Young Hams Improvised and Built Computers

‏A bit of a contrast between these two pictures and specifications:

KC9FVR’s Feb 2021 Computer Build

The contemporary build is a “production machine” build Winston KC9FVR is building to help his work-from-home experience.

  • A very nice case (“Be Quiet” is noted for cooling management without fan noise.
  • A 12-core/24-thread 3.7 gHz (4.8 gHz boosted) processor.
  • Dedicated coolers.
  • MSI Meg X570 Motherboard.
  • A couple 1TB SSD drives.
  • 32 GB of fast RAM (for a start)
  • Big nice graphics card.
  • and so on…

KC9FVR, KC9JGD and KC9NWB’s circa 2005 Improvised Computer

Quite a contrast to the improvised machine he and his brothers Thomas KC9JGD and Victor KC9NWB assembled secretly roughly 15 years earlier.

  • VIA C-3 single core at 900 Mhz
  • A salvaged no-name motherboard
  • A 3 GB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • 256 MB of Ram
  • A VGA to NTSC Video Adapter
  • A Root Beer Soda Box for a “case”
  • and not much more….

The back story on the cardboard box computer was that I said no more computers in the house, as homework was suffering. At least that was the official line I put out.

To my private pleasure and displayed dismay when I had to be seen keeping up the parental unified front, the youngsters salvaged, horse-traded and Macgyvered themselves another machine.

From my email to friends back in the day:

“When I told my boys they could not have another computer they built
this – 900 MHz VIA C-3 , 3 Gig HD, 256 MB Ram, Video to TV Adaptor…
all bits and found objects.

Works great for browsing the net!

It is out on loan right now to kid who’s machine died
bigtime.

The VIAO C-3 is a weak link (like a Celeron) but for web browsing it
works.

The costliest part was the tape they used!

Starts with a poke of a paperclip BTW”

Now the contemporary monster machine is a work tool that Winston KC9FVR needs for his Software Developer gig, but what a contrast!

https://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/117/AMD_Ryzen_9_5900X_vs_VIA_C3_900_MHz_(C3-900AMHz).html compares the two processors side-by-side.

KC9FVR’s 2021 Computer Build vs 2004 Build comparison

Times have changed!

Now based on their ingenuity I gave them each an audio tube amplifier kit, which each boy built and has. Winston KC9FVR’s was featured here at: https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2007/11/05/tube-amp-kit-built-by-kc9fvr/

Victor KC9NWB built his later https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/victor-builds-a-k-502-amp/ (sorry the ongoing link from that mini-post is a dead link) and Tom KC9JGD built his just before I started this blog.

Got to put that young energy to use!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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