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Which Apple computer to keep?


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I have various Apple 8-bit machines lying around that I just pulled out of storage.  From memory I have 2-3 Apple II's (at least one IIe, maybe a II+, maybe a stock II?) one GS and one III.  I also have a IIc with the cloth carrying case.


I know nothing about their collective status yet.  I intend to keep just one machine and purge the rest.  Which one would you keep?  And why?


On the same topic...I have several monochrome monitors.  Again, from memory I have one Monitor II (with vertical tilt), and 2-3 Monitor III's (2 different model numbers, IIRC).

Which monitor is preferred?

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Well, plain old Apple IIs are worth, well, thousands of dollars due to their historic value. Apple IIIs are also pretty rare valuable but not as much as the II.


II+ and IIe systems are worth anywhere between $100 and $500 depending on their condition and what peripherals they come with. IIgs systems are slightly more expensive cost about the same as well.


If you have the IIgs RGB monitor and perhaps a 3.5" floppy drive, keep the IIgs. The IIgs is the most powerful Apple II compatible system and I think you'll have lots of fun with it. If you only have monochrome monitors and 5.25" floppy drives(or none at all) I'd say you keep the IIe or IIc.


I think Monitor IIs and Monitor IIIs are pretty much the same, but a Monitor II would go best with the early Apple IIs and the Monitor III with an Apple IIe or an Apple III.

Edited by bluejay
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I have both an //e and GS.  Have had the GS for years and just recently picked up a keyboard and mouse for it.  Always wanted to explore the GS some.


An unexpanded GS, or one that is lightly expanded like mine is, does not run all the latest stuff.  Will run a fair number of games.  I think I can run GS OS 4.x tops, due to only having 640K of total RAM.  The machine will expand to 1Mb with the boards it has in there right now, but man!  I don't know whether I want to source a pile of old RAM chips.  Not sure I want to buy an accelerator card either.


Right now, if I had to pick?  I would keep the //e Platinum.  The GS stuff is spiffy, and the mouse can get used a lot.  I like it, and it's fun to see how all that was shaping up.  Nice system.  But for me, the fun is the older games, and the //e is a simpler system overall.  And I got an accelerator for it that wasn't expensive.  I have a CFFA, misc cards, serial, disk, etc...


Maybe look at what you like to do the most, pack the best cards into the one you want to keep and run with it.


I'll keep both for now, but the //e will be the daily driver for various retro fun in my case.  Maybe I'll run into some GS goodies and change up.

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I think it depends on what you want out of it...

If it is for the history/collectability, the ][/][Plus is the way to go...

I wouldn't go that route myself, as I am more of a user than a collector.


For usability, I'd say a //e or //c would be your best bet..

To be fair, I am not familiar enough with the ][gs to comment on that line....


I'd say a //e because it can do everything you will want a Apple // line to do...

That said, I have a soft spot for the //c..  Yes, it isn't expandable (well, some) but built in, it does about everything you need.

128k, joystick port, serial port...

And it is small, which is great for collecting  displaying if you have a lot of systems.

That said, it (as all systems) has its things to watch out for.  You can use a mouse on it, but apparently they type of mouse matters.

There was someone making a mockingboard clone for it, but not sure about the availability of that. 


I couldn't choose, so I have a //e and a //c.  ;-)


As for monitor, I think that is a personal preference... 

I have a color monitor on my //e and a monochrome 9" on my //c.  But that is because that is what I remember from the past...  It just feels right to me, for nostalgia reasons.

Edited by desiv
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Thanks for the replies so far!  Please keep them coming!


For Apple....I'm not collecting.  There is too much stuff to collect and I'm trying to unhoard.  I want to use the computer for gaming.  Possibly for teaching hardware classes at some point.


I would like a color monitor for sure and I know that a TV won't cut it.  Should I hold out for the Apple Color Monitor?  Or just use a C= 1702 or PVM?


Is the Platinum //e just a prettier //e?  Seems like it.  I don't have a Platinum.  Just the stock version.  But I did get Woz to autograph it for me though!  :D

He got kinda excited when I pulled out the //e top cover at his book signing. :D  We had a nice 5-10 minute chat about the computer and what I wanted to use it for.


"Oh!  Hey!  I know what that is!  Look at that guys!  Do you have the rest of it?  At home?  Yeah probably too heavy to carry the whole thing.  That's really cool!  Is it working?" -Woz



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Does your //e do double high res graphics?  And is it enhanced?


If so, it's a keeper.  Good for 8 bit gaming and hardware.  Explanation, all the way through building hardware to plug into the machine.


Yes, the Platinum is the prettier //e, and are newer, run cooler over all.  Likely to last you a longer time.


I have found some PVM displays do not render Apple graphics correctly.  Impact ranges from annoying, to crappy.  The 1702 will work great.  Many newer TV's will work great too, so long as you are not too concerned about 80 column text.  For gaming, you can avoid that for the most part.


