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A blog of sorts... (feat. giving CPR to an Athlon XP 3000+ PC)(WARNING: large images)

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A couple of weeks ago, I got my hands on a very old PC with some interesting hardware. It was apparently un-bootable, hasn't been in use for at least 7-8 years and was about to go in the trash. My hardware-enthusiast gut kicked in and I said to myself: "I'm gonna make this piece of art work and give it back it's former glory!".

(all the pictures were resized to 1024x768 or 768x1024 for easier viewing, I have larger ones, PM me if you want them for whatever the reason)
The PC in question looks like this (laugh all you want):
20160926_180307(1024x768).jpg


The first problem I faced was the PC not booting at all. All I got was the CPU fan spinning up and then dying after a minute. After opening it I also noticed it had an ATI Radeon 9600 GPU with 128 MB of DDR VRAM, which was no joke when this buddy came out. Next move? I put out the battery, left it sit for a minute and tried again: nothing. My next step was to try if maybe the RAM was faulty. I removed the old RAM (2 x 256 MB DDR 333 MHz) and put in two sticks of some RAM I had laying around (2 x 1 GB DDR 333 MHz). Boo-yah! The PC booted!

(a look inside)
20160926_180350(768x1024).jpg


After the initial surprise of this being such an easy fix, I opened up the BIOS and, holy-moly, this thing had an Athlon XP 3000+ inside! The CPU used to be the king of the market in the early 2000s (price at launch was 536 $). One thing that alarmed my senses was the CPU temperature. It was idling from 55-57 °C. I shut the whole PC off and went ahead to change the thermal compounds on both the CPU and GPU coolers. I used my old trustworthy ArcticCooling MX-2 for the job.

(CPU thermal paste application)
20161025_185431(1024x768).jpg


(GPU thermal paste application)
20161025_190923(1024x768).jpg

After re-applying the thermal paste, putting back the CPU and GPU coolers, dusting the PC, wiping it a little bit, adding a fan infront of the case and checking if everything was in it's place it was time to try and put an OS onto it. This is what I was dealing with at the time:

(PC after cleaning)
20161025_164150(768x1024).jpg


I burned a copy of Windows XP SP3 onto a CD (yes, I "stole" it from the internet, I don't give a sh*t + the darn thing wouldn't boot from a USB) and I got into the setup menu, bliss! At this point in time I noticed that I'm dealing with a 250 GB ExcelStor drive (IDE of course), which is just amazing. I created two partitions, one for the OS and one for everything else (20 GB and 210 GB respectively). After the Windows installation (took about 30 minutes) it was time to install some of the necessary applications (AV, CPU-Z, web browser etc.). I even took my time and tried to overclock the CPU and it's stable at > 2200 MHz!

This is what I have right now:
prnmtscrn(1280x1024).jpg


I think it's a shame that this PC was about to end up at a garbageyard, since it didn't take me a lot of time or money to put it back in flawless working order. It's fast, responsive and I haven't gotten a blue-screen yet! :D

Now that I've done all of this (drank countless coffee cups while at it), it's time to benchmark it and maybe play some old games on it, hahahaha.

So my questions for you guys are:

  • Would you like more threads like this? (I might build myself an old LGA 771 server system with 2 Xeon CPUs)
  • What are your thoughts on the PC itself?
  • Do you think I did a good job reviving this gem?
  • Which benchmarks/games would you like me to put the PC through?

Full system specifications:

  • Motherboard: VIA K7VTA3 ver. 6.0 (updated BIOS to 1.10 - latest)
  • CPU: AMD Athlon XP 3000+ @ 2.2 GHz
  • Memory: 2 x 1 GB of DDR 333 MHz RAM
  • GPU: ATI Radeon 9600 128 MB (AGP 2.0 X4)
  • HDD: 250 GB ExcelStor Technology J9250
  • PSU: LCPower LC420-H12 420W
 
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OneMoar

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never touch a computer again
 
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CAPSLOCKSTUCK

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Only partly...
I think it was "trying" to be a joke.

