Friday, October 29, 2004

It's alive!

Finally, Bagend has arisen from the grave. I pulled it out of the crawlspace last night (no fun, there) and since I'd covered it in a Hefty bag, it actually wasn't all full of spiderwebs.

First order of business was to gut the case. Out came the power supply. Out came the motherboard tray. I decided to keep the 3Com NIC to see if it was still good, which turned out to be fortunate. I also kept the 32x CD-ROM drive, although I pulled it out of the case. There was no floppy to salvage, it having already been removed. Aside from the case itself, the only parts I reused were the 3Com NIC and the case fan. The mobo, RAM, CPU and old PS went into the trash.

Putting all the new components together took about an hour since I was taking it slow. Aside from the components obtained from NewEgg, I also installed a 52x CD-ROM drive which came out of my MIL's PC when I installed a CD-RW drive for her earlier this year. So, Bagend has two optical drives but no floppy drive. (I need to do something about that hole in the front of the case.)

It didn't boot up on my first try. After some head scratching, I realized that I'd connected the power switch to the mobo headers one pin off. Once I moved the connector over the box fired right up.

I did a little bit of tweaking in the BIOS, then rebooted, popped in the SUSE 9.0 Professional DVD, and commenced the install.

Installing SUSE from DVD beats the pants off using CDs. Instead of periodic disc swapping, once you're ready to actually install everything you click OK and it goes. I didn't time it but it took about a half hour to finish the installation. I didn't do a full-boat install but I did add a good amount of stuff to SUSE's default selection of software. WTH, I've got the disk space.

Speaking of which, I partitioned the drive with 512 MB swap, 30 GB for /, and the remained as /home. On a desktop or laptop I don't see the need for fancy partitioning schemes, but having /home on its own partion facilitates backups and allows you to reformat /, but leave your data instact, if you do an upgrade. I used SUSE's default filesystem -- ReiserFS.

It's a good thing that I didn't chuck the old 3Com NIC. For some reason during the install, SUSE didn't recognize my new mobo's onboard Realtek-based NIC. Without the old NIC I wouldn't have got the box online.

By the time I was finished it was around 2200, my normal weeknight bedtime. I didn't want to go to sleep just yet, so I putzed around by installing the latest releases of Firebird and Thunderbird. Since I'm no longer using Mozilla Composer regularly, I may stick with the individual apps, rather than the Mozilla suite.

Tonight I'm going to try to fine tune the X config and restore all my data. I'm also going to see if I can get the onboard NIC working, as I'd like to take out the 3Com for use as a spare. Aside from the NIC issue I'm pleased with the box, which is a heckuva lot faster than Gondor was with the same OS.

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