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What should I do with my Dimension 2400?

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January 13, 2010 7:14:42 PM

I recently recieved a Dimension 2400 for free. A family member's business had depreciated it and offered it to him and he gave it to me because the HDD failed. I was planning on getting a PCI internal SATA card and replacing the HDD with a SATA drive. Which one I really don't know yet. (Newegg reviews make it seem as if none are reliable anymore) I am currently a Networking student and I'm kinda lookin to make this into a personal project. Is there anything else anyone can think of to use this thing as that might be of some use? The only thing that comes to mind is to make it a home network data center although it can only hold 2 3.5" drives. Could I use it as a proxy server?

Some specs:
200W PSU
2.4ghz Celeron
1GB PC2700 RAM (2GB max)
3 PCI

For more detailed specs click here.

As a sidenote I wouldn't mind putting some money into this thing if the benefit is good enough.

More about : dimension 2400

January 16, 2010 2:08:47 AM

Only by treating it as a hobby project can you justify putting any money into it. On a practical level, you would be miles ahead by saving the money and using it to by a cheap $300 - 350 pc on sale at a local computer store or picking up something cheap - but much later model on eBay.

Do you have the OS disc so you can reload it on another drive? What OS do you hve?


It might work as a cheap data server - in which case I would just an ATA drive for it - it is almost as fast as SATA 1.0 and I doubt the controller will be fast enough to use the speeds of SATA 2.0 or the newer HDs.
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January 16, 2010 8:13:39 PM

rockyjohn said:
Only by treating it as a hobby project can you justify putting any money into it. On a practical level, you would be miles ahead by saving the money and using it to by a cheap $300 - 350 pc on sale at a local computer store or picking up something cheap - but much later model on eBay.

Do you have the OS disc so you can reload it on another drive? What OS do you hve?


It might work as a cheap data server - in which case I would just an ATA drive for it - it is almost as fast as SATA 1.0 and I doubt the controller will be fast enough to use the speeds of SATA 2.0 or the newer HDs.



I don't currently have an OS on it because the HDD is broken, nor do I have a OS cd; however, I can get nearly any mainstream OS for free or some large discount through school. On hand all I have is a Linux Ubuntu CD. I'm completely open to suggestions on an OS.

I'm wanting to basically replace the HDD but I'd like to be cost efficient as well as using a reliable HDD with a decent amount of storage. (Enough to store movies and music.) If I could I'd like to turn it into an HD Media center but that would definately require using a PCI video card which I've heard really don't benefit HD/streaming video. I wouldn't mind putting b/w 75-100 dollars into this PC to make it serve a purpose. Additionally with something like a SATA drive if I could get by with it to store the O.S. on w/o the speed benefit of the newer technology for a little while and eventually use it on a future project (Diablo 3 gaming PC) I wouldn't mind buying a HDD as well as putting 75-100 dollars into it.

That being said would the rest of the hardware in this thing (processor, chipset, RAM) be enough to make it a respectable media pc? Would a 200w PSU limitation not enable me to upgrade it enough to use it as a media center?

In the way of a network storage area (is that considered a NAS?) what kindof OS would you suggest? What would you see necessary to upgrade/do to make it a legitimate data storage center?

Also is there any other fun/interesting/useful projects anybody can consider for this PC?
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January 16, 2010 9:19:41 PM

Again, any money put into this should be just considered hobby money, to serve no practical purpose but the fun of play. It is not practical to upgrade since so many things would need to change - as a minimum the processor, psu, memory, and HD just to get a good basic system - before even considering a graphics card - and you will have spent almost as much as buying a faster, cheap new system.

Yes, if you choose to make it a data server and attach it to a network it becomes NAS. What O/S? Just about any - but with the limited speed and memory I would not go more recent then XP. Linux would be a good option. But with the limits of the system, you are probably miles ahead just to insert another HD in any other computer attached to the network and using that as a data server.

If you want to make it into a media center PC you really need to upgrade the psu, mobo, cpu, and memory and add a basic video card (unless mobo has good onboard graphics ) - in addition of course to the HD and OS. And you have not said if the DVD drive is adequate - maybe that to. Leaving the only original equipment the case.
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February 17, 2010 5:39:41 PM

I have a Dell Dimension 2400 that I'm now configuring as a file server... This thing was rediculously slow in Windows, even when new, but is blazingly fast in Linux (Ubuntu Server + Gnome). I have replaced my 40G hard drive with a 160G drive for the OS and added a 1G memory card to add to the original 256M one. I also have a 1Tb SATA drive, and purchased a SATA PCI card, but couldn't get this to work either in Windows or in Linux. I ordered a PATA -> SATA adapter from NewEgg which should be coming in soon. The BIOS should recognize the adapter as a standard parallel ATA interface, and I'm hoping this will work.

My ultimate goal for this is to be a central data repository for all the computers in the house (5 Windows/Linux) and do automatic nightly backups to an external NAS hard drive. I also want to locate this server near the TV and have it serve up video and audio as well. Already, I can connect to it with my netbook (also Ubuntu) and stream video quite nicely.

I did some DV -> MPEG2 video conversions with this machine last night, and it was 50% faster than my Dell 8250 doing the same task in Windows.
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February 17, 2010 11:59:34 PM

Ya I just put Ubuntu on it. I use it stricktly for school. No other real use for it. Helps keep a lot of my work really neat and orderly tho.
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February 20, 2010 2:05:38 AM

It worked! This is the adapter that I purchased, and it worked immediately. My Dell Dimension 2400 fileserver now has a 1 TB SATA internal drive.
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March 9, 2010 2:12:14 PM

Are the read/write speeds on the drive as good as if you used a native SATA connection? Could you run some/a benchmark(s)? I would really like to go the route of 2 2tb drives in this thing as a file server.
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March 9, 2010 2:19:55 PM

Any benchmark applications that I can run in Linux? It seems fast, but I can't tell for sure.
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March 10, 2010 12:43:38 AM

Sorry man not that I can recommend at the moment. I just recently started using Linux. I can ask at school on Thursday though.
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September 12, 2012 6:28:34 AM

I personally am using my own Dimension 2400 as a Squeezebox server. Does the job quite well with a 512MB stick of RAM. Running Debian and Logitech Media Server to serve apps like Pandora and what not to a Squeezebox in my living room. The thing's pretty quiet and has a relatively low power draw, which is quite nice for my own peace of mind. It did take quite a bit of configuration to get working, so it's certainly not for the faint of heart; however, if you're down for learning about Debian bootscripts, configuration with wpa_supplicant, and compiling things from source (as a networking student should), I'd be glad to follow up with my procedures.

The one thing I'm trying to figure out is how to get audio working so I can have an instance of Squeezeslave running on it at the same time (basically making it a self-contained Squeezebox server *and* player). I'll be sure to update y'all on whether I find a solution to that.
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