Rare A500 surfaces on ebayBy Chris Williams. Published: 11th Nov 2002, 14:27:00 | Permalink | Printable
Serious cash for mysterious Acorn prototypeEbay 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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