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Old 01-29-2021, 03:23 AM   #21
televizora
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

Quote:
Originally Posted by TechGeek View Post
Two words: Small budget.
I need something better, so I'm making do with what I have until I can get funds to do a proper rebuild. Also, I need a web proxy for URL filtering.
.
You can do url filtering using even the most basic mikrotik. Also, proxy filtering leads to the unfamous Certificate warnings. Avoid proxies. Unless you want to install cert of the proxy in the trusted root certs chain on every single device.
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Old 01-29-2021, 05:18 AM   #22
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

Quote:
Originally Posted by brethin View Post
Someone who read all that tell me how it was repurposed?
Still a work in progress. Will be repurposed as a firewall system.


Quote:
Originally Posted by televizora View Post
You can do url filtering using even the most basic mikrotik. Also, proxy filtering leads to the unfamous Certificate warnings. Avoid proxies. Unless you want to install cert of the proxy in the trusted root certs chain on every single device.
Mikrotik's options look promising, but I'd rather have something that I can easily expand, repurpose, and troubleshoot if/when needed. A computer blows up and kills the LAN NIC? Just swap the bad NIC and carry on. System goes flaky? Easily taken apart and there's an abundance of diagnostic tools out there to troubleshoot it. Meanwhile, if something goes wrong with a "turnkey solution"-type product, at the price Mikrotik is selling it at, it's more economical to replace the entire thing, leading to waste.
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Old 01-29-2021, 05:32 AM   #23
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

A little bit more progress on the system yesterday. Trying to write the ISO to a flash drive was a complete failure. Never booted. So I had to break out the trusty old optical disc to get it to boot. Which is where that old, ragged-looking IDE ODD came in handy again.

Hey, it's trying to boot!


But it would kernel panic when trying to mount root. Some Googling determined that is was because KPTI (Kernel Page Tables Isolation) didn't know what the CPU was (likely because it's nearly 17 years old) and intentionally shut the kernel down.


So I had to set a couple of kernel options. I couldn't do it via a USB keyboard as CD Loader doesn't initialize USB drivers this early in the boot process. Cue the trusty Model M:


PS/2 works yet again. Let's try this:


Disabling KPTI works like a charm on this old CPU.


I messed up the WAN/LAN assignments and tried to ^C/^D out of it. The system did nothing for about 30 seconds before crapping all over itself and rebooting. The screen scrolled with text for 10 seconds before abruptly resetting. Oh well, we'll try this again later.
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Old 01-29-2021, 07:08 AM   #24
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

Got a little farther this time around. Hopefully we'll make it through the installation and be able to boot into a working system later today.

LAN/WAN interfaces assigned correctly.


12 minutes later... booted up and ready for installation.


Installing.


There's one thing that just simply cannot be conveyed through pictures. That's waiting on this system to boot or install. Booting took what felt like about 20 minutes from the time I typed 'boot' and pressed Enter to the time I got a login screen. The installation has been running for close to an hour so far with plenty left to go.
Is this just my system or is it a characteristic of FreeBSD?
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Old 01-29-2021, 10:16 AM   #25
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

Quote:
Originally Posted by TechGeek View Post
Mikrotik's options look promising, but I'd rather have something that I can easily expand, repurpose, and troubleshoot if/when needed. A computer blows up and kills the LAN NIC? Just swap the bad NIC and carry on. System goes flaky? Easily taken apart and there's an abundance of diagnostic tools out there to troubleshoot it. Meanwhile, if something goes wrong with a "turnkey solution"-type product, at the price Mikrotik is selling it at, it's more economical to replace the entire thing, leading to waste.
Then I have an advice for you. Don't use a PC that comes with so many complicated IC, which if damaged, whole thing stops working and you must replace the mobo, for example. Why not build it with discrete parts? Separate IC-s on sockets. Or vacuum tubes and relays. I think that it is much more simpler to diagnose vacuum tubes than transistors. If the vacuum tube is not glowing, then it is bad.
The beauty if Mikrotik and other equipment with advanced firmware is that even if one port is malfunctioning, you can just configure other port to perform the task. And if the whole thing is defective or damaged by lighting or etc, then it doesn't matter whether it is dedicated device or general purpose PC.
I use Mikrotiks and offer them for any medium business and I have almost never seen one that just suddenly stopped working without any previous intervention, even the cheaper ones.
It's just that neither you can plug 10-12 LAN cards on a single mobo, nor it is specialized and optimized hardware capable to operate them simultaneously.
Your experience is most welcome here and I find your experiments interesting too, but I will not put 15 year old PC in my server room to use it as a backbone of my infrastructure as a primary router. And if the router stops working, I have backup one. And keep the config files. Just import the config and you are ready to go.

