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What Can You Do with Old Memory?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the make-a-mobile-out-of-'em dept.

Hardware Hacking 121

An anonymous reader asks: "I've just upgraded the RAM in a bunch of laptops and have several gigs of spare PC2700 memory sitting in a desk drawer. I also have another project which requires a large amount of low latency temporary storage. So, I figured this would be a great place to employ a dedicated hardware ramdisk but I am having a problem finding one that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, or preferably an empty unit that works with my spare memory. I have found many discussion forums which talk about building an IDE ramdisk out of commodity RAM, but have not found anyone that has actually done it. Has anyone on Slashdot found such a holy grail? Is anyone currently working on such a project? Do any of you have the engineering experience and interest to design such a device?" What novel purposes have you done with spare RAM that you haven't had the heart to throw away?"Before you ask, my primary server is maxed out on RAM at 2 gigs, and I am still filling up my 1 gig software ramdisk when I end up with an unusually large data set that needs processing. Yes, I am aware that an IDE device would be limited by the IDE interface for throughput, but I am more concerned with latency then throughput, and IDE is common and simple enough to connect to any of my desktop servers without the need for an add in card."

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Caching disk controller (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11444584)


Buy a caching RAID controller and fill it up with 1GB of memory

Re:Caching disk controller (0, Troll)

Gherald (682277) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444680)

I think what he wants is a standalone PCI ramdisk. Not a RAID controller.

Re:Caching disk controller (1)

Gherald (682277) | more than 9 years ago | (#11453062)

Well I am pretty sure a PCI ramdisk/drive is what the submitter wants...

Does anyone understand why someone would consider the above a troll?

Re:Caching disk controller (2, Interesting)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444749)

Buy a caching disk controller and fill it up with RAM. Then give it and the surplus RAM to me for my pitifully RAMless machine. 1G just doesn't cut it anymore :(

One time, (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11444600)

I saw this keychgain a guy had made out of a 256K SIMM. I thought that was pretty cool.

Re:One time, (2, Interesting)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 9 years ago | (#11445074)

It was pretty cool for a while.

After about a week all the chip capacitors started breaking off. After a few months the chips thesmelves were wearing at the corners and eventually came off. And for the last three years I've had a bare circuitboard on my keychain. Now I have an anodized aluminium penguin which will hopefully be a little more robust.

Re:One time, (1)

keeleysam (792221) | more than 9 years ago | (#11445178)

I have a 720K (!) SIMM on my keychain, and before putting it there, i just put a little superglue under the chips. Looks pretty cool and after 4 years all the simms are still there.

Re:One time, (1)

niskel (805204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11446484)

I had 2MB on a keychain but I tend to be forgetful and leave my keys in my pockets. This leads to keys in the washing machine. Washing machines don't like ram...

Re:One time, (1)

SirPrize (590850) | more than 9 years ago | (#11447400)

I don't think it's the washing machine that has anything about not liking the RAM. More likely, it's the RAM that doesn't like the washing machine. :-)

What a great new customer-rupport explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11456364)

Tide-induced parity errors.

Re:One time, (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#11454839)

The capacitors on my 1MB SIMM aren't visible (maybe not even there?), so all I can see is the chips (which have started to wear down on the corners). The contacts are wearing down, though.

Re:One time, (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11445323)

You wouldn't be in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, would you? I made and sold eight of those for 50 cents each as a kid.

Re:One time, (1)

MrResistor (120588) | more than 9 years ago | (#11446399)

I've gone through a few of those. Though they're hard to find these days, the old 30-pin is best. 72+ pin sticks are just to big for normal pockets.

Re:One time, (1)

okmnji (791276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449056)

I have a 72-pin SIMM (8MB) as my keychain. Does that mean my pockets are...

Oh, nevermind.

Re:One time, (1)

shadowzero313 (827228) | more than 9 years ago | (#11446656)

I've got a 30-pin SIMM on my keys too. i'm not sure what the capacity on it is, though. Mine's only got 2 ram chips on it, and most i see lying around computer classrooms at school have8 in them. it's different.

Re:One time, (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#11455268)

Probably a newer one. I've got a CRAPLOAD of 1MB 30-pin SIMMS with nine chips (one parity bit?), and a few with three.

