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AshleyAshes

The eMachines eMonster 500a Restoration And Modernization

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Posted · Original PosterOP

#NeverObsolete :)

 

Christmas 1999, I had recently discovered basic A-B video editing by using two VCRs and a CD player to make The Simpsons music videos to Weird Al.  I then discovered that I could actually put video into a computer and edit it that way, I just needed one magic piece of hardware: A Video Capture Card.  I wanted that for Christmas.  The wallpaper for the ATi All In Wonder 128 became our wallpaper on or Pentium II 200 machine.  I loved tinkering with A/V stuff and I thought this would be a game changer.  I didn't understand that our Pentium II wasn't even really up to the task and so I couldn't simply get the AIW128 for Christmas and have at it.  So what was under the tree that Christmas morning?  An All In Wonder 128 for sure but also an eMachines eMonster 500a 'The Worlds Best Gaming Machine!' the stickers on the front said.  (They lied.)  In my eyes however, this thing was a super computer.  Coppermine Intel Pentium III at 500mhz.  64MB of RAM.  13GB hard drive.  8X DVD-ROM drive.  It shipped with an ATi Xpert 128, which was the same Rage 128 chip in my AIW128, my card just came with the giant analog tuner hardware and VIVO hardware.  This thing did everything I could ever want it to do at the time.  This is the computer that got me into doing Anime Music Videos.  Playing with VCD, SVCD, and DVD authoring.  This was the machine that I ran my first torrent on.  This was the machine I watched my first anime fansub on.  This computer played my games because we didn't have a console.  This computer let me run countless hours of Half-Life, which I explored every inch oflike a kid who had found an abandoned building, it was my escape into while my dysfunctional family melted down at the time.  This wasn't 'my first computer' but it was 'The first computer that was mine' and for four years it served me faithfully.  This computer is why I now work in the film industry doing visual effects and stereo conversion.  All it it started from this little eMachine.  ...Naturally I put it right into the trash when I got my Athlon XP 2500+ because I'm an idiot.

 

Good thing I make real money now, I can spend it on all the nostalgia that I want! :D  December 2016 I said to myself 'I could hunt down, rebuild and get this thing going again as a modern PC.  If I don't do it soon, I'll never find the external components if I wait much longer.  For 2017 I would get my eMachine back.  The challenge is I didn't want 'Some eMachine', or 'Some Pentium III'. I wanted a box that had all of those classic stickers and the words 'eMonster 500a' on the front, even if I planned to entirely modernize the internals.  I succeeded.

 

emachine.jpg

 

 

The Treasure Hunt.

 

I did a lot of searching for an eMosnter 500a but never quite found it, I had some hits for an eMonster 600 but it was damaged and well over priced.  I needed that front 'Gem' and the stickers, they were the most important aspect.  Finally in a Google search I find an 8 month old Reddit thread of someone selling an eMonster 500a along with a big hoard of other old, unremarkable PC parts.  I messaged him.  Two weeks later he still hasn't answered my message.  ...So then I stalked him with Google, like any healthy individual would do.  I find his Steam account, send a friend request and go to bed.  By morning it was accepted and I'm like 'HI I WANNA BUY YOU'RE EMONSTER I HAVE MONEY'.  He rid of it, some of it, he trashed the case but he kept the face plate.  I can can work with that, countless eMachines used the same case, they just had different 'gems' in the front and stickers.  Shut up and take my money.

 

$74.20 CAD for this:

emachine2.jpg

 

Not enough!  We need a case!  The optical drive that matched the face plate!  The missing front port cover!  Off to eBay for an eTower 566ix for donor parts.  Found one with the CD-ROM and original floppy drive.  (Close, but I need the DVD-ROM, it'll do for now)  $171.77 CAD after shipping from eBay.  ...Yes, I paid $171 for a Celeron 566.

emachine3.jpg

 

 

Finally the case was missing the HDD caddy, it's a piece of steel that holds the main system drive vertically against the front inside of the case.  Somehow a UK PC parts store had it as reclaimed stock.  $27.40 to have it shipped to Canada.  If you're keeping count, I've now paid $273.37 CAD all in for what, let's not deny, subtract the 'Nostalgia Value' and it's 'Just come crappy old mATX case with an SFX PSU mount and no place to mount a ventilation fan'.

