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Stuff for a good, solid Apple II experience.


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What, IYHO, is the necessary hardware to have a great fantastic authentic Apple II experience. With focus on both today and good nostalgia (for those of us that were there) from back in the day?


I propose something like..


Apple II+ and Apple //e consoles

2 Disk II drives for each console with standard Disk II controller

64K/80column card for the //e

16K RamCard for the II+

Hayes Micromodem

AppleCat II modem

TimeMaster II H.O.


Floppy Drive Emulator



TG Products Joystick

Apple Joystick

TG Products Paddles

AMDEK color monitor

1084S monitor

CP/M card

RF modulator

Grappler printer interface

LowerCase chip

Videx keyboard enhancer

Epson MX-80 dot-matrix printer

5 boxes of floppy disks (or more)

Stack of early Apple II manuals and other documentation


..granted all that can be rather expensive today, especially in the time that's necessary to clean it all up and make it look new again. But it's rather comprehensive covering a lot of the then contemporary hardware. Hardware that captures the early experience and air of discovery. Hardware that captures a sense of wonder and a preview of what the future would bring.


But surely everyone has their favorite bits of hardware that should be added. What is it? Discuss!

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Enhanced IIe or IIgs.  128k 80col card if a IIe.  BMOW FloppyEmu.  One real floppy drive if you have old disks laying around, otherwise not needed.  Mockingboard or Phasor clone if you like Ultima III-V.  Real CRT monitor (no LCD); 15KHz analog RGB monitor if IIgs, otherwise any color composite.  Some kind of small joystick (CH made decent ones, or rewire a cheap PC stick).

Edited by Lee Adamson
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Mine is much simpler...

For me, there are two good choices.

Setup 1:

Apple //c

Green 9" CRT monitor with stand.

External 5.25" floppy drive.


Serial cable and some floppies.... (For ADTPro)


Mouse if you want to use MouseDesk/Apple II Desktop, GEOS, etc..

Mockingboard 4c (Ok, this isn't authentic, but this modern add-on to get Mockingboard Sound on the //c is nice.  Haven't done that one myself yet..)


Setup 2:

Apple //e

64k 80 Column card (or RAMWorks or similar card..)

Duodisk (preferred) or 2 DISK ][s with appropriate controller card.

Color CRT monitor

Super Serial Card (SSC)



Serial Cable and some floppies (For ADTPro..  Note:  You could skip the SSC if you want to go audio for creating disk images.)

Audio cable (Apple Game Server Online is pretty impressive.. ;-)


Mouse card and mouse if you want to use Mousedesk/Apple II Desktop, GEOS, etc (and here you'd want a RAMWorks or other RAM expansion and make sure that //e is an enhanced //e)

System Saver fan/power plugs..  OK, no reason for this other than I always liked the design... ;-)  ? 


For me, (at least currently) the Nostalgia is mostly about games so I don't see the need for printers, modems or much more RAM.

I also like floppies, so haven't felt the need for a CFFA, BOOTi, BMOW, etc..  Although those are all REALLY NICE....


I also avoided the earlier Apple ]['s, like the plus.  While nice, I think of those more as collector machines than daily retro drivers (tho they can be).

Also, the //e and //c seem to be really stable machines.  Fewer chips, etc...


Now, did I suggest these options only because they closely match the two setups I currently have and I'm justifying my choices???  

Of course not...  er.. um.. well..  They are good choices!!!!  ;-)

Edited by desiv
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  • 2 months later...

Authentic... But how authentic?


For fully blown old school hardware, I'd go for this setup:

Enhanced Apple //e

2 Original Disk ][s

Apple Monitor ][(Monochrome Green Phosphor)

64k/80 Column Card

Any Hayes modem

Silentype(with card)


If anything that includes a proper Apple ][ counts as authentic,


Apple //e Platinum

RGB Card

Apple RGB Monitor


Apple joysticks and paddles

Two Unidisks

two Unidisk 3.5s


Super Serial Card

CP/M card

ImageWriter(with card)

BMOW FloppyEmu

Mouse card and mouse

Some kind of WiFi modem

Our Apple IIs are gonna need a hell lot of card slots.

Edited by bluejay
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I assume that my setup counts as authentic, considering that it hasn't changed much since the 80's.  Personally, I've always been a little minimalist in my setups, but here it goes...


Apple //e (enhanced) [Sometimes I use an un-enhanced //e depending on the game]

80/64 card

Slot 1: Grappler Printer Card 

Slot 2: SuperSerial Card (was for a printer but reconfigured for ADTPro)

Slot 6: 2 Disk ][ Drives

Slot 7: 3.5 in UniDisk Drive

CH Joystick or Apple Paddles

Apple Monitor /// (Green Phosphor)



TV with composite input or Apple Color-Composite for software that needs color

Aux cable to load games from the Apple Game Server


I also have a //c and IIgs which I will typically use with my Color-Composite.  But my go to has always been my //e. (I also have an additional platinum 5.25 and 800k for the IIgs)


As for everything else, don't get me wrong, I'd love to get my hands on an Floppy EMU, CFFA, CP/M, Mockingboard etc...  But those have always felt like fun little add-ons to me and not particularly necessary for my old school enjoyment. ;-) 



On 8/14/2020 at 9:25 AM, desiv said:

Green 9" CRT monitor with stand.


I'm Jealous!!!  I've always wanted one for my //c.

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Great lists!


I would add the wifi modem such as the WiModem232 to the list since since there aren't too many phone line BBS's up any more, and AFAIK none that are run on Apple II's.


The VidHD card is pretty cool too for emulating the old monitor look, scanlines and all, on a modern monitor.

Edited by Byte Knight
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