Last edited by televizora; 01-29-2021 at 10:19 AM..
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Old 02-06-2021, 03:04 AM   #26
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

@ TechGeek: you should probably remove that AGP vidoe card and install something more simple, since you don't need fancy capabilites here. By the looks of it, that's either a GeForce 4 TI4400 or TI4600... or maybe FX5800... but I'm betting on GeForce 4. Those actually sell for somewhat high prices, if you want to make a buck on eBay. Or just save it towards a retro 98/XP gamiing rig. For a router/firewall, probably something as basic as Riva TNT/2 or MX400 will do just fine. I find them all the time in older scrapped PCs - great test AGP cards.

Moreover, that GF4 is rated for about 30 Watts TDP... so if you replace it with something more basic like I mentioned above, you'll probably cut about 20 Watts of power draw... which over the course of a year running 24/7 can actually save you a few $$ in electricity.

On that note, Televizora brings a good point: even if electricity is cheap, it will still add up when running 24/7... so @ 10 cents a KWh, do the math how much it will cost you to run it per month and per year. And for the summer, also pitch in a few more cents too, because your aircon will have to "fight" with all those machines to keep your house cool. You might actually find the cost of running that PC may be higher than buying another used machine that is more powerful and more efficient to accomplish what you want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosLegionnaire View Post
also u have bulging teapos on the pci slot above the orange one. better recap those lest the installed pci cards take a dump from the bad caps!!
OMG! I was screaming like a little girl this entire time while reading through the replies, seeing who'd catch this.

You can bet the other non-Japanese caps are probably starting to fail too - just not showing it yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topcat View Post
Didn't even check the caps?
Sorry, what's the name of this forum again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eccerr0r View Post
Just looked at the PSU in my xblade case... oh my deer...
LOL.

In all honesty, though, the more I've been looking at recently-made cheapo PSUs, the more old Deers seem to actually appear half-decent (ave for crap caps, of course... and those very stipped-down versions of Deerl, under the name of L&C, which are terrible crap.)

That said, TechGeek's PSU is an oldschool HiPro 250 Watter with PPFC coil. Those do use crap cap brands, but the caps are so big that they don't seem to get stressed as much and thus still tend to last very long. Most of my 250-Watt HiPro PSUs build before 2006-2007 are still running on their original Teapo and Asiacon caps and in spec too. The newer HiPro PSUs do have problem with Teapo and Ltec caps going bad - those I recommend recapping at this point.

Last edited by momaka; 02-06-2021 at 03:07 AM..
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Old 02-09-2021, 10:12 PM   #27
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

Quote:
Originally Posted by momaka View Post
@ TechGeek: you should probably remove that AGP vidoe card and install something more simple, since you don't need fancy capabilites here. By the looks of it, that's either a GeForce 4 TI4400 or TI4600... or maybe FX5800... but I'm betting on GeForce 4. Those actually sell for somewhat high prices, if you want to make a buck on eBay. Or just save it towards a retro 98/XP gamiing rig. For a router/firewall, probably something as basic as Riva TNT/2 or MX400 will do just fine. I find them all the time in older scrapped PCs - great test AGP cards.

I've no other AGP cards on hand. Just trying to get by with what I've got whilst spending as little money as possible. Maybe I'll snag one of the cards you mentioned when I send this board off for a recap.


Quote:
Originally Posted by momaka View Post
In all honesty, though, the more I've been looking at recently-made cheapo PSUs, the more old Deers seem to actually appear half-decent (ave for crap caps, of course... and those very stipped-down versions of Deerl, under the name of L&C, which are terrible crap.)

That said, TechGeek's PSU is an oldschool HiPro 250 Watter with PPFC coil. Those do use crap cap brands, but the caps are so big that they don't seem to get stressed as much and thus still tend to last very long. Most of my 250-Watt HiPro PSUs build before 2006-2007 are still running on their original Teapo and Asiacon caps and in spec too. The newer HiPro PSUs do have problem with Teapo and Ltec caps going bad - those I recommend recapping at this point.

Those old Dell PSUs are truly something of a different breed. The one here was taken from an old, now-very-long-since-defunct Dell Dimension 2400. Scrapped it because it's PS/2 controller went on the fritz, soon followed by it's integrated NIC. This PSU has been through quite a few things, but it's back in a computer and running happily on ultra-clean power, supplied by an Eaton Powerware 9130 UPS, scored for free from a hospital that was going to throw it out because it's battery pack was shot after 7+ years of use.
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Old 02-09-2021, 10:28 PM   #28
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

Been a little bit since I posted an update here. Been busy configuring the firewall system and getting it settled into it's new place, plus a surprise score. Cue inline pictures.

System in it's cubby hole.


New UPS, stacked on top of the APC Smart-UPS 1000.


UPS has the firewall system and the home network stack on it. Ooo, a real display!


Old firewall system still cold and dark. Will likely power it up one last time to DBAN it's HDD and MemTest the RAM to make sure it's still viable. Will likely pick it apart after that.



