My Old Linux Workstation

(Jan 2000 - Sep 2002)
My Linux Workstation in 2000
My Linux workstation in 2000.
As beautifully, as left, my computer looked in the past. The right photo had to be shot quicky one with my cheap Webcam, as my video camera is still hidden somewhere in a removal cardboard.
In the two years, which lay between the pictures, the never-working used Plextor SCSI ROM as well as my good old 5 1/4"-Laufwerk had to be exchanged for a DAT library, which is old old, but in contrast to the NS20pro-Streamer it finally works. Behind the LED array for the harddisks and the SCSI bus is one of my four harddisks mounted.
The hour meter by the way finds unfortunately no more place in the housing, must now lie on top, but who knows, mayone one day, I'll buy an EYE-910...
My Linux Workstation in 2002
My Linux workstation in 2002.

Its Components

Power Supply: Enermax EG251P-V  (Aug 2002)

Since my old power supply with only 200W wasn't strong enough for my 4 harddisks, 4 coolers, DAT library and TV card, I had to buy a new one. Starting my computer by short-circuting the power ATX wires wasn't really that fun. The new power supply cost me only 10 Euro on a flea market. It's a 250W Enermax and hardly used. A really good buy.

Mainboard: Asus P2B-S  (Jan 1999)

One of the best and fastest Slot1 Motherboard available. It has got an Adaptec SCSI Controller onboard.

Ann.: Today, I wouldn't buy this combination again, because if I ever get a new mainboard, I need to buy an external SCSI card, too.

CPU: Intel Pentium II 400  (Jan 1999)

A very powerful and reliable processor.

Ann.: Today, I'd probably switch to AMD for political and technical reasons, but when I got this processor, Intel offered the better product for a better price.

CPU Fan: No Name  (Jan 1999)

A simple fan with ball bearings. It is not temperature controlled, but offers an rpm output.

Memory: 448 MB SDRAM PC100  (Nov 2001)

Got an additional 192MB to my former 256MB thanks to a dying Gigabyte Mainboard. Currently, most of the memory stays empty (even with StarOffice, Mozilla and other large programs)...

Graphics card: Matrox Millennium G200  (Jan 1999)

An absolutely reliable and painless in Linux working graphics card.

Monitor: NEC Multisync 5E  (Sep 1998)

For me, this was one of the cheapest components, I've ever bought. I got this monitor used for DEM 100 (~USD 50).
It's certainly not the best one (1280x1024 runs only at 61Hz due to its very low horizontal bandwidth of 65kHz), but it's tons better than my former 14" device with a bandwidth of only 35kHz.
The only strange thing is, that it's a very unknown model. It's even not mentioned on the NEC web site, so I don't have any further information about this device.

Case: Chenbro Value A5771  (Jan 1999)

A very classic case. Although its a BigTower, it's too small for all my devices

SCSI Controller: Adaptec 2940U2W onboard  (Jan 1999)

This controller is on board of the P2B-S mainboard. It's certainly not a cheap one, but it's well supported under Linux and runs flawlessly.

Ann.: Nevertheless, today, I'd go for a controller on an extra card, and not for the onboard solution, because once the mainboard is outdated, I'll have to get a new SCSI controller, too. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure, in the future, I'll stay away from SCSI. The cost ratio of SCSI devices is just worse.

Second SCSI Controller: Adaptec 1452CF  (Jun 2000)

In my old machine, this was the main (and only) SCSI controller. On my recent workstation, this SCSI controller is used for my Scanner. It needs to be an extra SCSI controller, since the Scanner doesn't support the SCSI disconnect feature, which means, that you cannot access your hard drives, while you're scanning.

SCSI Harddisk #1: IBM DCAS-34330 (4.3 GB)  (Jan 1998)

Quite standard 4.3 GB SCSI disk with 5400 upm. Runs with almost 8MB/sec. In the end of 1998, it suddenly lost one sector, which was the reason for me to get myself a streamer. Currently, the only use of this disc is, to hold the swap partition. The rest is idle.

SCSI Harddisk #2: IBM DDRS 39130 (9.1 GB)  (Jun 1999)

After my 4.3GB disk became to small, I've bought this fast and reliable device. This disk runs with 7200 rpm and has got an state-of-the-art U2W SCSI interface. But of course, this disk is permanentely full, too.

Ann.: In Jul 2001, it lost one sector, too (seems like a feature of IBM disks), which was the reason to get me my new IDE disk and say goodbye to further SCSI investments. This harddisk contains my MP3 collection - all ripped from my own CDs, vinyl singles and LPs.

