Saturday, March 1, 2014

Organ Harvesting: Reclaiming Components

After delivering my parent's new PC to them, I asked if I could take their old machine back home with me. Having built that system for them back in 2006, I had a good idea what components it was comprised of, some of which could prove useful to me. I was particularly interested in the RAM as my Frankenstein's Monster of a machine, Pheonix, only had 2GB of DDR2 memory installed; a painfully small amount for Windows 7.

When I got the machine home, I opened it up to investigate what was on offer. Much to my surprise, there were a good number of parts worth recycling:

  • RAM: Corsair Dominator CM2X2048-8500C5D - as I'd hoped, there was 4GB of DDR2 memory available. However, not just any RAM, but 4GB of Corsiar Dominator memory capable of operating at 1066MHz, with decent heat spreaders included.
  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Pheonix had already been upgraded from an E6400 to an E6550, but this was another improvement; jumping from 2.33GHz to 3.0GHz. On top of that, there are further improvements afforded by the newer architecture in the E8400 (Wolfdale); check the CPUBoss and CPUWorld pages for more info.
  • Motherboard: Asus P5N-T Deluxe - this was clearly the replacement board used after the bent pin fiasco. It's almost a shame that I didn't have this available after the problems I had with Pheonix a few months back. I can't complain too much, however, as that situation led me to purchase my first Asus ROG motherboard, which then resulted in me buying one for Icarus. I have put this P5N-T aside for now as I think it will make a good basis for an upgrade to my home file server.
  • Graphics Card: XFX GT9600 - not exactly a monster card, but I needed something now that I had three machines. I ended up putting this into Phoenix and taking the 5770 from there to use in Daedalus.
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST31000528AS - I really don't like reusing old hard drives; their mechanical nature means they are more likely to fail with age, compared to other components like CPUs. However, I can't afford to splash out on new hardware for all my machines, so I have repurposed this for use in Daedalus.
  • Optical Drives: Samsung SH-D163B DVD-ROM and Pioneer DVR-215BK DVD Writer - yes, there was not one, but two optical drives in the old machine. One a purely read-only DVD device, the other a DVD burner; <sarcasm>for those many times my parents copied disc-to-disk. </sarcasm> In my latest build, Icarus, I finally decided to eschew an optical drive for aesthetic purposes. Even with these two drives sporting black fascias, I didn't want to ruin the sleek lines on the front of my 750D by having a plastic 5.25" drive sticking out like a sore thumb. Instead, I've opted to use a drive in both Daedalus and Pheonix.
  • PSU: Cooler Master M1000 - this was the biggest and most welcome surprise. A 1000W, modular, power supply: this went straight into Icarus.
  • Case: Asus TA861 - I didn't even know Asus made chassis, and I built this machine so I'm impressed by my ability to forget information like that. I transposed the components in Pheonix over to this case; the previous beige one wasn't particularly pretty. This now gives me an opportunity to have a crack at case modding.

This post really highlights one of the benefits of an open platform like the PC; I can cannibalise systems to upgrade other machines. This time, I was lucky in finding a couple of real gems; the memory and power supply.