Here is a quick photo run down of how to take bits of old PCs and turn them into one working PC. We decided not to pirate windows but instead install an education version of Ubuntu called Edubuntu.
Compile all the parts of your old PCs. From left to right we managed to gather a box of miscellaneous cables and bits that geeks just tend to have lying around; an old PSU made redundant from a recent PC upgrade of mine; likewise of a motherboard and CPU; an ATX case acquired from Freecycle which came with a couple of optical drives (bonus); my Dad’s old Tiny PC from which we nicked the hard drive; a brand new keyboard I had lying about (as you do); and an old GFX card from a recent upgrade.
Get the ATX case ready by clearing out all the crap. We also had to prise the back plate out of the back to make way for the one built for the motherboard. Once you’re happy whack in the mobo!
Pop in the PSU to make sure it fits. Don’t do what we did and drop screws into the fan and then spend half an hour shaking it to get them out. Also, don’t actually bother putting in the PSU in yet at all because you can’t get to anything. GO ON! Take it out again!
Install the HD into the bottom of case where it is slightly narrower and will fit. Have fun with that box of miscellaneous cables and start plugging in those IDE cables to your hard drive and optical drives. Make note as to what the settings are on the optical drives, the pins themselves may decide whether either is the primary or secondary device, otherwise it’ll be down to cable select. Just don’t have anything conflicting.
Next up is the GFX card. We had an old school AGP card which came with this mobo, so no major issues there. When doing your own make sure you have a GFX card and mobo which are compatible with each other.
Now connect up the case cables to the mobo. My mobo came with some very nice colour coding.
Now time for the power cables to all the drives. Fairly simple…
Then with any luck it should all work when you press the power button. Ours didn’t. We had to take out the GFX and the A drive and keyboard and the like and listen out for the POST beep codes. In the end we figured the A drive was knackered, after which the Mobo would POST and the GFX would work. Whoopee!
After that its just a question of changing the BIOS to boot from an optical drive and whacking in the CD!