Machine Revival - Part I

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Yesterday, I went out with my wife and bought a computer table. I had been planning to revive an old Dell Dimension XPS T500 I had laying around and repurposing it to be an all-around computer for the kids. My son has simple needs. He has great fun playing the games included in Child's Play and Gcompris. Well the wife and I ended up buying a cheap computer table from Saver's Mall in Balibago.

After I got home, I immediately started working on the machine. I installed an 80GB Maxtor IDE drive I bought used a few months back. I also removed a non-working network card, and stuck a more recent PCI LAN Card i had lying around in one of my desk drawers. I also installed a PCI USB card.  The  Dimension XPS T500 had slow USB 1.1 and the card would at least bring it up to USB 2.0 speeds. I then closed up the side panel and expected the thing to boot. But it didn't! Beeps ensued and the Diagnostic LED's on the machine's back lit up with a pattern. So I went to find an online manual, praying one was still online at all. This machine has a date stamp of November 1999 after all. 

As luck would have it I found one (if your interested, it's here: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dkub/) . Following the clues as to what was going wrong, I reseated the video card and tried booting it. It booted up but the color on the display was yellowish. I reseated it again and powered it up once more. It beeped with a memory error. I unplugged the DIMMs, moved 'em to other slots and gave it a try. It POSTed! But then it was showing a PCI error. I forgot I left a PCI dial-up modem installed and decided to chuck it. The thing booted fine afterwards.

After I got it working I tried Fedora 12 Games, but it was just too slow to be usable. I was just hoping, but I knew the machine was too slow to use Fedora 12 Games. Anyway, I went off and tried another live distro, Linux Mint 8. This time it booted a lot more faster than Fedora, but it was still quite a good 8-10 minutes before I saw the desktop. I could just imagine my son jumping in anticipation only to get tired before the machine had fully booted. He's a little hyper over waiting time and jumps excitedly at times. While that was happening, I was waiting for my DreamLinux 3.5 download to finish. I've used DreamLinux 3.1 before on this same machine and it worked okay. And so I went with the reliable option and went ahead and installed  DreamLinux 3.5. After rebooting though, the machine wouldn't boot into it. It looked like the drive was having problems. So I tried disconnecting it and checking if the cables and connectors were okay, then booted it up again to try and install DreamLinux 3.5 again. Then I noticed the drive size was only 74.++ GB when it should be a little over 76 GB. Something wasn't right about the capacity. While thinking about it I decided to think it over. 

So today, after I got home and after thinking about it the whole day while at work, I gave the drive a go with DBAN. It's still running, actually. I don't expect it to finish any time soon. Maybe tomorrow morning. So I'll post an update if i get this to work. It would be a waste if I didn't get to play Tux Racer on this old machine now, would it?


GameFly - Black Anim

1 comments:

robbie said...
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