Computer Archeology

AMDRecently, I have ‘dug’ up a lot of old computers. Then, this evening, I was describing my home network to another geek friend of mine and he asked me, how many computers do I have in my house at this very moment. While trying to list down the machines that I have, I came to realise that I have a lot of them. So, I thought that I’d list them down just for fun, in functional order:

Server

  • One Dell server that I bought a long time ago to run some Windows server software. I keep it around because it is the only Windows machine that I have. It is a dual-processor P3 class machine with SCSI disks. I once lent it to a friend for some 3DS rendering work.
  • Two VIA based machines that were also bought ages ago. Both have C3 1GHz processors but are now dead. They’ve got working 125W ATX power supplies though.

Desktop

  • One Celeron 1.8GHz machine that my dad uses as his main desktop computer. It currently runs Debian Lenny with XFCE and OpenOffice.
  • Seven VIA based machines ranging from Eden 533MHz to C3 1.0GHz machines. These are physically small machines that are re-purposed for different functions. I used one as my HTPC prototype and am currently using another one as a development server. I like them because they draw very little power.

Laptop

  • One old Gateway laptop around the class of a P3 600MHz. Retired due to age. I might just turn it back on again at some point.
  • One Fujitsu laptop around the class of a AthlonXP 1.5GHz. Has thermal problems but works fine when under-clocked to 500MHz. I am using it as a electronic testing platform.
  • One HP laptop that I am presently using as my main work machine. It is a Athlon X2 2.0GHz class machine.

Non-Functional

  • One 386 class machine that was my first computer. My dad bought it for my sister. It now lives as a board in a box.
  • One 486 class machine that I bought off auction. It now lives also as a board in a box.
  • One Cyrix 586 class machine that was my second desktop when I was a kid. It was the first computer that I bought myself.
  • Two Pentium class machines that are no longer working either.
  • One Duron 1.3GHz machine that served as my trusty desktop at university. It was still working when I left for my PhD but it refuses to start now. I wonder what happened to my Athlon 500MHz machine?

Microprocessors

  • One Motorola 68K processor that was part of an abandoned SBC project.
  • Dozens of PIC processors that have found life and death in various random hobby projects.

Man, that is a lot of computers. Taking away the broken ones and the microprocessor parts, that’s still 12 working machines in total. The thing is, I plan to buy a couple more in the near future – my NAS and HTPC projects, remember? LOL! 😀

To network them all up, I have a 11b access point and 11g router running at home. I also have eight 11b USB dongles that I use to connect the machines to the home network. In addition, I have many metres of Cat5e cables and half a dozen ethernet cards at home too. The only thing that I’m short of at home is power points.

Maybe I can one day build my own mini-computer museum at home. Maybe I should do it today! I managed to clear out one display-case during my spring cleaning. I could possibly fashion some labels and display boxes out of the other junk that I’ve uncovered. At the very least, I should preserve the microprocessors since that is my field of interest.

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Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

2 thoughts on “Computer Archeology”

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