Saturday, 20 September 2014

Compaq Presario C60 - Minted

Well, this is my first post from the Compaq Presario CQ60 found in a dumpster a week ago! It's been an interesting repair project and one that has had me scratching my head a couple of times: but I think I finally know why the previous owner abandoned this cracking little machine: dust!

OK, first the low-down on the specs (and I use the word loosely). This is no speedball (even when it was new): it was originally designed to run Microsoft Vista and one wonders how well it managed that! The processor is an AMD Sempron SI-42 - so no records broken there even with 3GB of memory! That said, the previous owner loved this machine and there is very little damage. Moreover, the 15.6" screen is superb.

My daughter Lozzy installed the new hard drive; a 60GB Corsair ssd that I picked up for less than £40. The battery was as cheap as I could find (around £12) and I really don't expect it to last very long. So, all ready to install an operating system. This is where the problems started: this laptop hated Mint Cinnamon and the graphics stack crashed on every boot regardless of the driver I installed - on to Plan B.

We had much more success with Mint Mate and, after loading the legacy NVidia driver, even the graphics stack behaved. Now, if we could only solve the problem of the system running hot (and I do mean hot!) we'd have a nice little system. The heat problem was a real issue with bottom of the case almost too hot to touch just a few minutes after booting. There's no fine fan control in the bios and eventually I was forced to strip the machine to clean the cooling system. I've seen worse but there was quite a build up of dust and lint and cleaning it has resulted in an almost silent case fan: that's better for battery life and performance.

The new battery is giving surprising performance with a couple of hours per charge and the ssd gives a boot time of less that 50 seconds. It's not a stunning performance, but it 's not bad for £50.

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