Well I would very much like an explanation. If it wasn't a joke and if I don't get a reason why, I don't think I'll be posting things too much anymore, because I've been working with PCs for a lot of time now, I have a clean-sheet and it has taken away all my motivation to continue doing this.
 

CAPSLOCKSTUCK

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Well I would very much like an explanation. If it wasn't a joke and if I don't get a reason why, I don't think I'll be posting things too much anymore, because I've been working with PCs for a lot of time now, I have a clean-sheet and it has taken away all my motivation to continue doing this.

keep posting them please....this one ticks all the right boxes for me......:toast:
 
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OneMoar

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two words:thermal paste

I know there's a shitload of it, but it's unconductive and I didn't give a shit about applying it perfectly. It works well as is.

EDIT: If that is your only reason why I shouldn't touch computers anymore, I tell you man, I'll keep touching them in the most sensitive parts for years and I'll keep posting about it whether you like it or not. And if it triggered you so much, I'll wipe all of it off and apply it again, just for you.

EDIT 2: Actually, I'm gonna do it right now, just because you pissed me off.
 
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OneMoar is our resident cat. He attacks things for no reason. Don't take it personally.
 

OneMoar

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OneMoar is our resident cat. He attacks things for no reason. Don't take it personally.
I didn't attack anybody he will short the l1/l2's out doing that
also "i don't care' is never a excuse for doing a job poorly
clean it up and do it right or not at all
 
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I didn't attack anybody he will short the l1/l2's out doing that
also "i don't care' is never a excuse for doing a job poorly
clean it up and do it right or not at all

It's likely nonconductive and the proc is only worth a dollar or so, but you know, whateves.
 

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It's likely nonconductive and the proc is only worth a dollar or so, but you know, whateves.
it doesn't matter if its non conductive its still captive + we used to bridge those l1's with a pencil
it doesn't take much
 

cdawall

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Have you ever seen how OEM's apply thermal paste? He didn't do anything different if the paste is non-conductive who gives a hoot. I am just here for overclocking.
 
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@OneMoar I fixed it (check post #1)

Have you ever seen how OEM's apply thermal paste? He didn't do anything different if the paste is non-conductive who gives a hoot. I am just here for overclocking.
I'd love to try and push it farther but I don't have any control over voltage.
 

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@OneMoar I fixed it (check post #1)


I'd love to try and push it farther but I don't have any control over voltage.

Look around there might be modded BIOS's for that board.
 
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Well, please, all the fighting aside, @OneMoar, I'd like you to give your seal of approval on the new application, if not tell me and I'll go fix it again. I calmed down after a cigarette and tinkering with this old beast again.
 
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IIRC,
If the RAM can handle it, most of those 3000+'s could be turned into 3200+'s simply by increasing the FSB to 200MHz.
 
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IIRC,
If the RAM can handle it, most of those 3000+'s could be turned into 3200+'s simply by increasing the FSB to 200MHz.

The CPU is already running at 2275 MHz which is faster than a 3200+ ;)

EDIT: I just tried and I can push it up to 2300 MHz and that is it. Everything more crashes the system (maybe RAM, maybe too low voltage)
 
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It is an elitegroup and a VIA board... forget about stable OC... or get a proper nforce2.
 
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It is an elitegroup and a VIA board... forget about stable OC... or get a proper nforce2.

Well I'm still stressing the CPU at 2.3 GHz and it seems to be doing fine. The temperatures are okay as well. The board just wasn't made to handle higher frequencies I guess.

EDIT: The CPU stabilizes at 44 °C during stress.
 

cdawall

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It is an elitegroup and a VIA board... forget about stable OC... or get a proper nforce2.

Some of the older via boards were better clickers...
 

OneMoar

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Memory CMK16GX4M2B3000C15 16GB DDR4-3000
Video Card(s) EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 XC ULTRA GAMING
Storage 512GB Intel 545s ssd 500GB ADATA SU800 ssd 1TB WD blue
Display(s) Cheap VA panel
Case Phanteks P300
Audio Device(s) onboard
Power Supply HX 750i
Mouse M65 Pro RGB
Keyboard K70 RGB
Software Windows 10 +startisback
be-carful about pushing those older boards
they tend to just up and die once you cross a certain thresh-hold
 
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