 

So, the build!  This is not going to be like your typical build that starts off with the shiney case and then the CPU/Mobo/GPU combination.  While I have selected the case I have not chosen any main system components yet.  They will be the last stage but they will be Kaby Lake or Ryzen, TDPs are a major concern.  But where would the fun be if I just stuck a modern mATX board in and called it a day?  I am going to make this thing complete.

 

First, the face plate.  Scroll back up and you can see that the stickers are damaged and faded.  This weekend I will be covering the efforts to take high resolution images of the original stickers, vectorize them carefully in Adobe Illustrator and then reproduce fresh new stickers with the aid of a professional printing shop that I've previously used to print artwork for arcade controllers I've built.  Those stickers are pure late 90's PC cheese and they are mandatory.

 

Second, the optical drive.  This Samsung CD-ROM drive will have it's faceplate removed and we'll be installing a modern, beige DVDRW drive that runs on the SATA Bus.  There will be some physical modifications necessary to affix the old faceplate to the incompatible new optical drive.

emachine4.jpg

 

 

Next up, the floppy drive.  Oh yes, we are going to make the floppy drive work.  This will likely involve some kind of FDE to USB adaptor.  Mark my words, this fully operational Windows 10 PC, will read 1.44" floppy discs.

 

emachines5.jpg

 

 

But wait!  There's more!  How could you tell this machine was made for serious gaming?  It had a USB 1.1 port as well as a GamePort right on the very front.  Like it was some kind of gaming console!  I will be installing a USB3.0 port instead but also a GamePort to USB adapter.  Sadly, Windows has long dropped native support for the GamePort so only an adapter that can convert it to a dumb USB gamepad will work but it will be installed internally so that from the outside, old GamePads and JoySticks can be plugged in and used in modern games.  However this will not offer full compatibility with some later era devices or with MIDI.  This stage will involve some wiring and the usage of a drill press for modifications.

 

emachine6.jpg

 

 

The power supply.  Okay, this old SFX PSU running at 120w and lacking even the necessary connectors for modern hardware obviously won't work it.  Thankfully it's just an SFX PSU so this will mount a modern SFX PSU just as well.  The Corsair SF450 has been selected to go in.

 

emachine7.jpg

 

 

Now, I said that the final main PC components have not been decided but I will be dropping in temporary components while I do testing.  I'll be using an ASUS F1A75-M PRO motherboard and an AMD A8-3870K as the testing hardware.  Basically, I have these sitting around so they'll let me ensure that all modernization and adapters actually -work- before I commit to a final motherboard and CPU.  The final hardware needs some serious considerations since TDP is a big concern with this machine.  I may be looking at drilling holes in the bottom to allow additional intake fans to cool the CPU and GPU.  Even with additional vents, this will be a very TDP conscious build to ensure that it can run fully closed up.  In short, 1999 on the outside, 2017 on the inside. 

 

Finally, a last shot of the stripped down chassis so you can tell what I'm working with here for the winter and spring. :)  Open to any comments or suggestions.

 

emachine8.jpg

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eMachine's "Never Obsolete"...if that only happened for current pre-builts now...

I have like 2 eMachine cases just lying around, I find them great to use as a case...


CPU: Intel i7-7700K 5.2GHZ delidded | GPU: MSI GTX 980 Ti Lightning 1475, 1924 | Motherboard: Asus Z170-Deluxe | Cooler: Corsair H100i

RAM: 2x8GB G.Skill TridentZ 3333MHZ 15-15-15-34-2N | Storage: 2X Samsung 850 EVO 250GB, Western Digital 1TB Blue, Seagate Desktop 4TB, Intel 730 240GB | PSU: EVGA G2 850W 

Case: Corsair 750D | Keyboard: Logitech G710 (Blues) | Mouse: Logitech G502 | Monitor: Dell U2515H

FS: https://www.3dmark.com/fs/13942636

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/fMMBwV

Previous cards owned: HD 5830, HD 7850, R9 270X, RX 470, R9 Fury, GTX 580

       

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Posted · Original PosterOP

This project won't exactly go super fast.  I'm working 60hr weeks for a deadline for the next 3-5 weeks (I lie, it'll probs become 72hr weeks in a week or two).  Just been ordering odds and ends.  For the sake of testing the GamePort a Gravis GamePad and GamePad Pro have been ordered.  But right now I'm working on the external apperance, between this week and last week I was doing that.

