Backup rig....

After I've upgraded my main PC several weeks ago (see previous post here), I ended up with a surfeit of fully functional PC components just laying around the place.

Rather than disposing of them, I thought it would be a good idea to build a backup system around these components. It helps to have a second PC in case you have problems with your other computer, that is, there would always be one available that you can use to download drivers, utilities, and look up knowledge bases with. A second PC would also maximize the use of my broadband connection, and it would give my son a computer he can use anytime without waiting for me to finish what I'm doing.

Additionally, I thought it would be a good opportunity to build a system with a meager power draw that wouldn't suck up that much electricity when left on most of the time. My main rig is unsuited for this purpose since a lot of power hungry peripherals are installed in it.

Here's the system I ended up with:

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Processor: AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (Thoroughbred-B core, 2.0 GHz, 256K L2 cache, 266 MHz FSB)
Motherboard: ECS K7VTA3 v3.1 (VIA Apollo KT333 chipset)
Memory: 1.5 GB PC2700 DDR333 SDRAM
Video: PowerColor 9550 (Radeon 9550 VPU with 128-bit 256 MB DDR SDRAM)
Sound: Motherboard-down (AC'97)
Hard Disk: Seagate Barracuda ATA IV ST380021A 80 GB 7,200 RPM
CD-Writer: Lite-On SOHC-5235K (DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo)
Mouse & Keyboard: Logitech Cordless Desktop EX 110
Speakers: Labtec Pulse 385 (2.1)
Monitor: 15" Samsung SyncMaster 591s
Power Supply: Generic, 500 watts
CPU HSF: Coolermaster Aero 7 Lite

This is essentially my older PC, in new clothing, stripped down a bit and outfitted with less aggressive components.

While definitely not state-of-the-art, this rig will surely hold it's own against all comers by virtue of its 2.4 GHz class CPU, 1.5 GB of RAM, and DirectX 9.0 capabilities. It may not blow anyone away with its raw performance, but it's a respectable gaming rig and multimedia PC. And since it only has the bare essentials (with the exception of memory, which is quite capacious for it's intended use) it doesn't use up that much electrical power.

Hooked up to a network hub, it also has broadband access, not to mention it gives me an opportunity to blow up my son's forces in Command & Conquer Generals via LAN, much to his dismay. :-)

I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out, especially in a classy black and gray ensemble.

Nothing like breathing new life to old PC parts. :-)


jhay said…
Not bad for a bunch of old parts. hehehe

A second PC is always a life saver especially if too many important things like work are pc-based. Even if you have a RAID system ready to save your data in case of a system crash, where would you plug in the back-up drive when you only have on pc in the house.

In our case, it's a trio of a Ubuntu Linux, a Mac G5 (my dad's rig) and the 'back-up' Windows XP machine that's set-up in our home. Something my mom is not happy about everytime the envelope from Meralco arrives.

Sir Allan, is there a site to measure exactly how much a pc is consuming power? I know you just have to add up the part's wattage rate but I remember that there's a similar function in meralco's website, saw it once on the back of the bill. Does it ring any bells? Let me know.
Ronald Allan said…
I'm not even sure if that's possible, measuring PC power consumption online, that is, if you're referring to a real-time power measurement.

I've seen some sites before that you click on a checklist of peripherals, and it comes up with a wattage total based on that components that you've checked. It's not that accurate though, it only gives you an idea of what your PC's maximum draw can be, and not what it's using at a given time.

There is a way though, to measure real time consumption, but you're going to need a multimeter and some alligator clips. Here's a url telling exactly how you should do it. Be careful though, this method can be shocking if done incorrectly. Hope this helps. :-)

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