Jun 3, 2016
A client drops off a couple archaic laptops and explains that he only needs one of them with WiFi and to run programming software for his modified cars. His needs are by no means demanding, so I chose the highest quality laptop which happens to be a Japanese-made Toshiba tablet PC with a 1.33 pentium III-m, circa 2002.

I boot up into BIOS to check the specs, then boot into the windows desktop. It takes almost 4 minutes. The CPU and fan run at 100%. I run a surface scan and shows no errors, so I continue. I remove all the unnecessary programs, folders, files, start up appz, clean the registry, update drivers, defrag, and max out the RAM @1GB.

Now the boot time is a little over three minutes. To finish up, I upgrade the WiFi and transfer the cleaned O/S to an IDE SSD (There is no optical drive and BIOS does not allow to boot to USB for a fresh install). However, she now boots to the desktop in 40 seconds. The CPU also drops to 2% load in under a minute and the machine runs substantially cooler. The CPU fan only turns for a couple minutes every ten minutes or so when idling. Awesome!

I go to run a few shutdown & reboot cycles to clock the performance increase. Oddly, I notice the time increases with each boot cycle. 50 secs, 90 secs, 3.5mins, then next few cyles stay around 4mins. During this time the temp of the machine never gets uncomfortably warm.

I'm a little concerned at first, but dismiss it as an artifact of obsolete technology, or from the O/S transfer. The machine still runs much cooler and boot times aren't too far off from the original mechanical drive. Once the machine does finally boot it is still incredibly responsive. Good enough for government work. I locate and purchase a new genuine Toshiba battery. A week later I find the stylus for that tablet PC model. Both at a great price. "This project is going pretty well."

The battery and stylus arrive. I test them both. The battery runs perfect considering its a decade old. The stylus is a little wierd, but whatever. A few days later I go to install all the software the client requested. I first install MS Office 2007, it takes over a half an hour just to install Word and Excel! "Maybe its too resource hungry? Better uninstall 2009 and install 2002." It takes 15 mins. "M@&¿%$#R¡ the SSD is bad !!" I pull it out... it feels perfectly fine not even the slightest bit warm. I drop it into an equally slow laptop then install windows, drivers, office, ninite, plugins, etc, and boot up and shutdown a few times. All done without issue. After about 90mins, I pull out the IDE SSD to find it isn't the slightest bit warm to the touch.

Confused, I restore the data and return the SSD back to tablet PC. I decide to test drive it on web off and on for a few days and it does seem to slow down after about an hour, but it still doesn't get hot, overheat, shut down, kernel panic, or any other signs of dying MoBo. However, it did freeze twice during that time. I stress test the memory and the CPU at 100% for over 12hrs. No crash or errors. The machine still wasn't even hot but, but the reboot took a painful 7minutes.

I do a little open surgery and dismantle her. She was extremely clean for her age and the thermal paste looked fresh and gooey like it was applied yesterday. The caps were solid state so I couldn't tell if they were bulging or leaking like old electrolytics. I put her back together assuming it must be the caps, but how is this darn thing still functioning for hours and hours at 100% load at the same clock-speed without crashing, shutting off, or exploding. "Maybe the CPU was throttling ?" I run CPUz to see the multiplier and FSB were perfectly fine even under 100% load for an hour. "Maybe the caps were completely wasted and the MoBo was severely undervolting to keep it running" This is my assumption since CPUz didn't display any voltage readings and nothing in the BIOS would cause this even when CPU is set to dynamic. I have never seen an ancient desktop or laptop with this behavior. Bizarre, it's like the Zombie Toshiba from Japan.
Reactions: NovaBrunswick


I can't make out what the issue is from all of this text, aside from maybe a slow MS Office setup, which on a P3 with 1 GB of RAM is normal. Something about the CPU usage changing also, which is also normal as the system loads and possibly checks for updates. I'd just toss that thing in the trash and stop wasting time with it. A Core 2 Duo or even an early i5 laptop is about $100-150 way less than time spend on whatever you are doing with a P3 system.
Reactions: NovaBrunswick


Jun 3, 2016
of course, I could trash the ancient laptop. I just like a good challenge. This was just one puzzle I failed to solve. I just dont understand why the machine would slow down to a crawl after being on for an hour or so. Perhaps I should read up on "solid state caps."
Reactions: NovaBrunswick
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