Re:One time, (1)

BlueCodeWarrior (638065) | more than 8 years ago | (#11458214)

I wear a 486dx2 on mine. I left it on the board, cut around it, and made a hole in the board to put a keyring through.

It works.

What do I do with old memory? (3, Funny)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444649)

I don't remember...

flooring? (3, Funny)

jjirvin (612615) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444653)

get ahold of Tommy at This Old House and see if they'll do a geek show in which the put down a parquet memory floor /jji

laptop ram? (4, Insightful)

Goeland86 (741690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444654)

man, if you don't wanna throw it away, sell it on ebay, and then with the money you make buy something adequate for it. I'll buy some of that ram myself, if you have a 512 meg bar.
Seriously, that ram is worth cash, get the cash, then buy what you've been looking at that was out of your budget before.

SDRAMs are too big, but... (1)

Xaroth (67516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444655)

All my old 72pin and 36 pin RAM gets converted to keychains. Then, when all the little IC's fall off, I just grab another one!

Of course, they're starting to get a little harder to find, so eventually I'll have to change - maybe to old laptop memory.

A SDRAM might make a nice bookmark, though. ;)

Re:SDRAMs are too big, but... (2, Informative)

DaViking (827886) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444879)

I've done this for a long time too. Someone noticed it and accused me of buying it at some nearby computer store. After informing said person that I am geek enough to make my own RAM keychain I was surprised at how much they were charging for these things. Don't think it's a get rich quick scheme but I've got to give it to them for marketing and obsolete product.

Re:SDRAMs are too big, but... (1)

PedanticSpellingTrol (746300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11446061)

Me too, and when people starting asking me about where I got them from (everyone I know gives me their old systems because I'm the "computer guy") I actually sold a few sticks and then branched out by getting a cheap heat gun and making clipboards out of old, desoldered motherboards

Re:SDRAMs are too big, but... (1)

AbraCadaver (312271) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444901)

Ok, now I know I'm not alone - I thought I was the only geek that used memory sticks for keychains :P And yeah, when the chips fall/pop off due to abuse, flexing, I grab another stick too. Of course, it's my calling card as well - people see my keychain and say "oh, you know computers, huh? I have this problem..."
On second thought, maybe I should take the memory off...

Re:SDRAMs are too big, but... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11447152)

yeah.. except that this ram that the guy has is still worth $$$.

Re:SDRAMs are too big, but... (1)

bmsleight (710084) | more than 9 years ago | (#11447558)

All my old 72pin and 36 pin RAM gets converted to keychains

Sounds cool, have you any pictures ? Is this just a physical keychain or is the memory still useable ?

Re:SDRAMs are too big, but... (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#11455568)

The memory may be usable after a couple of days, but it'll get ruined.

Basically, you know how SIMMs and DIMMs have that hole on each side? You put a keyring through, and voila - instant keychain.

Re:SDRAMs are too big, but... (1)

technos (73414) | more than 9 years ago | (#11447815)

Dip em in lacquor.

Plain old clear, high gloss exterior door lacquor.

The chips don't fall off.

You should also take some 00 steel wool, buff the insulating resin off the circuit traces. The copper on green looks a lot nicer.

Re:SDRAMs are too big, but... (1)

myov (177946) | more than 9 years ago | (#11450212)

I have a nice DX4 magnet to go with the memory keychain.

Extra controller memory (2, Informative)

Squant (652554) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444670)

The older SIMM modules make excellent modules to add a big chunk of memory to your controller/processor/DSP/FPGA for all kinds of things.

Or you can just use a paintstripper and get the chips off, and incorporate them in your project.
The left over boards you can use as guides in your tech books.

Interfacing can be tough sometime, here an AVR example:
http://www.myplace.nu/avr/dram/index.htm [myplace.nu]

Just google for your favorite controller type with the word DRAM.

ramdisk pci card? (2, Informative)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444689)

they require identical chips- and usually aint cheap.

Take it to you local computer surplus store (3, Insightful)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444701)

And just give it to them. Next time you need something, you'll be surprised at how generous they are. I've taken my old but serviceable stuff to the local surplus store for years. I've also received stuff I've needed for projects for pennies on the dollar.

