So This is my Computer

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Milko

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So.. I had to open up my computer the other night to have a look at one of my PCI cards, and I decided to take a few pics and post them here in case anyone is interested. I talk quite a lot about it, so here's my custom built desktop:

motherboard-small.jpg graphics-small.jpg cpu-fan-small.jpg
RAM-small.jpg drives-small.jpg IO-1-small.jpg
IO-2-small.jpg psu-small.jpg caselid-small.jpg

I called him Rainbow Dash ^_^ (yes I know on the show Rainbow Dash is a girl but it’s my computer so shut up :) ) I built him on the 27th of June, 2015 using parts and a case my friend gave me when he was clearing out his garage. All I had to buy was a CPU, heatsink and RAM. It’s a bit hard to date this computer since it uses components of varying age, but the motherboard is from 2002 so that’s what I’m going off. It’s not a perfect build; half the front panel connectors aren’t connected because I can’t get the front panel off to see what each cable is. And for some reason it needs about 3-4 minutes to warm up before booting properly. I dunno :)

Yeah it's a bit of a mess inside. But the cables are just long enough to be annoying but not long enough to route behind things and hide :) And we all know what it’s like trying to clean up and hide IDE cables : :)

Here are the full specs:

Intel Pentium 4 3.00GHz single-core
4GB DDR-400 RAM (maxed out)
1.08TB Hard Drives (1*80GB Maxtor 2004 drive, 1*1TB WD Caviar Green from 2010)
CD-RW drive, DVD-DW drive, 3.5" HD floppy disk drive, external Zip100 drive
nVidia GeForce FX5200 128MB
PCI TV tuner/capture card; ethernet card; firewire card; + other random things
Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit. Up until August 15th I ran Windows 2000 but I had to give it up when web browsing became too much of a trial.

Unless he randomly dies and I’m not able to fix him, I plan on using this computer as my main system for another 1-3 years maybe. It’s kinda hard to predict when it’ll become too slow. I’ve been using old and outdated computers all my life and I don’t mind the speed of this system at all ^_^

I’ve never really understood people who want to always upgrade their computer every few years just so they can have the “latest and greatest”. It’s just a waste of money in my opinion. It may be nice to have a really new system for the speed, but I honestly couldn’t justify the price of a new custom build because it would be wasted on me, this computer performs great for me and I’ve used much lower end systems. Up until about May I used a 466Mhz computer as my main and I loved it. My laptop is 18 years old and it works fine for me. All you have to do is just use older versions of the programs you’d normally use and they run great :)

If you’ve seen some of my posts where I mention my computer, you’ll know that the ONLY part of it that I get annoyed about is the graphics card. I’d love a new one but I want to get one of the highest end AGP cards made so I can bring this system up to the present day as much as I can :) High end AGP cards are very hard to find because everyone who has an old AGP PC wants them..

I’m open to any questions people may have! But please, if you just want to tell me to upgrade and get a new computer, then this isn’t the thread for you :)
 
M

Maxx

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Nothing wrong with old equipment if it can handle what you need it to.

The slow startup is troubling though...

Have you gone in the bios to set the startup sequence to play on-screen? It sounds like it might be struggling with some of the startup selftests. Looking for a device that's no longer there as boot device? Having trouble with memory selftest? Maybe your mobo is too old for DDR400? A terabyte HDD might give it pause as well.

I've got a machine of similar vintage in the basement. I don't think it uses DDR400, and I don't think it would handle 4 gig of memory either.

Mostly I use it to come here and to play my music collection through my basement stereo. It was Junior's first computer for college. It originally had XP on it, but that was pretty crapped up from whatever he did with it, and the backup disks were long gone. When it finally went belly up, I made a last ditch effort to save it by installing Ubuntu as an operating system (12.04, it won't run 14). Its been going strong ever since. Surprisingly, with Ubuntu it performs far better than it ever did with Windows. The other side benefit is the dos emulation that lets me run some of my old dos programs.
 
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I’ve never really understood people who want to always upgrade their computer every few years just so they can have the “latest and greatest”.

