Monday, July 27, 2009

"We can't sell computers anymore"

That is a quote from a worker at a Goodwill we went to this past weekend. It seemed like it was for anti-identity theft purposes. I thought it funny because I bought the iMac a couple months ago and it still had the original owner's fully-functional hard drive with data and I see hard drives all the time at the various GW stores we frequent.

It was even more ironic because at the next store we went to after that one, there was what looked like a brand-new computer tower case. Upon further inspection, I saw that it had a motherboard inside as well. I couldn't figure out how to open the case easily, so I couldn't look inside. This was also the first GW store that had no computer monitors at all, so I couldn't plug it in and see what happened visually. Luckily, I'm a stubborn cuss. I plugged the case in over at the electronics testing bench and heard a successful boot beep. No glaring sounds indicating missing or no memory or anything. Since it was marked at only $17.99, I snagged it. Hell, the case and power supply alone were worth more than that.

Once I got home and plugged it into my monitor and booted it, it came up as a Celeron 2.0GHz with 128MB RAM. Not exactly a powerhouse box, but it did indeed work. I figured out how to pop open the case and it looked pristine. I'm guessing it's about 5 years old judging by the motherboard and BIOS on it. As far I can tell, it's never been used. There's no dust inside, all the metal covers for the drive bays were still in place, and the power supply's cables were still wire-tied together. It just needed drives (which I have in abundance) and more memory. A trip to Bookman's in Mesa later and I had 1GB of RAM for $20. Of course later that night I was grabbing one of my old video cards to install and found that I already had memory that would have worked. D'Oh! So I installed as much memory as I could and started installing operating systems. So far, it runs Windows 7 RC1 and Ubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackelope" fine. It's got a small wind turbine of a case cooling fan that is quite loud, but otherwise it's a great little box.

They might not sell computers (whatever, dude) but I've had some pretty good luck there. Granted none of it's cutting edge, but it's fine to mess around with for fun.

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