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When is an Old Computer a Vintage Computer?

By Brad Cole
Updated: May 16, 2024

Computers seem to be out of date almost the moment they are purchased. New models with faster processors, more memory, and improved graphic cards are being produced even before those on the shelves have been sold. Some computers seem to start losing their value even before they have been sold.

So, is there any time when a computer stops losing its value and begins to be worth more? When is an old computer considered to be a vintage computer? The truth is, neither of these situations occurs with computers in the same way that it does with cars and houses. An old computer simply does not gain value in the traditional marketplace in any meaningful way. Still, some old computers are sought by niche collectors, and may be considered vintage.

A vintage computer might be desired for one of three reasons: retrogaming, historical importance, or aesthetic value. They tend to be worth much less than their original purchase price, but still have some value beyond being paperweights. These three primary uses for a vintage computer are as follows:

Vintage computers are often desired for retrogaming. Retrogaming is the playing of computer and video games that are many years out of date. Vintage computers used for retrogaming must be able to run, come loaded with the correct operating system and driver software of the time period and be at the “high-end” of the model spectrum so that they can play retrogrames properly.

Vintage computers are also sometimes sought for their historical importance. The first Macintosh, for instance, might be desirable to someone that works for Apple. Historically important computers should not show any physical damage, and should also have very little visible wear.

Finally, vintage computers are sometimes sought for their aesthetic value. A vintage computer that looks interesting due to its color, shape, and/or accessories is sometimes purchased and displayed as a form of modern art. Some aesthetically-valued vintage computers are even broken down and artistically changed to make them more interesting, such as replacing an old Macintosh’s monitor with a goldfish bowl or putting plastic eyes and mouse ears on a laptop.

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Discussion Comments
By anon233562 — On Dec 07, 2011

These Vintage Computers you speak of are also called 'Legacy.'

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