It's that day of the week again, where I go to the recycling centre to get rid of our paper, glass and various plastics. The bin for paper is close to the bin for old electronics. I never can resist to take a look at that bin, just because you never know. A few P-I class computers, hmmm, uninteresting.... Then my eye catches the glimpse of a "Intel Inside Pentium IV" sticker. WTF? That's not really a common sight: a P-IV in a dumpster bin! So, I take it with me, fully expecting that it is physically broken.
I come home and first open it up to see if everything for normal operation is there. CPU is there, there are apparently 4 RAM sticks, but they look a bit odd. The one I can see well states 256Meg RAM. Nice that would be a total of 1Gig! It's an Intel board, which usually stands for quality. I now notice that it has a Iomega Zip 250, IDE version and a graphics with a DVI connector.
Now, curious as I am, I connect it to a monitor, mouse and keyboard and boot it up. It promply boots up into Windows 2000. The machine seems to be registred to a Windows Domain from an audit company. Okay, the local administrator password is taped to the front and I log it. I am promptly greeted with a dozen popups, including WebRebates and 180Solutions. Ah, that's the new definition of "broken" these days! I fire up Win-Pause and and it is indeed a P-IV 1.9GHz with 512Meg RAM. More CPU horsepower than I expected, but less RAM. I have a vague idea why this is: I bet it's a Rambus machine, which I never had seen in real life yet. It would explain the odd RAM sticks. Harddisk is 40Gig, reasonable and the graphics card is a Matrox Dualhead. This machine must have been a workstation of some kind in that Audit company. "My documents" is empty. Either they had a policy to store everything on the server, or they took the time to delete the local files. I could run an undeleter if I wanted, but I don't care that much.
Wow, a free P-IV. I have no idea what I'm going to do with this machine, but this is way too wasteful to throw away. I could put myself to the challenge of cleaning it up from its spyware infestation, just to see if I'm better than the admin at that company.
Oh, yes, I opened it up again to inspect the RAM sticks. They are indeed RIMMs and what I took for two extra sticks are in reality empty. If you remove those "sticks" the computer won't boot. I don't know much about Rambus, but I heard that it's the way it works. So, unless I buy some extra RAM on ebay, it'll be stuck on 512Meg, but frankly, for a desktop machine 512Meg is currently enough.