Classicamiga Forum Retro Edition
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Thread: Happy Birthday to Steve's PC
Stephen Coates 17:17 19th November 2009
November 2009 is the month that my Dell Dimension XPS T500 becomes 10 years old.

Dell shipped it on the 11th November 1999 and it was delivered on the 25th November 1999. I still don't know why it took so long. The Dell machine that my Dad ordered in 2005 was delivered very quickly.

The set up is no longer very original. The original mouse, keyboard, monitor and DVD ROM drive that it came with are now no longer in use, but the original Zip 100 drive, floppy drive, 12GB hard drive and 56k Modem are still there. It has since been expanded with Ethernet, Ultra Wide SCSI and Firewire PCI cards. The original Harman Kardon speakers are current sat on the shelf from when I used them a few months back, but I currently have the built in Yamaha sound card connected to my new 30 year old Aiwa amplifier (A22).

Here is the delivery note and invoice, stating the cost, which by todays standards is rather high: 1257.25.

I wonder if it will manage another 10 years.

Harrison 19:54 19th November 2009
well, happy birthday steve's pc!
Puni/Void 21:13 20th November 2009
Time flies doesn't it? Ten years is a lot for a PC. Good to see that it's still being used. Happy birthday to Steve's PC!
Buleste 21:16 20th November 2009
I think my PC's older/ Although I have had a new mobo, processor, graphics card, hard drives, case, PSU and DVD writer. The soundcards the same along with the floppy and Zip drive!!!!
Submeg 08:53 23rd November 2009
Mine last PC is sitting in a box somewhere, just packed it away...

850 MHz
400 MB of RAM

Wow glad it got packed away
Harrison 12:24 23rd November 2009
My 11 year old PC is still running perfectly. PII 450MHz, 512MB ram, 32MB nVidia GPU.. etc.

At the time this was the highest spec I could get. Purchased in 1998 for some mad amount like 3000 because I also bought a 21" monitor for design work with it. I'm just imagining the amazing PC I could build these days with the same money.

What it does show is how robust computer hardware seemed to be back then. That PC still has the original motherboard, CPU, Ram (plus extra) and PSU. If this had been a more recent PC I would have expected the PSU to fail by now, and possibly the motherboard too. They have become that much more likely to fail.

Unlike Steve though, this PC hasn't been my main system for many years. Too slow and out of date to run any current games or software, and most emulators would now struggle. But it did serve me well as my main PC for about 4 years before I built my next PC in 2002 with an Athlon XP.

It was upgraded a lot since the orginal purchase, but last year I realised I hadn't used it much in recent times so I stripped it back and returned it to nearly its original setup. Installed Windows 98se back on it and it is now being used a retro dos/win9x box.
Stephen Coates 00:07 25th November 2009
Originally Posted by :
I stripped it back and returned it to nearly its original setup. Installed Windows 98se back on it and it is now being used a retro dos/win9x box.
I considered doing that with this Dell PC, but I would need something to replace it with first.

Something I would be quite worried about if I were to get newer stuff is its reliability.
Harrison 02:39 25th November 2009
Most newer hardware is fairly reliable if you buy good quality makes.

The most unpredictable pc part these days is the PSU. They don't seem as good quality as they used to be and do often fail, which can kill motherboards and other components. But again, with a good more expensive PSU this can be mostly avoided. And picking motherboards that use Japanese solidstate capacitors solve most of the problems with blown or bulging caps that dead motherboards have suffered in recent years.

The problem with newer PCs is that most pre-built ones tend to cut costs by using cheap unbranded PSUs. These fail fairly regularly. It's the most common part I have to replace in PCs I repair. It's one very good reason why you should build a PC instead of buying one off the shelf. I haven't since that 11 year old one. All PCs I've owned since then I've built myself.
Stephen Coates 09:16 3rd January 2020
Well, we've just finished 2019, which means this thread is 10 years old, and the Dell XPS T500 is now 20 years old.

It hasn't seen much use since I built a new machine in 2010. I just used it a bit around 2012 when the new machine conked out and I didn't have any modern spare parts. Currently it is sat in the loft, where it has been set up with a few other old computers for a few years. It mostly works, but I fired it up the other week and one of the hard drives sounded like it was dying. Not surprising as I've had my reservations about both the hard drives for some time.

I'm impressed by the CMOS battery though. It finally died last year, meaning I have to set the clock every time I turn it on. Normally CR2032s have a shelf life of about 10 years, so this one did well to manage the best past of 20.
J T 05:00 14th January 2020
I enjoyed re-reading this thread and happy 20th birthday to Steve's PC
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