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Practical Implications

How much space will your collection will occupy?

This is not an easy question. There are two critical parts to determining the answer. The first thing you need to know is how many chips will you collect? If you had asked me when I started collecting in in 1978, I would have said one to ten. Fast forward thirty some odd years and my collection has upwards of 45,000 pieces. Over the years I have been working on reducing my collection footprint. If you have a collecting type of mindset, you might want to think about your keeping your collection footprint small.  My wife is very thankful that I didn’t pick up computer collecting. You also will what to consider how many different samples of each chip you will collect.

Also, many collectors will segregate their collections into a “main” collect and a “spares” collection. The “main” collection would be you personal prized pieces. The “spares” collection may be other pieces that you have dropped from your “main” collection and/or other chips you have acquired for trading. Many collectors are reluctant to separate from chips in their “spares” collection other use it as their trading pool. You will find that your “main” collection is take up more space than your “spares” collection. Your “main” collection is usually for show, and therefor the chips are given a little for space. The “spares” collection is usually a little more condensed with similar chips being stored together to save space.

Once, you have an estimate of the number of chips, you need to figure out your unit-storage-space. Even though chip sizes vary, if you have a collect that gets anywhere near a 1,000, the sizes will average out. I recommend selecting a standard box size for your storage, determine how many 2″x1″ chips will fit in it, measure the box’s outer dimensions, calculate its total volume, and divide the number of chips into the box’s volume. You now have your unit-storage-space. You can take your total number of chips multiply it times your unit-storage-space and get your total storage space needed. Another variable you might consider, is the percent of empty space you leave in your boxes to accommodate growth depending on your organization. For example, if you are collecting AMD and Intel chips, you could just enter the chips in the boxes as you collect them and you wouldn’t to reserve any space. If you decide to organize your chips by manufacturer then you might use one box for Intel and another AMD, you may be reserving 50% of the box for growth. And in this case you might need two boxes instead of one.

How easy is it look at your chips?

Depending on your storage solution it may be easy, or a challenge, to find and access a chip to look at it. For example, I initially stored my chips in small clear plastic boxes. The plastic boxes were stored in cardboard boxes. To find a plastic box, I would need to dump out the cardboard box to get to a plastic box, even if I knew exactly where it was. When I was done, I would need to put all the plastic boxes back in, in the right order (if I wanted to know exactly where each box was supposed to be). I was never that organized, or patient, so this solution didn’t work very well as the collection grew. It is important to minimize stacking, hard to access packing/boxes, and heavy boxes (a single chip is not heavy, a box of Intel Pentium Pro ceramic chips is).

How difficult is it to enter a new chip into your collection?

This is a related problem to finding and accessing your chips. This is specifically dealing with adding new chips to your collection. It also deals with how you have organized your collection. Under the section above on your collection’s footprint, we talked about the idea that you might need to leave space for growth. Your choice of storage solution can make this an easy, or difficult, to do. If you choose a fixed storage solution such as drawers in a cabinet. Filling up reserved space can mean a near complete reorganization of your collection. This is not a big deal when your collection is small, but can be a major effort when your collection grows larger, Moving things around to make more space is not desirable. The unnecessary handling of your chips increases the likelihood of damage.