Newbie seeks some serious help


R

R.Spinks

Ok - this is my 1st post so please bear with me. In 1997 I build a PII 166
from scratch - spent way too much money and decided I probably shouldn't try
it again (seemed like Id get a whole lot for my money w/ a pre-built). ~2000
I got a free HP Pavilion from work. Now - long story short - I figured I
might try it again since I could probably get some on line help. I have the
following between the two:

Stuff from circa 1997:
Old Pentium 166 Motherboard
Old 32 speed CD read only
32K of something old
Tower case (5 bay)
0.23 dot pitch monitor (Gateway Crystalscan)
Old soundblaster card
Set of Altec Lansing speakers w/ subwoofer
Ethernet card

Stuff from circa 2000:
Celeron 667 MHz w/ integrated AGP 3D Graphics
191 MB Ram (1 - 128K Ram KTH-PVL100/128 (PC100 type); 1 - 64K)
Mini tower case (2 bay)
15G H/D
Hp Pavilion Monitor (M70)
Polk audio speakers
250 W 5/3 A switching power supply (also have an extra one from an old 486)
USB card
Ethernet Card

Brand new stuff:
80G Western Digital HD (never used - bought today)
Samsung CD R-R/W SW-252S (bought couple days ago)

I have no idea what questions to ask or what further info to give but I'd
like to make the best use of what I can and build as decent a PC I can for
games - use the scrap to make a Linux box just for kicks. I could just buy
some pre-packaged thing (it'd probably be fine for me as I wouldn't know the
difference -- so I'm looking to spend about the same but do a little better
(say $500 budget). I have a cable modem.. but don't really play that much
intensive on line stuff -- yet. Who's willing to take on a challenge? (I'm
not totally clueless about computers -- just inexperienced at building my
own and what to get where). Help is appreciated. Thanks.
 
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D

David Maynard

R.Spinks said:
Ok - this is my 1st post so please bear with me. In 1997 I build a PII 166
from scratch - spent way too much money and decided I probably shouldn't try
it again (seemed like Id get a whole lot for my money w/ a pre-built). ~2000
I got a free HP Pavilion from work. Now - long story short - I figured I
might try it again since I could probably get some on line help. I have the
following between the two:

Stuff from circa 1997:
Old Pentium 166 Motherboard
Old 32 speed CD read only
32K of something old
Tower case (5 bay)
0.23 dot pitch monitor (Gateway Crystalscan)
Old soundblaster card
Set of Altec Lansing speakers w/ subwoofer
Ethernet card
Would need to know if that's a Pentium 166MMX, or a Classic Pentium 166.
Assuming the board does not have K6-II capability, about all you could do
with that system is increase the memory to 64 Meg (not knowing the chipset
I can't say more because older chipsets can only cache 64 Meg) and, if it's
MMX, the processor to a 233MMX (40% 'faster' but it translates to 20% more
actual processing power with the old style motherboard cache) simply
because they're so incredible cheap now. Increasing a classic 166 to a
classic 200 isn't worth even that, though. The memory is probably 72 pin
SIMMS and not usable for anything new, nor the Celeron.

Although I'm sure folks in here will scream bloody murder, a 64 meg 233MMX
Windows 98 box is still usable for word-processing and other minor tasks
plus it'll also run the super small LiveCD Linux distros, like Feather or
Damn Small Linux, but 64 Meg isn't enough to do a full Linux installation.
Stuff from circa 2000:
Celeron 667 MHz w/ integrated AGP 3D Graphics
191 MB Ram (1 - 128K Ram KTH-PVL100/128 (PC100 type); 1 - 64K)
Mini tower case (2 bay)
15G H/D
Hp Pavilion Monitor (M70)
Polk audio speakers
250 W 5/3 A switching power supply (also have an extra one from an old 486)
USB card
Ethernet Card

Brand new stuff:
80G Western Digital HD (never used - bought today)
Samsung CD R-R/W SW-252S (bought couple days ago)

I have no idea what questions to ask or what further info to give but I'd
like to make the best use of what I can and build as decent a PC I can for
games - use the scrap to make a Linux box just for kicks. I could just buy
some pre-packaged thing (it'd probably be fine for me as I wouldn't know the
difference -- so I'm looking to spend about the same but do a little better
(say $500 budget). I have a cable modem.. but don't really play that much
intensive on line stuff -- yet. Who's willing to take on a challenge? (I'm
not totally clueless about computers -- just inexperienced at building my
own and what to get where). Help is appreciated. Thanks.
If you're satisfied with the Celeron 667 you could simply 'upgrade' it with
the hard drive and CD-RW but, past that, there's not really anything of the
'old stuff' you can use for a 'new' machine, unless you're satisfied with
one of the monitors, speakers, keyboard, and mouse. The rest you'd have to
buy (to go with your new hard drive and CD-RW): CPU, heatsink/fan,
motherboard (w/sound and LAN), DDR memory, video card (or integrated on the
motherboard), case, case fans, and PSU. And since there's nothing being
re-used it's pretty much an open field on what that would be.
 