Well, I think you're misunderstanding here. Very few people go through that and there's little need to these days. Particularly in the pursuit of gaming, there's been a real plateau in what a faster processor brings you and RAM demands have leveled off since about 2009-2010. Basically since Intel rolled out it's 'Sandy Bridge' second generation 'Core' series and some would even say the generation prior to 'Sandy Bridge', 'Nehalem'. Anandtech recently did something interesting while benchmarking Intel's new 'Sky Lake' processors, where they benched the same graphics card against Sky Lake and the previous five generations of Intel processors that were in the same class. The framerates were all marginally different. http://www.anandtech.com/show/9483/intel-skylake-review-6700k-6600k-ddr4-ddr3-ipc-6th-generation/15

In this era, 'Any Quad Core Will' basically and one just has to upgrade their rather than entire machines. There's even strong evidence that for the time being, dual cores remain competitive. This is pretty easy since PCI-Express is here to stay for a long while. I myself have an i7 3770K built from used parts for a home theater PC in my living room, it should be gaming nicely for 5+ years so long as it keeps getting hand-me-downed graphics cards from my workstation.

Though you've done something different, you have a single core machine and thoroughly painted yourself in a corner where any upgrades are effectively impossible.

If you’ve seen some of my posts where I mention my computer, you’ll know that the ONLY part of it that I get annoyed about is the graphics card. I’d love a new one but I want to get one of the highest end AGP cards made so I can bring this system up to the present day as much as I can :) High end AGP cards are very hard to find because everyone who has an old AGP PC wants them..

Not to mention what the $150-$200 it would cost you to get one of those AGP cards, the same money spent on a PCI-E card would get you something VASTLY more powerful. You've created a situation where the machine is trapped

My laptop is 18 years old and it works fine for me.

I really don't see how you keep a laptop from 18 years ago operational. Namely, batteries. After 18 years, the NiMH batteries that thing shipped with must be beyond kaput and is it even possible to source newly manufactured batteries for such an old SKU? After 18 years, even old NIB stock would basically be dead.
 
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txdlcj

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If you’ve seen some of my posts where I mention my computer, you’ll know that the ONLY part of it that I get annoyed about is the graphics card. I’d love a new one but I want to get one of the highest end AGP cards made so I can bring this system up to the present day as much as I can :) High end AGP cards are very hard to find because everyone who has an old AGP PC wants them..

Milko,

This is my business... I love this stuff... and get paid $$$ to do it.

-Here is a ATI Radeon HD 3450 AGP Graphics Card - Direct from Dell!
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/...61&acd=12309152537461010&ven1=sUOtJcAN6&ven2=,

-Here is a link to Newegg with the search string of "AGP 4x-8x"
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...=1069609639&bop=And&Order=REVIEWS&PageSize=30

Personally, I do not like ATI ( AMD ), and would perfer nVidia... so check the EVGA GeForce 6200 ( In the Newegg link, or here for your convenience: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130452 ). It only has 512MB of RAM, but it's better than your 128MB with the GeForce 5200 series.

Unfortunately, I cannot find any AGP cards with more than 512MB of RAM, so Windows 7 will pull from your System Memory ( RAM ) if needed to perform it's tasks. To help combat this, you can increase the system virtual RAM to allow for more "working" power, but it will add transactions to your hard drive. If you plan on doing this, I would suggest a secondary hard drive... not your primary operating system's drive.

Let me know if you have any questions!!! I enjoy challenges!

Regards,
CJ
 

Milko

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I really don't see how you keep a laptop from 18 years ago operational. Namely, batteries. After 18 years, the NiMH batteries that thing shipped with must be beyond kaput and is it even possible to source newly manufactured batteries for such an old SKU? After 18 years, even old NIB stock would basically be dead.

The battery in my laptop still lasts about an hour. Yeah you can still get batteries for them. If you don't use the computer that much the batteries can last ages. I have an old Macintosh PowerBook from 1992 and the original battery still lasts around 10 minutes.

For the graphics card, I'll ask my friend if he has one lying around. Or I'll just keep my eye out for a better card for a decent price.
 

BoundCoder

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Not bad. Very much reminds me of my first computer.. every slot filled with whatever I could scrounge. Mine was pre-sata, but I had an IDE HBA card giving me an additional 4 IDE connections (which I had maxed out). Either way, reasonably tidy for how much stuff you've got in there.

Do you actually see anything on the screen during "warmup". If not, it's likely a power supply issue. When you start up a computer, the mobo basically waits until the power stabalizes before actually flashing up.. if you have fans and lights but nothing happening, it's an indicator that the power supply is failing.

