Trying to build a computer

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Dan Rudolph, Jun 6, 2004.

  1. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    Through a series of events, I've acquired two computer cases with working power supplies and optical drives. THe computers don't actually run. I think thye both have bad hard discs. At any rate, they both have incredibly old processors and motherboards. I also have a spare AGP graphics card and a 128 MB PC-100 DIMM, so I figure I could buy a 100 MHz board and a processor and hard disc and have a functional computer for well under $100. However, I'm not sure what consideration come into play here and how to tell if a particular motherboard will fit in the case properly. Can anyone help me out or point me to a site where I could find this sort of info?
     
  2. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    There are basically 2 kinds of cases: ATX, and not. If these are standard ATX cases, any ATX motherboard will fit. If they are not (proprietary like some Dell, Compaq, HP, etc)-- then there is a good chance nothing you buy will fit.

    Although, if you're specifically looking for a 100mhz based board, you'd probably pay like $.15 (I throw them out all the time)-- and most stuff of that era wouldn't have AGP.

    It sounds like what you have is a case, a Powersupply (although who knows if it's good enough for anything beyond the board that was in it originally) and a cd drive? I would say, all together, you have about $75 worth of components- and depending on how usable you want the finished machine to be, you could spend between $0 and $300-400 building something with those parts.
     
  3. ZacharyTait

    ZacharyTait Cinematographer

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    Just don't cheap out on parts! I did that and I got a machine that worked for maybe 6 months. Then my asshole ex-roomate who put it together for me never fixed it and then stole all the parts when he moved out. And he wonders why we're not friends anymore.

    EDIT: That was $750 I never got back. Grrr.....
     
  4. StevenFC

    StevenFC Second Unit

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    Well Dan, you may indeed have a functional computer as you say--but I'm not sure what it would be functional for. I'd say you're wasting your money unless you have a specific task in mind for the computer. I agree with Vince. I doubt that you'll find an old mb like that with AGP support.

    You could probably find one just as cheap in the local paper that's maybe even a little more robust. Besides, considering the low price on a more than respectable new machine, it just doesn't make sense to spend money on an old system. I do wish you luck, but I think you might be disappointed with the results.
     
  5. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    Almost all 100MHz boards I've seen on Ebay do have an AGP slot. 2x, in fact. How do I tell if a case is ATX? It's a Gateway. The model number on the front is P4D-66.

    I have a working monitor, CD drive, floppy drive, power supply, a 128-MB DIMM (PC-100, which is why I'm looking for a compatible board), case, mouse and keyboard. Assuming the motherboard has on-board sound and ethernet, all I really need is a motherboard, processor and Hard disk. My Ebay estimates place the price for these at about $60-$70 total.
     
  6. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Gateway = not ATX

    You will not be able to find parts to fit in it unless you specifically buy gateway parts which will increase your costs too much to make it worth it. Look around on Ebay and you can pick up an ATX case for $25 + shipping if you still want to build a computer.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I did have one gateway server chasis that was approximately ATX (I had to remove the back panel from the case and only about 4-5 screws lined up, but I was able to get it to work).

    But the stock powersupply in it wasn't ATX, although the bolt patter worked for a standard PS.

    -Vince
     
  8. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Just how old are these computers? From the model number, I'd guess it's a 66MHz 486. Do they have PS/2 keyboard and mouse connections, or do they have the older, bigger "AT" keyboard port (and no mouse port)? If it's an AT motherboard, there's no place for the ATX backplane (the standard rectangular metal plate with all the ports on it). I dunno if the mounting screws are even in the right place. Even the power connectors might not be compatible. In that case, it's not worth trying to reuse the case and power supply. You could salvage the drives and RAM, but they're not worth that much anyway.
     
  9. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Did the 486 ever use PC100 Dimm?

    I found some pictures of these online and the bad news is they are a proprietary desktop case which uses the weird multi-daughter board config some early compaq and acer pcs uses.

    The good news is you could buy a functional version of this machine with all the stuff for about $20.

    -vince
     
  10. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    I guess not, but rereading Dan's first message, sounds like that DIMM may be a spare, and not from the Gateway. So he could use the DIMM in a new ATX motherboard (although it would probably be slow) but as you said, that motherboard would not fit.

    A quick look on Gateway's site didn't find the P4D-66, but Googling did pretty much confirm it's a 486/66 (although there was also some mention of a "Pentium upgrade" -- maybe on one of those daughter boards).
     

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