The spare spare spare computer

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. :roll:

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. :shock:

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. … ;)

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3 Responses to “The spare spare spare computer”


  1. 1 steve 2010/08/25 at 2:54 PM

    Maybe you should start a museum of old but functional machines :D

  2. 2 Winston 2010/08/26 at 1:13 AM

    This is why I’ve stopped accumulating old typewriters. Having the thing seems to imply an obligation that one should actually use it. Then I get hung up on rotating through this stable of antiquated technology, while I’m less and less focused on actually getting any writing done.

    But some of them are just so bloody handsome, they’re hard to resist.

    The curse of living in the twilight of a technological civilization, I guess: a bounty of discarded treasures.


  1. 1 Twenty-ten: The picks of the litter « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/12/13 at 8:40 AM

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