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Pre-Built Systems (12023-09-14)

brook > pcs > prebuilt

I also own(ed) some computers that were made to order.


Probably had a Pentium II with 32MB RAM, running Windows 98.

In 12001 we were given two obsolete PowerBooks running System 7. Couldn't do much with them and the batteries were worn out, only lasting 5 minutes on a full charge.

Don't remember the exact model but it was most likely a C6000. Probably had a Pentium III-M with 256MB RAM, running Windows XP.

Tower desktop that was with me through three address changes, briefly died due to dust-related overheating, then was donated to my aunt.

Dell Dimension 8400
CPU/RAM: Pentium 4 (3.4GHz), 1GB DDR2-400
GPU: GeForce 6800 (256MB), 1280x1024 VGA
Storage: 160GB HDD + CD-R (later upgraded to DVD-ROM)
APU: SoundBlaster Live! 24-bit
OS: Windows XP Home Edition SP2
  • Built 12008-0?
  • Got 12008-08
  • Retired 12011-09
  • Last seen 12012-0?

Desktop-replacement class laptop, with a screen that somehow got dirt trapped behind it during its one and only address change. After I picked up PC5011, I gave this one to my dad, who gave it to my nephew.

Sony Vaio VGN-AR-850E
CPU/RAM: Core 2 Duo T8300 (2.4GHz), 4GB DDR2-667
GPU: GeForce 8600M-GT (512MB), 1440x900 17"
S-Video, VGA, HDMI out
Storage: 400GB HDD + DVD-R
APU: Realtek HD
OS: Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 x64

The Decennial Destroyer


Sony Vaio Z2 (VPC-Z2-190X)

"You aren't gonna keep your computer for 12 years; you're probably gonna go through a couple of upgrades."

Me, watching this video on a laptop made in 12011: (blob emoji with neutral expression and sweatdrop)

The laptop itself is ultraportable, but has a Light Peak port that connects to a dock with dedicated GPU and Blu-Ray drive. What I thought was a fantastic concept - being able to purchase upgraded Power Media Docks for better graphics - ended up not being a thing. But, it's a good machine that I used for over a decade (and six address changes).

With the optional extended sheet battery, longevity was fantastic, and (IIRC) lasted about 16 hours on a single charge. However, that was without the added functionality of the Power Media Dock, which was needed if you wanted to do anything that required OpenGL. Then while docked, any power interruption to the PMD would cause a bluescreen. So, there were compromises. But, after I switched to using PC5014 as my primary machine? Utterly fantastic laptop.

(HWinfo summary)

Components (Standalone)
CPU: Core i5 2-540M (2.6GHz)
RAM: 8GB DDR3-1333
GPU: Intel HD 3000 (1GB)
Audio: Realtek HD
LCD: 13.1" 1920x1080
OS: Windows 7 SP1 Professional
VGA, HDMI, 1Gbps, 1xUSB3.0, 1xUSB2, 802.11n, Bluetooth 3.0
Components (Docked)
CPU: (3.3GHz Turbo Boost)
GPU: Radeon HD6650M (1GB DDR3)
+VGA, HDMI, 1Gbps, 2xUSB2
Windows Experience Index: 5.9 (Desktop graphics bottleneck)
Standalone Drives
C: 128GB (64GBx2 RAID0) SSD
E: SDXC card slot
G: MSPD card slot
Power Media Dock Drives
A: Sony 2x Speed FDD (USB)
F: Sandisk MobileMate MS+ (USB Full-size Memory Stick reader)

The Retro Gaming Mini Dream Team


Late-12004 iBook G4 A1054
  • Built 12004-10-02
  • Bought 12017-08 for $129

A few years ago, I started getting into the Apple side of technology, and decided to pick up a PowerPC G3/600 iBook to dual-boot OS X and OS 9 on. The seller decided to send me a G4 that can only run Tiger. But, y'know, whatever; won't complain about more RAM and an AirPort Extreme card.

