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Old 04-27-2010, 12:47 AM   #1
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Default Got a free computer! Woo!

...actually, it's about the 4th one I've gotten, and quite possibly the oldest, lol. My dad's workplace disposes of old computers for people, but I always get a shot at making them work first. This one is/was an old HP Pavilion with a 733MHz Celeron, a total of 320MB of RAM(256+64), a 20GB "quantum Fireball" hard drive, and a read-only cd drive.

Oh, and Windows ME.

Turns out, it had a bad PSU. I had a spare mATX PSU from a newer Pavilion, but this old thing was even tinier. Comparison:


And so the fun begins:

To start off with, I stripped the case down to see how much room it had overall. This is it with the mobo tray and floppy drive cage removed:


That apparatus in the middle prevented the new PSU from going in, so after some work with a Dremel, I ended up with this:


I got a hole drilled in the back that, in addition to a pre-existing one, allows a the new PSU to be mounted. Unfortunately it started to rain as I was about to widen the hole in the back, so out came the tin snips. Not the prettiest thing ever but it works:
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: Got a free computer! Woo!

...continued

With that taken care of, I moved on to the guts. These old celerons have semi-unlocked multipliers, apparently. Sadly the heatsink on this is awful, though it does have a CM/Delta fan, however tiny it may be:


I didn't have a better one, so I improvised. The fan has a large hub relative to the HS, and I noticed that there was little dust(and therefore airflow) in the middle, so I used some cardboard and made a pseudo-shroud to separate them a bit:


After that, I replaced a lot of parts:
-Dial-up modem -> TrendNet 100mbps ethernet card
-Onboard Graphics -> Geforce2 MX 400(PCI)
read-only CD drive -> CDRW/DVD ROM drive
20GB WinME HDD -> old 40GB Caviar(complete with ubuntu 9.10)
64MB ram Stick -> 128MB ram stick (total 384)
(I also used the plug where the PSU fan used to go to install a small fan to circulate air. The floppy drive/cage was left out.)

This is it with all the parts in:



So here it is now. The former owners also left a CRT, some passive speakers, and a keyboard(not shown) that all look like they've never been used. To give you an idea of how small this thing is, that CRT is only a 15".


I have yet to get the network card working, but so far it's pretty snappy for a decade-old computer! I haven't overclocked it yet, but I'm hoping to hit 800MHz, which is supposedly the maximum allowed by this motherboard. Basically just upping the multi by 1.
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