What can you do with old memory? (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444723)

"What can you do with old memory?"

Well if you're a manufacturer of PC100 128 or 256 sticks you can charge twice what they were going for a year or two ago.

Re:What can you do with old memory? (2, Informative)

PianoComp81 (589011) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444905)

And this is pissing me off. I need more memory for my PIII-800 (PC100 memory) and it's cheaper to buy memory for my laptop that I got back in the summer!

Re:What can you do with old memory? (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444987)

Yes indeed.

I'm trying to track down PC133 ECC Registered SDRAM for something less than an arm and a leg, but it's proving difficult.

Re:What can you do with old memory? (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11445726)

How much do you need?

Re:What can you do with old memory? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#11456152)

ARRGH! I HATE this, and I lost my only two PC100/133 128MB sticks (along with a Celeron 466 - I don't care about the CPU, as the older Celerons overclock better, but I REALLY want the RAM - my current system has 64MB)

Donate it to someone who needs it! (3, Insightful)

jcbphi (235355) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444755)

Its not so novel, but I'm sure there are plenty of schools, community centers, etc. around where you live that could always use spare hardware. A lot of the boxes these organizations receive are stripped down, and having extra sticks of RAM is very useful for them.

My grandmother uses a computer built from donated parts that a local group provides for the elderly, and she's now able to talk with her 4 generations of family over email (which is pretty well spread around the world now). There are probably tax breaks for you too, but in general donating unused hardware to those that will use it is a Good Thing.

Re:Donate it to someone who needs it! (3, Informative)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444815)

I concur, please do consider donating the memory. I worked for a local place [prairienet.org] that refurbished donated computers and used them for a community networking initiative which provided poor people with:

  • a gentle introduction to using a computer (many hours of hands-on use with an instructor who can answer questions on-the-spot),
  • a computer system (including all the hardware and software they needed to do real tasks),
  • and a dialup account at the ISP operated by the organization.

All of this was provided at no cost to the recipient. As I understand the financing, the place is run on a combination of grant money, selling dialup accounts and hosting, and donations. After building and testing a bunch of low-end machines used for these classes, my work there ended. It was a good karma job with good people working there and I would work there again if the need arose.

As a former technician there, I would have been grateful to receive donated RAM for what is today considered old. I'm sure someone's machine would have used it (or some machine that will soon be donated there would use it).

Re:Donate it to someone who needs it! (1)

vladd_rom (809133) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449884)

In addition, there are organizations with the aim of providing IT technologies to 3rd world countries, that need this kind of donation.

A Pentium 2 with 64 MB of memory could be top of the tech-tree for some people in African countries.

PC2700 is not old (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444783)

Sell it on eBay.

I have a drawer full of 72-PIN SIMMs I dont know what to do with. They might be a grand total of 256MB or so... some simms have 2MB ram.

What should I do with those?

Re:PC2700 is not old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11445169)

With your stuff why don't you take all your old hardware you don't want and recycle it through some ewaste initiative?

Re:PC2700 is not old (1)

skotte (262100) | more than 9 years ago | (#11445472)

you know thats what i was thinking. PC2700 is old? geeeesh. mail it my way or something! i'll take that old reprobate garbage off your hands.

You know, by the headlines, i thought this article was gonna talk about the stuff you (and i) have a bunch of. those 2MB simms accumulate, and are practically useless. seems a pity to toss them, and i only need so many keychains.

Re:PC2700 is not old (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 9 years ago | (#11447141)

I just UPGRADED friends pretty-good machine with some PC2100 ram and it now runs like an absolute dream. Who the heck decided that pc2700 was old ALREADY?

I'll have it!

Re:PC2700 is not old (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#11454140)

That's what I was thinking. I've got 512Mb of PC2700 in my box that I need to add to at some point!

What if? (1)

ub3r (589156) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444833)

What if you got a USB hub and got like 4 1gb USB memory keys or whatever? Would that help with a large about of low latency memory that you are asking for?

Flash memory is slow (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444943)

I think in some cases the throughput can be lower than a hard drive.

