I want Moore.
Moore’s law states that the speeds of technology will double every two years. So if my computer today operates at 1 megabyte per second, in two years a similar device will operate twice as fast. The second part of the law reads that I will pay half as much for the same computer in two years. Say I have a Broshiba 1000 and it is year 2020. I paid $600 for my Broshiba and it is the best computer out there. Come 2022 and there will be the Broshiba 2000. It is twice as fast as my Broshiba and it also cost $600. There is also another new computer the Dehl 1000, it has the same performance specs as my Broshiba 1000 but only cost $300 new.
In short Moore’s law means that no matter what you pay for your computer today, it will depreciate dramatically each and every day. However, people today seem to have a better understanding in the importance of vintage items. Shows like American Pickers and Pawn Stars have become the Antiques Road Show of the fast and furious generation. There seems to be an almost sudden realization that the Nintendo sitting up in Mom’s attic isn’t so lame after all. For awhile the prices of old school gaming gear was unnoticeable. Game Boys and Super NES systems were sitting at yard sales nationwide and could be picked up for the price of a couple hash browns and a cup of coffee, most the time with additional pieces. Today everyone thinks that what they have is ‘rare’ and thus valuable. That is just not the case. Many systems are becoming obsolete solely on the fact that they are no longer compatible with today’s televisions.
|TI 99A, not for math class|
But what are the exceptions? Do vintage computers have a non-depreciation zone? At what point in age, condition, obscurity, and function do vintage computers become desirable for collectors? Most stand alone systems are large and fairly heavy. To have a collection would seem counterproductive, unless you were a museum, of course. I did manage to come across a fairly neat computer from a friend who threw it in with several vintage cameras I was purchasing.I received a good condition Texas Instruments 99A. The TI 99A was a early home computer that connected to your television (thought that was new, huh?) and used various methods of storage from cassette storage to floppy disks. Two things from the TI 99A caught my attention. First was that Texas Instruments made a computer and the second was the fact that it was not a standalone. While I use about 1% of the capabilities of my TI-86Plus, I have never known that Texas Instruments made computers. My TI 99A came with the computer w/ built in keyboard several joy sticks and a couple of games. When it hit the shelves the price tag was $525. Best price today? About $50. Obviously this one is no hit. But which ones are?
|Hey there Amiga!|
Commodore 64 seems like it might be the one, I've heard a lot about this computer in everday conversation. It only brings a measly $50 as well. The Amiga 500 at a first listing of $700 will go for around $300 today. That one got me a little, $300? Now we are in the range of a new netbook. I didn't know of any other old computers off hand so I visited oldcomputers.net. Talk about geeked out, the site reminds me of that time I ended up on some Telnet site. One computer that caught my eye was the TRS-80 Model II by Radio Shack. At a cost of $3800 back in 1979, I was hoping it would have some value today. Seems $100 is all it would take to get your hands on a working Tandy.
|Tandy Radio Shack 80|
Although these computers are useless today, it was only 30 years ago that they were cutting edge. Moore's law will continue to make our lives that much faster and more productive, but who will remember these old plastic and wood behemoths? Will my generation look back 30 years from now and pay big bucks for these relics? I doubt it, they are too hard to use and serve no purpose. Cars will always be good for cruising, and right now my TI 99A is good as a conversation piece and a reminder that technology is always creating old computers.