent. I couldn't do it, so I'm happy to pay somebody a little extra if they can, and produce something worthwhile.

 

 

I didn't say they shouldn't be able to make a few bucks here and there. I'm at least fundamentally a capitalist. We're talking about irrational wants. My irrational want is for their costs to drop enough that it becomes worthwhile to make and sell stuff cheaper. :D

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I didn't say they shouldn't be able to make a few bucks here and there. I'm at least fundamentally a capitalist. We're talking about irrational wants. My irrational want is for their costs to drop enough that it becomes worthwhile to make and sell stuff cheaper. :D

It's a fair cop, and I didn't meant to come across a bit harsh here!! I guess one of my irrational wants would be to have a price cap for all computers and consoles made before 1990, say of £50!

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I always wanted an accelerator for the Amiga 500 but most of the older games I play wouldn't take advantage of even boot with one, yet I drool over the possibility of an A500 with a 50mhz 68030!

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I always wanted an accelerator for the Amiga 500 but most of the older games I play wouldn't take advantage of even boot with one, yet I drool over the possibility of an A500 with a 50mhz 68030!

The vampire 500 could be interesting.

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I always wanted an accelerator for the Amiga 500 but most of the older games I play wouldn't take advantage of even boot with one, yet I drool over the possibility of an A500 with a 50mhz 68030!

I only ever had a memory upgrade for my A500, but I now have an A1200 with a 68020 accelerator :)

 

Collecting has let me have many of the things I couldn't afford when I was younger!!

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My current updated list:
Samsung SPC-1000 - Korean machine based on the Z80 and 6847.
Acorn Atom - The only 6502 machine using a 6847. I've written code for it, it would be nice to own one.
Microdigital TK-95 - Brazilian Speccy clone in a case that looks similar to the Plus/4
CCE MC-1000 - Brazilian Z80 + 6847 machine
NTSC VTech VZ200 - to replace the two that burned.

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An LNW-80 would also be nice. TRS-80 compatibility plus hi-res graphics, color, and faster CPUs.
Way too rare to be affordable.

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Mac Plus with Ethernet and serial interface, pre-loaded with ZTerm, Carmen Sandiego, and Stunt Copter out of the box. I want it to have an 80MB internal HD and 4MB of RAM. I want a printer interface with an A/B splitter to go to my dot matrix AND an Apple laser writer.

 

All that is somewhat doable.... Except maybe the 80MB internal...

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I can't simply answer with just my "irrationals" retro computer wants without throwing in a mini-list of "irrational" video gaming wants as well.

 

Strictly retro computer "irrational" wants:

 

  • Commodore 65
  • Fully-equipped Apple I
  • Commodore PET (not quite irrational, except I don't have the room for it)

 

Strictly video gaming "irrational" wants:

  • Neo-Geo (either MVS or AVS cab)
  • Vectrex
  • Intellivision Keyboard Component
  • Intellivision III (the unreleased one with improved graphics, sound, etc.)

 

Honorable mention is the Commodore SX-64, which was an "irrational" want in my playbook until I happened to stumble across one at a flea market a year ago. That one has since left the wants list, but it's by far one of my more favorite retro computing toys.

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<< BIG SNIP >>

 

Honorable mention is the Commodore SX-64, which was an "irrational" want in my playbook until I happened to stumble across one at a flea market a year ago. That one has since left the wants list, but it's by far one of my more favorite retro computing toys.

 

I have had my SX-64 since about 1986... It is one of the Coolest Commodores ever......

 

MarkO

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Commodore PET 2001

Commodore 128D

Commodore SFD-1001

Commodore Amiga 2000

 

Atari Video Music

Atari 1200XL

 

Apple Macintosh 512Ke

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OMG! You're right, this does make one a little excited.

I notice it comes with a Lotharek floppy emulator as well, which makes me wonder how much (color) software is with it.

 

gallery_35324_1027_6994.jpg

gallery_35324_1027_23393.jpg

 

The only problem I see is that it's so rare, there is probably not much in the way of current support or development going on for it at the present time. Part of the hobby, at least to me, is the potential for growth and development.

 

While this really does tickles my fancy, I know it would be a short lived thing, which makes the price something I'll have to pass on.

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I would love to own a fully loaded Amiga 4000 video toaster system with full documentation and external hardware to match.

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OMG! You're right, this does make one a little excited.

I notice it comes with a Lotharek floppy emulator as well, which makes me wonder how much (color) software is with it.

 

gallery_35324_1027_6994.jpg

gallery_35324_1027_23393.jpg

 

The only problem I see is that it's so rare, there is probably not much in the way of current support or development going on for it at the present time. Part of the hobby, at least to me, is the potential for growth and development.

 

While this really does tickles my fancy, I know it would be a short lived thing, which makes the price something I'll have to pass on.

It's pretty much a TRS-80 Model I clone 99% of the time.

I wanted one of these so bad when I was in high school... ugh! Should have bought one instead of a motorcycle.

 

Edited by JamesD

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Motorcycles are a dime a dozen, but a TRS-80?? That's a thing of beauty.

I just looked up the release date. It was after I bought the motorcycle.

Edited by JamesD
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