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CircuitCity The lights went out at Circuit City IT operations building last week, part of a bankruptcy action that closed the consumer electronics retailer. The IT building was a Virginia facility that has housed a handful of HP 3000 servers. These recent-vintage units were up for sale by Circuit City's liquidation contractor.

Connie Boyer of the IT group is taking a few months off and might retire, although she says "I can't imagine not doing something technical." It took quick contact to snag one of these fully-licensed HP 3000s at a liquidation price.

In today's challenged economy, closings and bankruptcies have a silver lining in them for the 3000 community. Low-cost systems can become available to the sharp-eyed buyer, ready for use in another enterprise. It's something like reading the obits to look for apartments, but fair game with a bit less mercenary practices.

Within 24 hours of IT closing, the City's servers were already sold. "Three or four HP 3000s are all up for sale now," Boyer said in an e-mail. "I don't know if you have contacted the Circuit City liquidators yet or not, but I would recommend doing it pronto."

Liquid Asset Partners of Grand Rapids, Mich. was named as the liquidators for the company's operational assets including computer systems. The company posted an extensive inventory in March. The computing devices included an Apollo 700 workstation and five racks of XP512 arrays.

Of course, HP's exit from the 3000 market had nothing to do with the failure of Circuit City. Analysts said the company was a victim of the credit crisis. It overheated based on easy money in the boom period, and could not adjust quickly enough when consumers pulled back. It didn't help that the retailer fired 3,400 of its most expensive sales associates and staff in 2007 to cut costs. Consumers said that move erased expertise from the stores, too.