 

The first thing I did was take a perfect top down 18 megapixel photo of the main label and then spent some time identifying the original fonts. ITC Officina Sans turned out to be used for most text as well as being the main font in the eMachines logo as well.  The digits were done using FF Meta, which was used even in disclaimer boiler plate text, so I had to switch font to font depending on what characters were used.  I was never able to identify the fonts used in 'eMONSTER' and they are likely an original graphic design rather than a chosen font.  They were traced along with everything else.

 

Before:

big sticker.jpg

 

After, fully vectorized and ready to be printed up fresh at a print shop:

eMachines Restored Label.png

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12 minutes ago, AshleyAshes said:

 

eMachines Restored Label.png

that graphic looks awesome xD If you take this to LANs I would love to hear about the looks that it gets


Use this guide to fix text problems in your postGo here and here for all your power supply needs

 

New Build Currently Under Construction! See here!!!! -----> 

 

Spoiler

Deathwatch:[CPU I7 4790K @ 4.5GHz][RAM TEAM VULCAN 16 GB 1600][MB ASRock Z97 Anniversary][GPU XFX Radeon RX 480 8GB][STORAGE 250GB SAMSUNG EVO SSD Samsung 2TB HDD 2TB WD External Drive][COOLER Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo][PSU Cooler Master 650M][Case Thermaltake Core V31]

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Cupid:[CPU Core 2 Duo E8600 3.33GHz][RAM 3 GB DDR2][750GB Samsung 2.5" HDD/HDD Seagate 80GB SATA/Samsung 80GB IDE/WD 325GB IDE][MB Acer M1641][CASE Antec][[PSU Altec 425 Watt][GPU Radeon HD 4890 1GB][TP-Link 54MBps Wireless Card]

Spoiler

Carlile: [CPU 2x Pentium 3 1.4GHz][MB ASUS TR-DLS][RAM 2x 512MB DDR ECC Registered][GPU Nvidia TNT2 Pro][PSU Enermax][HDD 1 IDE 160GB, 4 SCSI 70GB][RAID CARD Dell Perc 3]

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Zeonnight [CPU AMD Athlon x2 4400][GPU Sapphire Radeon 4650 1GB][RAM 2GB DDR2]

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Server [CPU 2x Xeon L5630][PSU Dell Poweredge 850w][HDD 1 SATA 160GB, 3 SAS 146GB][RAID CARD Dell Perc 6i]

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Kero [CPU Pentium 1 133Mhz] [GPU Cirrus Logic LCD 1MB Graphics Controller] [Ram 48MB ][HDD 1.4GB Hitachi IDE]

RAINBOWS!!!

 

 QUOTE ME SO I CAN SEE YOUR REPLYS!!!!

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Posted · Original PosterOP
5 minutes ago, 8uhbbhu8 said:

that graphic looks awesome xD If you take this to LANs I would love to hear about the looks that it gets

It'll be interesting to walk in with a beige PC at all, I'm sure the stickers will draw some attention from anyone who decides to take a close look.

 

*Sigh*  Two more stickers to vectorize, but this was the worst of them by far and now I know what fonts I'm using.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

And now I finished the second sticker which features the famous 'Never Obsolete' slogan to pitch the eMachines Network.  It was a lot faster since it was less graphics, less text, and all fonts were already researched.  I also realized that I was using in correct color in teh last time.  Researching photos, it seems that what I thought was faded yellow was in fact badly faded orange.  So any instances of yellow will be orange now.

