Powering down an old friend

I made bunch of purchases on Prime Day this year.  Among them was a replacement for my old home server, dubbed "Tallgeese".  Yes, I still use the same Gundam Wing naming theme I've had for like 20 years (if it ain't broke, don't fix it).  In fact, I've been using the name "Tallgeese" specifically to refer to my current non-laptop PC, whatever that happens to be, for a very long time.

Front view of the old TallgeeseBack view of the old Tallgeese

This box has served me well for over a decade.  It holds a special place in my heart because I built it myself from parts and upgraded it over many years.  The oldest part, by far, is the case.  I'm not 100% sure when I got that, but I think it might be the replacement for the broken one I referred to in this post from April 2005.  After that, the motherboard and CPU are quite old - I got those in September 2010.  The rest of the pieces are probably newer, but I don't really remember when they were replaced.

Now that I look at it, the specs on this box aren't actually that bad, even by modern standards.  Granted, they're still sub-par for anything made in the last five years, but it's still got enough horse-power to do useful work.  It's got a 4-core processor, the motherboard is maxed out at 8GB of RAM, and it has just over 4TB of storage.  As a media server, it actually works just fine.

The old Tallgeese CPU and motherboard.  It hasn't been cleaned in a while.

But on the other hand, you can also tell its age just by looking at the hardware.  For instance, that PCI card near the bottom is a sound board - a relic from the bad-old-days when Linux users needed to actually care about what kind of sound cards they bought if they wanted audio to work properly.  You can also see an internal media card reader in front with a crap-ton of slots - another relic from before everybody had settled on SD and microSD.  And you can't miss the two DVD drives - a DVD-ROM drive and a DVD+RW drive.  One of them is broken, but they're so irrelevant by this point that I no longer remember which one.  And we can't forget the serial, parallel, and PS/2 ports.  I don't even remember how long it's been since I used a PS/2 mouse or keyboard.  (For those too young to remember: "PS/2" is for the IBM Personal System/2, not PlayStation 2 - though that's old now, too.  And while I still have a PlayStation 2, I never has an IBM PS/2 - we had a PS/1 instead!)  The pictures also don't show the VGA-to-HDMI dongle I had to use for video to get it to connect to my main monitor, which never really worked well anyway.  When everything was plugged in, the back panel was actually kind of a disaster area.

Of course, just "being old" isn't really enough reason to get rid of a perfectly good box.  Like I said, it still works.  At least for now.  But it's been plagued by occasional stability issues, particularly when I tried to do anything that involved graphics (e.g. playing Battle for Wesnoth, which isn't exactly the most graphically demanding game in the world).  It would occasionally just lock up for no obvious reason.  It's also a big, clunky box that's kinda loud and generates a lot of heat.  And most of the components are old enough that it doesn't even make sense to try and mitigate these short-comings.  It's cheaper and easier to just buy a new box and slap my preferred software on it.

The new TallgeeseMkII, with data drive enclosure and some size context.

So I ended up buying this little guy, which I'm dubbing "TallgeeseMkII" - that was the version with the blue trim in the cartoon.  Since it was Prime Day, I actually ended up getting the model with 16GB of RAM and the 512GB disk for about the same price.  It's got considerably more horse-power than the old box and the case is actually smaller than the external 3.5" drive enclosure I'm using to house the 4TB data drive from the old Tallgeese.  The entire setup will fit comfortably under one shelf of my new desk (which is another post).  For context, I included my Huey Games Droid Assault "cassette" (actually a USB drive, but shaped like an old-school cassette tape) and the wood-block panda painting my brother did for me.  For context, he originally started doing them that size because they were being sold out of repurposed vintage cigarette machines.  So yeah, significant space savings here.

But as I said, the old Tallgeese lives on, at least in the form of its data drive, which was relatively new and still perfectly good.  I also pulled out the OS drive, since that was still good and it's easier to just stick that in a USB enclosure to grab any config or files that I need than it is to get them from backups.  I doubt I'll be using it for much else, though - while it is an SSD, it's only 120GB.  But some of the files from it will live on, so I guess that counts for something.

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