D

Dave C.

If you're satisfied with the Celeron 667 you could simply 'upgrade' it
with
the hard drive and CD-RW but, past that, there's not really anything of
the
'old stuff' you can use for a 'new' machine, unless you're satisfied with
one of the monitors, speakers, keyboard, and mouse. The rest you'd have to
buy (to go with your new hard drive and CD-RW): CPU, heatsink/fan,
motherboard (w/sound and LAN), DDR memory, video card (or integrated on
the
motherboard), case, case fans, and PSU. And since there's nothing being
re-used it's pretty much an open field on what that would be.
Agreed. Let's see . . . assuming one of the older monitors is still useful,
and knowing he's got some useful gaming speakers, and with a $500 budget for
a gaming computer without disk drives, because he's already got those . . .

from www.mwave.com

SKU Qty Item Unit Price Ext. Price
BA19809 - CODEGEN 3308-CA (BLACK/SILVER) MIDDLE TOWER W/300W ATX POWER
SUPPLY 3x5.25" 2x3.5" 1x3.5"(hidden) W/ FRONT USB CONNECTOR & 80mm CASE FAN
x 1 Details (NO EXTRA FAN) $24.00 $24.00

MB-BA03126 -BA19812 -BA13301 -BA19438-BA19438 - AMD ATHLON XP 3000+
400MHZ OEM BUNDLE W/ Details (EPOX 8RDA3I-MB; MWAVE COPPER PLATE FAN;
CRUCIAL 512MB DDR400(256MB X 2); NO TESTING) $256.00 $256.00

AA29520 ATI RADEON 9800 PRO(EASY) 128MB DDR 8XAGP W/TV & DVI 128BIT
(OEM - POWERED BY ATI) Details $169.00 $169.00

BA19274 THERMALTAKE W0009R SILENT PUREPOWER 420W UL & FCC POWER SUPPLY
FOR ATX CASES Details $44.00 $44.00
Sub Total $493.00

That should make a pretty decent gaming system. Just ditch the power supply
that comes with the case. The motherboard has sound and LAN built
n. -Dave
 
R

R.Spinks

Why a new case. Something wrong with mine?

Dave C. said:
Agreed. Let's see . . . assuming one of the older monitors is still useful,
and knowing he's got some useful gaming speakers, and with a $500 budget for
a gaming computer without disk drives, because he's already got those . . ..

from www.mwave.com

SKU Qty Item Unit Price Ext. Price
BA19809 - CODEGEN 3308-CA (BLACK/SILVER) MIDDLE TOWER W/300W ATX POWER
SUPPLY 3x5.25" 2x3.5" 1x3.5"(hidden) W/ FRONT USB CONNECTOR & 80mm CASE FAN
x 1 Details (NO EXTRA FAN) $24.00 $24.00

MB-BA03126 -BA19812 -BA13301 -BA19438-BA19438 - AMD ATHLON XP 3000+
400MHZ OEM BUNDLE W/ Details (EPOX 8RDA3I-MB; MWAVE COPPER PLATE FAN;
CRUCIAL 512MB DDR400(256MB X 2); NO TESTING) $256.00 $256.00

AA29520 ATI RADEON 9800 PRO(EASY) 128MB DDR 8XAGP W/TV & DVI 128BIT
(OEM - POWERED BY ATI) Details $169.00 $169.00

BA19274 THERMALTAKE W0009R SILENT PUREPOWER 420W UL & FCC POWER SUPPLY
FOR ATX CASES Details $44.00 $44.00
Sub Total $493.00

That should make a pretty decent gaming system. Just ditch the power supply
that comes with the case. The motherboard has sound and LAN built
n. -Dave
 
D

Dave C.

R.Spinks said:
Why a new case. Something wrong with mine?
If it's ATX format, then you could use one of your existing cases. BUT, it
would be smartest to sell at least one of the three systems on ebay. Unless
you want to sell them one piece at a time, you kind of need a third
ase. -Dave
 
D

David Maynard

R.Spinks said:
Why a new case. Something wrong with mine?
Well, for one, both old systems are workable, to one degree or the other,
and taking their case would put them out of commission.

But, you don't give enough details of the cases either. For the P166 you
simply said "Tower case (5 bay)" and that might be an AT case for all I
know. What I do know is the power supply is insufficient, regardless, and a
new, bare, case doesn't cost all that much. Secondly, the odds that the old
case has adequate ventilation for a modern system are virtually nil. You
need a new case with, at minimum, decent rear fan mounting.

I'm guessing that the 'mini tower' Celeron is either an HP or Compaq with
the special flex motherboard (based on the 'all-in-one' configuration) and
trying to find something to fit in the odd ball case would be approaching
the situation backwards, IMO. Plus, again, it won't have sufficient
ventilation.
\
 
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R

R.Spinks

I'm very sorry, but I don't know what AT or ATX mean. I seem to recall that
they said it was an AT case when I bought it but I'm not sure (it was a long
time ago). It does have a rear mounted fan. How can I tell what case type it
is?

