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Minimum Compact Mac Value?

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I know a LOT of these can be had for free or next to nothing, but I've also seen the opposite with people asking top dollar for a piss yellow untested Mac Plus with no accessories.

 

I realize this is somewhat subjective, but what is kind of the baseline value of an intact compact mac (meaning not gutted but no keyboard or mouse) with no accessories and with a non broken case but that is untested or is known not to boot?

 

What about one that boots?

 

I think I'd be willing to pay $25 locally to save almost any intact compact mac and maybe $40 for any one that boots.  I would also expect slightly better prices for a bulk purchase of course.

 

Also what would people put the value hierarchy among:

- Macintosh Pluses

- Platinum Macintosh Pluses

- Macintosh SE

-Macintosh SE/30?  Again with no keyboard and mouse, as I assume the Plus keyboards and mouses are significantly more valuable than ADB stuff.  Without expansion boards of course.

 

Also, this is completely different on country and even region.  My perspective is from the Western United States.

Edited by CompaqMac

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In my own opinion, the market has changed on lot in recent years. 

 

From next to nothing a decade ago (and working units) Compact Macintoshes are now valuable computers. 

 

I will say expect to pay from 30 to 50 $ for 

any SE or Classic at least. 

 

From 70 to 100 $ for a Plus. 

 

From 100 to above for a SE/30. 

 

Adb mice and keyboards are not hard to find, while older units are (a mouse for a Plus or 128 can be sold for 50$ on its own)

 

keep in mind also that at this average price, a fair amount of work and parts is sometimes required to have a working unit. 

 

Of course, you can be lucky  and find cheaper or free units, but Internet and E...y are making things a bit hard nowadays. 

 

I don’t think a huge difference is present in the US compared with other countries, again Internet is responsible for that. 

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Interesting Plus more than SE...why would that be, do you think?

 

As a side note, I had no idea that the 5 Plus keyboards I stashed away 20 years ago would be so valuable...

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3 hours ago, LaPorta said:

Interesting Plus more than SE...why would that be, do you think?

Uniqueness, perhaps?  The Plus has SCSI but it also has the non-ADB keyboard and mouse.  So being different like that positions it in a unique spot.  Additionally, it's perhaps the first usable Mac.  Not that the 128k and 512k aren't usable, but the full MB of RAM (with the option of more) gives it that extra push.

 

 

3 hours ago, LaPorta said:

As a side note, I had no idea that the 5 Plus keyboards I stashed away 20 years ago would be so valuable...

I know.  So many things I should have stocked up on . . .

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12 minutes ago, dcr said:

Uniqueness, perhaps?  The Plus has SCSI but it also has the non-ADB keyboard and mouse.  So being different like that positions it in a unique spot.  Additionally, it's perhaps the first usable Mac.  Not that the 128k and 512k aren't usable, but the full MB of RAM (with the option of more) gives it that extra push.

 

 

I know.  So many things I should have stocked up on . . .

That's what I'm doing with 2000's era jobs stuff. I know some things like the Apple hiFi are gonna demand high prices. 

 

I still remember in the early 2000s when schools couldn't give away LC's AIO and pizza boxes for free, even when they gave them away people gravitated towards windows boxes. same thing is happening with 2006 MacBook's. Literally selling for around ten dollars a pop. I don't expect that to get lower. 

 

(Interesting to note that iBook G4 prices still arnt that high but have increased in the last couple of years. Things like ADB keyboards have increased and dont get me started on early1990s/late 80s accelerator cards and how much they are getting on eBay nowadays (didnt the 40 processor for the se/30 go for a grand recently?)

 

Anwyays its not too late to stock up.. even some 68k era items are still relatively cheap (Performa 6x00 comes to mind, even some II line Macs like the Iici are still cheap. LC 475, which many disregard as another slow LC in the line but its really not... )

Edited by ClassicMac

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Thankfully I still have four. I just sold one for a reasonable price to a local guy to help finance my oscilloscope purchase. Interestingly, I found a very good price on a 128k/512k number pad locally, the first one I've ever had. They 6 key is not currently functioning but it is otherwise in good shape.

