The final hardware piece of the Dell Latitude c600 puzzle arrived in the mail today. I had started to get the basic parts set up with only 64 MB of RAM, but it just wasn't enough to do much. Firefox took up so much memory that after 15 minutes of browsing the system was stuck paging memory continuously in and out of the swap partition. This made the whole system utterly unusable and usually resulted in one or more processes crashing with out of memory errors. Today that all changed.
I opened up the mailbox to find a bunch of junk mail and one conspicuously poorly-packed package from the New England area. The homemade envelope was made out of what felt like brown grocery bag paper taped together at the ends. There was a tear in the paper and the green circuit board and some black chips were visible and exposed. I had read a negative comment from one individual who had bought RAM from the same seller I had on eBay. I guess his RAM worked, but he was upset at the packing materials used. There was a no DOA guarantee, so that was good enough for me. I popped open the back of the laptop and installed the new RAM sticks. It booted (which is a good sign) and everything seems to work perfectly!
I left the seller some glowing feedback and am now on my way to learning more about Arch Linux (the more I learn the more I like) and to tweaking this laptop. Browsing the web on this 700 MHz Pentium 3 feels just as fast as it did on the 2.2 GHz Pentium 4 Celeron (Dell Inspiron 1000) that Krissy is now using. This c600 has better support for hibernating, suspending, and sleeping which makes it more portable. It runs cooler, too. It tops out at 55 degrees C under normal circumstances, and I've seen it hit 58 degrees C when recompiling Xorg (but only briefly, and when one of the vents was obstructed by my knee). The Pentium 4 Celeron would run at between 52 and 55 degrees C under no load and would sometimes get up around 80 degrees C under heavy load. That makes for quite a toasty lap, let me tell you!
That's two great deals now that I've gotten on eBay in the past two weeks!