The leftover Pentium I bought about ten days ago has thrown me for a loop … mostly because, it’s just not a leftover Pentium.
Originally I had planned to scavenge the machine, stealing the memory and possibly the CD drive for use in this one. That might seem like overkill, but with the market price for a used stick of PC66 laptop memory hovering around US$1.50 plus shipping, it just makes sense.
After all, the whole machine cost me about US$10, and I’d pay that much — if not more — for that single stick of antique computer memory. Why buy the milk when you can have the whole cow for the same price?
As luck would have it though, it’s a viable machine in its own right. After I cleaned away the dirt and grime from the screen, it turned out as clean and clear as either of the other two Pentium machines I own, save a faint bleached area in the upper left corner.
That screen is also slightly bigger than its predecessor’s — probably something like 12″ as opposed to 11.1″ — which means the porthole screen I have learned to ignore is a non-issue with the new one.
And I have desperately lusted after a CDROM for the older machine. For every time I have had to pull the drive, connect it to another computer, compile or troubleshoot, then swap it back again to continue … a simple live CD would have saved me hours.
That CDROM, as I have discovered, works fine and is quite speedy when compared to the one in this one. I still haven’t managed to make it boot in the older one, but otherwise it works as it should.
Add to that a battery that lasts two hours and recharges in the same amount of time, a more-than-adequate 32Mb of memory and a fully working keyboard, and you have the machine I wanted very badly … about two years ago.
Aye, there’s the rub. I’ve already got a low-speed machine in the house, as well as a fractionally faster one with a bootable CD drive, bootable floppy, the same amount of memory, a 17-megahertz edge in processor power, a working battery, stereo sound, the same video card, similar physical condition, easy access to the interior, and the immeasurable bonus and convenience of a single, solitary, antiquated USB port.
You wouldn’t believe how often I use that USB port.
And so that’s the spot I find myself in these days: I am the owner of not one, not two, but three low-end excellent condition antique computers — any one of which could easily keep me occupied for years to come.
I can’t bear to throw it out, because it’s in good shape. Nobody but me (and maybe you) could possibly find it useful, and even if I have dozens of uses for it, the restraining factor is time.
So I imagine I’ll put it on hold for a little while. At some point I will probably need or want another low-, low-end computer for testing or something, and it will come in handy.
In the mean time, I have a few other things that need my attention. …