Earth / Linux

This computer was built by myself in February-March 1999 as a replacement for what was then called Caliban. I needed a machine that could cope with running Windows applications at a sensible speed, and I wanted to convert Caliban back to running some version of Linux. After a fair amount of research, I decided that building a system based on the Slot 1 Celeron was probably better value for money than a Slot 1 Pentium II system. (The Celeron has only 128 Kb of L2 cache, but it runs at the same clock speed as the CPU core, while the P2 cache only runs at half core speed. The upshot of all this is that for non-cache intensive operations, a Celeron 400 has near enough identical performance to a PII 400. Considering the cost differences at the time, this was a fantastic deal.) I also decided to run Windows 98 on the new machine - Windows NT was too expensive, and Windows 95 was far too unstable. It is interesting to note that Windows 98 (and Windows 98 SE) running on a Celeron 400 seem to boot in about the same time as Windows 95 running on a 486DX4-120... odd, that.

This machine was originally called Dogbert. Why? Well, Dogbert wants to take over the world, and this machine runs software written by a company who seems to want to take over the world... The machine was renamed Earth in late 2001, then changed to Linux in early 2003.

Name. Dogbert.
Introduced. 1999.
Processor. Intel Celeron 400.
RAM. 128 Mb.
ROM. Unknown (contains Award BIOS 4.60PGMA).
Motherboard. AOpen AX6BC, Intel BX Chipset, 100 MHz bus, PCI/ISA/AGP, no on-board L2 cache.
Operating system. Windows 98 (until mid 1999), Windows 98 SE (mid 1999 to early 2000).
Interfaces. Parallel, two 9-pin serial, P/S2 mouse, PS/2 keyboard, two USB.
Monitor. Iiyama MF8515F 15".
Drives.
  • 3.5" disc drive.
  • IBM 12.9 Gb EIDE UDMA33 hard drive.
  • 36x Creative Labs Infra 5400 CD-ROM.
  • Iomega Zip 250 internal IDE.
  • Iomega Jaz 1 Gb drive.
Expansion cards.
  • Diamond Viper V550 (Riva TNT chipset, 16 Mb, AGP, TV out).
  • Adaptec AHA2930 SCSI adapter.
  • Creative Labs Soundblaster Live!
  • Kingston KNE30BT network card.
Peripherals fitted.
  • Yamaha YST-M15 speakers.
  • Canon BJC-6100 printer.
  • 3Com/USR Professional Message Modem.

The machine has been upgraded several times since it was built. The first upgrade consisted of replacing the Celeron 400 with a slightly more powerful Pentium III 650. I also added some more memory, taking the total to 256 Mb, replaced with graphics card with an ATI All-in-Wonder Radeon and replaced the monitor with an Iiyama Vision Master 450 Pro. I replaced the Creative Infra with a Pioneer DVD drive and added a Plextor Plexwriter 12/4/32. I replaced the original IBM 12.9 Gb hard drive with a 30 Gb IBM 75GXP and at the same time "upgraded" the operating system, to Windows 2000 Professional and installed a Promise Ultra100 IDE card. The first IBM 75GXP failed, as did the second one, so I installed a 40 Gb IBM 60GXP. For a while I ran Windows XP Professional on this machine, but it was converted to Red Hat Linux when I built my new new in early 2003. The current state of the machine is shown in the table below.

Name. Earth / Linux.
Introduced. Late 2001 (in this form).
Processor. Intel Pentium III 650.
RAM. 256 Mb.
ROM. Unknown (contains Award BIOS 4.60PGMA).
Motherboard. AOpen AX6BC, Intel BX Chipset, 100 MHz bus, PCI/ISA/AGP, no on-board L2 cache.
Operating system. Windows 98 (until mid 1999), Windows 98 SE (mid 1999 to mid 2000), Windows 2000 Professional (mid 2000 to late 2001), Windows XP Professional (late 2001 to early 2003), Red Hat Linux (early 2003 onwards).
Interfaces. Parallel, two 9-pin serial, P/S2 mouse, PS/2 keyboard, two USB.
Monitor. Iiyama Vision Master Pro 450 19" (A901HT).
Drives.
  • 3.5" disc drive.
  • IBM 12.9 Gb EIDE UDMA33 hard drive (until early 2000), IBM 75GXP 30 Gb EIDE UDMA100 (early 2000 to late 2000), IBM 60GXP 40 Gb EIDE UDMA100 (from late 2000).
  • Pioneer DVD-105 DVD-ROM.
  • Plextor PX-W124TS SCSI CD Rewriter.
  • Iomega Zip 250 internal IDE.
  • Iomega Jaz 1 Gb drive.
Expansion cards.
  • ATI All-in-Wonder Radeon (32 Mb RAM, AGP).
  • Promise Ultra100 IDE card.
  • Adaptec AHA2930 SCSI adapter.
  • Creative Labs Soundblaster Live!
  • Kingston KNE30BT network card (until early 2003).
  • Intel PRO/100S Server LAN card (early 2003 onwards).
Peripherals fitted.
  • Yamaha YST-M15 speakers.
  • Canon BJC-6100 printer.
  • 3Com/USR Professional Message Modem.

In the middle of 2005 my main XP box (Windows) decided to suffer a complete motherboard failure (to the point where it wouldn't even POST). So the machine was rolled out again and became Server, running an evaluation copy of Windows 2003 Server Enterprise Edition. Which it does about as well as I expected.


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Robert McMordie

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