Thursday, September 13, 2012

Linux PC or POC? (redux)

In keeping with the theme of revisiting old posts from LinspireNetwork, I brought this old jem out and reread it. As I was reading it, I realized OMG, I still have this machine! Full update after the original picture.

The first machine I installed Linspire on that actually met the system requirements was a POC (Piece of Crap).
I received a damaged black and silver case from a supplier. It looked like someone had jumped up and down on top of this case. The front bezel had sheared completely off, the top had a massive dent in it, and the side panel had sheared a screw out of its hole stripping the threads.
UPS never comes to claim a damaged case under $50. So, even though the chassis was warped and the top was dented, I decided to use it to build a Linspire machine.

I put a window with a light-up green fan and a green cold cathode. I screwed the front bezel on with two screws (only 2 holes were left in the front bezel) and bent the case back into shape with the aid of a ball peen hammer. I installed a 15Gb hard drive, an Elitegroup K7SEM with a 1.3GHz Duron left over from a customer's total system upgrade, 512Mb PC133 SDRAM, a Hypermedia 24x (CD) burner that we got from a donated pile of junk, and a white floppy.

I then acquired a GeForce 4 MX440 and installed it. We then received another box of junk with a Gateway 12x DVD-ROM inside. It had a cracked cd tray which I glued back together and installed into the machine. It is a bit finicky, but it does work (I watched the Emipre Strikes Back on it yesterday. I then sprayed all the drives silver to match the case.
Linspire works beautifully on it and I am now considering replacing my W2K machine with this machine (which I did). The computer may be a POC, but it works and works better than my W2K machine built with new parts. What started out as a pile of junk has now become my favorite computer.

November 15, 2004

Update: When Gigabytes Computer Store closed in 2006, this was given to my brother Ross who tinkered with it and ran various Linux OSes on it. The motherboard has been replaced with a PCCHIPS M848A running an Athlon 2400+ with a 1GB of memory. Both optical drives have been replaced with a single DVD-RW and an IDE mobile rack has been added as well. It is now running an ATI Radeon X1650Pro for video. A second cold cathode and a newer, brighter light-up fan has been added. The original light-up fan still works and has been moved to the back.

September 11, 2012

When my brother went to live in the frozen north, he gave it back to me stating that "It doesn't really work any more." So, I ran some tests, replaced some bad HDD cables, pulled 1 bad 80GB hard drive and it came back to life (I believe my exact words were: "IT LIVES! Bwhahahah!").

I have thought about building a new server in a rack mount case to match the servers in the Gigastrand Store, but this PC has so much history and still works so well that I can't bear the thought of replacing it entirely.

Still, there are a few upgrades I am planning for it. Serial ATA being one and memory being the other. I would like to have at least 2GB (if possible) and some expanded internal file storage. I am going to wait until the motherboard dies or has no more useful life left in it before I swap that out to a larger system.

The age of this PC: The original archive date on the article is 03/31/2005 and the picture was taken in November 15th, 2004. Which means that soon this PC will turn 8 years old. That speaks volumes to the power of Linux and Gigastrand International's Lifetime Warranty / Lifetime Upgrade Guarantee.

Do you have a favorite (Linux) box? 

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