Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars


Posted by Trixter on August 2, 2007

My anality reared its ugly head — I couldn’t take this computer-in-unknown-state any longer, so I gathered up my birthday money and bought a new power supply and motherboard. Eight hours later at 4am, I finally heard my first BEEP — one long and two short, which was a memory problem. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to hear the damn thing finally speak to me. Some DDR swaps, and we finally boot.

So the motherboard was toast. Problem solved. So why the new power supply? Because it didn’t quite pass the ATX power supply tester I have. You see, the tester is supposed to show lights and beep. The one I was given showed lights… but no beep. So it was flaky. New motherboard: $70. New power supply: $40.

Total cost of this free machine: free $50 $90 $160. And I still don’t have a PCI-e video card yet (my old Diamond Viper is currently driving the machine. Yes, that’s right kids, a TNT card from 1998 is sitting in an Athlon 64.)

The best part? I scraped off the thermal goo and found it’s an Athlon 64 3200 — as in, the original Athlon 64. It’s slower than my main desktop machine (an Athlon XP). I have now paid upwards of $160 for a machine that is effectively three years old and slower than what I already have. Viva l’irony!

Don’t get me wrong; I think the entire process has been a hoot, and I love solving PC hardware problems. Better yet, the motherboard supports Athlon X2, so when I scrape together some more cash (probably my next birthday ;-) I can swap in an X2 and finally join the world of multi-core computing. It’s all good.

5 Responses to “BEEP”

  1. djpmom said

    Just wanted to drop a happy birthday on you , Trixter (Aug 1 is mine, too)…sounds like you’re in your element!

  2. Trixter said

    Same birthday, huh? What are the chances? (1:365 obviously :-)

  3. Hmm? Someone doesn’t read up on cryptography-related math theory. :-) Birthday Paradox:


    “In probability theory, the birthday paradox states that in a group of 23 (or more) randomly chosen people, there is more than 50% probability that some pair of them will have the same birthday.”

    Though it does go on to concede that, “although it cannot be exactly 100% unless there are at least 366 people.”

  4. Brolin Empey said

    The TNT1 is one of the more recent video cards with drivers [1] for Windows v3.1x. I used to use a Creative Labs Graphics Blaster TNT1 PCI card with Windows for Workgroups v3.11 on MS-DOS v7.1 (from Win98 SE) on my 1.4 GHz Athlon Thunderbird. That was fast! :D I even had Web access with IE v5.0 (definitely not my preferred choice of Web browser, but it is one of the most recent available for Windows v3.1x).

    [1] By “drivers”, I mean accelerated drivers with support for high resolution (up to at least 1280×1024, IIRC) modes and >8-bit colour depth.

  5. Trixter said

    That has got to be the most advanced card you can run with Windows 3.1. Good to know.

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