My Tech (mis)adventures!

Macemore

Circumcised pineapples
Aug 26, 2011
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If you know me, you know I've been deep into computers for a long time. Here I'd like to detail some of this journey that many of my friends online and around me have unfortunately had to take part in. Many people still have a closet or garage full of my computer stuff... here we go:

Please forgive image quality, most of these were taken on some kid's cellphone.

I don't think there's any better place to start than my first build (that lasted), I had a 2500k with the classic hyper212 cooler. The special thing though was that I loved overclocking, so much so that in the winter I would open my window and cool my entire room down just to get my computer that little bit colder. My mother complained enough that I went up to my dad and we came up with a solution, put the computer in the window!



Yes this is awful, the back panel wasn't installed and I had a small fan behind it to blow cold air in from outside into the computer box.
You can see the white fan behind the HDD cage. Yes that's a GT640...
This machine ran reliably overclocked at ~4.7Ghz until roughly 2019 when it stopped turning on. I've yet to do anything with it, I'm sure the CPU is good, the mobo was only 4 phase vrm so that wouldn't help.

The next big thing to happen would be when I bought out an old closed computer store that had it's contents emptied into the owner's garage about 5 years prior to my finding it. The guy just posts it on Craigslist for $100 because he's moving. A FULL garage of computer parts! Christmas!!







This took up the first 3 rooms of the house, which my mom LOVED. It stayed just about like this for a year, while I experimented with clustering and other fun stuff. This is what lead me into making my first business and starting to make money off computer stuff.




The (Big) Black Box Project, AKA BBP








This started off as a roughly 7.5ft tall, 48U APC(?) rack with no sides, only doors. You can see here that the sides are just plywood boards painted black (by me). I snagged this rack for $140, with a Dell Poweredge 1950 for another $150. I still have this server, with the exact same specs it came with. No drives, 24gb ECC FBDDR2, dual quad core procs. I have two SSDs and a spinner in this but it doesn't run anymore as it has no purpose.

The contents of this rack varied heavily as we learned more about the systems we need / can use, as well as gaining better hardware over the years. This stuff was cheap, I could buy a new proc for $15 at the local RE-PC store any day.​


































From top down:
Management KVM
(Back side) 10/100 16 port switch
Spare video card, Thinkpad T420 (still have it <3)

Custom server by a local company that sold it to a client of mine, who gave it to me for free once it was replaced. This system died after a long hard year of hosting a proprietary software for allowing Windows 7 to two users at once. (I'm asking my friend for the name because he remembers). This software sucked though because if you changed the RAM, CPU, GPU, HDD, anything really, then the system would be considered "new" and thus you'd have to buy another license for it. This machine burned the memory channels in the mobo through to the CPUs. Currently still own it but it's stripped.


Awesome old Dell XPS case used as a file server, this thing had like 10 or 15 drives damn near stuffed into it, we got a whopping 2ish TB before redundancy took it.

At the bottom is my Microsoft action pack software kit, for a few hundred bucks I get all the Microsoft software you can imagine.

Over to the right is a golden gem, Linksys WRT54G, I used these for any and everything. Sometimes just for uptime monitoring. This was my raspberry pi equivalent.





















This brings me to the death of that server you saw up there. Here it is in it's final form. It had two Radeon 7770 graphics cards for most of it's life as well as 32gb of ECC FBDDR2 RAM. Dual Dual-core CPUs, gave it 4 cores total.

You can't see the ram because there's a small RAM cooler, it's just to the left of the graphics card (our orientation). There's also miss-matched CPU coolers as it was extremely difficult to find any in stock, and I had a phobia of eBay.

The drives were located in the hotswap bays, and were 10k 500gb drives in RAID0. We put them in the hotswap bays because they had individual fans that made it a little windy.

This was my first server, I had this before the rack, and the Dell. It was my first RAID, first Dual Proc, almost all that fun stuff. RIP!








The current state of the BBP


We took that screen you saw before and completely stripped the housing from it, cut a plywood board (painted black) and made it work from there.

This looks totally awesome through the amber tinted window in the front door, it makes for a really cool effect for a terminal status monitor. I have no pictures of this as it's buried behind a ton of stuff and the screen is unplugged. The back is completely inaccessible but I haven't had to change anything in this for years.





Here we have the 4U router, totally overkill for just a router? No! Web caching saves a TON of bandwidth, Steam game caching, LDAP / AD DS giving automatic backup instructions to client computers, PiHole and Antivirus, VPN connection for all phones, physically separate (until this machine ofc) network for the WiFi, and more than I could go on to say in this post. This machine is a powerhouse, it runs a Phenom x6, 16gb ram, and a few WD Red drives in LVM raid kinda deal. It works flawlessly and I've only had to replace RAM once a while back once it went 24/7. This machine also handles a lot of routing of my traffic for services on my VPN network, it's also the main server for most of it.

Below you'll see a new machine, Dell 610, it's got dual 8? core procs and the drive bays are filled with samsung 240gb SSDs. Most of these systems were setup before SSDs were below $1/GB... which hurts to think about.

The old Dell 1950 is there below it, I believe at this time it was running, currently only the 610 & Firewall run.


You can see my OG server below it ;), this was when I had it running for less than 15 minutes at a time to take backups, much longer it would shut off for mysterious reasons we now know...







This kind of concludes the blackbox project, it hasn't changed and the software on it is probably nearing so old it might have insecurities (What's Sceptre?), and now adays I don't deploy anything without AES-NI, and neither should you!





If I can double post I'll do that, otherwise later I'll add on about the second garage full of computer parts I got, this time for free!
 

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