I generally accumulate hardware by means of picking up stuff that people think are dead, and they aren't.
My dad works for HoneyWell International, and he occasionally get's called to work on computer systems like servers that get corrupt data and such sort. Their policy is, if it messes up once, it will do it again. I have acquired 7 drives this way (2x 200GB SATA 300 drive [10krpm], 3x 80GB EIDE Drives, 1x 40GB IDE Drive (laptop) and a 120GB IDE [more on that down below])
I am saying this, because i probably get about $12k stuff free off of people that think a system is dead and doesn't want it anymore, or doesn't plain want to deal with it. So i usually end up getting it. 85% of the time, there is nothing wrong with it.
I got a 120GB (mentioned above) that was pulled from a server after they had problems with it. It looked pretty new (and it is), so i got it, and it spools up, clicks, spins down. Repeat ~7x then it stops. The Logic board on the Hard drive then heats up TREMENDOUSLY.
I just plugged in the SN on Western Digitals page, and guess what! it's in warranty! I get to send it in (even though i got it dead) and i get a brand...new...hard drive! How cool is that?! huh?
I have acquired a LOT of stuff over the years, including Network and RAID Cards, computers and CPU's, and Monitors (Including some high rez monitors) and even some Really expensive software that is maybe one generation old, but they decide to replace it because they want the *one* little feature that came out on the new version. This means CAD, 3D Electronics graphing systems, Operating Systems (such as windows 2k, and even unopened Windows XP Pro Software), and among other stuff, proprietary controller systems that they pull from a customer when the customer upgrades and HoneyWell has no idea what to do with them. So it's either I get them, or they trash them.
I like the micro controllers, because they were mostly used to control various motors, and input from sensors, including card read panel. This is nice... I can work with electronics and get ahead, for basically nothing...
I also just acquired 2 Pentium 3's, one which i trades for a laptop, the other which is going to be shipped to another fritter member real quick. Nice machine, but i get a laptop for school ( i need a windows laptop) and I am trading for a blue & White tower (i also need a Mac Desktop).
So, what other cool stuff have YOU gotten for free? And legacy really isn't part of what i am talking about. I mean like NEW stuff, stuff that has been bought, and has barely been touched (even the monitors i am talking about are on the brink of being new)
newsgroups, people I know in IRC, Ebay, forums, computer mailing lists, freecycle, etc.
If you keep your eyes open you can pretty much find anything
I got lots of stuff from working in my school district. A lot of times it cost them less to purchase new hardware instead of fixing things, so I was able to get many many dual usb Ibooks and put together working systems(about half had broken screens and the other half had bad logic boards). Also alot of teachers would bring in their old machines that were "dead" or they had upgraded, so I got a few P3 machines right after P4's came out. Also, an ISP was colocated in the schools server room, but this isp went bankrupt and left much of their hardware there, the school had no use for it so they gave it to me, this included cisco routers (2 2505's) and lucent port master 3's and a few old managed 10/100 and 10baseT switches. Also got a number of jaz,zip and other proprietary drives when they switched to using CD's.
Hey my Dad worked for Honeywell Australia till he retired in '92. Computer division, that merged with Bull France and some Finnish company.
Sounds like you're sitting pretty for some fat hardware scores there. Have you picked up much in the way of test gear, o'scopes, stuff like that?
My best freebie recently is the pair of matching 21" Dell CRT monitors I found in the street. 1600x1200 Trinitron tubes, DB-15 and 5x BNC inputs, USB hub in the base. One works perfectly, one does everything excepts detect a signal on the DB-15. Haven't tried the BNCs yet.
Also found an AMD 750MHz minitower with 10G and 128MB, working.
Okay so it's not up to the stuff you're swiping, but I takes my pride where I finds it
I jsut gave away a decommisssioned server to my buddy. It was a Quad Pentium 4 Xeon system with 2 gigs of ram in it.
It was just too big for me, it was in a 8U case. No drives though, we phsycially smash server drives.
Recently I also got a dual Athlon mp 2ghz system that I made into my wifes new computer. It has 4 gigs (yes 4 gigs) of ram in it. It used to be the CIO's computer until he left but since its an oddball athlon, my boss refused to put it back into service. He keptthe case, I kept the rest.
Recent laptop aquicisitons have been a dell 2.2ghz celron (broken powerjack, resoldered and it works, a dell centrino class laptop (same problem), sony vaio (only a pentim 3 but its a really nice one).
Thats the most notable stuff. We have so many glass monitors taht we try giving them away at every opprotunity. We gave my buddy about 20 glass flat screen 17 and 19 inch monitors since we didn't want to pay to have them disposed of.
OH yeah, I sitll have a box full of old tray loader imac parts that I need to give away.