An Apple, an Atari, and a TI 99/4A

It’s all about the hunt and the thrill of the deal. I scour online ads for days at a time, looking for that precious PC being cast aside. This week’s bounty: a Power Mac G4 Quicksilver, an Atari 600XL, and a TI 99/4A.

Apple Picking

Quicksilver Power Mac G4The Power Mac was listed on Kijiji simply as “Old Apple Tower”. The seller claimed that it worked but that he didn’t really need such a machine. Since he seemed like a motivated seller who simply needed the space, my offer of $20CAD was accepted.

The pick up was clear across town, at an apartment building with only a handful of units. Lucky me – the seller was at the top of the building up a steep set of stairs. After a quick knock at the door, the sounds of a big dog were heard. The seller asked for me to wait a moment while he locked up the dog.

inside Quicksilver 2002When the door finally opened, the seller greeted me and asked me to wait for a moment while he retrieved the machine. The young man – in his 20s, with tattoed arms and stretched earlobes – told me he had gotten some old computers from his father, machines he claimed he had no use for.

Finally, here it was, a silver Power Macintosh G4 Quicksilver, dual 1 GHz PowerPC G4 CPU. The computer looked to be in fairly good condition, the odd scratch on the side but nothing cracked or broken. I opened the latch to inspect the inside; it was clean and had four of five expansion slots full. No hard drive or drive caddy, but that can easily be rectified later.


Atari 600XL gear

Atari 600XL gear

The next stop was a mixed pickup. I had been in contact with the seller for about a week. He was selling an Atari 600XL with accessories and indicated he would throw in an untested TI 99/4A. My original offer was $45CAD, under his asking price of $60. He had said it was sold but that deal must have fallen through, and he offered me that machines if I was still interested.

TI -99/4A gear

TI -99/4A gear

This seller was located in the eastern part of the city. When I arrived, he was wearing overalls covered in paint and was obviously doing some work on his home. He brought out a red tub and showed how everything in the ad was in it and said it was his machine from when he was much younger. The parts were scattered everywhere, and a strong odor of old cigarettes wafted from the tub. Everything looked complete, but only a complete inspection at home would tell me if it was.

The Machines Are Home

First up, time to see what I got. The Atari came with a printer, data cassette drive, joystick, manuals, and a few cartridges (Galaxian, Donkey Kong, and Atariwriter).

Donkey KongAfter contemplating how to connect it to a modern TV, I found the right combination of adapters, and bingo – a picture on the TV. Donkey Kong on a plasma TV using a joystick was a new experience for me. The adapters I used to connect it via coaxial worked, however, the picture still had some odd static rolling across the picture. The game was simple compared to today’s standards but was entertaining nonetheless.

Atari WriterAfter switching to the Galaxian cartridge, the joystick and keyboard seemed to stop responding. I plugged in the last cartridge, Atariwriter, and was presented with an option menu. Typing works just fine, but I find the keyboard functions are a bit different to what I am accustomed.

video port on TI-99/4ATaking out the last system, I discovered that the TI 99/4A has a video connection that doesn’t seem to work with any monitors I have around, so this will have to wait for another day. The monitor connection is a 5-pin crescent which I can only assume used a proprietary connection. There is hope, however, as once the machine is plugged in and the power switch is clicked on, the power light turns on.

About this Mac for Quicksilver 2002Quicksilver to the Rescue

Looking inside this beast, it reveals a FireWire and game port card and a USB card, as well as an additional ATA card. A quick trip to my parts closet yielded a functioning  60 GB 7200 RPM IDE hard drive. A quick OS X Leopard install later, the System Profiler revealed the specs, and I see that, indeed, I have found the best Quicksilver Apple ever made – the top of the line dual 1 GHz model.

The Thrill of the Thrift

For a total of only $65CAD, I brought home three vintage machines that will fit in nicely with my collection. Now on to the next deal!


keywords: #quicksilver #quicksilver2000 #atar600xl #ti994a

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