As to upgrades, depends a lot on what you do. Some stuff I play with is fairly CPU intensive, and while my current (several year old) desktop is good enough for the task, a faster processor would be nice.
 

ScaredyCat

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Looks like your motherboard doesn't have PCI-E slot(
I thought to upgrade my machine a few years ago, but I had to give up and buy new hardware when I found that they don't sell AGP cards anymore, and neither new processors, nor memory, nor graphic cards could fit in my old motherboard (
Windows 7 should work a lot better and stable than windows 2000, I use mine for over 6 years now and no slow downs, it works as fast as if I'd installed it just yesterday :)
 

Milko

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Do you actually see anything on the screen during "warmup". If not, it's likely a power supply issue. When you start up a computer, the mobo basically waits until the power stabalizes before actually flashing up.. if you have fans and lights but nothing happening, it's an indicator that the power supply is failing.

Yeah. Basically what happens is I turn it on and it powers up, but no display or disk activity. Then after a few minutes I shut it off and power it back on and it works fine. I have to do that whenever the computer has been off for a few hours or more.

- - - Updated - - -

Looks like your motherboard doesn't have PCI-E slot(
I thought to upgrade my machine a few years ago, but I had to give up and buy new hardware when I found that they don't sell AGP cards anymore, and neither new processors, nor memory, nor graphic cards could fit in my old motherboard (
Windows 7 should work a lot better and stable than windows 2000, I use mine for over 6 years now and no slow downs, it works as fast as if I'd installed it just yesterday :)

Yeah, 2000 was much faster than 7 but 7 is good. I'm happy with the CPU speed and RAM so I don't really have any need to upgrade those. I've never had more than 1GB in a desktop before anyway so it was awesome to get 4 in this one.
 

NabePup

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Those are some nice pics, it's cool to finally be able to see it. That inside looks super clean IMO (or at least there's certainly worse ones out there). It sounds like you already know the solution and people covered it here. Getting that AGP card so you can upgrade your graphics card should help. As far as the long start up goes I can't be too certain (I've never experienced that problem before) but it sounds like BoundCoder's suggestion (power supply issue) is worth looking into.
 

Milko

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Those are some nice pics, it's cool to finally be able to see it. That inside looks super clean IMO (or at least there's certainly worse ones out there). It sounds like you already know the solution and people covered it here. Getting that AGP card so you can upgrade your graphics card should help. As far as the long start up goes I can't be too certain (I've never experienced that problem before) but it sounds like BoundCoder's suggestion (power supply issue) is worth looking into.

Yeah, my mum has a similar age PC, so I might see if I can get a hold of it for a day or two so I can try out her PSU and see if it makes a difference. It's kind of annoying since I have to wait a while for the system to cool down before seeing if it makes a difference.

And yeah, I try to keep it pretty clean. I only built it a few months ago and the motherboard was almost spotless (still in original box in anti static bag, though it had been used). I'll need to take some air duster to it soon as some of the fans are building up a bit of surface dust.
 

LittleJess

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I don't see why people go out and buy crazy computers for like $1000, most hardware is overkill for every day usage.

My opinion is to try out Linux, maybe ubuntu-mate works perfect on older hardware, you should notice a speed difference.
 

Milko

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I don't see why people go out and buy crazy computers for like $1000, most hardware is overkill for every day usage.

My opinion is to try out Linux, maybe ubuntu-mate works perfect on older hardware, you should notice a speed difference.

I used Linux from about late 2013 to early 2014. While I liked it I didn't like the lack of software (especially when I need specific apps and suites) and it performs a bit sluggishly on the generic drivers for graphics cards. Whenever I'd install the recommended drivers for my card it'd completely screw up and I'd be left with an unusable system. I've never had the best luck with ubuntu installs. I'm struggling with one on one of my laptops lately. Ever since a few months ago the install has become gradually more and more broken. File and disk access glitches, problems opening files and programs etc. now it's gotten to the point where it won't even boot anymore. I still like linux, though I've only really used ubuntu. But It's not really for me and I think I'm going to leave it behind.

- - - Updated - - -

Oh and in case anyone is wondering that random plastic cap on one of the serial ports is just there because I don't the port. It's from a VGA cable.
 

