technology and zen of life

“A heisenbug (named after the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) is a computer bug that disappears or alters its characteristics when an attempt is made to study it.”

Things you can do to keep an old PC useful : Part 1 (Hardware Tweaks)

Hello,

This is the first one in the series of multiple how-to’s.

First of all expectations. What do you expect out of your old PC after you are done with the tweaks mentioned here? Clearly if you expect your Pentium II or Pentium III to run Doom3, then you should stop here. Although you might see some performance boost in your computer, it might be just enough to run a few applications together, along with a media player playing a movie.

You might say, “I can still watch a movie, while working on my text editor, and with browser open.” Well I say that If you can get some performance boost after reading through what’s the harm.

Here are few hardware tweaks you can try.

Keep the hardware clean : Anyone who knows even a little bit about hardware knows, if you really want to keep your PC running at peak, you must clean it regularly. This even goes for newer PC’s which tend to run at higher processor temperatures. You must clean cabinet regularly, while the processor fan/heat sink must be cleaned every once a while. You might see 5 degree Celsius drop (at times) in the idle temperatures of your processor.

Simplest way to clean the cabinet is by using your vacuum cleaner to blow all the dust away. While cleaning the processor sink and fan might need unhooking them from the motherboard, which can be quite a work, but once you clean it you can see the change in performances/temperatures.

Visual Guide : http://www.crazypc.com/articles/hsfinstall.htm (the guide is a bit old, and the process of unhooking the fan/sink might vary for different motherboards/processors)

Actually for me it includes cleaning the motherboard with a brush/blower, then unhooking the heat sink, removing the old thermal paste, washing the sink with water, cleaning the area near the processor. Putting some thermal paste and putting the sink back in place after it’s dry. Finally hooking the fan again. This can be quite dangerous to do as per the motherboard/processor manufacturers but works for me. I don’t use any anti-static materials etc. You must clearly think of what are you handling before going following this way.

Adding/Increasing memory : Simplest way to get a performance boost in old systems is increasing RAM. If you don’t want to upgrade your whole PC, hook up some more RAM and see the difference. But getting hold of SD RAM(PC 100/133) can be quite difficult. You might wanna check with local vendor to buy a second-hand RAM. But first check how much RAM your motherboard supports, which mostly is 512 MB or lesser for old motherboards.

Before closing if you do read this and try it out, please do comment about your experiences with all the cleaning and the performance boost.

Disclaimer : Cleaning the motherboard could be dangerous if not done with caution, read the motherboard handling guide given by your motherboard manufacturer, same goes for the processor. I am not responsible if you screw up your PC in the above process. REMEMBER “I told you how to screw up your PC, but you are the one screwing it up.”

Leave a Reply

3 Responses

  1. hemant says:

    hi bhaiyya,
    i have used P-III for 3 years by now, and I would like to add one more to the above two that you mentioned and it is to run mozilla 1.0 instead of firefox:)

    Hemant Kavadia

  2. DarK says:

    gr8 stuff.. you might also want to look in DIY blogs.
    and for ppl like us in india.. i don’t think the above thing will be useful.

    plus he is buying hardware of 150$, which is the present total cost of my PC, so i think it doesn’t suit me.

  3. hey you can take some inspiration from this guy..
    http://www.makezine.com/extras/4.html

    degards,
    your neighborhood maharajah

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