 

never orig.jpg

 

Never Obsolete.png

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46 minutes ago, AshleyAshes said:

And now I finished the second sticker which features the famous 'Never Obsolete' slogan to pitch the eMachines Network.  It was a lot faster since it was less graphics, less text, and all fonts were already researched.  I also realized that I was using in correct color in teh last time.  Researching photos, it seems that what I thought was faded yellow was in fact badly faded orange.  So any instances of yellow will be orange now.

 

never orig.jpg

 

Never Obsolete.png

You don't have "Some restrictions apply" on your vector remake.

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Hmm. I think I would leave the stickers as you have redrawn them, only put a modern spin on them and put the specs of the machine, rather than the old crap. I know it's sort of giving the game away but I just think it would look better.


99% of the build logs on LTT give my mouse scroll wheel a perfect workout.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
5 hours ago, AlienALX said:

Hmm. I think I would leave the stickers as you have redrawn them, only put a modern spin on them and put the specs of the machine, rather than the old crap. I know it's sort of giving the game away but I just think it would look better.

No, I'm def going to go with stickers that replicate the original 'old crap' as you put it.  This is a restoration project so I want it looking mint on the outside.  However an option is to get an alternate set done with stick-able vinyl that can then harmlessly go atop the permanent stickers and be removed easily.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

And that would be the last graphic to reproduce. :)  So next stop for these will be a print shop after I triple check my colors.

 

In addition, the Corsair SF450 is ordered however it will also need some modification.  Namely, it's the wrong color on the back.  If I put a black PSU in a silver case, when you see it from the rear you'll see the black PSU vent on the otherwise dull silver case.  So the SF450 will be disassembled and it's exhaust grille will be repainted with a metallic grey paint and reassembled.

 

DVD.pngDVD Vector.png

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8 hours ago, AshleyAshes said:

 

Ah, ha, ha, hah!  Who's your Mama, Rivet!?

 

 

hehehe DIE!!! Although this reminds me I need to do some derivetting of my own.... yay proprietary cases!!


Use this guide to fix text problems in your postGo here and here for all your power supply needs

 

New Build Currently Under Construction! See here!!!! -----> 

 

Spoiler

Deathwatch:[CPU I7 4790K @ 4.5GHz][RAM TEAM VULCAN 16 GB 1600][MB ASRock Z97 Anniversary][GPU XFX Radeon RX 480 8GB][STORAGE 250GB SAMSUNG EVO SSD Samsung 2TB HDD 2TB WD External Drive][COOLER Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo][PSU Cooler Master 650M][Case Thermaltake Core V31]

Spoiler

Cupid:[CPU Core 2 Duo E8600 3.33GHz][RAM 3 GB DDR2][750GB Samsung 2.5" HDD/HDD Seagate 80GB SATA/Samsung 80GB IDE/WD 325GB IDE][MB Acer M1641][CASE Antec][[PSU Altec 425 Watt][GPU Radeon HD 4890 1GB][TP-Link 54MBps Wireless Card]

Spoiler

Carlile: [CPU 2x Pentium 3 1.4GHz][MB ASUS TR-DLS][RAM 2x 512MB DDR ECC Registered][GPU Nvidia TNT2 Pro][PSU Enermax][HDD 1 IDE 160GB, 4 SCSI 70GB][RAID CARD Dell Perc 3]

Spoiler

Zeonnight [CPU AMD Athlon x2 4400][GPU Sapphire Radeon 4650 1GB][RAM 2GB DDR2]

Spoiler

Server [CPU 2x Xeon L5630][PSU Dell Poweredge 850w][HDD 1 SATA 160GB, 3 SAS 146GB][RAID CARD Dell Perc 6i]

Spoiler

Kero [CPU Pentium 1 133Mhz] [GPU Cirrus Logic LCD 1MB Graphics Controller] [Ram 48MB ][HDD 1.4GB Hitachi IDE]

RAINBOWS!!!

 

 QUOTE ME SO I CAN SEE YOUR REPLYS!!!!