CPU: PowerPC G4 7447a (1.2GHz)
RAM: 256+256MB DDR-266
GPU: ATi Mobility Radeon 9200 (4X AGP, 32MB DDR)
HDD: 30GB 4200RPM IDE44 ATA100
LCD: 12" 1024x768
24x/8x SuperDrive
OS: Mac OS X Tiger (10.4.11)
LS-120 SuperDisk (Shared via KVM)
MiniVGA, V.92, 10/100, 2xUSB2, 1x1394, 802.11g

When I got the laptop, the magnetic latch was a bit bent out of shape. I tried to bend it back but ended up breaking it off. Turning it on, OS X had been factory restored, and had no web browser, so I had to open a terminal window and download an old version of Opera (before was purged). Then, I was able to download some files to get Classic emulation working.


Wyse S30
  • Built 12012-06
  • Bought 12019-02 for $39 NOS

A thin client. I was initially going to try running a BBS on it. Decided it'd be better off as a light DOS/Win9x gaming system, but it's taking me forever to actually work on it because DOSbox is faster and easier.

CPU: AMD Geode GX (366MHz)
RAM: 128MB
FDD: 12005 Sony USB 3.5" FDD
VGA, DB9, 10/100, 4xUSB2

After upgrading to a 1440p monitor at my main desk, I decided to move my CRT monitor and Dreamcast over to this system's side of the room. Then threw in the PSone as well by using one of those Composite+VGA boxes.

The Saviors of Wallet (New Hardware Avoidance Strategy)


HP Pavilion TS 15-n013ca
  • Built 12014-11-07
  • Found 12016-??
  • Repurposed 12018-09 to 12020-12
  • Re-repurposed 12023-03


A Left Behind Special that's just been kicking around. Ran some autosurfers and offer walls back when I was into that scene. Didn't like doing much else on it because the included hard drive was dogshit slow.

Stock Configuration (12014-09)
CPU: Core i3 4-005U (1.7GHz)
RAM: 4+2GB DDR3L-1600
GPU: Intel HD 4400
HDD: 750GB Toshiba MQ01ABD075
LCD: 15.6" 1366x768
8x DVD±RW drive
OS: Windows 8.1
HDMI, 10/100, 1xUSB3.0, 2xUSB2, SDHC, 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0

It was fine until I turned it on one day, and it suddenly gave me the caps-lock blink code for 'RAM error'. This led to a guideless full disassembly and I broke the case when I didn't notice a screw hidden behind the DVD drive. And for some fucking reason the RAM is on the underside of the motherboard! From there I found out that the 4GB module was toast. Opted to get a new kit for it and give the working 2GB stick to the Inspiron, since DDR3L runs fine in DDR3 laptops.

NHASty Upgrades (12023-02)
RAM: 4+4GB DDR3L-1600 ($22)
SSD: 480GB Kingston A400 ($26)
OS: Linux Mint Xfce 21.1


Dell Inspiron N5050
  • Built 12012-02
  • Bought 12012-05-03
  • Retired 12020-08
  • Repurposed 12023-03


A Best Buy Special that was my dad's personal system for a few years, then got used as an HTPC during 12017-12020. Retired after it started having trouble staying connected to wifi.

Stock Configuration (12012-02)
CPU: Core i3 2-350M (2.3GHz)
RAM: 4GB DDR3-1333
GPU: Intel HD 3000
HDD: 500GB Seagate Momentus 5400.6
LCD: 15.6" 1366x768
8x DVD±RW drive
OS: Windows 7 Home
VGA, HDMI, 10/100, 3xUSB2, SDHC/MSP, 802.11n

Looking up an iFixit guide to replace the hard drive gave me the idea to upgrade and Linux it. Repasted it while I was in there and found the CPU is in an rPGA-989 socket, so I could swap it out with another G1/G2 processor. Not much point dumping more money into what was meant to be a stopgap, though.