Extension cord to network/utility closet:



Network stuff:


Hey, cable management!


Stripped out carcass of the donor battery pack used to keep the Eaton Powerware 9130 alive. Detailed in the next post, which should be tomorrow morning.
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Old 02-10-2021, 06:06 AM   #29
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

Here is the surprise addition to the Tech Room setup, an Eaton Powerware 9130 UPS. It uses double-conversion topology, which is the most exotic of the three common UPS topologies. Retail, I guess that this UPS was over $1000 new, as a comparable model from a supported lineup is more than $1100.

I got this UPS a couple of weeks ago with a completely shot battery pack. I had a known good APC RBC116/7 battery pack with no UPS to go with it. So I stripped it out for it's batteries, 10x 12V/5AH batteries. They were connected in series for a total of 120VDC/50AH. I paired them up in groups of 2, making 5x 24V/10AH packs. This is a little less capacity than the 18AH factory battery pack, but still plenty for what I need.

Jerry-rigged pack attached to UPS, UPS is happily charging the batteries.



Several days later... UPS integrated into the Tech Room setup with firewall system connected to it.


Performing a battery rundown test. IIRC, I did around 4 of these whilst correcting my APCUPSD configuration. The Eaton UPS is able to support the firewall system until it shuts down when the main UPS hits 15% battery charge. Then the Eaton UPS will support the home network stack for a while, either until the power comes back on or until it's battery pack is exhausted and it shuts down.


Another battery rundown test.


Finally, some screenshots of the firewall actually up and passing traffic.



This may be the last post on this thread from me until I send the motherboard in this system off for a recap. I may make another post here when I fully decommission the old firewall system.
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Old 02-10-2021, 06:29 PM   #30
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

Quote:
Originally Posted by TechGeek View Post
I got this UPS a couple of weeks ago with a completely shot battery pack. I had a known good APC RBC116/7 battery pack with no UPS to go with it. So I stripped it out for it's batteries, 10x 12V/5AH batteries. They were connected in series for a total of 120VDC/50AH. I paired them up in groups of 2, making 5x 24V/10AH packs. This is a little less capacity than the 18AH factory battery pack, but still plenty for what I need.
Magic! Please do tell how you do this!



Uh no, sorry. Doesn't work that way sadly.

You can configure 10x 12V 5Ah packs to any one of these configurations (and others)

1x 120V 5Ah pack
5x 24V 5Ah packs
1x 24V 25Ah pack
1x 12V 50Ah pack

A 120V 50Ah pack would require 100x 12v 5Ah packs... and $#*(%)#@! I need 18V for my 1KVA UPS. Been without batteries for years now after the packs die one by one...
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Old 02-10-2021, 08:07 PM   #31
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

Quote:
Originally Posted by eccerr0r View Post
Magic! Please do tell how you do this!



Uh no, sorry. Doesn't work that way sadly.

You can configure 10x 12V 5Ah packs to any one of these configurations (and others)

1x 120V 5Ah pack
5x 24V 5Ah packs
1x 24V 25Ah pack
1x 12V 50Ah pack

A 120V 50Ah pack would require 100x 12v 5Ah packs... and $#*(%)#@! I need 18V for my 1KVA UPS. Been without batteries for years now after the packs die one by one...

1) Have a friendly neighbor who works for a hospital and is able to sneak things out of there. He also got me a Samsung ML-3750ND laser printer (three of the things, actually), some industrial DB-9 cables, the Advantech UNO-3072LA industrial computer, and 2 APC Smart-UPS 1000 (SUA1000) UPSs. One almost burned up a year and a half ago, so I salvaged its transformer, pulled the battery pack, salvaged some internal wiring, and recycled the rest.


2) Ack, had a brain fart. Yep, series = higher voltage, parallel = higher Ah.
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Old 02-11-2021, 12:03 AM   #32
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

Sorry, I don't know why I get so riled up with battery energy capacities. Hope no hard feelings, it's easy to multiply the wrong numbers...

What pisses me off more (I'm sure I posted in the "pisses you off" thread) is specifying capacity by ampere hours without specifying a voltage, but you got the voltages so you get a pass

(BTW quick check on maths: multiply volts*amps*hours to watt*hours. Watt*hours is energy and you can't create energy by connecting batteries in series/parallel so it should always be the same!)
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Old 02-11-2021, 05:19 AM   #33
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

No hard feelings, just "oops, I screwed that post up" in the middle of the day yesterday. Oh well, live and learn. :-)
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Old 02-13-2021, 07:33 PM   #34
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

btw, software support for the Advantech UNO-3072LA? Because it's slow or because it actually doesn't run modern OS?

