Thursday, December 7, 2017

The $10 PC

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One day at the thrift store, I've found an old computer that costed $9.99 ($10). It's very interesting to see what it was. So I wanted it, and I was wondering if this thing was gonna work or not when I went home to try it out... Shockingly, it worked.

The system specifications:

CPU: Intel Celeron 300A Socket 370 with a adapter that fits in the Slot 1 CPU socket.
Memory: 256MB PC100
Hard Disk: None
Motherboard: ABIT BH6 (Intel BX440 Chipset)
Case: Unknown brand white case?
Internet Card: Some ISA ethernet card?

Bringing it home

At home, I decided to play around with it and see what was inside and it had everything, but the hard drive inside. I decided to put my 40GB HDD drive and it didn't work due to the bios supporting the max of 32GB so I had to get a different hard drive that had a jumper function that allowed the drive to be shown as 32GB to the computer. The next day, I decided to go googling for the bios updates which it was very hard to find and when I eventually found it, it was the wrong bios therefore it couldn't flash the bios, so I had to do a lot more and more researching and using WayBack Machine web archive of the ABIT website since the website for it has been offline for almost 10 years. Eventually, I found the BIOS update for it and what it did was it removed the 32GB HDD limit and the best part is ACPI support meaning that it can support Windows 7 too since Windows Vista requires ACPI, originally on the stock BIOS before updating there was no ACPI option.


The BIOS has the soft cpu mod feature meaning that the cpu can be overclocked. The latest BIOS update for the machine is from Mid-2000. It's just one of those generic energy star bios from the late 90s, nothing really special except the overclocking soft cpu mod feature in the BIOS.

Windows XP Time

When installing Windows XP, it toke around 50 minutes to install and it detected almost all of the devices in the computer except for the ISA card, probably due to Windows XP dropping native drivers for the ISA Cards, which means I would have to do a lot of researching for the drivers for the ISA card. Other than that, Windows XP performed fine than what I expected at first, I will surprised it booted under 5 minutes. I will probably install Windows 98 or Windows 2000 on it considering this computer was built in the year 1998.

Overclocking time

Overclocking the processor, the best thing I could overclock the processor was to 450 MHZ, but sometimes the computer would randomly lock up, so I've decided to revert it back to its stock processor speed, since it was very stable and I haven't ran into issues.

Going on the internet!

This was probably the most regret to do on an old computer since almost every webpage on the old computer spikes the CPU usage to 100% most of the time which is unbearable in 2017. The "latest" web browser I could get working is Firefox 48 which was released in 2016 since the latest version of Firefox and Google Chrome require the SSE2 instructions which the Celeron lacked.

Putting something modern...

I decided to put something modern like I tried to put Windows 8 Consumer Preview, but I got the 0x000000A error code, which is probably due to the processor lacking SSE instruction since I have seen people running the Windows 8 preview on a Pentium III computer because the Pentium III contains the SSE instruction. I have decided to make my own very stripped down Windows 7. After that, I did a livestream of installing Windows 7 on it and it was a bit more slow than Windows XP considering the OS was designed for more modern computers at the time and it was released in 2009.


Its a good computer for retro gaming from the 90s like DOOM and Half-Life, but using this computer  as a daily driver is just a big no no since it's very obsolete for the modern world especially when using it on the internet. Maybe someday, I plan on upgrading this $10 computer's memory and processor to a Pentium with 768 MB of ram (maximum ram memory amount it can take).

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