Top 6 Vintage Home Computers

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For many, marathon computer game sessions with friends were a significant feature of growing up in the 1980s. Adults were happy that home computers made office work much more convenient, but it was the gaming experiences that these machines offered that has helped them to withstand the test of time. Most of the top six vintage home computers made the list for their ability to entertain users for hours on end. Other machines made the cut for representing important points in the history of home computing. Whatever enthusiasts' reasons are for purchasing a vintage home computer, they can likely find the machine they desire on eBay.
1 Jupiter Ace
Jupiter Ace

Like Vincent Van Gogh's paintings, the Jupiter Ace has become more popular since going out of production. Jupiter Cantab made the now-classic Ace from 1981 to 1983 (it sold as Jupiter Ace 4000 in the U.S.) as its only computer before going bankrupt. Its significance is due to its use of the Forth computer language in a period when most other home computers used BASIC. Forth was more efficient, using half as much memory as BASIC, and ran faster. The Ace has 2K of dedicated video RAM that it does not share with its CPU. It also has two graphics modes: a 64x48 resolution text mode and a 256x192 resolution video mode. There are also two expansion ports, one for increasing memory and another for adding a video peripheral device.

 

2 Commodore 64

Although it has been out of production for decades, the Commodore 64 remains one of the all-time best-selling home computers. Thanks to its superiority as a gaming machine, it was the king computer in the mid- and late 1980s. The Commodore 64 has two high-resolution graphics modes and three sound channels. Users originally saved data on the Commodore Datasette recorder, but the 1541 external floppy drive later became available for this purpose. The Commodore 64 also worked with a modem, which allowed users to access the public bulletin board system that preceded the Internet. This home computer's past popularity makes finding whole machines, parts, peripherals, and games relatively easy for vintage enthusiasts.

 

3 Sinclair ZX80

Originally selling for £99.95 in 1980, the Sinclair ZX80 routinely goes for much more than that these days. Collectors admire this computer more for its design and appearance than for its features. For its time, the ZX80 was compact and easy to use. It delivers graphics in black and white, and it offers 1K of RAM, which is expandable to 64K, and 4K of ROM, which is expandable to 8K. Users save their data on an external cassette drive. The ZX80 is relatively rare and very much in demand for vintage home computer collectors.

 

4 Tandy TRS-80 Models I-III

Apple revolutionised desktop computers by placing the hardware into the back of a slim monitor. Many years before that, though, Radio Shack turned the computer world upside-down by putting the hardware in the keyboard. By offering a machine in a compact package, the Tandy TRS-80 became one of the earliest home computers in 1977. Models I-III are the classic machines that vintage enthusiasts typically purchase. The line changed a great deal from the original model to the third one. The first TRS-80 used an external cassette drive for storing data, and connected to an external monitor. Model III was a self-contained machine, featuring an attached monitor and two floppy disk drives, which were major selling points for home computers in the early 1980s.

 

5 Commodore Amiga 1200

The Amiga 1200 was one of Commodore's last great home computers. Released in 1992, it was a powerful all-in-one machine that included a Motorola 68EC020 CPU running at 14 MHz, an AGA graphics chip capable of displaying at 640x512 resolution, 2 MB of RAM, and an 880K floppy disk drive for running software. Consumers could also purchase an optional 40 MB internal hard drive. As great of a home computer as it was, the Amiga 1200, with its proprietary Amiga operating system, was unable to compete with machines running the Windows operating system of the day.

 

6 Apple Macintosh Classic II
Apple Macintosh Classic II

Apple fans who like to have a historical collection of the company's products should consider the Macintosh Classic II. Becoming available in 1991, the Classic II was meant to be an upgrade over the Classic, but actually underperformed. Its 16 MHz 68030 processor is significantly more powerful than the 8 MHz 68000 one on the original Classic. A 16-bit bus, however, keeps the system running slowly. Still, the Classic II remains an interesting collector's item because it was one of the last black-and-white Macs. It also signaled the decline of the Macintosh in favour of Windows-based machines, before Apple's renaissance in the new millennium.

 

How to Buy Vintage Home Computers on eBay

eBay is a top source for vintage home computers. You can locate sellers of the top six vintage machines and many others by using the search bar that is on most pages within the site. Before purchasing your computer, check the seller's feedback to ensure that the seller typically provides good service. This collection of past buyer impressions should help you determine the seller's reliability. eBay is also a great resource for parts, peripherals, and games for vintage computers, so you should search the site for any of these items that you want or need. Using eBay, you should be able to enjoy all aspects of vintage home computing.
 
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