The PowerLeap Renaissance -- A Handy PC Upgrade or Repair on a Card
Mike Angelo -- 14 February 2002 (c)
The motherboard in one of our 300-MHZ CPU PCs died. So, we dropped a Renaissance/370S motherboard into it. This Renaissance/370S came populated with a 1-GHz Pentium III CPU and 512-MB of PC-100 RAM.
While we were at it, we replaced a 20-GB DiamondMax hard drive with a new 100-GB Maxtor D536X hard drive. The box is a generic ATX case. Although we did not have to do it in order to make the repair, we pulled the old CPU, RAM, and adapter cards off the old motherboard so we could use them in other machines.
The Renaissance-based machine was connected to our 10/100 Ethernet LAN via the RJ45 connector on the Renaissance board.
The result is a powerful, multi-boot, machine running Caldera OpenLinux, Microsoft Windows 98 SE, and Red Hat Linux. We used a Belkin SCSI to USB adapter to add SCSI to the Renaissance-based box.
The Renaissance-based box works great. It has been performing a variety of and typical mix of computing tasks, quite well for months (including CD burning, game play, MPEG playing, server-log analyses, Web surfing, FTP work, word processing, graphic and image manipulation, and lots more).
The Bang for Your Bucks
There is lots of bang for the buck with the Renaissance/370S. By upgrading an older PC you end up with a 1-GHz Intel PIII/Celeron class computer for about $300 to $400 at list prices -- a substantial saving over buying a new computer.
You could buy a regular motherboard, CPU, and RAM to make an upgrade for a little less than buying the Renaissance/370S. However, the ease and convenience of dropping the Renaissance/370S into an expansion card slot verses the hassle of removing and replacing an old or not-working motherboard can wash out the price differential.
Moreover, if by using the Renaissance/370S upgrade kit you can make the upgrade yourself and avoid paying labor charges, you come out ahead money-wise. If you are in charge of computers for a business, organization, school, or large-scale enterprise, you can save lots of labor costs by using the Renaissance/370S to upgrade its computers.
The Renaissance/370S concept of upgrading or repairing a computer by dropping what essentially is a new PC into an expansion slot is interesting and innovative. More importantly, it works well. And the PowerLeap Renaissance/370S is easy to install.
Getting Started with Wireless Network Technology
Products in Article
Here are some books to help you with upgrading or repairing your PC. They cover different user levels, take different approaches, and discuss different upgrading or repairing techniques and solutions. Pick the book or books that suit your needs best. Scott Mueller's Upgrading and Repairing PCs with more than 1,500 pages is the most comprehensive. It also includes a CD that has an excellent, 90-minute, step-by-step, how-to, PC building and upgrading video -- plus lots of technical reference information and entire text of several previous editions of Scott's book.
Absolute Beginner's Guide to PC Upgrades, Que, ISBN 0-7897-2417-0. $25.
How Computers Work, Que, ISBN 0-7897-2549-5. $35.
PC Hardware in a Nutshell, O'Reilly, ISBN 1-56592-599-8. $30.
Upgrading and Repairing PCs, 13th Edition, Que, ISBN 0-7897-2542-8. $60
(From the Renaissance/370S User's Manual)
Form Factor: ISA Bus (used to seat the Renaissance/370S)
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