As far as the HP goes -- it is most certainly useless for anything but it's
native system. Eventually I intend it to be the Linux box and turn the old
tower (5 bay into my new system). I can of course buy a new case but want to
understand how you tell them apart type from type.
 
D

David Maynard

R.Spinks said:
I'm very sorry, but I don't know what AT or ATX mean. I seem to recall that
they said it was an AT case when I bought it but I'm not sure (it was a long
time ago). It does have a rear mounted fan.
Where in the rear and what size fan?
How can I tell what case type it
is?
Look at the PSU power connector(s) that plug into the motherboard. If it's
one, double row rectangular, connector then it's ATX. If it's two (would
have to unplug to tell it's two as they look like one long one when plugged
into the one inline socket), inline (one row of wires), then it's AT.

Or, looking at the rear of the case do you see a one piece connector panel,
about 2 by 6 inch, with the PS2 keyboard and mouse connectors plus serial
and parallel similar to the one you see on the Celeron case. If so then
it's ATX. If not then it's AT and modern motherboards will not physically
fit in it.

Or, again looking at the rear of the case, an AT PSU has the fan on the
left side, nearest the mouse and keyboard connectors. An ATX PSU has the
fan on the right (180 degrees opposite) away from the keyboard and mouse
connectors.

Lastly, on an ATX case the front panel on/off switch is always a momentary
action switch; usually a push button type. While some 'name brand' systems
with AT PSUs had momentary pushbutton switches (and custom motherboards to
go with it), generic AT cases are always snap action on/off, either toggle
or rocker (like a light switch) or alternate action push button where it's
push-click-detent-on, push-click-release-off. AT power switches are
actually switching AC power whereas ATX switches are not: they're a
momentary signal to the motherboard which then decides 'what to do' when
you push it. If the computer turns itself off when you do a software shut
down then it's likely ATX (only the 'name brand' AT systems with custom
motherboards could turn themselves off). If you have to manually flip the
switch off then it's almost certainly an AT (or you have the ATX settings
wrong).

One last 'gotcha'. There were 'combo' "Baby AT" motherboards made that
could use either an ATX or AT power supply and fit in an AT case; and it's
possible to mount an ATX supply 'upside down' in an AT case and replace the
power switch with a momentary; which results in a 'hybrid' AT case with an
ATX PSU setup. But modern motherboards won't fit in it (see the rear one
piece connector panel section above). It's unlikely someone did this as the
point of the combo wasn't to allow hybrid cases but rather allow them to be
mounted in either an normal AT or ATX case, but it *is* 'possible' and I
can't see it.

The rear I/O connector panel is the best indicator, assuming my description
is clear enough for you to identify it.
 
M

Mac Cool

R.Spinks:
Stuff from circa 1997:
If you can sell this stuff for $10, do it, but you probably can't, so
recycle it. Around here, you can't give a system that old away.
Stuff from circa 2000:
Sell it on ebay and get a Knoppix CD for playing with Linux.
http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html

Keep the best monitor, a floppy drive, the best speakers, a ps/2 or USB
keyboard and a mouse. (Personally I would just buy a new keyboard and
mouse to match your new case)
I'd like to make the best use of what I can and build as decent a PC
I can for games - use the scrap to make a Linux box just for kicks.
Don't try to reuse any of that stuff unless you're going to buy old
used parts from ebay. You'll just cause yourself aggravation.
$500 budget
(I'm not totally clueless about computers -- just inexperienced at
building my own and what to get where). Help is appreciated. Thanks.
Here is a good guide: http://arstechnica.com/guide/system/index.html

If you build the budget system you won't go wrong and you won't have to
replace the power supply in the case. If you reuse your old monitor,
floppy drive, speakers, keyboard, mouse + new stuff; the budget system
should run you less than $450.

Put the extra $50 in your pocket or use it to buy a faster CPU or faster
video card.
 
R

R.Spinks

The connector on the MB is one double row -- but from the supply it's two
connectors. The fan is 12v 0.13A (3 1/8" x 3 1/8" square). Re: the rear of
the case there are several PCI cards to accomodate those things (not a
single 2x6). The fan is on the left (directly above the mouse and keybord
inputs). I have to manually turn off the PC. -- based on your description I
have to assume it is an AT case. So ... worthless I guess eh? bummer. Thanks
for your help anyway.
 
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D

David Maynard

R.Spinks said:
The connector on the MB is one double row -- but from the supply it's two
connectors. The fan is 12v 0.13A (3 1/8" x 3 1/8" square). Re: the rear of
the case there are several PCI cards to accomodate those things (not a
single 2x6). The fan is on the left (directly above the mouse and keybord
inputs). I have to manually turn off the PC. -- based on your description I
have to assume it is an AT case. So ... worthless I guess eh? bummer. Thanks
for your help anyway.
Yep, sounds like its an AT.

Not entirely worthless: it runs the P166 ;)
 

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