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Posted · Original PosterOP

For the eMachine to be stealth I had to hide the black paint on the SF450 power supply.  So I partially disassembled it, sanded the backside, and spray painted it with Rust-Oleum Cold Galvanizing Compound to best match the galvanized steel of the case.  The power board could not be removed so some careful masking was done and nothing caught fire!  It's now camouflaged from the rear but I think Corsair may take issue if I ever try to make a warranty claim.

 

IMG_20170218_163231.jpgIMG_20170218_163516.jpgIMG_20170218_190202.jpgIMG_20170218_190524.jpg

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2 minutes ago, Bleedingyamato said:

Where is this that you had access to that large drill?    

 

 

It reminds me of one in my middle school shop class.  🤔 

Thats just a basic shop drill press xD You can get them for less then $150 :P


Use this guide to fix text problems in your postGo here and here for all your power supply needs

 

New Build Currently Under Construction! See here!!!! -----> 

 

Spoiler

Deathwatch:[CPU I7 4790K @ 4.5GHz][RAM TEAM VULCAN 16 GB 1600][MB ASRock Z97 Anniversary][GPU XFX Radeon RX 480 8GB][STORAGE 250GB SAMSUNG EVO SSD Samsung 2TB HDD 2TB WD External Drive][COOLER Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo][PSU Cooler Master 650M][Case Thermaltake Core V31]

Spoiler

Cupid:[CPU Core 2 Duo E8600 3.33GHz][RAM 3 GB DDR2][750GB Samsung 2.5" HDD/HDD Seagate 80GB SATA/Samsung 80GB IDE/WD 325GB IDE][MB Acer M1641][CASE Antec][[PSU Altec 425 Watt][GPU Radeon HD 4890 1GB][TP-Link 54MBps Wireless Card]

Spoiler

Carlile: [CPU 2x Pentium 3 1.4GHz][MB ASUS TR-DLS][RAM 2x 512MB DDR ECC Registered][GPU Nvidia TNT2 Pro][PSU Enermax][HDD 1 IDE 160GB, 4 SCSI 70GB][RAID CARD Dell Perc 3]

Spoiler

Zeonnight [CPU AMD Athlon x2 4400][GPU Sapphire Radeon 4650 1GB][RAM 2GB DDR2]

Spoiler

Server [CPU 2x Xeon L5630][PSU Dell Poweredge 850w][HDD 1 SATA 160GB, 3 SAS 146GB][RAID CARD Dell Perc 6i]

Spoiler

Kero [CPU Pentium 1 133Mhz] [GPU Cirrus Logic LCD 1MB Graphics Controller] [Ram 48MB ][HDD 1.4GB Hitachi IDE]

RAINBOWS!!!

 

 QUOTE ME SO I CAN SEE YOUR REPLYS!!!!

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1 minute ago, 8uhbbhu8 said:

Thats just a basic shop drill press xD You can get them for less then $150 :P

Most people don't have them in their home though.  Especially if op lives in an apartment I wouldn't think there'd be space to have one there.  

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2 minutes ago, Bleedingyamato said:

Most people don't have them in their home though.  Especially if op lives in an apartment I wouldn't think there'd be space to have one there.  

True lol Must just be the area I live in every couple houses someone has one xD We have a full size shop connected to our garage thats easily a quarter the size of the house lol


Use this guide to fix text problems in your postGo here and here for all your power supply needs

 

New Build Currently Under Construction! See here!!!! -----> 

 

Spoiler

Deathwatch:[CPU I7 4790K @ 4.5GHz][RAM TEAM VULCAN 16 GB 1600][MB ASRock Z97 Anniversary][GPU XFX Radeon RX 480 8GB][STORAGE 250GB SAMSUNG EVO SSD Samsung 2TB HDD 2TB WD External Drive][COOLER Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo][PSU Cooler Master 650M][Case Thermaltake Core V31]

Spoiler

Cupid:[CPU Core 2 Duo E8600 3.33GHz][RAM 3 GB DDR2][750GB Samsung 2.5" HDD/HDD Seagate 80GB SATA/Samsung 80GB IDE/WD 325GB IDE][MB Acer M1641][CASE Antec][[PSU Altec 425 Watt][GPU Radeon HD 4890 1GB][TP-Link 54MBps Wireless Card]

