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View Full Version : Raising an old machine from the dead....



EFFIGY
04-03-2010, 10:20 PM
Hi.
I have a long disused, but perfectly functional P4 1.6 with 256 RAMBUS . GeForce MX400. Was hot in its day ....
I have resurected it for my technophobe husband to read his sports draws and answer e-mail. Its the perfect machine for him but runs really slowly these days. I think it would be happier with a new CPU and more RAM to cope with more modern websites etc.
I've reloaded XP + service packs 2 & 3. Thats helped but not enough. So what if any tweaks can i give it? Second hand parts vs new?
Question 1 - How do I find out what the MOBO is?
Question 2 - Have any of you got suggestions as to what I can do to up speed it?
I've been bitten by the fix it yourself bug.....
PC's way cleaner than cars lol

bob_doe_nz
04-03-2010, 10:27 PM
Parts like RAM may be hard to come by. You could try TM.

Also, you could look at various Linux OS's as another way of getting more usage out of it without much slowdown.

KarameaDave
04-03-2010, 10:29 PM
Rambus is quite hard to get in bigger sizes.
If you just need basic browsing etc, maybe you should
try something smaller and faster like Puppy Linux.
It would perform well on this level of hardware.
That is if your husband adapts to it.
http://www.puppylinux.com/

PENTIUM
04-03-2010, 10:35 PM
It would fly along on Windows 98 or Millennium.

EFFIGY
04-03-2010, 10:51 PM
mmmm... this could be the perfect excuse to learn Linux.... Sooo tempted.
...*Zips wallet and heads over to Linux websites*

hueybot3000
04-03-2010, 11:12 PM
Definitely give puppy linux a shot, perfect for what you want by the sounds of it. And doesnt take long to adjust

EFFIGY
04-03-2010, 11:24 PM
LMFAO
He hasn't even learned Windows yet.....

fred_fish
04-03-2010, 11:29 PM
Thats probably a good thing for picking up Linux quicker :)

KarameaDave
04-03-2010, 11:37 PM
Puppy very easy....must be if I can use it.
I use it nearly all the time. I have it on a 4GB flash drive
and boot to that instead of the Vista on my lappy.

EFFIGY
04-03-2010, 11:41 PM
kk have all I need on flash drive.
time to go snooze.
Looking like a Saturday job. =}

TYSM

tweak'e
05-03-2010, 07:57 AM
just check on the motherboard if there is any free slots for ram. rambus has terminators fitted in the spare slots so don't go thinking it has ram in it.
find some 2nd hand ram or simply find another motherboard/cpu/ram. pc's of that age are dirt cheap.

linux while good usually still requires a decent amount of ram. maybe one of the older or cut down distros.

EFFIGY
05-03-2010, 08:15 AM
I know it has Rambus in it - I specifically put it there...
At the time it was the hot new kid on the memory block, and TBH it served very well for many years.
.......I havent looked at the slots that carefully for about 6 years, I'll take it apart tomorrow when I have time.
I may well be able to fit ddr in there somewhere.

utopian201
05-03-2010, 10:46 AM
Hi.
I have a long disused, but perfectly functional P4 1.6 with 256 RAMBUS . GeForce MX400. Was hot in its day ....

It still is hot. My main computer that I use is an Athlon 1.66 with 1.5gb DDR ram, Geforce 4 ti4200. :D

Agent_24
05-03-2010, 12:18 PM
The CPU and Video card are fine. It's the 256MB of RAM that's your problem.

For even just general use now on XP I would say 512MB minimum, but 1GB or even 2GB is preferred

Get some more RAM, or if that's too hard\expensive - get Linux like the others say. Probably a good idea if there are no Windows-specific programs needed.

pctek
05-03-2010, 08:53 PM
Hi.
P4 1.6 with 256 RAMBUS .



I've been bitten by the fix it yourself bug.....
PC's way cleaner than cars lol

You won't find any RAMBus now, and bigger - no. If by some miracle you do find some, remember it goes in pairs.
Remove everything unneeded from the startup, thats everything except the AV.
Tweak Services - take a look at Black Vipers site for that.

Then leave him to it. If that's all he wants to do, let him, he doesn't need speed. You do, but does he even notice?

Once he gets into it, then worry about upgrades and stuff.

And yes, PCs are so much more fun than car fixing.

EFFIGY
05-03-2010, 10:41 PM
he doesn't need speed. You do, but does he even notice?

Once he gets into it, then worry about upgrades and stuff.

This is very true, and rather wise.
Maybe I'm just a tinkerer at heart who cant resist a new playground;)

EFFIGY
06-03-2010, 04:48 PM
Puppy very easy....must be if I can use it.
I use it nearly all the time. I have it on a 4GB flash drive
and boot to that instead of the Vista on my lappy.

Hey Dave
I've spent the afternoon trying to nut this out :help: please.

What do I do to make it happen? I have Puppy on a flash drive thanks to this site ....http://www.pendrivelinux.com/ it was all straight forward until I tried to use it.... I haven't got a clue what to do :blush:

gary67
06-03-2010, 05:25 PM
Very good puppy forum here (http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=36014)

EFFIGY
06-03-2010, 05:37 PM
>.<
Its been a long STEEP learning curve, I'm tired. any chance of a
1. Put in USB Drive
2 ....????
3 ?
Kind of reply?

Sweep
06-03-2010, 05:49 PM
Check BIOS to ensure the USB drive is first boot device.
Put in USB drive I'm hoping you made is bootable.
Restart computer.

EFFIGY
06-03-2010, 05:52 PM
Check BIOS to ensure the USB drive is first boot device.
Put in USB drive I'm hoping you made is bootable.
Restart computer.

:dogeye: Mews pitifully.
H O W ?