Here is a recent thread on that:




The Apple monitor is sweet.  Hard to get though.


Many will use anything for color and then score a little amber, or green or grey screen and just use them both.  


My setup is a PVM, and I do not mind the display being imperfect.  Looks great overall for gaming.  And I have a little amber screen for detail, and that little screen is sharp!  


If your //e is not enhanced with DHGR, and you don't want to keep the //c, keep the GS as that will keep all your 8 bit gaming options open.  


You could use a PVM with your GS running RGB.  I am about to try that with mine.  Might really like it.  Don't know yet.


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You can convert a standard //e to an Enhanced //e.  Reactive Micro sells a kit.

Another "advantage" of the Platinum would be the numeric keypad, although the grumpy old guy in me likes his Apple IIs without numeric keypads. ;-)

I do have my //e attached to my 1701 monitor currently (for space reasons) and it is working fine.

So any good composite color monitor should be decent.

Another advantage to the //e over the //c is the cassette input.  You can use that with ADTPro or the Apple Disk/Game server and it's pretty slick.

Of course, if you have a Super Serial Card for your //e, you can use that for ADTPro also.

But there is something I really like about the bootstrapping over audio option..  

And games load surprisingly fast (IMHO) over audio on the Apple Game Server, but it feels a bit extra retro being audio. ;-)

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If it's autographed, has the 80col/64k card, and is enhanced, by all means, keep the //e. If not, and you want something more compact, go for the //c. It has a serial port and floppy drive built in and it's smaller than the normal ][ computers. Applecolor monitors are rare and a bit pricey; I've always found my monochrome monitor to be okay for me. Anyways, try and stick with the //e or //c if you're more a user than a collector.

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I vote for the Platinum //e. Reliability, lowest chip count. And it's compatible with nearly everything ever made for the II series. For the few and far between programs that don't work you can always use AppleWin. In fact I highly recommend getting a flash-based storage device and set up Ciderpress and AppleWin to run Copy II Plus on a PC as a companion tool. They add so much to the experience! If you don't get a Platinum //e then just get a standard "enhanced //e".


The most common thing to go bad on a P//e is solder joints on the keyboard. Easy fix. Most common issue on a non-Platinum //e is RAM. Some are socketed for easy replacement. Some not.


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One thing about the GS.  It is a great machine.


For many people, that line between 8 an 16 bits matters.  That's why the //e platinum and other 8 bit models get the love they do.


I recently got mine going, and had some fun with the GS games.  Beyond that, one needs to get familiar with a next gen OS, which is a bit of a commitment.  All fun, if that makes sense.


But, it might not for you, depending on where you are at on Apple machines.

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Me? I would keep the autographed one I think :) And like others have said, you can enhance it if you need to, especially if it's an Enhanced //e.

I've got a few boxes of NOS floppies and I use ADTPro to write games to them. The Apple Game Server has some fun cassette stuff, too. But I am tempted to get one of those hard drive emulators.


I've never seen an Apple II hooked up to a color monitor before, but I use a regular old TV and it's just fine, IMO. 80 column text mode looked a little fuzzy on a larger TV, but on this smaller TV it looks quite a bit sharper. Probably not as good as a monochrome screen, though.


Wouldn't mind taking a monitor off your hands, but four hours is a bit of a drive for me, and I don't think the girlfriend would approve :(

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Why not keep them all?


I may be interested in the /// as mine was stolen, should you decide to part with it, although bringing it up to the specs of my former system would be near to impossible.


I'd be curious to see what you have. If you want to trade or sell anything, send a PM to me. Likewise, if you need help or support, feel free to do the same.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I never found a regular II+/IIe from my thrifting in the mid to late '90s, but I did happen to be around when IIgs systems were being thrown out. So I ended up making two moving boxes each with a "nice" IIgs system (one with a hard card, the other with an Apple SCSI card), and two IIgs monitors outside the boxes. Both of them were ROM 3 systems with a Woz lid swapped on, and maybe a meg of RAM on a board. I couldn't easily add more RAM since the boards wanted 1Mx1 chips and PCs had gone to 256Kx4. I also recently found another IIgs lying around in the garage, and some other random I/O cards.

Edited by Bruce Tomlin
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Obviously the IIgs is the "best", in terms of power, Apple II.  So that clearly isn't what you're asking.  But even used as an 8 bit machine, the IIgs really shines in terms of "creature comforts".  They're certainly convenient even if you're just using it as a //e.


Audio output jack? √

Software volume control/mute? √

built in RGB (convertable to vga, hdmi inexpensively)? √

external keyboard? √

built in mouse (doesn't use a slot)? √

built in disk smartport (doesn't use a slot)? √

built in (modest) accelerator? √

built in twin serial ports (doesn't use two slots)? √

built in clock? √

change default boot slot? √

better machine language monitor? √


If it's more important the machine be a "classic 8 bit apple II with all of its charm" keep the //e.  Otherwise you're getting most of two computer worlds in one box with the GS.

Edited by 01tracker
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