Spoiler

Carlile: [CPU 2x Pentium 3 1.4GHz][MB ASUS TR-DLS][RAM 2x 512MB DDR ECC Registered][GPU Nvidia TNT2 Pro][PSU Enermax][HDD 1 IDE 160GB, 4 SCSI 70GB][RAID CARD Dell Perc 3]

Spoiler

Zeonnight [CPU AMD Athlon x2 4400][GPU Sapphire Radeon 4650 1GB][RAM 2GB DDR2]

Spoiler

Server [CPU 2x Xeon L5630][PSU Dell Poweredge 850w][HDD 1 SATA 160GB, 3 SAS 146GB][RAID CARD Dell Perc 6i]

Spoiler

Kero [CPU Pentium 1 133Mhz] [GPU Cirrus Logic LCD 1MB Graphics Controller] [Ram 48MB ][HDD 1.4GB Hitachi IDE]

RAINBOWS!!!

 

 QUOTE ME SO I CAN SEE YOUR REPLYS!!!!

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2 minutes ago, 8uhbbhu8 said:

True lol Must just be the area I live in every couple houses someone has one xD We have a full size shop connected to our garage thats easily a quarter the size of the house lol

Maybe?  lol

 

I think my uncle has one in his garage.  But then he's one of those crafty outdoorsy types who does cool things like made his own wood canoe.  It might've been a kit but even if it was he did all the work himself.  I was very impressed. 

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28 minutes ago, AshleyAshes said:

 

I'm actually using a local hacklab. :)

 

https://hacklab.to/about/

That's really cool.    It's really nice there's a place where people can hang out and be able to use all that stuff that they might have a use for but otherwise no easy way to have access to. 

 

So many awesome things I don't know how to use.  😅

 

 

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5 hours ago, AshleyAshes said:

 

I'm actually using a local hacklab. :)

 

https://hacklab.to/about/

Never heard of them before now.... Cooolllll!!!!! I want one near me now!:P


Use this guide to fix text problems in your postGo here and here for all your power supply needs

 

New Build Currently Under Construction! See here!!!! -----> 

 

Spoiler

Deathwatch:[CPU I7 4790K @ 4.5GHz][RAM TEAM VULCAN 16 GB 1600][MB ASRock Z97 Anniversary][GPU XFX Radeon RX 480 8GB][STORAGE 250GB SAMSUNG EVO SSD Samsung 2TB HDD 2TB WD External Drive][COOLER Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo][PSU Cooler Master 650M][Case Thermaltake Core V31]

Spoiler

Cupid:[CPU Core 2 Duo E8600 3.33GHz][RAM 3 GB DDR2][750GB Samsung 2.5" HDD/HDD Seagate 80GB SATA/Samsung 80GB IDE/WD 325GB IDE][MB Acer M1641][CASE Antec][[PSU Altec 425 Watt][GPU Radeon HD 4890 1GB][TP-Link 54MBps Wireless Card]

Spoiler

Carlile: [CPU 2x Pentium 3 1.4GHz][MB ASUS TR-DLS][RAM 2x 512MB DDR ECC Registered][GPU Nvidia TNT2 Pro][PSU Enermax][HDD 1 IDE 160GB, 4 SCSI 70GB][RAID CARD Dell Perc 3]

Spoiler

Zeonnight [CPU AMD Athlon x2 4400][GPU Sapphire Radeon 4650 1GB][RAM 2GB DDR2]

Spoiler

Server [CPU 2x Xeon L5630][PSU Dell Poweredge 850w][HDD 1 SATA 160GB, 3 SAS 146GB][RAID CARD Dell Perc 6i]

Spoiler

Kero [CPU Pentium 1 133Mhz] [GPU Cirrus Logic LCD 1MB Graphics Controller] [Ram 48MB ][HDD 1.4GB Hitachi IDE]

RAINBOWS!!!

 

 QUOTE ME SO I CAN SEE YOUR REPLYS!!!!

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