It might have been the most valuable part that was missing from a $2,000 eBay listing for an A-Class 3000. There's no mention of a transferrable MPE/iX license for this rock-bottom system. But perhaps it was the horsepower, too. It's hard to understate how many HP 3000s run faster than a 1-CPU, 110Mhz A-Class.
Jesse Dougherty at Cypress Technology, a reliable HP 3000 reseller, reminded readers on the 3000 newsgroup about the offer.
I really thought that these would sell like hotcakes. I threw one up on eBay for 2k with a basic config. If any one is interested in a cheap back-up running MPE/iX 7.5, check out our link.
Other resellers have reported, several years ago, that you couldn't sell any N-Class system, the next level up in HP's ultimate generation of 3000s, for even $4,000. But an N-Class is 10 times more powerful than such an A-Class at the bottom of the HP lineup. Using the Relative Performance chart devised by AICS Research, there's a spread of 121 HP 3000 Performance Units between a single-CPU A-Class and the 440Mhz N-Class running one processor. The official HP relative performance chart (click for detail) doesn't use as many decimals to compare server speeds, but the spread is the same nevertheless.
There's more, of course. Dougherty said the machine was outfitted with a "basic config," meaning that it came with 1GB or RAM (out of a total of a possible 2 GB), a 9 GB LDEV1 boot disk, and and 18GB disk for storage. There's also a 100Base-TX LAN adapter.
Lots of 3000 gear is in the position of not being able to be given away. Roger Perkins of the City of Long Beach is still looking for someone who'd pick up his decommissioned Series 969, which is twice as fast as that A-Class server. The 9x9s draw a lot more power and have more IO device restrictions, of course.
If a 3000 built at least 15 years ago can't be given away easily, and one that was first released 13 years ago is going unsold at $2,000, there's a possibility we're seeing a marker in the value of a 3000 configured at the rock bottom of the ultimate generation. The cost of hotcakes appears to be falling this year.