Odd vintage computer sellers

Alan Perry aperry at snowmoose.com
Thu Jan 2 13:02:48 CST 2020

Most of us who collect vintage computers probably have our own stories 
like this, but I find this so amusing that I just have to share it.

Last year I did an exhibit on SPARC clones for VCF PNW and wanted to 
include a Solbourne in it. Unable to cajole Cameron into loaning me one 
:-), I went looking for one to buy on eBay.

There was a seller with, among other Solbourne hardware, a listing for 
some number of IDT S4000DXs. They had started with 6 and were down to 
4-5 when I started looking. IIRC, the base Buy-It-Now (BIN) price was 
around $225, but, when they didn't sell, they were relisted with a 
varying discount. In relistings, the BIN was as low as $167.

In a relisting where the discounted price was $195 BIN, I offered $175. 
The seller didn't accept and, in the counter offer exchange, eventually 
went above the discounted price. I didn't go for that. Then, in the next 
relisting, the discounted price was $167. I bought one.

They were being sold with a HDD and a Solbourne frame buffer (Sun frame 
buffers don't work in S4000DXs), but no keyboard or mouse (Solbournes 
use proprietary keyboards and mice). The one that I got had a dead 
Sun0424 (Seagate ST1480N) HDD and, I found out later, a broken frame buffer.

I put in a SD2SCSI and installed OS/MP (Solbourne's version of BSD 
SunOS). From the serial console, it worked fine and I included the 
system in my VCF PNW exhibit. After the show, I spent some time trying 
to make a Solbourne to Sun keyboard adapter, but couldn't get it to 
work. I have had it up for sale for a few months (my attention is now 
focused on the barn-find Sun 3/260 that I hope to have working for this 
year's VCF PNW).

But, back to the seller that I got the S4000DX from ...

The seller is still trying to sell 2 of the original 6 S4000DXs (that at 
one point included the one that I have). However, the pricing has 
changed. Now, instead of the old base price of around $225, the base 
price is now $3060. Yes, $3000. But they are being offered with an 83% 
discount, so one can get a S4000DX for the low, low price of just under 

I find this amazing and odd.


More information about the cctalk mailing list