 

You may be right regarding the Plus' place in history. It straddles the line in usefulness, and is the last Mac to share the original case design in form factor.

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We're coming out the other end of the bathtub curve on the value of vintage Apple/Mac stuff in general. Even machines that were common as dirt a few years ago are now commanding relatively high prices.

 

For better or worse - increasing interest and decreasing supplies of machines. Especially since not a lot of people were engaged, say, ten years ago with storing large quantities of machines to hold onto and then pass along inexpensively.

 

Any place that still had a pile of 68k Macs in the early 2000s probably cleared most of them out in the mid-2000s to make way for faster, better hardware that people would be more interested in using. Lots of us had things get lost or lost access to storage locations or had to recycle or give away things over the past ~20-ish years, too. 

 

Those are some of the natural causes. I think that there's almost certainly some other factors. Interest in "upgrades" appears to just be higher than in faster machines (i.e. upgrading an SE/30 rather than using an '040 system from the outset, same thing with "G3-upgraded PPC Mac" vs. just buying a G3, which are still inexpensive.

 

 

I also think that in general, "working" machines are going to fetch a higher price than non-working ones, machines with more completeness (kb/mouse, often even if they don't really match, some software, accessories) are going to get a higher price, and systems that are already packed in with things like FloppyEmu and SCSI2SD will get more. Even though most of us here on this site might not be in this market, I believe there's generally a market for people who have nostalgia and just want to go on eBay and pick up a complete system (or complete up to the point of a VGA cable to plug into a TV or LCD monitor) and start playing.

 

(This also tracks with my general observation over the past ~10-15 years that the things most people want to do on 68k Macs is games, simple productivity applications, and HyperCard.)

 

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3 hours ago, dcr said:

 So being different like that positions it in a unique spot.  Additionally, it's perhaps the first usable Mac.  Not that the 128k and 512k aren't usable, but the full MB of RAM (with the option of more) gives it that extra push.

And SCSI was just as important too. The Mac Plus is what Apple should have shipped in 1984. The problem with the original Macintosh wasn't just that it was a closed-box, it was that it was a closed box with not enough inside of it.

 

If Apple had shipped a Mac in 1984 with even just one of the big-3 features of the Plus (additional RAM, SCSI, or double-sided drive), things would have been a lot different.

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I think that an original Mac that had 512k and SCSI would have made it hard for the "serious" computer users to dismiss it so quickly.

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I agree that the Mac Plus is probably the earliest "usable" Mac. Less in the sense that the 128k and 512k were totally unusable and more that their hardware limitations cause software that runs on them to have relatively severe restrictions, and they're even more than the Plus/SE/Classic are, explicitly single-tasking machines.

 

In an alternate universe, I'd have started the Mac line with either the Plus or SE, and perhaps gain something like the Apple II smartport for slightly more generic floppy diskette operation. (Although notably even with that the IIgs requires a dedicated controller card to use a high density diskette drive.)

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1 hour ago, Cory5412 said:

I agree that the Mac Plus is probably the earliest "usable" Mac. Less in the sense that the 128k and 512k were totally unusable and more that their hardware limitations cause software that runs on them to have relatively severe restrictions [...]

 

In an alternate universe, I'd have started the Mac line with either the Plus or SE [...]

Basically all of the hardware shortcomings of the Macintosh in its first 2 years weren't Apple's fault, or at least not entirely. Sony promised them double-sided drives, but they weren't able to deliver them in volume. DRAM was expensive. SCSI was an emerging standard in 83-84.

 

Regarding double-sided drives, recall that the Mac was originally spec'ed to use the same double-sided Twiggy drives as the Lisa. But when the Mac team switched to use Sony drives in mid-1983, the storage capacity was halved-- Sony only had single-sided drives available at the time. It took 2 years for the Mac to get a floppy drive that was equivalent in capacity to what it was originally intended to be.

