Boatanchor (My first Laptop)

Alienware Area-51m 7700

Boatanchor was a faithful companion to me for many years. People often spoke of her as 'Heavy' or 'Not a Laptop', but to me, she was my 'Betty'. I spent more time working with her than any other system in my life. She was ordered on the 19th of Febuary 2005 with the original specs:

And I didn't alter her for a long time. The first thing to go was the RAM. 512MB is not enough when you're coding. I added a gig, to go to 1.5GB. This kept me happy for a long time. Next up, I added a second, slot load burner. This may seem petty, but with the position of the drives on this, ejecting the drive always shot the tray into my hand, or loading media would also require moving my mouse off of my work surface. Later on in it's life, I realized that PATA in notebooks was not the way of the future, so I ordered the $8 cable to allow me to replace the 2x PATA drives with 2x SATA drives. Another few months passed and I pulled the trigger. I ordered: 1x USB-SATA enclosure, 1x USB-PATA enclosure, and 2x 80GB SATA drives. I pull out the old PATA drives, boot up another machine, use parted to migrate data from two drives to two other drives, put them into the system, boot 'er back up, and I'm on SATA. Now I know what you're thinking: "Pat, 2 80gb to 2 80gb just doesn't make sense". My thinking at the time was: Replace one 80GB drive with a big 200GB down the road. SATA prices were plummeting and whatnot. (that never actually happened, I always found I could free up space on an 80GB drive better than I could spend on a new drive).

During that time, the system went back to Alienware 3 times for mobo replacements.

Then, in Febuary 2009, my warranty expired. I had always suspected my P4 530 was not the most power efficient beast I could have in there, and since the system was now out of warranty, I was feeling more like doing 'naughty' things to the system. I ordered a P4 630 off of ebay. For those not hip to the P4 series, the 6xx CPUs are basically 5x CPUs with a few extra features (SSE/PNI, EIST, C1E, 64Bit). Now, they are electrically compatible with the 5xx cpus, and the i915p chipset in the 7700 supports it, but the bios did not. Due to the bios not supporting it natively, a lot of those features (EIST, C1E) just don't work. However, those features were not my goal. My only goal was less heat. And less heat she had.

This was the hay-day of my laptop. Sure, it was outdated tech, with dual and quad core systems flying around. The chipset being limited to 3.2GB of ram sucked, but I never hit that limit anyways, so who cares? Later in life she would have here DSDT & SSDT tables modded to enable EIST and C1E, and even had the beginnings of a Coreboot port. But those were merely hobby days, when I realized she was on the way out. I was stressing the hardware, pushing it to it's limits. She knew she was nearly done.

On June 2, 2010, I got a new Betty in my life, and on June 9, 2010, Boatanchor Passed, due to an apparent backlight failure. It breaks my heart to lose her, but I'm not going to put her through being just a mistress.

RIP Boatanchor Febuary 19, 2005 - June 9, 2010

Hardware/Boatanchor (last edited 2010-12-19 05:35:55 by PatErley)