Plus USB2 is a horrendous bottleneck.

Re:Flash memory is slow (1)

Punboy (737239) | more than 9 years ago | (#11446476)

...good thing this isn't flash then, eh?

Re:Flash memory is slow (1)

ub3r (589156) | more than 9 years ago | (#11446534)

Yeah wasnt sure about the speed, just thought it would be a cool idea/suggestion...

Re:Flash memory is slow (1)

CMiYC (6473) | more than 9 years ago | (#11447431)

Where did anything about Flash or USB2 come from?

Suggestions (3, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444840)

Well, my best suggestion would be to sell the stuff (eBay or a local shop) and use the money towards what you want.

That said, if you want to do it yourself, there is one thing I think would work reasonably. Now the cost of doing this might not be low. I don't know. Here we go:

There are tons of PLCs and ASICs and stuff on the 'net with lots of free code for 'em. There is free code to interface with memory modules so your chip could talk to ram and use it in a project. There is ALSO free code to talk to a hard drive (make a IDE interface) for your MP3 player or whatever. Now it seems that with all that documentation, it shouldn't be too hard to make a simple little state machine that translates incomming IDE requests to specific RAM addresses (a simple mapping from C/H/S or LBA to address should do it), fetch (or write) that data, and return it over the IDE interface (which you would have to make "backwards" from most on the web because you want to BE the HD, not talk to it).

I would think you could get some good speed out of that, shouldn't be hard to make it faster than a simple hard drive. The biggest problem would be that it would need to be partitioned and formatted at startup, but that could be easily done in a script (and it's not like it would take long if you skip bad block scans and such).

Someone may have already done this if you look hard enough.

So that's my suggestion. Would be a cool little project, and it shouldn't be hard to put as much RAM in as you want, you just have to multiplex it. The biggest problem would be refreshing all that RAM if you multiplex it. But those are problems for you to solve. Now if you DO do this, PLEASE post results (or at least expiraments) to /., as I'd love to see what you come up with (even if you go with another solution all together).

You probably want static ram (-1)

photon317 (208409) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444850)


You could of course in theory build a PCI card ramdisk out of PC2700 memory (I remember a magazine had some rather simplistic plans way back when for building such a beast from old school DRAM chips on an ISA card). The problem is that the D in DRAM means Dynamic. When you lose power, you lose all the data. SRAM (Static) actually keeps it's state when you power it off, more like a hard drive does. SRAM is however considerably more expensive than DRAM. There are several vendors of commercial SRAM disks sporting IDE and SCSI interfaces these days, but the prices will scare you for any decent size.

However, if the "low latency storage" you need for your app can be wiped on powerloss/reboot (perhaps it's just a large cache of the "real" data on a real drive - or perhaps you'll snapshot a backup image to disk often enough that you don't mind losing a small time window of updates on crash/reboot/powerfal), then go for it.

Re:You probably want static ram (3, Informative)

jnik (1733) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444915)

SRAM (Static) actually keeps it's state when you power it off
No. SRAM keeps its state as long as it's still powered. DRAM is in a state of continual decay, and must be refreshed on a regular basis.

Re:You probably want static ram (2, Informative)

pyite (140350) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444958)

And to further add to the confusion, NVRAM (non-volatile) RAM stays put without power.

Re:You probably want static ram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11455799)

How is it confusing when there are distinct prefixes for each type?

Re:You probably want static ram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11456653)

Once again proving the superiority of core memory.

Re:You probably want static ram (3, Informative)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11447672)

The problem is that the D in DRAM means Dynamic. When you lose power, you lose all the data. SRAM (Static) actually keeps it's state when you power it off, more like a hard drive does

No. There are three main types of RAM:
  • SRAM
  • DRAM
  • NVRAM

SRAM (Static) will keep its state as long as it is powered on.

DRAM (Dynamic) will lose its state, and must be regularly refreshed as long as it is powered on.

NVRAM (Non-volatile) keeps its state even when powered off.

Re:You probably want static ram (1)

UberLame (249268) | more than 8 years ago | (#11458378)

NVRAM is often just SRAM with a battery. Thus, it has a finite lifespan. People who use computers that store vital information in NVRAM (say users of older Suns) will often run into problems with this.

