8

I've spent a ridiculous amount of time and effort over the years just trying to figure out what exact IBM product I grew up with. At last, I've finally established for 100% certain that it was a:

IBM PS/ValuePoint or IBM ValuePoint. These seem to refer to the same product family, with different names. (Don't ask me why...)

On https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_PS/ValuePoint , it lists multiple "form factors" and a ton of different "models":

I can at least exclude the fourth form factor, because it was most certainly not a tower. It was a "desktop", lying down.

I have made separate image searches for all of those form factors but they all seem to return the same (generic, bad) photos.

I hate myself for getting rid of this machine (due to space constraints and moving several times), but there's no point blaming myself for it now. I also didn't write down any of the product/serial numbers or even model number besides the following. All I have to go by is my foggy memory. Even the photos I have of it are of no use because it's in the background and you can't make out anything useful from those. (And I don't have access to them right now.)

What I do remember is that it said either "486" or "466" followed by "DX2" and probably a "/abc" (where abc was either "Si", "S" or "D"). That last part appears to refer to the form factor, whereas the "466/DX2" (if that's what it said) is the "model", and "IBM ValuePoint" was the "product family" or "series".

So, assuming that Wikipedia is correct in this case, it's either a:

  1. "Space saving desktop introductory: IBM 6381 model #: /Si (3 expansion card slots & 3 drive bays)"
  2. "Space saving desktop: IBM 6382 model #: /S (3 expansion card slots & 3 drive bays)"
  3. "Desktop: IBM 6384 model #: /D (5 expansion card slots & 5 drive bays)"

I remember it was very bulky, but that says nothing since I was a child and it was an era where computers in general were pretty big still. And this was not brand new either, and on top of it was made to a "budget" price. I can't for the life of me remember how many expansion slots or drive bays it had. Actually, I just remember that it had a floppy disk drive (perhaps that counts as one drive bay) and a larger empty one which I later put a CD-ROM drive in... But that's just two drive bays. Assuming "drive bays" means what I think it means. Maybe there was another empty slot underneath the first floppy disk drive, for a secondary floppy disk drive. So maybe that means it has 3 drive bays... If that's right, I guess we can exclude the third form factor as well. But I cannot imagine how big the desktop with FIVE drive bays would be, since mine was so large already with three drive bays (again, if it even means what I think it means).

I remember that I used to think that it was a 386, and only later (maybe after a year) realized it was a 486. It had a 66 MHz CPU, which I believe it said in the BIOS screen. I don't know why they called it "466" on the front, which is awfully close to "486" and easily confused. Maybe it was a 386 after all... But it was able to run DOOM, so probably not. It had 8 MB RAM. 120 MB HDD. 14" CRT (of course). A 3.5" floppy disk drive. It made a lot of noise and seemed dangerous to touch while powered on. I'm convinced that it could have killed me if I had touched the metal parts on the back side while it was running...

I miss him a lot.

It's frustrating to not be able to find any reliable photos of the different models, side by side. You'd think IBM themselves would have some kind of "hall of fame" listing every product they have ever released with high-res photos and full specs, but I've never been able to find anything like that, either from IBM or from a third party. It's all a big mess of random ancient HTML and text files and magazine scans as PDF. I've reached the end of my abilities at this point for sure.

These are the main hard facts I'm trying to determine:

  1. Reliable comparison photos to determine which form factor out of the three ones mentioned above my machine was.
  2. Some kind of reliable evidence that my machine must've been a specific model, based on what I've said.
  3. What date this machine of mine was released, if possible in Sweden (but in general is OK), and maybe even the price it was sold for originally.

I used to think that "once I become a billionaire, I will just hire somebody to hunt down a "new old stock" copy of this machine and buy it for whatever price they want and then I'll set it up in a dedicated room which is decorated exactly like the room I grew up with and dream back to those days". Sadly, now that it's becoming more and more apparent that this will never happen, I'm at least trying to collect as many facts as possible. If I can't have the actual thing, at least I want to know as much as possible about it.

  • I was able to run DOOM successfully on my 80386SX40, and many of the DX variants of the 386 were much faster than this, so I wouldn't discount your original theory on this basis. – occipita Sep 18 at 19:24
3

To summarize the requirements:

  • IBM PS/ValuePoint or IBM ValuePoint desktop (not tower)
  • "486" or "466" followed by "DX2" and probably a "/abc" suffix
  • 66 MHz CPU
  • 8 MB RAM.
  • 120 MB HDD

Using the list here, it's likely to be an IBM PS/ValuePoint 466DX2/Si, model #6381-W30, with the standard 4MB of RAM upgraded to 8MB by adding a second 4MB SIMM. From the same website, here is a photo of the 425SX/Si which should look identical except for the model name on the front:

Photo of IBM PS/ValuePoint 425SX/Si

The other possibilities are more complicated, requiring either replacing the stock hard drive with a smaller one, or adding a hard drive in addition to adding RAM.

| improve this answer | |
  • That list you link to is good. I looked through it and it indeed seems like this almost has got to be the right one. My foggy memory does tell me that it had two different RAM sticks installed, so likely 2 x 4 MB. I suppose the "66" part of the model name refers to 66 MHz. It seems almost without a doubt that this is the right one. I made further image searches but found not one photo of it, though. – Hopeless Nostalgic Sep 18 at 21:34
  • (Of course, that foggy memory could be from after it was upgraded, later, to a total of 16 MB RAM...) – Hopeless Nostalgic Sep 18 at 21:35
  • @HopelessNostalgic I added a photo of another model in the same series. Maybe it rings a bell? – snips-n-snails Sep 18 at 23:25
  • That looks almost eerily similar to what I remember, even down to the CD-ROM that was later installed being of the "Creative" brand with the media volume control/buttons... Still, without also seeing the 466DX/* model(s), it's likely that my memory is re-arranging things in my head to fit the photo. For one thing, it seems like there was a larger gap between the floppy disk station and the CD-ROM. But the round lock, the style of the power button, the LEDs, etc., all matches. One thing that strikes me now is that I distinctly remember a kind of "cover" which you could slider in from the – Hopeless Nostalgic Sep 18 at 23:29
  • 1
    @HopelessNostalgic Sliding cover? That sounds more like the IBM PC 300 series. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_PC_Series#PC_Series_300 – mnem Sep 19 at 0:49
3

I've found out the right model. Turns out it wasn't a "ValuePoint" at all. It was an IBM "Personal Computer 330", but at least I remembered the "466DX2" part right...

I found this image by searching for something similar to "IBM slide door", after suddenly remembering that slide door thing: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/70/89/31/7089318994968917487bef5be4f28682.jpg

There is zero doubt that this is the right one. Everything falls in place in my memory now. If this is not the right machine, I will never again trust myself in any context.

Sadly, my original question about the time it was released, price, etc., still applies, as I have not found anything like that for this one either. I frankly feel as if all these companies try to erase their past completely rather than having any pride in it.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Good find! Be sure to change the accepted answer to this one. – snips-n-snails Sep 19 at 4:20
  • @snips-n-snails I would if I could, but I lost access to the account (as so often happens when posting on here). Sorry about that. – Hopeless Nostalgic Sep 19 at 12:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.