Ok… I reminding myself of why I originally wanted to do this, and why I thought it relevant to Tech for Non-Profits. I thought it would be an excellent way to get a very low cost Windows machine for maybe $100 and a couple hours of work.
Was it dusty? Yes, it was (is) dusty. I took off the cover and removed the shroud which covers the heatsink. The shroud is attached to two fans and the fans were clogged with a greasy sort of dust that wouldn’t just blow away. I spent a half hour with my shop vac, a can of compressed air, and a soft artist’s brush and got most of the dust out. Then I started working on the case, and in my zeal, removed the heatsink, (that aluminum finned thing in the picture) which was also somewhat dusty. The heat sink came away, but with the Intel processor stuck to it. I’m not sure how this is possible…ahem… but it appears that all the pins are intact. I separated the processor from the heatsink, and reinserted it into the ZIF (zero insertion force) socket, and it appears to be securely latched in. Now, I’ll need to go to Radio Shack and get some thermal paste to put on the processor and heatsink before replacing the heatsink. Then, everything gets put back together and maybe, hopefully, the machine will run cooler and not sound like a LearJet.
The Optiplex SX280
This looked promising at first, but it appears that there is a problem with the motherboard/video. Sometimes when you boot it up it boots right up into Windows…other times it gives the dreaded beep codes… 4 beeps then 2 beeps then 1 beep. Anything starting out with 4 beeps is … really bad. This code means, “no timer tick”, which suggests that timer chip that provides timing for all the other chips is faulty. What I do know is that on the third time it booted merrily into Windows, and was working fine for maybe ten minutes but it crashed a couple times.
I had high hopes for this machine, which cost $97 on eBay. When it worked…though, it was really nice; fast and quiet.