Re:You probably want static ram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11448012)

Doing a web search on a topic you know nothing about: 5 minutes
Reading about RAM types and not understanding it: free
Posting a slashdot comment like you are an expert: 2 minutes
Making a fool of yourself on slashdot: Priceless

how to buid it (2, Interesting)

ryanelm (787453) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444851)

download the infosheet on the ram you have from the company that made it or a company that makes equivalent. it will they'll you the timing neccesary to read, write and refresh the memory, something like bring 'cas' pin high for x nano-seconds then write the first y bits of the address then bring 'ras' high and write the rest of the address then read from or write to the data pins. Then get a picmicro controller and write a program to controll the memory and talk ide, load it on the micro-controller, then wire up a memory socket and an ide plug. total cast: +- $25 total time: 3hrs - 2months depending on expiriance

Re:how to buid it (2, Informative)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11445021)

Wait, is someone pulling numbers out of their ass?

+- $25 total time: 3hrs - 2months depending on expiriance

Except for the fact that your PIC probably has 16 or so data lines, and you need 100 or so addressable lines to talk nicely to PC2700 ram. Oh, and don't forget the 40 lines you need to talk to the IDE interface.
So , that $25 just ballooned out to a coupla hundred when you factor in some glue logic and a few fpga devices of sufficent capacity. And 3 hours might be a little on the low side there for the labour estimate.

Re:how to buid it (1)

ryanelm (787453) | more than 8 years ago | (#11456799)

not to flame or anything but where do you get the idea that you need fpgas and glue logic to make two pic controllers talk to eachother? and there _are_ pic chips with like 80 i/o pins going for about 10 bucks.

Re:how to buid it (1)

fliptout (9217) | more than 9 years ago | (#11446833)

I've looked into doing this, and after doing a cost analysis, I'ved concluded that making a *useful* pci/ide ramdrive is not worth the effort.

First off, it simply is not worth it to make an IDE or PCI based solid state disk with only a few megabytes. Why not simply buy more ram and create a RAM disk in windows or whatever instead? But even that will not give you much performance enhancement, perhaps speed up the start time of apps launched from the disk.

Familiar with Verilog/VHDL? I hope so, you'll probably have to roll your own IDE controller/ram interface. PICs make sucky IDE controllers. It can be done, but they are ass slow, which would render this whole exercise academic.

Now lets break down the price list for real:
ram: why bother with less than, say, a gig. $200
pcb fabrication: $50 (optimistic)
FPGA: $20-ish
Board components: depends, but let's say $20 due to small quantities being ordered.
Battery backup system: cr2032 perhaps, haven't really researched what would go into a reliable battery ram refresher system.

How much is your time worth? Mine is not cheap. I do electronics consulting, and I would estimate this project to be a bit pricey time-wise. The way to recoup the money is to develop a product that would sell, which is a losing proposition due to what i said above.

Other costs if you do not have the stuff: design software (for fpga, pcb layout and routing), a logic analyzer/oscilloscope.

Anyways, my point is not to beat you down, but to show that this is a nontrivial task. There are companies that sells these things, but they are expensive. If it was easy, I probably would have seen other people with homemade pci or ide ramdrives. Then again, I havent really looked in the last year or so. :)

Re:how to buid it (1)

ryanelm (787453) | more than 8 years ago | (#11457033)

i aggree , i have built a few things out of old dram , but the time & effort it would take to throw this together outweighs the near free costs of the materials. this would only be easy for someone who had done both ide and memory controlling before and had the chips, programmers etc. around. BTW. a 'ram refresher system' would be part of the controller already due to the extremely short time ram stays charged for (think milliseconds) so all that would be required to keep the data is a battery source powering the pic controller and memory chip.

Not quite that easy (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11446841)

I make IDE drives for a living, and it's not quite as easy as you make it sound, sadly.

The part you will find hard, going this route, is drive recognition.

When writing a host, you only have to support minimal drive handshaking and then you can start throwing read and writes.

Writing a drive, you usually have to support a metric tonne of informational commands before a host will recognise you as a valid drive - and even then you're looking at odd behaviour from different BIOS revisions and operating systems.

