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Dumpster diving - An incredible find

jawtheshark (198669) writes | more than 7 years ago

Intel 8

It's that day of the week again, where I go to the recycling centre to get rid of our paper, glass and various plastics. The bin for paper is close to the bin for old electronics. I never can resist to take a look at that bin, just because you never know. A few P-I class computers, hmmm, uninteresting.... Then my eye catches the glimpse of a "Intel Inside Pentium IV" sticker. WTF? That's not really a common sight: a P-IV in a dumpster bin! So, I take it with me, fully expecting that it

It's that day of the week again, where I go to the recycling centre to get rid of our paper, glass and various plastics. The bin for paper is close to the bin for old electronics. I never can resist to take a look at that bin, just because you never know. A few P-I class computers, hmmm, uninteresting.... Then my eye catches the glimpse of a "Intel Inside Pentium IV" sticker. WTF? That's not really a common sight: a P-IV in a dumpster bin! So, I take it with me, fully expecting that it is physically broken.

I come home and first open it up to see if everything for normal operation is there. CPU is there, there are apparently 4 RAM sticks, but they look a bit odd. The one I can see well states 256Meg RAM. Nice that would be a total of 1Gig! It's an Intel board, which usually stands for quality. I now notice that it has a Iomega Zip 250, IDE version and a graphics with a DVI connector.

Now, curious as I am, I connect it to a monitor, mouse and keyboard and boot it up. It promply boots up into Windows 2000. The machine seems to be registred to a Windows Domain from an audit company. Okay, the local administrator password is taped to the front and I log it. I am promptly greeted with a dozen popups, including WebRebates and 180Solutions. Ah, that's the new definition of "broken" these days! I fire up Win-Pause and and it is indeed a P-IV 1.9GHz with 512Meg RAM. More CPU horsepower than I expected, but less RAM. I have a vague idea why this is: I bet it's a Rambus machine, which I never had seen in real life yet. It would explain the odd RAM sticks. Harddisk is 40Gig, reasonable and the graphics card is a Matrox Dualhead. This machine must have been a workstation of some kind in that Audit company. "My documents" is empty. Either they had a policy to store everything on the server, or they took the time to delete the local files. I could run an undeleter if I wanted, but I don't care that much.

Wow, a free P-IV. I have no idea what I'm going to do with this machine, but this is way too wasteful to throw away. I could put myself to the challenge of cleaning it up from its spyware infestation, just to see if I'm better than the admin at that company.

Oh, yes, I opened it up again to inspect the RAM sticks. They are indeed RIMMs and what I took for two extra sticks are in reality empty. If you remove those "sticks" the computer won't boot. I don't know much about Rambus, but I heard that it's the way it works. So, unless I buy some extra RAM on ebay, it'll be stuck on 512Meg, but frankly, for a desktop machine 512Meg is currently enough.

cancel ×

8 comments

Excellent (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 7 years ago | (#16167161)

Truly an awesome find.

Re:Excellent (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#16170031)

Yeah, I'm quite pleased.

I though of you some days ago. I found 1Gig CompactFlash modules on sale for 20€/piece and I bought 5. That way I can "retire" our 2x32Meg and 2x256Meg CompactFlash modules and knew you were looking for such things a while ago. Alas, in the context for your soon to be ex-wife, so by now I'll have to find a way to use them myself. I have already a vague idea ;-)

Re:Excellent (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 7 years ago | (#16171045)

AFAIK, her good 'friends' online are already scouring around for them. Personally, I would think it easier to just get her hooked up to the Internet with her own email address...

Re:Excellent (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#16171063)

Yeah, it's not as if emails are rare and expensive things.... I have lost track of how many different ones I have ;-)

rdram (1)

kormoc (122955) | more than 7 years ago | (#16167959)

Oh, yes, I opened it up again to inspect the RAM sticks. They are indeed RIMMs and what I took for two extra sticks are in reality empty. If you remove those "sticks" the computer won't boot. I don't know much about Rambus, but I heard that it's the way it works. So, unless I buy some extra RAM on ebay, it'll be stuck on 512Meg, but frankly, for a desktop machine 512Meg is currently enough.

Aye, the channels are connected and thus needs a passthough for the ram detection.

But hey, it's quite the find!

Re:rdram (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#16170001)

Well, apparently the empty sticks are "terminators", just like on a SCSI bus. I could get an upgrade to 1Gig for 50€ or so on eBay. (Unless some dotter here has a few spare Rambus modules to give away *grin*.)

I'm quite pleased. I would have preferred standard RAM, but "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth". Damn, I still can't believe someone threw this away... Of course my wife isn't all to pleased because of the addition of one extra computer. :-/ I understand her, we already have so many of them.

Re:rdram (1)

Mantorp (142371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16184049)

I clearly am not dumpster diving in the right places

Re:rdram (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#16185877)

Well, clearly not. Last time it was a P-III but with a nonstandard components (risers, no ATX form factor). I "harvested" it, but didn bother with the motherboard. I took the CPU though. I can understand that someone throws away a P-III these days. The person throwing it away simply doesn't know any better and perhaps not seeing another use for it (kids PC, server, whatever....)

This P-IV find is clearly an extraordinary find. I was very surprised. Still, I live in a country where many people have more money than brains. "It's broken" often means "throw away" and don't bother finding a way to repair it. As you know, computer failures mostly are software and Redmon OS related ;-) So, it's fixable with a simple reinstall (or putting another OS on it) I've heard of instances of people putting a fully functional 1 year old computer on the curb in the rain. Well, somebody told me this, I never saw it myself. No wonder that I always look in the recycling centre bin. They also have tons of functional 19" to 21" monitors, but I don't have the place to take them. All probably were replaced with LCD monitors.

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