The Geekly Guy

This blog contains information regarding all things Linux, although any computer technology subject matter fits within the realm of this blog.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

OpenBSD on a P200mmx! It's Relatively Strong!

I needed an extra box but don't really have the money to go out and get the items I need, such as a system case, a CPU, or memory. I've many odds and ends to make a system but the mix of parts span a generation or two in components, such as, I've a few AT motherboards but no AT cases (well, I have one), yet those systems need SIMM memory, which I have but not in abundance...those motherboards only accept the Pentium I generation of CPUs. I've two Pentium II CPUs but the motherboards I have are burned out (I'm in the process of throwing them away), which means I have to buy motherboards to use these CPUs. I've no cases that will hold those CPUs and motherboards either. I've RAM for them though, as they all use P100-P133 RAM. I've one CPU that is an Athlon XP2000+ but no motherboard to use with it. I've a motherboard that has a Pentium 1.4Ghz CPU and 128MB of RAM but that RAM is RAMBUS, which means that it'll be expensive to get more RAM for it...this system also lacks a case and a retention clip for its heatsink.

What's a fellow to do? I could sell all of this on, but it may not be worth my time and effort to catalog these items for selling. I could just catalog them and put them on so that someone locally could come and get whatever they need. I could also just put everything in a box and take the stuff to a local LUG, but I know some of this stuff I may need or want.

Hell, I've already pieced together a functional P200 box and threw OpenBSD on it (it flies, BTW). The motherboard had 64MB of SIMM RAM in it and was working fine, but I also had 192MB of DRAM in my bin, so I swapped out the SIMMs for DRAM...the box didn't complain. I was thinking of using this box as a router and retiring my Linksys unit for a while but I've only one PCI port left on the box and I need at least one more NIC in this system (there's already one NIC in one PCI slot already). The mobo does have 3 unused ISA slots though, but I don't have an ISA NIC. I may have to evaluate what cards are in the box and what one(s) I don't need. I suppose I could (and should) pull the PCI graphics card (an old 4MB S3 Virge), as I'll be shelling into that box and plan on running everything via CLI.

I also plan on going to CompUSA or Microcenter and finding a good but cheap case for that 1.4GHz/RAMBUS system. If I can get that running, I can use that as a router instead, or use it as my exploit box.

Decisions, decisions.

I'm very happy with OpenBSD though. I spent a night after work installing the mobo into the AT case and trying to scrounge for old hardware...I didn't get to sleep until 12AM that night. The next night (last night), I powered up the system to check to see if I got the hardware installed right (I did). I then proceeded to install OpenBSD 3.8, which was totally CLI-oriented. I had to access the OpenBSD install docs on to understand WTF I was doing but by 1AM, I had a functional system. I was so excited, I couldn't sleep! What's really cool about this system is that it is very quiet (it has no CPU fan and the power supply doesn't sound like a vacuum cleaner). The lack of CPU power showed though, as when installing OpenBSD and creating user accounts, the install forces SSH key pairs to be generated. It took forever for the system to generate a key pair, which made me wonder what size of crypto keys it had generated (which I'll report as soon as I find the answer myself).

Anyways, the last few nights were fascinating for me. I shall have to make more attempts to build fresh systems from my mix of parts.

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