This used small form factor (SFF) desktop computer is compatible with eComStation. It features two PCI slots. It is a ThinkCentre 8915-29U.
The idea behind this computer is to use as a model for mass-production. As of July, 2015, ThinkCentre M52 computers are widely available and cheap. The computers can be prepared using the Blonde Guy Recovery DVD to clone Bluebopeep (clones still need a valid license for eComStation). The computer is just modern enough to run SSD if you like to upgrade the hard drives. This was an extremely popular computer that will be widely available for years on the used market.
This section documents what I did to get this computer to work under eComStation. It is intended to show what goes into this computer, and also as a guide to the user who wants to build it himself.
This is the overview of building the computer.
These are the specifications for this machine as needed for shopping. Full specifications are listed later in the web page.
I bought this machine for the Ford project. It served well as an automation server. I later found that Ford had these installed all over the place.
The RAM is upgraded. I had some old RAM around, so I upgraded to 2 GB.
The Disk is upgraded. I used Tobopeep's old 500 GB drive. A complete wipe was performed. One sector was found bad.
I installed two bootable volumes on drives H: and N:. The H: drive has my server-H installation with SAMBA server included. The N: installation has eCS-N, with the traditional IBM NETBIOS and NetBIOS over TCP/IP networking from the IBM File and Print Client.
The eCS-N build uses the old IBM NetBIOS, which I do so the computer can be used on an old-style network with Warp 3 Connect, LAN Manager and Windows NT.
On each eComStation installation, I replace the ndpsmb.dll to prevent damage to my SAMBA server files. Then I save the installations in the eCS22 directory. If you want the bare eCS installation, this is what you get.
The computer is set up to connect via ethernet cable. The interface has been set up to configure automatically. The MultiMac e1000e driver is used.
I could not get SNAP to work better than Panorama. So even though the hardware is accelerated under SNAP, Panorama is used. A custom resolution of 1680 x 1050 x 16M is used. The following commands are used for customization.
panoutil -d 1 panoutil -c 1680 1050
DOS window sessions work with no modifications needed.
Using Suntan Special, I define an installation sequence that includes the Suntan Special sequences eCS22, apps, games and cleanup. I ran the sequence on each boot parition.
The recovery DVD supplied is a bootable eComStation DVD with a backup of the hard drive as delivered. You can boot the machine from DVD, and perform maintenance functions. The maintenance folder is available on the recovery DVD. The factory backup is stored in the \Factory directory. The backups are simple zip files. You can use unzip to extract some or all of the files in a backup.
DFSee is a generic disk, partition and filesystem utility for maintenance and data-recovery. It supports partition tables (FDISK, LVM), FAT, FAT32, HPFS, NTFS, and partly JFS, EXT2/3 or REISER filesystems. DFSee is commercial software which requires a license key for continued use.
To make the bootable recovery DVD, the bootable program is used. The program object for bootAble is changed. The environment page has the following addition, which is case-sensitive:
Bluebopeep was upgraded to use a DVD-RW drive to make the recovery DVD. After testing the recovery DVD, Bluebopeep was downgraded to the original DVD-ROM.PATH=h:\dvddao;h:\cdrtools2;%PATH% Notable options are to use GenGRADD at 1024 x 768, AMOUSE.SYS, ACPI with MAXCPU=1 and the original IBM Loader. AMOUSE, config.sys and the IBM loader must be hand applied after the boot files are created.
I use Suntan Special to install the software on all Blonde Guy computers. Suntan Special software can be used to install all updates to the system and its applications and to install additional applications. When newer versions of software are released, Suntan Special can keep your Blonde Guy computer up to date.
Height: 3.4 inches
Width: 12.2 inches
Depth: 14.5 inches
Weight: 18 lbs
Shipping weight: 24 lbs
Power consumption is 67 Watts, measured with the computer is booted to the desktop. This computer consumes 1 Watt if it's plugged in, but switched off.
There is cosmetic damage to the front bezel.
The disk is partitioned to provide two bootable partitions, one for use as a server and including SAMBA server, and the other is set up for as a tradtional NetBIOS networking using the IBM File and Print client. User data is stored on a separate volume.
This is the layout for the SSD plus a 2 TB hard drive. The Air-Boot boot manager is installed to select the volume to be started.
|Volume Name||Disk Format||Drive Letter||Volume Size||Disk Name||server-H||JFS||H:||12,001 MB||500 GB SATA||eCS-N||JFS||N:||12,001 MB||500 GB SATA||Data||JFS||D:||452,932 MB||500 GB SATA|
eComStation 2.2 beta 2 (Dec 30) is the version used for this installation. This is the output of the version command.
For the server-H volume:
Installed Component Name Version Service Level Drive ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Serenity Systems eComStation 2.2 XR0C007 H: . Base Operating System 4.52 XR0C007 H: . Base Device Drivers 4.52 XR0D003 H: . Base Networking (MPTS) 6.01 WR08708 H: . Internet Applications (TCP/IP) 4.32 UN02334 H:
For the eCS-N volume:
Installed Component Name Version Service Level Drive ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Serenity Systems eComStation 2.2 XR0C007 N: . Base Operating System 4.52 XR0C007 N: . Base Device Drivers 4.52 XR0D003 N: . Base Networking (MPTS) 6.01 WR08708 N: . Internet Applications (TCP/IP) 4.32 UN02334 N: . File and Printer Sharing (Peer) 5.2 IP08608 N: . LAN Requester 5.2 IP08608 N: . User Profile Management 5.2 WR08608 N:
This table reports the SysBench 0.9.5 benchmarks for this computer. You can download SysBench 0.9.5 here: http://hobbes.nmsu.edu/
|CPU floating point-marks||154|
To buy this computer, use the order button below. Be prepared to enter any special notes about your needs or customization for the computer. Blonde Guy will review your order and send you an invoice, payable using PayPal or any major credit card. If you prefer to pay by check, note that in the notes field of the order form, and I will e-mail you an invoice payable by check.
If you have questions, you may enter them in the notes portion of the order form.
The final price of the computer depends on tax, shipping and options. Shipping outside the USA is available, but it is costly.
The following table shows the options for licenses to be applied to this computer.
|Home and Student||$145|
|User's own copy||$0|
The eComStation License is available three ways. For a business, the full license is required. For most other uses, a Home and Student license is sufficient. If you already have an eCS 2.1 license available for this machine, and you upload your license key, there is no charge for eComStation.