Survival of the fittest

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So, in roughly 1996 my parents bought me a new computer. A StrongARM RiscPC. It was terribly, terribly shiny. Seriously shiny. It was 5 times faster than it’s predecessor, the RiscPC 700… and I was totally stoked to own something new and fast. Seriously fast.

I loved that computer. It still felt fast the last time I played on it… but also, the last time I was using it there was badness. Much badness. It was behaving erratically; crashing randomly; there was screen corruption at times. It was all quite odd. I assumed that the power supply was failing. I’m fairly used to capacitors turning into magic gunk fountains in power supplies and things then going spectacularly bad. But then I looked inside and found this:

Oh much badness... now I guess I know why it was misbehaving tho'

Initially I thought ‘oh crap, the battery has leaked’ and then thunk about replacing it ( :) ). Unfortunately, what I’d not counted on was the cunning design of the RiscPC where the cooling fan is positioned right behind that battery and blows the air across the width of the case. Right between the main memory and the video ram. The extortionately expensive video ram and the probably made of unobtainum memory.


Gods, it's a wonder this thing was working at all...suspect I might not be able to save this simm

Having used more-or-less an entire can of isopropyl alcohol, well, it still looks a bit like shite.


And, more disconcertingly, at the far end of the board lurks one of the nice ARM custom chips and if you look eeever so closely, you can see the corrosion percolating up four of the legs.


The problem is I’m not sure how far to go. I can get more IPA* and scrub it, but it’s looking pretty ropey and I’m a bit concerned the memory’s completely screwed. The memory looks like cack even after a thorough clean and I’m pondering attacking them with my crappy battery-dremel-clone and its polishing wheel to see if I can get back to something that might make reliable contact. At the end of the day, I suppose if it’s dead, it’s dead, and I can stick another board in that box for old-time’s sake. But I’ll be sad if that’s the case… But I’m not hugely enthused to spend inordinate sums of money on new memory and such for it (although if it does work I’m quite tempted to get it an SSD, although there we’re very limited by the bus speed).

Anyhow, tomorrow I’ll maybe attack it some more.

I was all terribly over excited because the new motherboard/processor & RAM have arrived for the server. Unfortunately, the pointless graphics card* hasn’t arrived yet, and since the old machine used AGP 8X and this uses PCI-E there’s nothing interchangeable, so I can’t try it out yet.

* cleaner, not the ale. Although I could get some IPA. That might help too ;)
* It is, I’ll grant, handy for installing (and indeed troubleshooting when things go a bit Pete Tong; but the main reason it’s there is because Linux seems to throw a hissy fit if it’s not. At least, it did last time I tried to pop an Ubuntu install on there.


Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at