CPU/Mobo Have old PC with no display, confused as to what to do with it.

X0th3rm1k

Disciple
Hello, fellow humans, androids and apache helicopters of TE.

I have a 20+ year old PC which I found lying around in one of the boxes, and want to do something about it. I'm not sure about the exact specs, because the system refused to display anything in the VGA cable I plugged into it, even though the system starts up. I'm not keen on using the system, since I have my own modern PC, but I want to do something with this.

Specs:

Intel Pentium 4 2.93 GHz CPU
Some Gigabyte motherboard
Crucial 256 MB DDR RAM
Seagate Parallel ATA 40GB HDD
Some 350W PSU

System name - Compaq Presario SG1108IL

If I were to sell this system, how much should I be expecting to get from it? At least 500? Or 1K?
 

kiran6680

Disciple
As Ned Stark predicted, winter is coming. At least in the northern hemisphere. P4 is a great antidote to winter. For using the system, assuming your PSU is not too efficient, you have a nice 500-600 W heater, no display is required.

For selling, AFAIK, the Ram and processor are less than useless, need to send to an e-waste service. If PSU is working, we have 2 options :
1. An unscrupulous systems integrator buys it from you, uses in a system. If the PSU fries the system, too bad.

2. A qualified engineer tests the PSU. If found good, it may be worth Rs 500, but the engineer's fee would be more than that.

If the system is in a PC case, the case may be most valuable. People can try fitting mITX or even uATX motherboard in it. May be worth 700

Hard disk is also worth something if it works. Safest way to use it might be with an IDE-USB adapter, as a slow, unreliable external hard disk.
 

X0th3rm1k

Disciple
As Ned Stark predicted, winter is coming. At least in the northern hemisphere. P4 is a great antidote to winter. For using the system, assuming your PSU is not too efficient, you have a nice 500-600 W heater, no display is required.

For selling, AFAIK, the Ram and processor are less than useless, need to send to an e-waste service. If PSU is working, we have 2 options :
1. An unscrupulous systems integrator buys it from you, uses in a system. If the PSU fries the system, too bad.

2. A qualified engineer tests the PSU. If found good, it may be worth Rs 500, but the engineer's fee would be more than that.

If the system is in a PC case, the case may be most valuable. People can try fitting mITX or even uATX motherboard in it. May be worth 700

Hard disk is also worth something if it works. Safest way to use it might be with an IDE-USB adapter, as a slow, unreliable external hard disk.
Alright, thanks for your input! Do you think it'd make sense to give the whole system away as a whole for 1K to a system integrator?
 

kiran6680

Disciple
Alright, thanks for your input! Do you think it'd make sense to give the whole system away as a whole for 1K to a system integrator?
Yes, that is why I told the approximate use an integrator will make of the parts of your system. So that you can get an appropriate price. A lot will depend on whether PSU and hard drive work.
 

X0th3rm1k

Disciple
Yes, that is why I told the approximate use an integrator will make of the parts of your system. So that you can get an appropriate price. A lot will depend on whether PSU and hard drive work.
The system powers on, as in the fans all spin inside, and I can see the hard drive's green light blinking every so often, so I think it's working? I stay in Bangalore, do you know of anyone who could deal with the system?
 

kiran6680

Disciple
The system powers on, as in the fans all spin inside, and I can see the hard drive's green light blinking every so often, so I think it's working? I stay in Bangalore, do you know of anyone who could deal with the system?
No, we can't conclude it is working just by the lights and fans. Out of the various computer repair shops, some are run by technically competent people, they might be able to do something with it.
 

X0th3rm1k

Disciple
No, we can't conclude it is working just by the lights and fans. Out of the various computer repair shops, some are run by technically competent people, they might be able to do something with it.
Fair enough. I guess it comes down to finding such a store then. Do you think there'd be any luck in getting rid of the system here in the forums instead?
 

deusExMachina

Disciple
It may have other issues besides the lack of display. Do you hear any beeps? the motherboards manual (usually available online) would tell you what the beep codes mean.

You could probably use it as a low end NAS, or a router with PfSense. Can't think of any other use for it.
 

X0th3rm1k

Disciple
It may have other issues besides the lack of display. Do you hear any beeps? the motherboards manual (usually available online) would tell you what the beep codes mean.

You could probably use it as a low end NAS, or a router with PfSense. Can't think of any other use for it.
I've let it running for an hour just like that, I've not heard beeping of any kind whatsoever. I just think that the system is so old maybe the CPU died. The PC has already been through 3 house shiftings over the years. I was initially planning to use the case for my first build, but I went with a new case that had more airflow instead so this just remained as is. The components are also caked in a lot of dust, so I don't know what else to do with it other than give it away to someone who can at least make use of the case.
 

deusExMachina

Disciple
The dust can be an issue. I've seen old CRTs return to life (in the past) after the circuit board was dusted clean.

There should be at least one beep telling that the system is okay (unless the pc speaker is left unconnected or dead of course :p )

I have a lot of faith in CPUs, they seem to be the components that last the longest on a PC. If you have time, you could pull out all the modules, clean up the mainboard and boot with just the CPU in it. Just the bare minimum to try an narrow down the cause.
 

X0th3rm1k

Disciple
The PC was connected to a TV with an inbuilt speaker through VGA, and I also had an aux speaker plugged in, although here was no beed of any kind even then. That does sound like a whole lot of effort for an outdated PC though. Especially since it's not a necessary to get it working in the first place - the files in the feeble 40 GB HDD aren't at all important. But I still appreciate all of the inputs you're giving, it won't hurt to at least clean up the system if I'm giving it away if it makes it more appealing.
 

deusExMachina

Disciple
AFAIK only the internal speakers that are directly connected to the mainboard would be used for beep codes.
It's a whole lot of effort but I see it as a fun exploratory activity on a piece of tech in the bygone era :D

Do you have any pictures of the CPU and the mainboard?
 

X0th3rm1k

Disciple
I don't have them on the ready, but I can send them here or in DMs as per your preference - it's not a big issue. As for cleaning, can I just use soft paper tissues?

Note - I got the specs for the system in combination of online sources (which weren't that informative) and the PC itself by opening it up, but I haven't actually unmounted the CPU cooler and heatsink. Is it okay if the pics are with the heatsink?
 

deusExMachina

Disciple
Either is fine, the pictures aren't very important! I'm just curious is all. A picture of the cpu would be nice, if you don't mind

You could use paper tissues on the smooth surfaces like the cpu package but it's otherwise best to use a soft brush and/or a blower.

For debugging, you need the motherboard's manual. That will have a listing of the beep codes. The other specs aren't as useful for this task.
 
Top