IDE Harddisk: Maxtor DiamondMax60 5T040H4  (Jul 2001)

A very fast (thanks to its 7200 rpm), surprisingly calm and large (40GB) disc. Since it's IDE, its price was about 1/3rd of the next compareable SCSI disc. This drive speeds up my system quite noticeable. A good buy, I'd say.

IDE Harddisk: IBM DTLA-305020  (Mar 2002)

This one is my "backup" harddisk, which backs up two computers. Hardly used.

CD-RW: Yamaha CRW4416S  (Feb 1999)

16x reading, 4x writing and 4x rewriting. And in a test, they claimed it as good for creating audio CDs. In practical use, it works very fine, except that the small fan produces enormous noise. Very cool: It can rip audio CDs with 4x speed!

Streamer: Archive 4586XX 28887-XXX  (Jul 2002)

A pretty ancient DDS-2 DAT Streamer, only 4 GB uncompressed, but it's a tape library (supports 4 tapes internally and 12 tapes externally) and much more reliable than my Tandberg Stuff below. Writes backups until the tape is full
Got it for $10 on a local flea market - the same weight of raw metal would have me cost more... . The only con is, that this device uses two 5 1/4" bays and I had to throw out my old and beloved 5 1/4"-floppy drive, which never failed in ten years. If I ever buy a larger case, I'll use the floppy again.

Streamer: Tandberg NS20 Pro 20 GB  (Feb 1999)

A pretty fair Travan-5-device, built as a rock. It can hold 10GB uncompressed and a little more compressed.

Ann.: In the past, it caused major headaches to me, since it refused writing on the tapes after a few GB. In the meantime, this unreliable and loud device has been replaced functionally by my tape library streamer above.
Nevertheless, every now and then, I still try to re-animate this NS20 streamer again, but I believe, this were the worst $600, I've ever spent.

Soundcard: Soundblaster PCI 128  (Feb 1999)

Works flawlessly. Good sound and no problems at all.

Loudspeaker: WaveMaster 300  (Jan 1999)

Rather simple 2-way speakers with "DSP processor". Reliable.

TV card: Typhoon / FlyView 98  (Jun 2002)

Got it for less than 5 bucks on a flea market. The TV reception is fine, the drawback is, that sound has to be played via a loopback cable.

Scanner: Mustek MFS-12000SP  (Jun 2000)

Fair scanner with a lousy SCSI implementation (no disconnect, pretty messed up identification string). Works fine with the latest SANE versions.

Network card: LevelOne FNC-0109TX  (Nov 1999)

A very nice 10/100Mbps PCI card with a Realtek RTL8139B chip. Although this card isn't even known to LevelOne themselves (they only list the 0100TX and 0101TX), this card works very well and reliable and is official supported under Linux. LevelOne even ships a floppy disk with their Linux driver sources!
Another nice thing is the enormous amount of information, which Realtek offers online.

Mouse: Logitec Cordless Wheel  (Jan 1999)

One of the standard cordless mouses. For a non-optical mouse very reliable.

Webcam: Tevion MD 9388  (May 2002)

Very simple webcam, was sold by ALDI. The imaging quality is rather poor, but better than nothing. And it works under Linux; not very well, but you can get the images. I got it for very little money at least.

Working hour meter: MotoMeter  (Jul 2002)

A truely cool device of the good old days. A quartz clock counts the minutes (analog) and the hours (digital). The only thing, I still have to do, is to mount this meter in the case. It would look deadly cool.

DCF77 Receiver: selfmade  (Jun 2000)

For only DEM 25 (approx US$ 12), my workstation now runs with atomic precision time from the german time transmitter DCF77. With only thirty minutes of soldering and another twenty minutes of installing NTP4, my machine is a true Stratum 1 server.

Temperature Controller: Conrad 998834-43  (Oct 1999)

A very nice and useful add-on to my machine. It uses a full 5.25" slot and monitors the temperature of the CPU. If it gets too hot, two additional fans are started. Great, but a little expensive Ein sehr praktisches, wenngleich auch etwas teureres (Conrad...) Zusatzgerät, das einen vollen 5.25"-Slot beansprucht. Sobald die CPU zu heiß wird (die Temperatur wird digital angezeigt), werden zwei Zusatzlüfter angeschaltet.

Operating System: Red Hat Linux 7.3  (last update: June 2002)

Such a premium machine deserves the best operating system avaiable, so it's running Red Hat Linux, of course. I started with Linux in spring 1994 with Slackware, and switched over to Red Hat in the beginning of 2000.
I can only talk positively about RedHat, their distribution rocks and thanks to their licensing and the clones (Mandrake et al), you can find RPMs almost everywhere.