Adoption, Part 1

Adoption, Part 1

This post is a continuation of yesterday's post, The eWaste problem.

Today I adopted one machine. It was the cleanest one in the stack, at least judging by the dirtiness of the white label on the top.

Hand holding a Dell Optiplex 3040
Why does my hand look so big in this pic?

Just because it was the cleanest doesn't mean that it was clean. This is what I found after taking off the front panel...

large amounts of dust in front of a computer fan

Before even touching that thing I quickly wiped off the exterior of the power supply, which wasn't much better.

A wipe covered with dust

Needless to say, air dusting the power supply released visible plumes of dust. Maybe I should be doing this outside.

Anyway, at this point I had the case open, when I noticed that there was RAM! I was told that the machine had the RAM removed, but I guess not. Single stick, but hey that's room for expansion.

An overview of the computer. One stick of RAM installed.

Removing the RAM, I was surprised to see that it was 8GB, which is the maximum that the computer can handle in a single slot. This lets me upgrade it to 16GB later without throwing out the existing stick.

Hand holding a stick of RAM, label marks 8GB

I then disassembled the machine entirely, removing every piece and cleaning each individually. I didn't take photos of every step, but the thermal paste was old and had bad coverage, so here's a photo of that.

A CPU installed in a socket. Dust is visible around the edges, and thermal paste is visible on the top.

One thermal paste application, cleaning, drive install, and reassembly later, the PC looked clean.

Computer laying horizontally, with side panel installed.
Yes I rotated the logo

Software Time

Docker I love you

So I went to download Ubuntu Server, and uhhh DuckDuckGo are you okay?

Screenshot of DuckDuckGo results page for "ubuntu server", with the description for Ubuntu being gibberish
Everything alright there, bud?

One torrent later, I had my Ubuntu .iso file.

Screenshot of qbittorrent

I flashed with Etcher and I'm ready for install.

Screenshot of Etcher software

On boot, the computer failed to POST. One memory reseat and we're in business!

Monitor connected to Optiplex, displaying GRUB screen for Ubuntu Server
Ubuntu's installer option for Docker installed it with snap, locking the fs 🙄

One (read "two" - gfy Ubuntu) Docker installs later, we're online and ready to go! A Second environment on Portainer makes me feel so productive as a sysadmin, even when it has no actual containers or anything.

Screenshot of Portainer listing the available environments, one entry is labelled local and a second entry is labelled optiplex.
I love you Portainer

I assigned it a local static IP, and now all that's left is to actually do things with it. This can make a great homelab for sure. And of course, as is custom, a neofetch.

Screenshot of neofetch

Compared to my main server (Core 2 Quad Q9450: 4@2.67, 4x4GB RAM), it's certainly better in CPU, especially with IPC improvements, but with half the RAM and in single channel only, I'll be sticking with my main server, at least for the time being. My current server is constrained far more by memory than by CPU.

htop screenshot, 4 cores at 16, 11, 13, and 14 percent load respectively. RAM at 7.36 of 15.6 gigabytes used, with 4 of 12 gigabytes of swap used
This is what the load looks like on average for the main server
htop screenshot, 4 cores at 0, 2, 1, and 1 percent load respectively. RAM at 0.31 of 7.65 gigabytes used, with 0 of 4 gigabytes of swap used
For comparison or something ig

$13 on Amazon would certainly push the Optiplex a lot further, though I don't think I am aiming to switch everything over regardless. This machine has less expandability than my main homelab, so I won't be moving even if I were to upgrade. I have a friend who is interested in one of these, and so I'll probably end up giving them this or another one I refurbish.

Anyway, that's one device saved from the kill shelter that is the eWaste pile. Maybe I need one of those ASPCA commercials with the sad dogs dusty computers and a phone number to call and donate.

A parody image of the ASPCA commercials, showing the picture of the dusty computer fan, and the ASPCA logo and donation banner on the bottom
Threw this together in like 3 seconds in macOS Preview