VAXen at home (was Re: Altair 8800a on EBAY)

From: Ethan Dicks <>
Date: Thu Oct 4 20:55:58 2001

--- Tony Duell <> wrote:
> > --- Absurdly Obtuse <> wrote:
> > >
> > > Depending on the exact time frame, it could be the DEC VAX 11/730
> > > that was the machine everyone was drooling over. Or the IBM S/38.
> >
> > For *home*? I first laid hands on an 11/730 when it was current, but
> Apart from the price, why not?

I got an 11/725 from a former employer in 1986 or 1987 (whenever DEC
temporarily embargoed VMS license transfers). It was $4000. I was
living the life of a student while making decent wages as a programmer.
I had lots of spare cash for expensive toys then (fortunately, in the
case of this VAX, it didn't cost me the prevailing used price at the
time, but I know I forked over more than $2K for it - still have the
VMS license in my name!) In 1989, we (different employer) got that
VAX 8200 I have now - $12,000, only because I had them strip out the
parts we didn't need, and we pre-paid it - it was originally listed at
$14,000. If you had multiple-thousands of dollars, you could get a
VAX at home prior to 1988, but in practice, I doubt it happened very
often. Mostly, hard-core DECies had PDP-11s and PDP-8s.

> A VAX 11/730 'compact system' (one
> half-height rack containing the CPU, R80 winchester and either an RL02 or

> a TS05 tape) is easily small enough to use at home.

Placing it in its historical context, size wasn't the issue I was
objecting to - I got my first 19" racks at home in 1983 when
I was still in high school (PDP-8/i in one rack, DF-32 in another). I
know hams who had racks then.

It was cost compared to other items. Home VAXen were extremely rare
15 years ago. I know; I had one. I still have various glossies with
prices from those days. The stuff was not cheap, but it was great.


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Received on Thu Oct 04 2001 - 20:55:58 BST

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