I've been working on a desktop rollout/upgrade for a company up in Boston, replacing ancient Dell Optiplex 200-series machines (240s-280s from 2003, mostly) with brand-new OptiPlex 780s with C2Q 9400s. They have some Symantec Ghost boot thumbdrives that only work with the 240s-280s (mostly because of LAN drivers, for pulling images off the SAN), so they wanted to hold onto one. However, a full tower would take up too much storage space, especially if it's only dedicated to one task. Then the big "junk to get rid of" pile caught my attention... Dell couldn't have changed their hardware that
much between 2000 and 2004, could they?
So I kludged together a random assortment of parts to build a small form factor PC to use for Ghost. It's the desktop case from a 1.0 ghz Celeron based GX50
, with the motherboard from a tower 260
(everything plugged right in), running off the power supply for another
desktop Dell from around the same time, with two random sticks of DDR RAM, an old beige floppy drive from some old network equipment, a CD-ROM drive from an old IBM tower, an old 3Com 10/100 Ethernet card, and a 20 gig hard drive from the Clinton administration. (The hard drive is just scratch space; once I get the system running right it will be cloned to a thumbdrive.) The IDE and power cables are hanging out from where the CD drive belongs, and the floppy drive is not installed internally, since none of that will be used on a regular basis and opening and closing the case to hook up and disconnect hard drives is annoying. I threw in a 2.2 ghz P4 from another junked PC nobody wanted, and installed FreeDOS. Right now it can browse the web with Arachne, edit text files, handle SSH and VNC, run a terminal emulator, mount USB storage devices (no plug and play though), and use all the features Ghost has to offer. The only thing it's missing is a PCI SATA controller because I couldn't find one in the junk pile.
All for a grand total of $0 and about 2 hours of work spread over the last few days. (Need something to do while waiting for the hourglass to finish spinning...)
It would be running Windows 3.1 on top of FreeDOS right now if the two sets of install floppies I found in the server room had a complete, non-corrupt copy between them.
No pictures, but it's pretty boring to look at anyway. It's just one of these with wires hanging out of the 5.25" bay.