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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?
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Under cpu and memory and firmware, it indicates that upgrades are possible. For memory, it states "size: 384MiB; capacity: 768MiB". However, I previously had tried a 256 MB memory stick in one of the three slots (which all currently have 128 MB) and it did not work. Is there something else I need? Or perhaps I was using the wrong type of stick? I assumed that I was at full capacity, but apparently not given the results of the above command. I also wonder how I would go about upgrading the firmware (BIOS -- size: 64KiB; capacity: 192KiB) and the cpu (size: 450MHz; capacity: 800MHz). Is it worthwhile to upgrade these things? I figure it might be, given that sometimes thing operate a bit slowly on this computer.
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It may be that the motherboard will only use single sided ram (Asus's P3FB was this way). Most of the 256 modules were double sided(chips on both sides of the module). You MAY be able to find the memory dirt cheap on ebay or at your local computer shop. If you have to buy it new they will probably want $30 a stick. I would not put a lot of money into such a low powered machine. You can pick up a dual core atom motherboard with 1 GB of ram for $150 and put it into you existing case(a GB stick of DDR2 800 is only running $17 at newegg). That would give you more computing power with probably 1/4 the electricity used.
A new motherboard might be a good idea. Anyway, I went out and bought a used Pentium III 850 MHz processor ('twas all he had) and a used 256 MB stick of memory, each for $10. The processor did not work. Initially the machine started with "Optiplex 800+ MHz" statement (rather than the "Optiplex 450+ MHz" statement that it normally gives), but then it balked at the new processor, stating that the machine does not support it. It then halted. So I put back in the older processor.
However, the good news is that the memory does work. So, I'll get two more of those memory sticks, and look around for an 800 MHz processor that I can try. I may later try a new motherboard. I'm still not sure how, or if, I can upgrade the "firmware" -- or even if this is a worthwhile thing to think about.
that is simple go to the manufacture website and see what they did with that mother board and see what bios updates did so you can use faster CPU. Big reason why I stay with nforce controller chips. and AMD
Thanks for the suggestion, Drakeo. I checked the Dell site, and found that I already have the latest BIOS (A10). However, in reading about this particular computer (Dell Optiplex GX1), apparently many have had luck in upgrading to a faster processor by, ironically, downgrading the BIOS to A07, since BIOS A08 and later included the change "Halt system if unsupported CPU installed." So, I'll try installing this BIOS, and see if I can then upgrade the cpu.
[later] Okay, I successfully downgraded the BIOS to A07. This was not an easy task. Dell provides Windows executable files to create an MSDOS bootup disk for installing A10, and simply provides the actual BIOS executable files for previous ones. So, I had to use WINE to run the program, but WINE did not recognize my floppy drive. However, I did find some files in the WINE temp directory, and an MS-DOS batch file had been created that I could use to create the disk with dosemu (DOS emulator), which does recognize the floppy drive. Then I had to substitute the Gx1_a10.exe file with the Gx1_a07.exe file, and rename this one to Gx1_a10.exe. Finally, I succeeded. However, the other day I returned the 850 MHz cpu thinking it was useless to me. So, I'll pick it up again tomorrow and see if it works with this older, and hopefully less picky, BIOS. If so, it'll mean that I was able to double both the speed and memory for $30 (granted, some may say that two times nothing is still nothing, but still, the prospect of doubling speed and memory for little money seems good to me).
Last edited by mark_alfred; 01-04-2011 at 08:04 PM.
Success! I picked up the used cpu and installed it under the downgraded BIOS, and it works. My crawler has now learnt to walk! The speed increase was noticeable in the boot up time -- normally I would turn on the computer, go brew some coffee, read the paper, come back, wait a little more, and then log in. Now I wasn't even able to finish brewing the coffee, never mind reading the paper. Wow!
The only thing left to do is find a better video card that is pci (something that is proving to be rather difficult, unfortunately). I have a Mach64 card, which has something like 6 MB of RAM, which is quite low (and useless on my machine, since Debian blocks direct rendering from this card). Otherwise, though, things are solved.
Last edited by mark_alfred; 01-05-2011 at 09:39 PM.
Reason: correct a typo