LittleJess

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I used Linux from about late 2013 to early 2014. While I liked it I didn't like the lack of software (especially when I need specific apps and suites) and it performs a bit sluggishly on the generic drivers for graphics cards. Whenever I'd install the recommended drivers for my card it'd completely screw up and I'd be left with an unusable system. I've never had the best luck with ubuntu installs. I'm struggling with one on one of my laptops lately. Ever since a few months ago the install has become gradually more and more broken. File and disk access glitches, problems opening files and programs etc. now it's gotten to the point where it won't even boot anymore. I still like linux, though I've only really used ubuntu. But It's not really for me and I think I'm going to leave it behind.

- - - Updated - - -

Oh and in case anyone is wondering that random plastic cap on one of the serial ports is just there because I don't the port. It's from a VGA cable.

Ah, I guess it might just be bad luck, I've had similar problems on some hardware, its mostly due to driver support, though its not linuxes fault, its just the company's who don't release native or terrible drivers for the OS which happens alot.

Sometimes it's just the distro, ubuntu, fedora and linux mint have issues, but ubuntu-mate doesn't :D.


Think of it like this, when windows xp / 7 doesn't have drivers installed for video, it tends to be laggy or have issues, same happens to Linux, not always but often.

Whatever works for you I guess, at the end of the day, operating system doesn't really matter, its all what you do with it, that's why I suggested Linux, its prefect for every day tasks, not knowing that you've had issues with it before :D
 

Milko

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--Quick Update Everyone--

Just about 2 minutes ago I bought a new graphics card for him!! It'll be a few weeks before it arrives but I'll make a new thread when it does. It's not the highest end AGP card ever but it's a pretty good card :)
 

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I'm impressed you were able to find one, that's awesome. Good luck with the install, hopefully it'll fix everything up. Let us know how it goes

As far as Linux goes, it's an awesome OS and it does have pretty good support considering it's free. However with Windows and OSX, one of the things you're paying for is support and it definitely shows. With that said, there are many programs and scripts people have made for Linux so it's almost as versatile as Windows and OS X and if you know it well enough it can be made to do just about anything (or you can just go with Windows or OS X).
 

Milko

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I'm impressed you were able to find one, that's awesome. Good luck with the install, hopefully it'll fix everything up. Let us know how it goes

As far as Linux goes, it's an awesome OS and it does have pretty good support considering it's free. However with Windows and OSX, one of the things you're paying for is support and it definitely shows. With that said, there are many programs and scripts people have made for Linux so it's almost as versatile as Windows and OS X and if you know it well enough it can be made to do just about anything (or you can just go with Windows or OS X).

Yeah!! I thought I'd be waiting around for ages for one :) And while I do like ubuntu, I much prefer OS X and Windows. In fact, I probably love OS X more than Windows but for obvious reasons I'm using windows. Though i do have an old power Mac G5 in the corner of my room I might take a look at. I bought it months ago as an upgrade to my old mac, but turns out it won't work. It's either the PSU, logic board or one of the processors. I think I might try to get a cheap PSU for it but obviously if it isn't that then I can't fix it. I could probably buy 4 or 5 G5's for the cost of a logic board or CPU for one of them.. Still it would make an interesting thread.
 

Milko

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wow that's a really nice computer, I'm still stuck using my 5 year old laptop! :(

I think a desktop of even years older than a laptop is still better. I much prefer to do things on desktops.

Oh also, you're posting heaps!! haha I just went on the homepage and saw this:
youarepostingheaps.PNG
 

kitterdafoxy

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I'm a firm believer that if it ain't broke don't fix it! I'm a writer and I use a snappy little Toshiba satellite for my writing and even though it's running Windows 98 and is old enough to drive, I like it. It can play CDs and read cd roms, run useful software like Office, it's nearly indestructible (the hard drive isn't even making any weird noises), it's nearly crash proof and isn't connected to the Internet or any networks, and it's small enough to take anywhere. I write my work to 3.5" floppy diskettes and since it's a small amount of data (my longest 20,000+ word story is about 500k give or take), it's not a big deal. This isn't even getting into how much safer floppies are than CDs if you use em right (data surface isn't open like a cd, unscratchable if used correctly, small enough to fit in a shirt pocket and be safely taken with you. You buy a MacBook and the thing lasts a couple of years, you pick up one of these babies at a garage sale and the thing lasts you as long as you need and you can open the thing up and replace a part if something goes bad, Just something to think about before you buy a $2,000 computer to write with...
 
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