I started this project with a very old windows 98 pc that needed files pulled from it after that i was able to keep the pc, i had all the parts monitor, keyboard, mouse, and tower with all working parts just a corrupted hard drive but was able to restore it by using another pc and some recovery software but the owner of the pc had already replaced the pc years ago and only wanted old family photo's off of it. This was my chance to build a linux desktop something i had wanted to do for many years. over the next few weeks i posted online and asked friends and family for any old PCs or just parts they had it has taken about a year and i have gone through about 4 different builds but i have very nice desktop running Mint linux and windows 7 in a dual boot. I have learned a lot about linux and pc repair along the way. this project is on going because i want to keep adding on to my desktop as i get more parts or build more desktops may even use it to build my first home server.
when I started this project I was still very new to linux. I have used it over the years when i needed to for pc recovery and other short projects but having used laptops for many years did not have a true everyday linux system. This project started with a very old PC W98 system but i wanted something newer and more up to date so in all my research i came across Peppermint. it was a stripped down version of mint linux meant for older system to run light weight. I had tried to install a few different linux builds on the w98 system but having only 6gb hdd it was a huge issue. Peppermint was the answer it only needed 4gb hhd to run and only 128ram. Peppermint was what really got this project going but because it was so light weight it was missing things that i need to push linux to it true power. after over a year of using Peppermint I installed Mint 16 64bit linux to Phoenix. Now comes the part of getting all my programs installed again. I have to say I love linux and wish i could use it full time and I do plan on it as much as I can. I still need windows 7 when I want to use some websites and some programs like Solidworks, but the point it to learn new things and push myself.
My future wife is awesome because she told me to just go ahead and buy the Ram it can be my early wedding gift from her. So just a few days ago i got online and found 8gb of Ram to replace my old 4gb of ram i had gotten for free. I am happy to report that my system is running better then it ever has. I was finally able to install many of the programs that I need to use this as my main system. Project Phoenix as taught me a lot about PC repair but one thing this last bit has shown is that sometimes you have to spend the money on parts. The original goal of this project was to build a free pc but that was when it was just for fun and not for every day work. Now that I have moved passed the fun part and started to use the system everyday it needs to be reliable. so now that i have windows7 64 bit running on my pc, that meant it was time to upgraded my linux build too, but more about that next time.
This Project has taken a back seat for now. I have got the mint linux working well but the windows crashes often. I got laid off my job not to long ago and now see the need to try and make this system reach its full potential so i can use it as my main system to work from home, 3D designing and pc Repair. I want to upgrade my memory from 4Gb to 8Gb because I think my main issues with the crashing in windows 7 is because I am using 3 different Ram sticks of different sizes and from different manufacturers. I'm Hoping that if i buy 4 2gb sticks that are all the same it will fix the crashing problem. I can get the 4 2gb ddr2 for less than 50$ so still keeping this build very cheap. However I am also getting married at the end of the month and can not afford to spend money projects that are not part of the wedding. Thankfully about a year ago I bought a Laptop with my Tax return and this has been my main PC because of Phoenix being project phase. If the Ram is not the issues then it is likely the 500gb HHD which I saved from being tossed at work. Not sure because when running linux 500gb works just fine and so do the sticks of Ram. This projects is really helped me to love linux and just how little the os needs to run well. I wish I could use linux only however the main programs I design in are windows only and even trying to run them through wine is no good because it Solidworks (3D design program) has an error it says wine is an WXP system and will not run on a pc this old. I need wine to work as w7 so maybe some more reassure with fix this issue or maybe using an older version of Solidworks or maybe just fixing the w7. not sure just don't have time until after my wedding later this month.
I have been able to build phoenix from a windows 98 box to a very nice black cased Mint linux system im still using the CD rom drive from the windows 98 system, but have mange to switch all other parts for new versions as it sits now it would have been a power house in 2007 so still not top of the line but it is running 64bit windows 7 with 4gb ram on a sata 500 gb hard drive i saved from being tossed out at work. and mint linux on a IDE 160gb that i also saved from my office. the keyboard, and mouse i picked up for about 4$ and the monitor (not pictured) is a 15in old dell that i found at a local good will. so it has not been totally free but i have spent less then 30$ on this whole project.