I'm still using an Asus eeePC 901A (netbook, likewise slow Atom N270)... heh heh heh...
and yes this does still run modern OS, SSE2 and all, just that it doesn't have PCI slots or more disk ports...
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Old 02-13-2021, 08:29 PM   #35
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

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btw, software support for the Advantech UNO-3072LA? Because it's slow or because it actually doesn't run modern OS?

I'm still using an Asus eeePC 901A (netbook, likewise slow Atom N270)... heh heh heh...
and yes this does still run modern OS, SSE2 and all, just that it doesn't have PCI slots or more disk ports...
It has an Intel Atom N270 CPU, which is not 64-bit capable. Retired it because I switched to OPNsense, which requires a 64-bit CPU.
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Old 02-13-2021, 08:32 PM   #36
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

Ah I see. Well still running Gentoo on my netbook, and it's still up to date (rolling release)...
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Old 02-14-2021, 09:55 AM   #37
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

Last night, I went and removed the old firewall system (and it's supporting hardware) from the desk. Cue the mass dump of inline images. We will certainly hit the attachment limit with this one.

Temporarily attached a monitor and keyboard to the system.


Power reapplied for the last time.


Letting it do a full memory count. Takes about 5 minutes with 2GB of RAM.


Booting into IPFire for the last time.


Can't get a carrier if there's no cable.


Last booted 16 days ago. This is the longest this system has ever been powered down in the more than 3 years it's been since it was placed into service.


Rebooted back into the BIOS to disable the password and reset to defaults.


Password disabled...


BIOS reset...


...and powered down for the last time. Also started disconnecting it's supporting hardware. Work lights are on so I can see better.


Firewall system disconnected from power, power supplies disconnected too.


Had to shut the current firewall system down and move it so I could get under the desk enough to dismount the old firewall system.


System removed. Notice the dust. And that janky-looking mess in the back.


Had to cut about a dozen zip-ties to get this out. This is the contraption that supplied power to it. 2 power supplies in parallel (complete with custom power cable) to supply enough current capacity to run it.


Dust blown up top from the fans pushing air across the heatsink.


Let's grab some photos before tearing into it. Here's the backside of it.


Connector side:


Fan side:


Butt end of the system (No, I don't care about the product key, have fun with it):


Fans removed. ICK!


1st fan removed:


2nd fan removed:

Both of those fans are running low on oil and are in need of a serious cleaning.

1st mounting bracket:


More dust.


First look inside in more than a year. What you see there is a very eXpen$ive data acquisition card. This photo taken with the help of 150W of incandescent lighting.


HDD caddy removed.





HDD carrier removed from mounting plate.


And there's the attachment limit. More photos coming right up!
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Old 02-14-2021, 12:18 PM   #38
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

Continuing with pictures.

HDD removed from carrier.



Removed the top cover. I personally think that this is beautiful.



A top-down view, assisted by 150W of incandescent lighting.


Removed the data acquisition card.



Motherboard removed. It's attached to the side of the case that had the fans on it, which kept this system at near room temperature. It's a major pain in the butt to remove and install, thanks to less-than-optimal design on Advantech's end.


Here's what's left in the case.


CMOS battery removed. Also, here's a couple of internal USB ports, which I find rather interesting.


Motherboard removed. Nothing like a heavy chunk of machined aluminum. Notice all of the silpads that heatsink the motherboard to the side of the case. It gets its power through the PCI riser board, which also doubles as a power supply.


And yes, that's a removable RAM/CPU/NB/SB card. It interfaces to the motherboard with 2 400-pin connectors.


2GB DDR2 removed.



CPU card removed. HUGE amount of SMD componetry here.



Power supply/PCI riser board. All Japanese capacitors here of Nippon Chemi-Con descent.



Buck/boost regulators. Heatsinked to the case through this heatsink.


Buttoned back up, sans CMOS battery, RAM, and HDD. One last look inside before it's closed up for the last time.


Closed up. Will be wiping it's HDD soon and cleaning the dust off of it.


And that officially concludes the service life of this old system.
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Old 02-14-2021, 01:18 PM   #39
eccerr0r
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

What kinds of network throughputs were you getting with the N270?

Found that my P4-3400 and probably that A64-3500+ are considerably faster than the N270, though if the N270 remains to be "fast enough" it will continue to be used... Alas my N270 can't get more bus connected ethernet ports...
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Old 02-14-2021, 01:26 PM   #40
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Default Re: Repurposing a 2004 Athlon 64 system in 2021

Quote:
Originally Posted by eccerr0r View Post
What kinds of network throughputs were you getting with the N270?

Found that my P4-3400 and probably that A64-3500+ are considerably faster than the N270, though if the N270 remains to be "fast enough" it will continue to be used... Alas my N270 can't get more bus connected ethernet ports...
Whatever our Internet speed happens to be at that point in time. We're out in the boondocks and have fixed wireless service, so speeds vary.
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