I needed a PC that I could take to the Linux classes I teach. The Walmart $200 PC fits my needs when I added an additional 1 GB of RAM (for 1.5 GB total) and an additional Ethernet interface to be able do demonstrate a variety of networking servers.
Note: Walmart has changed their model from TC-2502 to TC-2512, this newer one no longer having a useless modem.
When I added 1 GB more RAM memory (Samsung 1GB DDR2 533MHZ, PC2-4200 CL3 NON-ECC 240 PIN DIMM from Memory Suppliers) for a 1.5 GB total, the memtest86+ program revealed occasional memory errors. The stock RAM alone or the new 1 GB RAM alone worked without errors, but the errors appeared when both were used together. This problem was eliminated by reducing the DRAM speed from 266 MHz to 200 MHz in the BIOS. This is acceptable since it only reduced the overall system performance by about 1 percent.
I repartitioned the 80 GB hard drive, completely wiping out the gOS partition, and installed Kubuntu-8.04, a version of Ubuntu in a 10 GB partition. The installation went without difficulty, and left lots of disk space for other variations of Ubuntu.
The additional Ethernet port was obtained by installing a $12 Startech ST100S 10/100 Mbps Ethernet PCI Card from amazon.com. This card uses a RTL8100C chip and works with the 8139too Linux driver already being used by the motherboard Ethernet interface.
Last updated: May 10, 2008
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