AMD K6-400

by Berck

In the summer of 1999, I bought a computer with my own money for the very first time. I picked it up second-hand from Peter for some amount of money that amounted to a large portion of the money I made that summer working in the library with Todd, throwing books. Included was a motherboard, RAM, CPU, and a graphics card. When I picked it up from Peter’s apartment, he informed me after I gave him the money that he’d accidentally scraped the key lock diode off the motherboard, so the key lock wouldn’t work. I was annoyed, but it’s not like I needed the key lock for anything.

I needed a case, because my Gateway-2000 486/33 with the 83mhz Pentium CPU in the upgrade slot was in an abnormally small case with a gateway proprietary form factor. I drove down to a local shop in Irving and spent $40 on the least-ugly case they had. I also ended up having to buy a 10-base-T ethernet card as well, because the ISA card I had wasn’t going to work.

The CPU was an AMD K6-2-400mhz, and it was insanely fast. It was the first thing I ever over clocked (lots of jumpers were involved), but it would post at 500mhz and seemed stable at 450mhz. When I went to Rome that fall, Sydney needed a computer to go to college, and I wasn’t going to need mine for a long time. I made an agreement with Dad that I’d send it to Sydney then, and when I got home from Rome, he’d help me buy a new one.

It was Sydney’s computer for years. She somehow managed to fry the onboard ATA controller by installing a CD burner with the system powered on, but it treated her well. When she got accepted to law school, she needed a laptop and agreed to mail the computer back to me.

I installed OpenBSD on it, and turned into a router. It’s been my router for the last 6 years or so, and has served me with very few problems. Today, I have retired it.

When I got home this evening, the power had gone out at somep oint during the day. The BIOS on that motherboard has no option to automatically power on after a power failure, so it was unsurprisingly powered off. But when I pushed the power button, nothing happened. Played with it for awhile, and it would try to power on, but fail. Clearly the power supply had died. I nearly just replaced the power supply with a spare I’ve got lying about, but didn’t for a couple of reasons. (1) The system clock is flaky. Sometimes it gets confused on boot, and despite the ntp daemon’s best efforts, the clock gains time at a ridiculous rate. (2) the aforementioned lack of a reutrn-to-previous state option in the BIOS after a power failure, and we get a lot of power failures.

So I pulled the hard drive and network cards out of it, and stuck them in a Dell Pentium-4 that I’d gotten for free when the USAFA contract ended in 2007. After resolving a minor IRQ conflict with one of the network cards, the OpenBSD install booted right up, found the network cards, did the PPPoE negotiation for the DSL, and everything is back. Way easier than I would have thought.

Rest in peace little AMD. You’ve served me well.

One Response to “AMD K6-400”

  1. Sydney Says:

    Nah, I only fried the power supply. I can’t believe it died first–that was on the newer end! Granted, I replaced it in 2000.

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