My old computer was assembled sometime in early 2000. For its time, it had a pretty impressive feature set:
- Abit VP6 dual-processor Socket 370 main board; Abit is now bankrupt, another casualty of the dot com collapse, but eight years ago they made the best hobbyist main boards, and the VP6, with its two Coppermine Pentium-III sockets, was their flagship
- dual Pentium-III 800EB stepping CC0, both of which I got running successfully at 1 GHz
- 512MB of PC133 SDRAM
- GeForce 2 GTS video card (at that time, the third-fastest Nvidia card, after the GeForce3 Ti200 and Ti500)
- 27GB Seagate Barracuda ATA, the first-generation 7200rpm IDE Barracuda
- Aureal Vortex2 sound card, which at that time was the highest-end consumer sound card you could buy
- 20-inch Sony GDM20D10 fixed-sync monitor, actually a Sun monitor
Here's a picture of that computer, dated 24 November 2001, at the Mozcom offices at the Peak Tower:
Incredibly, I was still using this exact same computer in January 2007, a year ago. A whole lot of bits of my life, and Lalai's life, went into that computer. Including our wedding photos and videos, bits and pieces of my work at two jobs over eight years, and God knows what else.
The only difference between the computer's setup in 2000 and early last year was, first, I bought 1GB of PC133 SDRAM from someone on TipidPC because I'd just gone to work at Oracle and needed a machine to run TimesTen on. So I needed more RAM. Second, the GeForce 2 had given up the ghost and I'd gotten an ATI Radeon 9600 Pro. And lastly, the Sony fixed-sync monitor had died (it's somewhere in Mozcom's stockroom) and we bought a black Samsung 17" CRT monitor.
The last game I played on that 800-MHz Pentium III was Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines. It was quite slow, but I managed.
Anyway, all things must come to pass. The ancient machine was replaced by a 1.4 GHz Athlon-C second-hand from TipidPC again. And then in May 2007 I discovered that Oblivion would not run on the Athlon-C because pre-XP Athlons didn't support SSE instructions. Then at the beginning of last month I got that misbegotten Socket 478 main board and 2.0 GHz Pentium 4 that didn't quite work.
And a week later bit the bullet, and got a new main board, CPU, RAM, and video card. Which is the machine I'm using now.
My old computer was actually perfectly functional, and I wouldn't mind having it still, because an 800-MHz Pentium III (one of the processors burned up when its fan seized, and the warranty replacement wasn't the same clock speed so no more dual-processor goodness) with 1GB of RAM is still a decent machine. Ironically that's about the spec of the all-new for Christmas 2007 Asus Eee PC.
But my old computer was taking up space. Since my in-laws needed a new monitor, and Lalai and I are really short on space, we decided to buy an LCD monitor and give up the (still relatively new) Samsung CRT. Since the computer at my in-laws' house was also not that powerful, I decided to put back together the old computer once more so that they could use it.
So last night, I put it back together for the last time. Then packed it into a box for its journey.
Ironically, our new computer isn't all that new: the new bits are the monitor (the biggest and most obvious new bit); the main board; CPU; video card; and RAM.
But the case and AVR are from Lalai's circa-2001 Pentium 4. The CD writer and mouse are from my old Pentium III;
And interestingly enough, the speakers in the photo above (white Altec Lansing ACS-45's) are the same ones in the November 2001 picture at the top of this page.
Anyway, I hope my old computer continues to be productive in the days ahead. And that it doesn't get junked and collect dust in some forgotten corner. And when it finally does, I think I'll get it back and put it in a display case or something. Almost ten years' worth of my life passed through its CPU and spun off its hard disk. I can't think about that bucket of bits being discarded