Where two 3000s work better together
A news era after old departures?

Elderly 3000, just under $100

Eventually it had to happen: an HP 3000 offered under $100. At a starting price of $99.95, the Series 967 showed up May 30 in Weird Uncle Irwin's Shop on eBay — right alongside a used clarinet and a pair of Bongo Davidson Lace Women's Boots. You can place a bid, yea, even the first bid, on eBay at Uncle Irwin's shop, until June 5.

It's better not to think of what this baby cost new, say 15 years ago or so. No, not the lace-up boots, the HP 3000. With a model number in the high end of the 9x7 line, this now-pokey system rolled onto the loading dock of customers like Jennison Associates and Xavier University, costing upwards of $70,000.

Now you can buy it for less than a boxed set of the Sopranos. In 2007, when it comes to paying a lot for the older HP 3000s, fuggagedaboutit. But the same summary might go for finding one this cheap which operates with MPE/iX 7.0 or 7.5. And a Series 967 runs at a snail's crawl of twice the speed of a Series 918, the rock-bottom HP measure of performance established when the vendor dropped industry-standard barometers.

The $99.95 starting bid doesn't trump the opening price of $7, set last summer when a Series 987 sold for $200 plus shipping. Few companies would want to operate their business on computers this slow, at least for very long. But as disaster recovery systems, to back up applications at homestead sites, the larger 9x7s have a useful role to play.

More to the point for the wider HP 3000 community, the predictions of plentiful and cheap hardware are coming true. If several hundred dollars will bring a lumbering, heavy HP 3000 through your door, you can do the math to see how higher powered servers stack up.

The lower-cost HP 3000s make it easier, to move off the platform at a moderate pace, in the short term. Customers will need to have floor space available for models like the 967, unless you've already got an HP 3000 rack with an opening.