NHASty Upgrades (12023-02)
RAM: 4+2GB DDR3-1333 (2GB DDR3L stick from the Pavilion)
SSD: 256GB Silicon Power originally meant for PC5004C ($33)
OS: Linux Mint Xfce 21.1

The Do-Nothing Burgers


Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Version 1.2
  • Built 12015?
  • Bought 12018-01-05 for $70

Originally picked it up because Hey Why Not, then decided it'd make a nice server for self-hosting a website, forum, and Pleroma instance. (I never actually got around to doing it, of course.)

SOAC: Broadcom BCM2837 (Quad-core 1.2GHz ARMv8-A Cortex-A53)
SSD: 32GB Sandisk microSDHC Class-10
OS: Debian 9 (no GUI)
HDMI, TRRS, 10/100, 4xUSB2, 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.2?

Came in a starter kit that included a plastic snap-together case, aluminum heatsinks, SD card, and 5V 2.5A power brick. Adding two 30mm fans ($8) on GPIO 3.3v pins dropped idle temps by a further 22°C

I've been meaning to repurpose it as an MT32-Pi for use with the eventual MiSTer setup (and/or PC5003 via its serial port).


Dell Chromebook 3100 Education
  • Built 12021-03-05
  • Got 12022-03
  • Updates stopping 2027-06

College freebie given to my dad. Not sure if we can use it for anything.

CPU: Intel Celeron N4020 (2.8GHz)
RAM: 4GB LPDDR4-2400
LCD: 11.6" 1366x768
OS: chromeOS
1xUSB-C, 1xUSB3.1

The New Old Stocker


Lenovo ThinkCentre M93p SFF Pro

Former business workstation that I picked up as a lower-watt replacement for PC5014.

CPU: Core i5 4-570 (3.2GHz)
RAM: 4x2GB Micron 4x4GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1333
GPU: Intel HD 4600 SURALLOW RX580 2048SP 8GB
APU: Realtek HD SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeMusic (EAX5)
PSU: LiteOn 240w (80+Bronze) inside main unit
PSU: Corsair CX600M (80+Bronze) for GPU and riser
OS: Windows 10 Windows 7
VGA, 2xDP, DB9, 2xUSB2, 6xUSB3, 1Gbps
A: Sony 2xFDD (USB)
B: DVD±R DL/CD-RW drive
C: 256GB Bto S400 SSD 12020 480GB Kingston A400 SSD (+$58)
D: 12021 4TB WD Blue (USB3-SATA)
E: 12022 2TB WD Elements SSD (USB3)
F: Sandisk MobileMate MS+ (USB Full-size Memory Stick reader)
G: 12020 4TB WD Blue (USB3-SATA)
H: 12021 4TB WD Blue (USB3-SATA)

I was going to upgrade to a GTX 1650 for $190 $220, but fuck-it adjusted to leaving PC5014 set up in the home office streaming via Steam Link for the six months that Windows 7 is still supported.

Would've picked up an RX 550 for local gaming, but those are barely faster than the 7770 that I already have, so riser cable + external PSU it is! Got an 8GB 580 to try out AI stuff, but AMD ROCm decided it's too old, so I might as well use it here!

Future Acquisitions

As stated on my Tech Wishlist, I'd like to also have some sort of Tandy for 11980s DOS computering, a Color Classic (or equivalent) for early-90s Maccing and Apple II games, and a few others for the ace thetics.

Useful Links System 7 Today A collection of classic software for making Mac OS 7 more useful. Mac OS 9 Updates .smi disk images of last known versions to get your Classic Mac updated. Macintosh Garden The Mac Orchard Macintosh Repository The Mac SE Support Pages Shuriken Update/enhancement/software pack for Tiger.
Repurposing Thin Clients 57296 Chromebooks Craig's experiences with Google's laptop OS.

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