4.17.2008

Stepping off the technology train.

My first real PC was an XT I bought back in 1990. I was able to use my beau's 386DX for a bit, and so I didn't buy my next one until 1994, a 486DX/66. It was followed by a Pentium 133 in '96, a PII 233 in '98, and an 800MHz Celeron in 2000. In early 2003, I walked into a retailer and bought the baddest machine they had in stock, a 2.4GHz P4, and the best sound and video cards I could get.

Five years later, with the machine running pretty much the whole time except for the occasional reboot, that machine is still in use as my primary computer. I also still have that Celeron box, although it may be time for a new power supply, as the fan on that one is starting to sound like a mating cow.

I don't game like I used to. There's not many games out there that have just compelled me to run out and buy them, and even if I did decide to play computer games again, I have two long-neck beer cases crammed full of jewel cases for games I already know I like. That's probably sixty to eighty pounds of CD's.

I'll probably bump the RAM on this machine up to a full gig from its current 512Mb, and maybe toss in another hard drive at some point, but I suspect that until there's a quantum leap out there that just forces me to upgrade, I'll be running this XP box for years to come. After all, that Celeron is still running 98SE, and I never get the burning urge to upgrade it when I turn it on...

6 comments:

bumper sticker philosopher said...

I think it would be worth upgrading your celeron box. Find another hard drive to stuff in it and it would be a great dual-boot Ubuntu machine.

You can also probably find a nice Coppermine 1ghz P3 cpu to replace that 800 mhz Chubberon on Ebay for about $10. With a 25% faster bus speed and twice the cache. Assuming of course that the motherboard is socket 370 and supports FCPGA. It's pretty unlikely that it would be a slot 1 if you bought it in 2000, but you never know.

I don't have a 1 ghz laying around, but I might have a s370 ~800 Mhz coppermine P3 I could send you.

If you are very lucky and it has a motherboard that supports FCPGA2 and Tualatin processors you could drop in a 1.4 GHZ p3 with twice the cache of the coppermine. There would be a difference in Win 98 using either...

Buy some cheap PC133 SDRAM and max it out.

As for the cow-mating Power supply fan, a $4 case fan is the same size and would probably only require a couple of wires spliced or soldered. Alernately you could remove the sticker on the fan and oil the shaft using a single drop from a pin oiler, (I use Rem-oil) to stop the squealing.

That being said, a seven year old power supply is likely looking at electrolytic cap failure soon and is probably better off replaced.

Check Newegg.com, you can get relatively inexpensive power supplies. Look for the ones with dual 12V rails.

Tam said...

Yes, but by keeping the old Celeron running 98SE, I can use it as a guest machine for networked games of Rogue Spear and such when I have visitors.

What would I do with a Linux box, anyway?

"Look! It's running Linux."

"Cool. What do you do with it?"

"Sit and watch it run Linux."

Butch_S said...

Much the same here, for largely the same reasons. Being a packrat, I still have all of the systems I outgrew from the second hand Apple ][+ I started with to the Athlon XP 3200+ box I've been using for the past few years. Gaming just doesn't hold the attraction that it used to, and as often as not when that bug bites it's easier to pull a old system off the shelf and run a preticular game on the hardware it was ment for. Likewise, my current box is old enough that upgrading it really means replacing it outright, and for what I use it for there just isn't anything I'd gain by doing so.

bumper sticker philosopher said...

I never said you SHOULD add Linux, just that you COULD.

That clarification in place, you really should consider popping in a cheap coppermine P3 and maxing the RAM. Rogue Spear would run much better as would Windows 98.

Tam said...

I'd have to crack the case to see what my upgrade path is like.

Seriously, though, I know a lot of people who have Linux boxes and I never wanted to sound like an idiot and say "What do you do on a Linux computer?", but since nobody's looking here, I figure I can ask without looking like a doof.

Is there really that much software available that runs on Linux? Would I find it worthwhile to cobble a system together for tinkering?

bumper sticker philosopher said...

What can you do with Linux? I'm not by any means a linux guru. I tried it about 7 years ago and threw up my hands in disgust.

Recently, I figured I'd play with linux some more. I set my wife's PC up with a second hard drive to dual boot XP and Ubuntu. The Ubuntu installer even saw XP and configured the boot menu to include it as an option. The installer is graphical and easier than XP which is virtually unchanged from NT 3.51 as far as I can tell.


I use Firefox to browse the internet or send mail. Ubuntu has a photo editor and a built in word processor/presentation manager/spreadsheet called Open Office. It is easily the equal of Microsoft office. More if you consider it doesn't come with a goddamned talking paperclip.

I installed WINE which is an "open source implementation of the windows API" (sorta kinda an emulator but not really) for Windows and then installed Microsoft Office 2003. I installed my copy of the 16 bit Windows Entertainment Pack from Windows 3.0 in 1990. My 64 bit version of XP won't even run that anymore.

WINE isn't perfect, it's still something like version 0.9.60 but it runs about 80% of the programs I tried.

I installed the Medibuntu packages that aren't included in Ubuntu for legal (read DRM) reasons and I can play encrypted DVDs.

I'm not sure I'd recommend going to Linux as a sole desktop operating system, but it's a pretty attractive setup especially when you consider that you can set it up to dual boot with your Microsoft install.