Retro: Cash in on your vintage PC

Rather than complete PCs, early examples of processors are beginning to become collectable. Pentiums are, unfortunately, still considered to be in the realm of obsolete rather than retro: the 486 is the place to start. And it really gets interesting once you go back to pre-286 days: an Intel 8086 can fetch £50, while one of the really early processors will cost much more. If you happen to have one of the original 4004 CPUs, you can offload it for more than £100.

Retro: Cash in on your vintage PC

Maximising profits

Modern, technically obsolete hardware can also fetch remarkably large sums. The trick is to own a piece of kit that was popular among a small niche but not so hot to the general public – these are discontinued quickly, leaving fans desperate to stockpile them.

A good example of this is Siemens’ CL4 SIMpad (www.opensimpad.org). This wasn’t commercially successful, mostly because it was an internet tablet that ran Windows CE, an appalling dog of an operating system and the worst possible choice for an internet appliance. What makes it desirable is that you can re-flash its internal ROM to replace Windows CE with a version of Linux. A certain class of geek will consider selling their own mother in return for a portable device that will run Linux, and the £200-250 asking price reflects this.

Rarities such as the Jupiter Ace can attract a price premium.


Read all the features in ‘Retro Computing’.

Retro Computing: Intro
Retro: Benchmarks throught the ages
Retro: Two weeks in Windows 95
Retro: Cash in on your vintage PC
Retro: Play retro games on your PC
Retro: How Windows won the PC wars
Retro: The next 20 years

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