Speedy Gonzales
06-03-2010, 05:56 PM
Press delete (or it maybe F2 - it may tell you on the screen after you reboot), after you reboot. Then go to the boot menu/screen

Sweep
06-03-2010, 06:04 PM
Usually it's del to enter setup. Change the boot order to suit.
At this stage it's just a guess as I haven't got a clue as to what motherboard you have or even if it will boot off a flash drive.

EFFIGY
06-03-2010, 06:04 PM
USB FDD or USB ZIP?

Sweep
06-03-2010, 06:05 PM
It will be USB FDD I expect. But its not really either.

Speedy Gonzales
06-03-2010, 06:06 PM
Maybe USB hdd. If that doesnt work, try the other. If that doesnt work, then you probably cant boot from a usb flash drive

Sweep
06-03-2010, 06:09 PM
Or the USB drive was not made bootable in the first place.

Speedy Gonzales
06-03-2010, 06:10 PM
True

EFFIGY
06-03-2010, 06:13 PM
Ah! It has USB CD ROM as well

Sweep
06-03-2010, 06:14 PM
To effigy. Copying an ISO image is not enough if that's all you did.

EFFIGY
06-03-2010, 06:15 PM
ok I have my head around this bit now.. I'll try each in sequence and see what happens
its the Abbreviations ... they are doing my head in.

Sweep
06-03-2010, 06:16 PM
An USB CDRom might only need an ISO copied to it.

EFFIGY
06-03-2010, 06:58 PM
OK... My BIOS is CMOS Setup-utility. Award Software I think 6 yrs old.
On my Stick (which is now recognised as a PENDRIVE) are the following
boot:Security Catalog (.cat)
boot:MSG File (.msg)
hrlp:MSG File (.msg)
imitrd:GZip archive (.gz)
isolinux.bin:BIN File (.bin)
isolinux:Microsoft Office Outlook Configuration File (.cfg) --- I'm sure thats wrong
logo.16:16 File (.16)
pup-431.stf:Microsoft Office Outlook Configuration File (.cfg)
Uni-USB-Installer-Copying
Uni-USB-Installer-Readme
vmlinnz
BIOS Has the following USB Options
1st, 2nd, 3rd Boot - options as follows
LS120
HDD-0
SCSI
CD ROM
HDD 1, 2,& 3
ZIP100
USB FDD
USB ZIP
USBCDROM
I have Boot other enabled

Where now? - Or is my bios too old to do this?

KarameaDave
06-03-2010, 07:22 PM
Is there a reason you want to install to a flash drive
(I'm only doing it that way cos I'm lazy)
You may find a traditional HDD install to be simpler.
http://www.ehow.com/how_5063994_install-puppy-linux-hard-drive.html

I used unetbootin http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/
to set up my puppy on the flash drive.(I used the Windows version) It makes it easy.
It should boot using the USB floppy setting.
failing that the USB zip is worth trying.
On my old PIII machine which does not
support booting to a USB device I use a floppy
boot manager called plop
http://www.plop.at/en/bootmanager.html

Once you get it up and running, at the end of the first session
when you shut it down you will be asked if you want to make
a save file, you should do this if you want to save settings etc.

Nomad
06-03-2010, 08:14 PM
There is little point if you are going to spend money on it.

Best option for used, is buy a working system with more RAM for maybe $100-150 and just use that.

You could spend under $200 and upgrade the PC ie., AMD Sempron, 1 or 2GB whatever you can get them for these days and a cheap all in one with builtin video motherboard by ASUS or GB. We normally get this kind of set up because we don't play games, and all the others need are internet, MS Office, watch a DVD and that's about it.

We have a old P3-600Mhz 320MB that runs Windows 2000 and it struggles. Sure, after installing it is not bad, over time with Service Packs it gets slow. We don't install all the stuff so it is manageable. Ie., don't install all the chat software, don't use AVG, don't install the latest IE, get a older Acrobat Reader, don't install .NET frameworks etc. The main issue we have now is that while it is not bad with those measures, once you fire up IE or Firefox a webpage may choke up 50MB and you've only got 256MB. Have 2 or 3 web tabs opened and it's depleted.

EFFIGY
06-03-2010, 10:46 PM
I'm doing this cas I like learning new stuff. Keeps the brain agile. Too many women my age just let it all go, if they haven't already.
As for the system; the extant XP is fine and I worked out that if I keep it in a perpetual 2005 mode its functional, just not quick. No tabs. 1 programme at a time, all that.
I just want to learn how to use a flash drive to boot a machine to Linux... purely so I can say I can =]
So there

Sweep
07-03-2010, 12:03 AM
So have you booted off the usb drive yet?

Why not make a bootable CDRom drive and use it as a live CD until you decide to install Linux on the hard drive.

EFFIGY
07-03-2010, 10:47 AM
I'm fairly convinced the BIOS wont support it. It works on my Presario Laptop, just not the old comp. I think the old system will be fine as is. Anyway Its a beautiful day and I'm going to the beach. Thanks for all the suggestions. Was fun.

Agent_24
07-03-2010, 11:25 AM
If the BIOS doesn't support USB booting, you could check to see if there's an update for it which adds support.

But if you don't want to do that, there's a sure-fire way to get it working: http://www.plop.at/en/bootmanagerdl.html

Download the first file called "plpbt-5.0.8.zip" Inside this archive (among other things) is a ISO CD image and a floppy disk image.

Extract whichever one you prefer to use (I would go with the CD image) "plpbt.iso" or you can use the floppy image "plpbt.img" (You can write this to a floppy disk with Winimage or RawWriteWin)

Once you burn\write whichever version you want to use, boot the computer and start it from the CD or floppy you just made. This will in turn give you a menu where you can select USB disk to boot from. Use the Puppy USB you already have and it should be able to boot it.