I just couldn't resist. I suppose I wasn't being honest when I said "I don't have the desire to troubleshoot it."
After initially failing to get a response from my 13-year-old PC, I planned to just disassemble it and give away or dispose of the parts. But when I found a barely-connected wire on the switch, I thought, "what if that's all it was?"
"What if I could've suffered with that system for another year or two if only I had found and re-connected that one wire?" Hmmm...
So I put the power supply back together, re-connected all the power cords, the 16GB Fujitsu hard drive, and the speaker so I could listen for that beep at power on.
I was not disappointed. The PSU fan spun up, the speaker reported a friendly single beep, the monitor displayed the American Megatrends boot screen, components were recognized one at a time, and then...
"DISK BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER"
Oh well. At least I know that I could recover this system if I really wanted to, right?
So that really is it. The dismantling had to recommence. It is now done. All that is left of this first PC of mine is a pile of parts. As I mentioned in my last post, there's nothing to swoon over here. But a couple of you requested that I go ahead and post pics, so here goes.
The first shot is the front of the box. You just can't beat a golf ball power button or a case badge with three shooting stars that says "Computer" in Gigi font. Don't pretend you're not impressed. I'll start taking bids for this case straightaway, starting at $100.
Ahhh... the M Technology R533. She's a beauty, ain't she? Ahhemm... well, it still boots. How can you argue with that?
What if your port cluster isn't a cluster at all? What if it's just one AT (5-pin DIN) port, and the rest of the ports are on the case waiting to be connected to unlabeled headers, connectors and slots on the motherboard? Ugh, that could turn out to be a cluster after all.
Are those really just 4MB sticks? Seems like I had more than 8MB of RAM, but I honestly don't remember now. The retention mechanism that held these puppies in their slots (near the top center of the previous motherboard photo) was quite nifty... release the levers and the little guys lean over and almost ask to be lifted out just as smoothly as can be. Much more elegant than how today's DIMMS feel like they're going to crack the motherboard's PCB when they're inserted.
I haven't kept up with the Creative hating that persists among many PC enthusiasts... is the Sound Blaster 16 CT2940 worthy of scorn or did it pre-date their evil ways?
The Zoltrix dial-up modem... 33.6 or 56k, I honestly don't remember. Gotta love the mic in, mic out and speaker ports to make your PC a speaker phone. If only I had looked at those and been hit with the same epiphany that struck Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis.
No, it's not an IBM Model M, but it does have those oh-so-satisfying buckling springs beneath each key. And isn't that mouse design just nostalgic? Not quite ergonomic, but certainly classic—two buttons, one ball, and a cord.
Alright, this post is already long, so I'll just end it with a moment of silence for the PC that was.
Edit: As bhtooefr speculated in the comments, that is not a buckling-spring keyboard. Upon further study, they're probably Alps switches, which have a great tactile feel and that nice clicky sound, but not quite the real deal.