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11 minutes ago, Dog Cow said:

DRAM was expensive

This one is moderately debunkable, although it could also be true that Apple was the victim of catastrophically bad timing in terms of bringing the Mac to market. There was a DRAM price squeeze in late '82 into the beginning of '83 that did provide a lot of motivation for the Macintosh team to try to cram the system into 128k, pressure that was all the greater because the initial target price for the Mac was to be $1,500, not the $2,495 that Apple decided to jack it up to practically on the eve of its release. But by late 1983 the price of the 128k of RAM had gone down to less than $80 retail. Apple could have *easily* sold the Mac with 512k at its new price in January... except the 256kbit RAM chips necessary to fit it into the only 16 sockets they had on the motherboard weren't really available in mass quantities until a few months later.

Apple might have been better off sticking with the original price (or closer to it) with the 128k Mac, or waiting a couple months and debuting it at 512k. Seems like they kind of did the worst possible thing instead.

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Oooooh . . .  I had either forgotten or never knew to begin with that the Mac 512k had a 400k floppy drive.  I guess I've long been under the impression, again either through ignorance or forgetfulness, that the Mac 512k and the Mac 512ke were nearly identical, except that the 512ke was intended for the educational market.  This could explain why the Mac 512k I have doesn't boot from an 800k floppy disk (although it appears to have an 800k floppy drive).  Hmm.  I guess I need to open it up and see what's actually inside the case . . .

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The "e" in 512ke was meant for Extended or Enhanced (think Apple IIe), which included the 800k drives and compatible ROMs. You are on the right track there. Perhaps someone long ago replaced a non-working 400k drive with an 800k as it was all that was around, but never replaced the ROMs. Either that, or the 800k drive does not have proper head contact and only reads one side of each disk (another story).

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Yeah, the e stands for Enhanced and the Macintosh ED was the one meant for the educational market. Apart from the faceplate, it's the same computer.

You can tell if your 512k still has the original 400k drive by just looking closely at the slot. If you can see a red light coming from it when it's on, then you have a 400k. Of course the bulb could be burnt, preventing it from working at all (it's a sensor).

 

The switches (to detect disks etc) are placed on the side on the 800k, and the metal plate in between them (when you look from top to bottom) is an aluminium like grey.

On the 400k, the switches are facing you and the metal plate is a bronze or copper like gold.

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22 hours ago, CompaqMac said:

I know a LOT of these can be had for free or next to nothing, but I've also seen the opposite with people asking top dollar for a piss yellow untested Mac Plus with no accessories.

 

I realize this is somewhat subjective, but what is kind of the baseline value of an intact compact mac (meaning not gutted but no keyboard or mouse) with no accessories and with a non broken case but that is untested or is known not to boot?

 

What about one that boots?

 

I think I'd be willing to pay $25 locally to save almost any intact compact mac and maybe $40 for any one that boots.  I would also expect slightly better prices for a bulk purchase of course.

 

Also what would people put the value hierarchy among:

- Macintosh Pluses

- Platinum Macintosh Pluses

- Macintosh SE

-Macintosh SE/30?  Again with no keyboard and mouse, as I assume the Plus keyboards and mouses are significantly more valuable than ADB stuff.  Without expansion boards of course.

 

Also, this is completely different on country and even region.  My perspective is from the Western United States.

My definition of value is what it is worth to me, how much I will pay for it. If you want something more than I do, then the value goes up for you.

 

Personally, I wouldn't pay more than the equivalent of $50 for a working compact mac, although the standard offering price is higher than this. But then again, I have 4 compact macs. SE/30s have developed (sadly) as the compact Mac to have and this is reflected in both prices being offered and prices being paid. Pluses are older, and consequently rarer. I am still of the opinion that the Mac SE is the "best" compact Mac and the compact Macs don't differ that much from one another. The Mac SE is the "most boring" or "least sexy" of the compact Macs and the prices being offered for them show this.

 

What is indicative of the market is the number of non-functioning (i.e. sold as "untested") Macs being offered. Macs are slowly dying due to age. Despite the (from my opinion) high offering price for broken equipment, my guess is that if you offered a significantly lower price, you might just very well get it. Mac collectors suffer from the perception of wealth.

