My Computer Build(s)

This is my idea of fun or if you prefer a hobby. While working I find hardware as other peoples garbage. These machines are mostly old Windows XP units, usually found around the start up of the school year or Christmas. I will refer to this hardware as "recycled" from here on out.

This machine, a complete HP Media Center PC m1195c, it turned out to had a bad power supply. I replace the power supply and filled the ram slots with 4g of matched ram from my recycled spare parts.

The video card in the machine worked but I changed it with Radeon HD3450 video from my recently deceased living room computer. It's (livingroom computer) HP goldfish board lost hdd control and burned and out a 3rd hdd so I had been running Puppy Linux on it for my personal use. I will be changing it back out when I get rid of this machine.

I plugging it into a recycled HP 20" DVI monitor. It came up Windows XP start screen, with no password protection might add. First I cleaned out the XP os and let my daughter use for homework until she receive a new laptop. I then used MacPup 5.5 on usb drive to search the hdd for music and vacation pictures of scenery I liked and saved them, formatted the hdd to EXT 4.

I have built up my preferred collection of 15 Linux os distros burned to active dvd from which I boot the machine from until I find the one's that work the "Frankenstein" collection of parts I've manged to assemble, from the working ones I choose one and install it. I choose to install Mate 16.04 on this particular machine due to the fact 1) It was a new LTS release 2) I had not used it before and 3) it worked everything "out of the box" from the live dvd.

Last week I was trying to install Ubuntu Studio 16.04 on a 32g usb. I started the install, went to sleep. I tried booting the flash drive before work, it gave me a problem with it not wanting to boot, it would only boot to a single cursor "l" non blinking, on a black screen. When I got home from work, being the impatient, sleep deprived, person I am, I split the 250g hdd in half, formatted the partition EXT 4, and installed it on top UM 16.04. The complete install with all updates was done before I finished cooking dinner.

These two systems seem to be playing just fine with each other, although I have done very little with Studio except make sure it was up to date and set up Thunderbird for checking my email while trying to rescue some video files from my Asus tablet tomorrow.

For what this "Frank" machine is UM Mate flies on it, at least 5x faster than the factory XP install with 512MB ram it came with. I would complain about the boot time being slow but I think that has more to do with hdd vs. ssd drives I'm use to.

I will be using this machine until I find another one to start over on. Then I will change the graphic card, reset the default password to Abc123, Set up the browser to show an embedded html page with my contact info for help and or service. Then it will be donated to the Salvation Army for tax deduction off my business taxes.

I liked UM 16.04 in this build so much that I installed it to my laptop, a Lenovo R61i Thinkpad. Will add it's specs in the upcoming week.

Work in progress, will be editing and adding more hardware information for laptop sometime this week.

1 Like

Great Hobby!!

Only thing to be careful of... (And this is assuming you are in the US, which your writing seems like)

If you found the machine as garbage, and didn't actually pay for it, or for any of the parts you put in to it, you can't actually claim it as a tax deduction... the IRS doesn't let you 'donate' labor as a $$ value, only the 'book' value of the item, which for you, has no book value, as you didn't purchase it...

Just trying to keep you informed...

Is my writing that obvious, you are correct, I am in the US.

Thank you for your comments, I will research the tax status of any donation. Last time I checked they were only interested in the receipt from the Charity. I worked three years as as tax preparer for a reputable world wide firm and saw a wide range of things that go on, a lot I did not agree with and left that company. I wouldn’t mind discussing the point further but this is a tech site not a tax law site, besides I’ve got 200 plus more days before I even think about taxes.

In all likely hood I will probably have a couple of dollars in it by donation time.

Frank1 went through every PataHDD I had (2) and ended up with a bought factory refurbished WD 120G PataHdd loaded with Fendora 15, no donation status, I took to my college A+ course so the rest of the class had something working to disassemble/ reassemble all they had was a cart of disassembled junk parts to look at.

Frank2 started live with two sticks of 256mb Ram, progressed to 2 recycled 512mb units before I broke down and bought a matched set of 1G pieces, (all that board would support). No donation on this one either. I loaded it with Linux Qimo twice, First time I fully updated and lost most of the learning games, I installed it again and this timed installed the updates one by one until I found the one that messed the learning suite up and stop updating there. and gave it to my daughter for my grandkids to play with. No Internet use this machine yet.