Sunday, February 17, 2008

Linux on my mind...

So I just wanted to write a quick note from my nascent linux machine. I don't have pics to prove it but I was finally able to restore the box to all and more of its former glory.

The Machine is called 'Argonaut' for whimsical reasons, it just popped into my head that way. The box lived in an attic for some years before I rescued it.

"Board is fried but everything else should be ok," said the former owner.

"We'll see," I replied. Granted I spent several attempts and a few cranky hours tinkering with the bios and fudging around with the system to get it fixed. At long last I was finally able to do so. Where Mandriva, OpenSUSE and Ubuntu's Feisty and Gutsy failed for some reason Kubuntu Gutsy (7.10 I believe) worked. I just had to run the Oem setup and it worked like a charm. Granted there are a few errata I am working through but for the most part all is well.

Let's consider Hardware for a moment. Even though I didn't really construct much of the guts of the case I spent enough time fucking around with cables and little components to fairly designate this PC as Build III.

If you'll remember Build I (Rorschach) is my primary system and Build II (Beebe) is my folding @home/storage box. Whie Build III is my official linux box I don't have a designated purpose for it as of now. Perhaps if Build II goes pure SATA I can gank the half-terabyte of IDE goodness for Build III to enjoy.

Anyways, here's the nitty gritty for the new Box.

****Update - Due to some serendipitous circumstances I discovered that the HP PC will not be upgradeable to 2.8 ghz after all. Luckily though one of the salvaged socket 478 chips that I had clocked out at 3.2 ghz so it all balances out. I was hoping to upgrade the 2.53 chip to 2.8 but since the 2.8 is clocked for a 533mhz front side bus the damn power supply would come on but the board just sat totally still.

Build III - Kubuntu 7.10
3.2 ghz Pentium 4 Processor
2 gigabytes DDR400 Ram (4 x 512mb sticks)
128mb AGP 8x MSI Video card (Geforce 5200 series)
160gb IDE HDD

All of this tasty goodness is sitting primly on an intel server board circa 2003. So it's a bit older than I tend to like them but it cost nothing to build, nothing to load OS and the electricity I can spare.

It's ironic that I also acquired an HP Pavilion with a dead HDD and valid XP Home Key. Luckily I had a dinky little 80gig drive laying around. I'll probably dual boot another distro or two once I decide to swap the processor out. I didn't build it so I can't designate as Build IV but here are the specs anyways.

HP Zombie - XP Home SP3 (Beta-not a real big difference)
2.53 Pentium 4 Processor
1 gigabyte DDR400 (2 x 512mb sticks)
128mb AGP 8x MSI Card (also Geforce 5200 series)
80 gigabyte IDE HDD

(I was able to double the RAM and add the card but that was about it. One upshot is that I added an active heat sink, originally it had the passive sink with the little air tunnel to the exhaust fan. Cable management's a BITCH inside that little case but the airflow dropped the cpu temp from 90f to 79f at idle. Haven't had a chance to stress test just yet.)

And yes I realize that SP3 isn't out yet and that's why its still a beta. I downloaded it because it didn't crash out one of my virtuals on Build I so I figured I'd run it through a live fire exercise. My opinion remains 'meh' with a touch of 'whatever.'

The reason for the doubling of functional PC's in my house (excluding nat's laptop) is simply due to spare part availability. I crashed a coworker's residence and ransacked a few years of discarded doodad's and semi-functional PC's. From this I got the parts to complete Build III (Ram and vcard) and I also got the guts of the HP and a host of other goodies. With a little tinkering I'll soon have access to some of this crap listed below.

-HP 3330 LaserJet printer (semi defunct but still functional, only works for ten minutes at a time)
USB Key wireless adapter (media center time, bitches!!!)
-4 Port KVM Switch + cables
-2 Wirelss access points
-VPN Router
-Wireless Router
-Cisco PIX 501(semi-defunct, just wanted it for testing/learning purposes)
-Wireless Keyboards/Mice
-1.2 shitloads of older RAM
-Semi-defunct Beige Case PC - Harvested CPU, RAM, Vcard and HDD but the board was fried.
-SCSI controller card (PCI-X interface - Adaptec)

There's a few more random upgrades and doodads but I'll have to sift and sort through the rest later. Alex is waking up but more to come soon. Probably lunch tomorrow.

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