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Rare A500 surfaces on ebay

By Chris Williams. Published: 11th Nov 2002, 14:27:00 | Permalink | Printable

Serious cash for mysterious Acorn prototype

Ebay is the popular auction website where you can buy and sell stuff online by bidding for items - just like a real auction. Each auction has a time limit, after which the highest bidder wins. It's all very simple and addictive and fun, trust us. And it's also a place where a lot of unusual kit turns up. Every so often, someone will rummage through their loft or garage, dig up something interesting and (as you do) stick it on an online auction site to see if it makes a bit of cash. And look at what we have here, a rare prototype Acorn A500 computer. For 400 quid.

As a prototype of the A300/A400 series of machines, Acorn designed the humble A500. Yes, we spotted the odd numbering system too. According to this historical Acorn site, the A500 machine is quite a rare beast as it was never commercially released by Acorn. It has a special VIDC chip for sound and video, 4MB of memory, an ARM 2 processor running at about 4MIPs with ArthurOS (that old chestnut) driving the whole thing. It's all very exciting.

"This came from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford. I think Acorn used Rutherford as a guinea pig for their new products. Somebody there told me that they got the BBC micro early on to use and iron out any bugs, then later on the A500 arrived", explains seller Chris Cox aka itsagoodday. "It does work, but I haven't got a suitable monitor for it. However, when you plug it it, it makes all the usual booting up noises from the hard disc. There are some cards inside the unit, but I'm no expert, so I'll leave it to the buyer to work out what does what."

See the link below for more stats and photos. And if you do happen to buy it, feel free to drop us an email.


Rare A500 prototype for sale - hurry, at time of writing there are just 5 days and 22 hours remaining on the sale with the current bid at 400 quid.

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Not *the* Chris Cox of the Acorn Clan fame?

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 11/11/02 3:14PM
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I'm not too sure actually. From his site, he trades in lots of old computer bits. It's probably an ironic coincidence.

Chris, drobe. Know your role.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 11/11/02 5:01PM
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A500 were not that rare - I've seen loads of them. I even gave one away last year to the charity stand.

 is a RISC OS Userdanielbarron on 11/11/02 6:55PM
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Not rare? If you say so. Gave them away? You must be kicking yourself now :)

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 11/11/02 7:43PM
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Anyone want my Acorn Prototype A4?

It's serial number #003 IIRC.

Must be worth a packet? :-)

 is a RISC OS Userquatermass on 11/11/02 8:41PM
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Of Crisps? Ok, I have a large selection of Walkers, Hulahoops, Monster munch and more. Name your snack and we can trade :)

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 11/11/02 9:13PM
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A500s were fairly rare! Especially the ones that run RISC iX rather than that string Arthur thingy. :) Also note, that they have a wierdo-keyboard, with ARX in mind.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 12/11/02 1:06PM
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chris, no not kicking self. I have too much crap to keep and I am glad someone else now has it.

I have a Risc PC serial #00001 which I am not going to give away though :)

Besides my dad is still using it.

 is a RISC OS Userdanielbarron on 13/11/02 12:47AM
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Never really collected old Acorn kit. First machine was an A5000. That got traded for RPC700 when it first came out. Then got Kinetic card. Then got second SA RPC. Then filled that up with stuff.

I bought a broken Electron at a boot fair for 50p once, does that count? ;-)

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 13/11/02 12:20PM
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I bought a broken Atom.

...no, actually, I can't even be bothered doing the joke.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 13/11/02 7:17PM
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Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 13/11/02 10:23PM
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I actually did buy one; and yes, it was broken; barely giving a decent display. The heatsink at the back was bloody dangerous. Gave it to a friend, like a fool. Grrrr.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 14/11/02 9:43AM
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