You can cut this down a bit, since you know the system you will be using - but there'll still be a fair chunk of trial and error involved. The easiest thing to do is bus-trace competitor drives and work out that way what the system seems to respond to best.

In all, it's an interesting project - but I'd not recommend it as particularly practical.

I'd say:
Easiest: Sell the RAM, buy something useful - like a motherboard that supports larger amounts of on-board RAM.
Slightly less easy: Buy a RAID controller that uses this type of RAM, give it a pair of slow 4gig disks and hope it uses the cache sensibly.

And as an aside - the USB interface flash chips support a very small subset of ATAPI-MMC. This does annoy some ooperating systems, but would make it much easier to emulate. The latency and throughput of USB might be a limiting factor for you, though.

Re:how to buid it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11455828)

You sir, are an idiot. Or just a kid. Ever wonder why there isn't a PIC on a PC motherboard controlling the RAM? That's right, it's not even in the same family of logic. Stick to LEDs and resistors, kid.

Re:how to buid it (1)

ryanelm (787453) | more than 8 years ago | (#11457108)

im not going to hold your hand and walk you through the steps neccesary to prove this but picmicros have the power and ability to speak to any family of logic i can think of.

Firewire! (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444857)

Sounds like you need an IDE adaptor designed to work as a slave, not as a master: i.e., the same interface that IDE hard disks have. Unfortunately I have no idea if such a thing exists. Probably not.

However, you could do this with Firewire, because there isn't a master/slave distinction with Firewire. You could buy a cheap-and-nasty computer, put all your memory into it, hook it up to your server and use it as a (very big) solid-state hard disk. Firewire's about the same speed as IDE.

Unfortunately, your slave computer would need software to make it act like a hard disk, and while I'm sure such a thing exists, I don't know where...

Re:Firewire! (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444973)

The IDE controller isn't the master, the words master and slave are used to distinguish from up to two IDE devices (harddisk, CD/DVD drives, etc.) on one IDE controller. The IDE controller itself doesn't have a name.

IDE controller
|||||||||||||| (40 pins flatcable)
master device
||||||||||||||
slave device

I'm not entirely sure, but IIRC, the master device determines the maximum throughput speed and/or determines which device is active when.

Re:Firewire! (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444985)

The IDE controller isn't the master, the words master and slave are used to distinguish from up to two IDE devices

Sorry, I didn't mean that (it's too late, I've just played through the Darwinia demo [which rules] and I need caffeine). I mean that the interface has a master end (the computer) and a slave end (the drive). USB works the same way. Firewire and SCSI, however, are peer-to-peer in that there's the same interface on all devices, regardless of what they do.

(You can plug multiple computers in on the same SCSI bus; there are very-high-speed Ethernet implementations that do that. In fact, that may be a viable way of solving the original poster's problem.)

IDE master/slave drive select is a ghastly hack, as well as being confusing terminology.

Re:Firewire! (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11449526)

Ah, okay.

Yes, it appears that often, the worst viable technology gets to dominate the market...

Re:Firewire! (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11447630)

Unfortunately, your slave computer would need software to make it act like a hard disk, and while I'm sure such a thing exists, I don't know where..

Make a ramdisk under linux, share it using Samba/NFS, and connect the two computers together using gig ethernet.

Take my memories please (1)

grondu (239962) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444866)

I have lots of old memories of my ex that I'd like to get rid of. Any of you masochists want them?

I do something a little odd with my RAM... (2, Insightful)

CliffH (64518) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444940)

.... I had a good joke lined up but I'll can it for now. :) Anyway, I go out of my way to find BAD RAM. Why?I've had a few motherboards come in that have falsly reported known bad RAM (run through hardware and software based RAM testing equipment) as good RAM, which caused all kinds of install time goodness. Now, I keep known bad sticks to test in various machines which seem to be a little "off". It's also wise to keep spare power supplies, CPUs, hard drives and the like as well. If for any other purpose then just to rule other things out of a particularly problemsome build. Also, the RAM keychain idea, as much as I've used it over the years (past 10 or so), has the added bonus at times of showing that you know something about computers (whether rightly or wrongly). This MAY or may NOT be what you want all of the time. :)

72pin SIMMs (1)

Xanlexian (122112) | more than 9 years ago | (#11444993)

I've always knocked the chips off and use the circuit board for a box cutter that you don't slice yourself on.

