A truly rare find, an Altair 680 is for sale on eBay!
For sale on ebay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/133798143764
Most people have never heard of the MITS Altair line of computers. But the Altair 8800 has a bit of a vintage cult following on the internet. So much so that multiple individuals have taken to building Altair replicas, powered by Arduino emulators. Possibly driven by enthusiasts or educators interested in demonstrating the fundamentals of how computers work… The Altair’s cult popularity survives primarily as it is widely recognized as the first “home computer”. In today’s terms, it doesn’t look like much. It is just a blue box with switches and a few lights. There is no keyboard, no mouse, no display. Just some switches and lights, but if you’re crafty enough, you can figure out how to get a 110-baud serial connection out of the thing and connect up a terminal and possibly some kind of external magnetic storage.
The Altair 8800 is rare. But it’s cousin, the Altair 680 is even rarer as it was a commercial failure. Yet the Altair 680 has another interesting spot in history, as it is the only Altair that is based on the Motorola 6800 chip, instead of the Intel 8080. So in a way it represents one of the earliest battles in the processor wars.
I would guesstimate that there are at least 10 authentic 8800’s out there for every 680… maybe even 100. I have only seen 2 Altair 680s for sale on eBay in the past and each sold for over $4000. So it was a truly unique event when I came across yet another Altair 680 Auction this week on eBay. Check it out if you’re into that kind of thing.