Jan Leow's Press Blog

End of the road for this old faithful iWill BD100+ computer

I guess eventually it will come to this. I actually wanted to pass this old PC of mine to somebody who could make use of it. My IWILL BD100 plus motherboard running on Pentium 3 CPU with four pieces of assorted SD-RAM totalling about 288MB, a 20GB hard disk and a 32MB NVIDIA graphic card was pretty good at that time back in year 2000.

It was pretty much my workhorse computer at that time plus I did many experiments and exploration, plugging in and unplugging various hardware equipment, and I even installed a 5-1/4″ floppy drive which I salvaged from somewhere! With as many as five PCI slots, 2 ISA slots, 1 AGP slot and 4 memory slots, I could install quite a lot of hardware cards from old ISA cards to the newer PCI cards. I even had a RAID PCI card in an attempt to speed up the computer hard disk data transfer rate. The motherboard only had a bus speed of 100MHz, while the motherboard hard disk connection was going at ATA66; using the RAID card, I tried to improve the speed connection to ATA100.

I experimented with all kinds of operating system from the usual Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP to Linux and its various distros, and a very strange unknown operating system known as BeOS. The BeOS was so unknown and the company eventually closed down never gaining any prominence. Linux was rather interesting, and I started out with Red Hat before moving on to Mandrake (now Mandriva) and SUSE. Configuring Linux was no easy task at that time as their auto hardware detection was not good as those today. The graphic card / monitor configuration was rather complicated because you have to check the monitor refresh rate and display frequency before you could see nice graphics on your monitor. There were many command line commands to learn and kinda reminded me of MS-DOS. Hah, I even had MS-DOS 6.22 installed in this old computer though it wasn’t very functional as there weren’t any good DOS drivers around to work with the various hard wares like the dial-up MODEM.

My old PC and its components. The case was rusting from the inside, and the computer made strange sounds when I tried to boot it up.
My old PC and its components. The case was rusting from the inside, and the computer made strange sounds when I tried to boot it up.

And how did I get them booted up? Using a multiboot program like PowerQuest or System Commander! I had as many as six different operating system so much that when I told somebody about it, he almost fainted and couldn’t believe somebody would do that. Actually come to think of it, there were way too many operating systems in that computer. I just did it for the kick out of it and of course for learning as well. Ah, this is what passion is all about, hacking and fiddling with something that you like to do, hence the term hobby!

However it was time to dispose of this old PC as I wasn’t going to use it anymore. I have since bought and gave away one PC before having my current AMD dual core CPU set up. I had to change to a Pentium 4 when this old Pentium 3 PC couldn’t cope with Windows XP, and then changed my computer again to a AMD Athlon X2 dual core CPU so that it could handle Windows Vista. I should have gave away this old PC a long time ago somehow for some reason I still had it lying around in the house. For someone who just wants to do simple word processing or simple internet browsing, the Pentium 3 is still capable of doing that, though it may be a bit slow. My Uncle Meng Kee is still using his good old Pentium 3 computer for surfing internet and checking emails. He says he wants a new computer but never seem to get around to buy one. I guess his old Pentium 3 still serves him well.

Before giving this old PC away, I did a quick system check. Plugging in the power cables and hooking up the monitor, mouse and keyboard and then firing it up. The familiar hum and whirl of the computer booting could be heard, but something didn’t sound right and the monitor just remained blank. Hmm… taking my torch light and having a closer look, I couldn’t believe that there was so much rusting in the casing! How on earth the case rust was beyond me. There was no water source near this PC at all. Could the cold air flow from my room’s air condition caused the moisture build up and thus rusting (I was blowing it directly to my current PC to keep it cool and this old PC was in the path)? Well I wouldn’t know, but if the case was rusting, I suppose other parts would also be similarly affected. I tried firing it up a few times, but all I got was a dead black screen. I thought the BIOS must be dead because there wasn’t any BIOS info displayed and the hard disk was not booting either. The fan sounded weird with its whirling speed slowing and speeding and vice-versa. It sounded like those robots that were damaged and trying to move with sheer robot will power. Well that’s Hollywood for you, because in real life if a machine is kaput, it stays kaput.

So that put paid to giving it away. No meaning to give a rusting non-functioning hunk of metal to somebody. May as well throw it to the recyclers. Before dumping it to the All IT Hypermarket where you could drop off your old computer and other electrical equipments, I salvaged the 20GB hard disk (not sure whether it is working, but took it out anyway. There might be important info that’s not to be revealed.), and pull out a PC-133 128MB SD-RAM for nostalgia keepsake.

So sayonara for this good old IWILL BD100+ PC. It served me well, but now has to consign it to the PC graveyard. As for my friend who wanted the old PC? Well I still got another old PC belonging to my dad. It is a Dell PC with a Pentium 3 – 933 MHz CPU. This one still works, so my friend will just get one old PC instead of two.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Blue Captcha Image


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.