Also, you can go on a plane with them.

Well, that's what *I* do.

--Xan

Use tmpfs (3, Interesting)

DocSnyder (10755) | more than 9 years ago | (#11445041)

tmpfs consists of "file system cache" without a physical file system, stored in shared memory and pageable to swap space. Lacking real I/O, it runs like crazy and makes the slowest boxes fly. Export the file system via NFS or Samba/CIFS and use it for very fast network storage.

# mount -t tmpfs -o size=$muchbutlessthenvirtualmemory tmpfs /work
# mount -t tmpfs -o size=384M,nr_inodes=384k tmpfs /work

tmpfs paged out to swap space on a real hard disk is still much faster then ext2/ext3/reiserfs/xfs/jfs/... on a hard disk partition. Without swap space, don't fill them up beyond your physical memory size minus about 32 MB for the operating system, or set the size limit to such a value.

The only disadvantage of tmpfs is the complete loss of its content after unmounting it. And of course you'll have to fill it after mounting it.

Making a dedicated RAM disk. (3, Interesting)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 9 years ago | (#11445331)

Here's my suggestion. Get an older system which has a motherboard which accepts the memory you have -- preferrably one with lots of slots. Install as much RAM into it as you can, along with a NIC.

Install Linux or FreeBSD on it (if it has a hard drive -- if not put together a bootable diskette), and create a big RAM disk -- as big as you can. Set-up either NFS or Samba to allow network access to the RAM drive.

And if you're going to use it for storing anything other than /tmp, put the system on a UPS. Nothing worse than losing a whole disks worth of data due to a minor brownout.

Yaz.

Re:Making a dedicated RAM disk. (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 9 years ago | (#11445559)

Just remember to rsync it to an older IDE drive every 10 minutes or so. Still want a UPS (preferably one with atleast 10mins of battery..), but that would help minimize losses.

Re:Making a dedicated RAM disk. (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 9 years ago | (#11445732)

The guy said he wants it for temporary storage (most likly rendering cache or temporary database tables), something he says he currently uses ramdisk for right now, but is being limited by the 2Gb limit on the motherboard. So no need for backup.

Same Question for Old CPUs (3, Funny)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11445534)


Once I upgrade the two AMD MP 1800+ processors from my current computer what do I do with them? I'm not an eBay person and I'd hate to just give them away to a local shop. Since these matched CPUs (supposedly) need specific, fairly rare motherboards and RAM, I figure that donating them to a local school or whatever might be a waste.

Re:Same Question for Old CPUs (0)

Punboy (737239) | more than 9 years ago | (#11446459)

I'll take them if you dont want them. aaron.krill@gmail.com

Re:Same Question for Old CPUs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11447209)

I've seen people whore for karma, but this new beggar whoring thing is something new. I officially declare you the Slashdot Beggar Whore of the week.

"Old" memory? (1)

bscott (460706) | more than 9 years ago | (#11445602)

I don't mean to minimize your question, but I had to laugh when you described PC2700 as "old"... I've been digging through my closets looking for my plastic bag full of old '486-era SIMMs - perhaps 1-4 meg each? - to send to Central America, where a guy I know helps run a kindergarten. Import duties on anything remotely modern are prohibitive, so he's struggling to keep early-90s PCs online running educational software to teach kids how to read and etc. That's what I thought of when I saw this article heading...

I guess it kinda depends how hard you want to dig for ideas. I think what a previous poster said would be most practical - sell 'em on eBay, use the proceeds for something else, maybe a pizza party? Or, the idea about striking up a relationship by 'donating' to a local storefront PC repair shop is a good one too. Unfortunately, finding outlets for this sort of thing which are more altruistic in their benefit is probably not practical for most people.

Y'know, I bet there's a clearninghouse somewhere on the web for charitable needs and people with surplus equipment... oh wait, no, there's probably a hundred of them, that's usually the problem!