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@ArmorAlley that’s interesting, are you saying you prefer the SE because it’s the most undervalued/unappreciated and therefore deals can be had, or because you like it the best for other reasons?  I’ve never had an SE but always though of them as sort of a halfway step between the Plus (best Mac in the original case, adds SCSI which is huge, runs 6.0.8/MultiFinder beautifully with 4MB RAM) and the SE/30 (real usable performance to run System 7 in a compact case, essentially infinite RAM for practical purposes if you upgrade to 128MB, plus serious upgrade options [at a price] ).

Edited by Crutch

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13 hours ago, LaPorta said:

The "e" in 512ke was meant for Extended or Enhanced (think Apple IIe), which included the 800k drives and compatible ROMs. You are on the right track there. Perhaps someone long ago replaced a non-working 400k drive with an 800k as it was all that was around, but never replaced the ROMs. Either that, or the 800k drive does not have proper head contact and only reads one side of each disk (another story).

I should also set up a 400k boot "floppy" on the Floppy Emu and see if any of them will boot from that.

 

6 hours ago, BadGoldEagle said:

You can tell if your 512k still has the original 400k drive by just looking closely at the slot. If you can see a red light coming from it when it's on, then you have a 400k. Of course the bulb could be burnt, preventing it from working at all (it's a sensor).

Thanks.  I printed out the photo someone uploaded in another thread on identifying 400k vs. 800k floppy drives, but I didn't know about the red light.

 

5 hours ago, ArmorAlley said:

SE/30s have developed (sadly) as the compact Mac to have and this is reflected in both prices being offered and prices being paid.

The other sad thing is that the SE/30s are more difficult to repair (or, consequently, more expensive to have repaired) than the earlier compact Macs.  I have a number of SE/30s I need to recap (or have recapped) because I bought a number of them many years ago for use as servers or other uses.  I had one that served as a DNS server for a few years.  They are nice machines and back when the PowerPC was just starting to get a foothold, SE/30s still had a lot of life in them.  With System 6.0.8 and the 68030 chip, they were very good machines for various uses, such as DNS servers, web servers, BBS, etc.  And they were relatively inexpensive back then because they were already old machines.

 

But, of course, now they all need to be recapped which, were I to have someone do it for me, might possibly cost as much as or more than I originally paid for the machines.

 

Still, I like the SE/30.

 

 

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I also believe that there is much to be said for work put in. If you take an otherwise unrestored SE that works for $40, put the time and money into recapping the AB/PSU, clean and properly lube the floppy drive, etc, there last no reason you shouldn’t be able to get $100-$120 for it seeing as the parts and labor were put into it. At least that’s how I see it.

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I also believe that there is much to be said for work put in. If you take an otherwise unrestored SE that works for $40, put the time and money into recapping the AB/PSU, clean and properly lube the floppy drive, etc, there last no reason you shouldn’t be able to get $100-$120 for it seeing as the parts and labor were put into it. At least that’s how I see it.

 

Well, IIRC, The SE was probably the one with the higher figure in production terms (The Plus remained in production for five years, only replaced by the Classic who was a new iteration) so SEs can be found pretty cheap mainly because they are plenty of them around, are bulletproof (mine survived to a Maxell Bomb) and don't need any recapping so far.

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The only thing I’d disagree with is the last part: every compact Mac ever made by this point needs their analog boards and PSUs recapped. If you buy one that still works, that’s great, but it is definitely on borrowed time. I agree the logic boards are pretty beefy.

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On the flip side, the capacitors on the analog boards and PSUs in the compact Macs have held out far, far longer than the capacitors on the logic boards of SE/30s and other later 68k models.

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6 hours ago, Crutch said:

are you saying you prefer the SE because it’s the most undervalued/unappreciated and therefore deals can be had, or because you like it the best for other reasons?

To add, for myself:

 

The performance the SE/30 (and to some extent, the Classic II) adds over the SE and SEfdhd, and the types of upgrades people put in it, make relatively little sense to me, personally, because using that performance for anything meaningful is difficult on the built in 512x342 display.

