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Dell Dimension 4400


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Having sold my last effort at a Hackentosh to a co-worker (my boss) as a Windize computer, I was kinda feeling left out, and decided it was time to "play Mac" again!


My earlier effort was an install on an Acer Veriton 7200, that I rescued from a dumpster, a "free" Mac, so to speak. I maxxed out the ram, gave it a FX5200 video card, and "had at it". I had a bit of difficulty getting my head around having to create a boot sector, but once I got it, it was clear sailing for a relatively easy install. Sometimes it takes 3 or 4 installs to get your system "right", so be prepared to fool with it a bit, it only gets easier after your initial success.


Today's find was a Dell Dimension 4400 (I am now, for the very first time in my life a "Dell Dude", *gulp*), it was $50, complete with IBM keyboard, Compaq mouse, and 23" Viewsonic crt.


The very first thing you want to do with a Dell is lay it on it's side and split the clamshell case, then swing the green cooling duct up out of the way, and *carefully* inspect the capacitors beside the processor. ANY sign of leakage, or swelling tops (they should be perfectly flat), and you are looking at JUNK my friend, walk away. There is NOTHING constructive to be done with a computer in cardiac arrest (other than break out the soldering iron and fix it, it is not worth paying for to get fixed, it is not worth replacing the main board).


With that out of the way let's proceed.................


My 4400 shipped with 128m of ram, remove it, and throw it away. This board maxxes out at 1g of ram, go and buy a gig stick ($55), and install it.

My 4400 shipped with a ATI Rage Pro 16m video card, you guessed it, throw it away. Buy yourself a Nvidia FX5200 ($40), or FX5500 ($50), video card, and install it.

EDIT: 5200-5500 cards are getting pretty thin on the ground, a 6200 should work as good, just make sure you do not get a card with what is called "shared memory", the "shared memory" cards do not work at this.

My 4400 shipped with a CNet NIC? Not having a clue what a CNet anything is I tossed it, throwing in an Intel 10/100 NIC, a 3Com, or a NIC based on a Realtek 8139, will do you just as good. I would expect to pay $5-$15 for something useable (or recognizable as "something").

My 4400 shipped with a Samsung CD-Rom drive, by this time in it's life it is time for it to retire, a LG DVD burner ($35) is as good choice as any to replace it.

Decision time on the hardrive, mine came with a really noisy Seagate 20g drive (they were ALL noisy), I had a 80g WD drive kicking about, it got that.

*ALL IDE devices in my computer were jumpered "cable select", not wishing to experiment, I maintained this "jumpering".*


On with the show......................................


I kinda like the install disk called "XxX_OS_X86_10.4.11_Install_Disk_Intel" it can be found at that pirate place by the bay. This disk comes with fairly detailed instructions that you can print off, and refer to while installing.


Ok, boot the computer, press F12 while booting, and you are presented with boot source choices, boot from the DVD burner.

Prepare your hardrive as instructed, partition to "Master boot record", then on to install options. These are the options I decided to use, I make no guarantees, they work for me.


Essential System Software

Apple Combo update 10.4.11

8.9.1 System Kext

10.4.5 Login window app

Recommended Patches

8.9.1 Kernal Universal Apr 23

IOATA Family Kext


NATIT Dual V02

(NIC driver to match the NIC you are using)


And that's it, I am not an expert, but this combo works for me.


On re-boot you want to do the F12 thing again, setting your boot device to your hardrive. Once you are up and running within the OS repair the disk (hardrive) permissions.


Have fun!


Edit: cross link to my next project........


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