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Why Collect Computer Chips?


Silicon wafer made by AMD with 486 microprocessor chips

Why collect computer chips? This is an obvious question that I never asked myself. But I was recently asked this and found myself fumbling for my reasons. I spent a lot of time thinking about it since. The answer to this question will vary for all types of collectors, and for each individual collector. So here we go:

  1. I like science and technology; computer chips have enabled giant advances in those fields. Chips  bring me closer to those events.
  2. I like to discover new things. in this case, collecting vintage chips is re-discovery of new things, maybe a little chip archeology.
  3. I like sorting, organizing, putting things in their place. Chip collecting is therapeutic for me in that respect.
  4. I like the stories behind the chips: the business and technical challenges, the personalities, understanding relationships, and the making of history.
  5. As a self-professed nerd, computer chips are cool. They are cool to look at, cool to hold, cool to understand.
  6. I have to be concerned with space. I would love to collect computers, especially mainframes, but chips make me very happy and my wife happy too.
  7. We are losing our chip history to precious metals recyclers. If I don’t save these chips then who will?
  8. I almost hate to admit this because it may seem to lessen the value of my other reasons, but they are not a bad investment. For all of my different investments, chips continue to do well for me.