 

The, uh, magic, for lack of a better way to put it of having something in the original/compact/classic form factor is sort of lost if you have to use an external display along with it for it to make sense as a computer. (And: I'm going to argue that this is meaningfully different from, say, "needing" to use second and third displays with modern flat-panel iMacs.)

 

The SE/30 should be a fine system 7 performer without doing too many upgrades (040, color, whatever unholy combinations are possible or people want to be possible) but the value of, say, system 7 (or even 6+multifinder) and multitasking is.... questionable. Not "not there", but questionable, again, because of the display.

 

(Come to think of it: I actually have an SE/30, which needs some bits repaired, I should see about getting that done.)

 

I have a Plus with 4 megs of RAM, and it's a nice configuration, but the SEfdhd, Classic, or Classic II strikes me as a little more compatible with everything else I have and run.

 

Anyway, TL;DR - the SE/30 costs a lot because it's super upgradeable, but the upgrades don't make sense to me. In general, a stock real Quadra or 040 LC will outperform an SE/30 and you can use a bigger color monitor on a real Quadra, plus most Quadras have Ethernet onboard.

 

22 hours ago, Dog Cow said:

Basically all of the hardware shortcomings of the Macintosh in its first 2 years weren't Apple's fault, or at least not entirely. Sony promised them double-sided drives, but they weren't able to deliver them in volume. DRAM was expensive. SCSI was an emerging standard in 83-84.

Sure, I didn't say it was a reasonable alternate universe, or even that I'd have shipped the Mac in 1984 in that case.

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23 hours ago, Gorgonops said:

Apple might have been better off sticking with the original price (or closer to it) with the 128k Mac, or waiting a couple months and debuting it at 512k. Seems like they kind of did the worst possible thing instead.

Out of those two options, surely the former is better from a price point, but not from a technical point. We all know the Mac 128K listed at $2495 in January 1984 because Scully wanted to tack on an extra $500 to pay for the Superbowl ad. But it's worth pointing out that when the 512K Fat Mac was announced in September 1984, its retail was $3,195, and the 128K model was then reduced to $2,195. The 128K -> 512K upgrade was $995.

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The SE/30 has been in demand since the day it was discontinued. 

 

Look at materials from very late 1991 into 1992. The SE/30 was a beloved machine when new and was even described in one book as a "perennial favorite". This was in 1994. (Source: "Upgrading and Repairing Macs", published by QUE). Prices remained relatively high until the middle of the PPC era, around 1996-1997, when they started to bottom out--although people would still buy an SE/30 if it showed up at a surplus sale, later on eBay, etc. Rarely did they go for a buck or two like the other Macs. They could be had for double digits in dollars until the past few years, when the "new normal" became $100+. 

 

Regarding Mac prices: in any hobby, prices can and will fluctuate; generally, they will trend upward. For some hobbies, this follows a period of great availability and low prices. Somewhere, there's a 2004 Oldsmobile Alero on a Craigslist ad for about $1000. It's an old compact car, likely destined for its third or fourth owner, and odds are it will wind up with a high school student for the fall. However, in about 30 years, once reality has set in that Oldsmobile has been gone for a long time and the 2004 Alero was their final model, that car will be worth much more than $1000, even if it needs some work done to it. Try buying a 1966 Toronado. It won't be cheap. True, the Toronado was a superior model to the Alero in its time, but eventually, even the low end vehicles go up in price.

 

Macs are the same way. The 1966 Toronado was the SE/30 of the Olds lineup. Smaller, but full of technology. It's always been in demand, save for maybe when these cars were 10 years old or so. Classics are like the Starfires, Cutlass Calaises, Aleros, Achievas, etc...they're out of production but increasingly in demand, especially since many of the mass-produced models are gone. They have gone up in value, especially for working or restored models. Tack on modern conveniences and the prices can go through the roof.

 

Events can also trigger a change in price. When Steve Jobs died, old Macs got even more expensive. Everyone wanted to remember his legacy, even though most of our compacts were released after his departure from the company (and before he came back). 

 

When I sell computers, I sell them at values I believe are fair for the condition and the state of the market. The prices I have listed in my sale thread at the moment are not the same prices I would have listed two years ago. Two years from now, the prices may be even different.

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