Re:"Old" memory? (1)

hlygrail (700685) | more than 8 years ago | (#11460118)

He have any use for a bag full (probably 24 sticks or so) of 30-pin 1MB SIMMs??? I was going to take a previous poster's idea and make keychains out of them for sale on eBay, but if your friend can use them for something... well, useful, he can have 'em. They've been sitting in this static bag for umpteen years now.

FreeCycle (3, Informative)

Solder Fumes (797270) | more than 9 years ago | (#11445803)

Freecycle [freecycle.org] is a neat community giveaway-fest run through localized Yahoo groups. I live in a town of 100,000 and the Freecycle group has 700 members. I've given away old monitors, tables, couches, even a car. I got a nice little dual-proc server. Right now I'm paring down what I have for an upcoming move, but it's a great place to get free stuff. I see bedframes, dressers, computers, bikes, clothes, it makes dumpster-diving obsolete.

Re:FreeCycle (0, Flamebait)

yo5oy (549821) | more than 9 years ago | (#11446700)

thanks for ruining it.

Send them to me (0)

Punboy (737239) | more than 9 years ago | (#11446419)

You could always send them my way.... Seriously. Email me, aaron.krill@gmail.com. i'd be happy to take them off your hands :-D

Sell it on ebay.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11446539)

And buy beer with the money...

You will be much happier with this than getting a GIG or ide storage!

What to do with an old 32MB stick (1)

ccdotnet (786114) | more than 9 years ago | (#11446870)

Super-charge that old HPLJ2 compatible laser printer you're still using - turn it into a 36MB beast!

keychain! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11446897)

No, not crypto.

I use old ram on my keyring so it's easy to find by touch. I started out doing this with a dead pc100 module. Turns out those holes on either end are big enough to thread onto the ring and if one breaks, you just switch ends.

The pc100 was kinda big for my jeans pocket so I replaced it with a simm my buddy found.

Anyway, Dimm's are not strong enough to open a beer with the lighter technique. At least not such that the flat part of the ram is parallel with the flat part of the bottle cap. I didn't try perpendicular, but that would probably solve the ram cracking problem.

Give it to me! (1)

renata.org (692451) | more than 9 years ago | (#11446909)

I need more RAM, but don't have enough money to buy it. I am currently with a 256Mb system, isn't that awful? Help a little red-haired brazilian girl to get a better computer: donate your RAM :)

Re:Give it to me! We will, just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11447194)

I am currently with a 256Mb system, isn't that awful? Help a little red-haired brazilian girl to get a better computer: donate your RAM :)

let us see a photo of you and I'm sure you'll get more RAM than you can handle. :D

Re:Give it to me! We will, just... (1)

renata.org (692451) | more than 9 years ago | (#11448679)

I usually ignore this kind of comment, but if this can get me more RAM...
http://www.orkut.com/AlbumView.aspx?uid=61 49640533 951910460

Re:Give it to me! We will, just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11454053)


Surely: http://renata.org/about.shtml [renata.org]

Free Geek (1)

JeffHunt (129508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11447000)

We have a local non-profit in Portland called FreeGeek. They accept donations of old hardware, refurbish it, and get computers into the hands of other non-profit and worthy causes.

Check out www.freegeek.org. Maybe you can FedEx your old memory to them :)

How about you just.... (1)

rasteri (634956) | more than 9 years ago | (#11447330)

...put it in an unmarked box, leave it out on your front door, and post your address? It'll be gone in a matter of hours.

Give it to a Mac user... (1)

Apple Pop (782230) | more than 9 years ago | (#11450197)

PC2700? Isn't that what the brand new Mac Mini uses? :)

some links (1)

Cheeze (12756) | more than 9 years ago | (#11452496)

Cenatek pci ram disks [cenatek.com]

BitMicro [bitmicro.com]

M-Systems [m-systems.com]

You could probably find one for normal sdram, but to find a device that goes from 40/80pin ide to laptop SO-DIMMS is going to be a challenge.

Keychains (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 8 years ago | (#11455772)

I"ve had the same 'problem' in the past. Since most ram chips have a little hole in the corner, I've used the chips as cool keychains. I try to do this with dead memory, but if the memory has no value to you, and you need a keychain fob....
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