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We got up early this morning. Immediately, I headed out into the field. East of Violet City, Route 31 is called home by a Pokémon that only comes out early in the morning. Ledyba. And I wanted to catch one. It took some hunting, but we managed to track one down. Diane the Ledyba, named for her evolved form, joined the team. Don't worry; I don't intend to make my Pokémon work so early on a constant basis. This was a rare occurrance. With a team of Pokémon mostly weak against Flying types, however, we needed to get some serious training in. Just our luck; Violet City's Gym Leader specialises in Flying types. After asking around, it turns out the nearby Sprout Tower welcomes trainers.
It wasn't hard to find the Sprout Tower. After all, it's, well, a tower. It's not called the Sprout Cave. Hehe. I wouldn't have thought by looking at the tower from the outside that Pokémon battles were conducted there. It honestly looks more like a spot for prayer or meditation. But I could hear the sounds of battling faintly through the ceiling from the moment I walked in. I'm not gonna lie to you; I'm afraid of heights. It's not a crippling fear - that, for me, is lightning - but it was enough to make me hesitant as I climbed up to the second floor.
I was wrong in thinking Sprout Tower is a place of meditation. But it seems to be a place of enlightenment. The trainers there are monks, and, as I got closer, I could see them training with their Pokémon. Moving fluidly around Vine Whips and the like from the Bellsprout they all appear to be using. I must've caught the attention of one of them, because he bowed and readied a Pokéball. Predictably, from a flash of light came a Bellsprout. So it was for all of the monks training in the tower; they all wielded Bellsprout of varying strengths. And they were all taken down by Julia. My initial thought was that, for the upcoming Gym battle, it'd be best to have a Pokémon that can fly. Butterfree.
After some hard-fought battles, Julia suddenly tilted her head up and spat out a torrent of thread. This is how they evolve. Knowing this, I was glad that her second evolution wouldn't be far behind. The gooey thread covered her fully, leaving a tangled mass. Bit by bit, the mass hardened and took on a green shine. At the end, Julia had evolved from Caterpie into a Metapod!
We were all tired by that point, so we rested at the Pokémon Centre before continuing our training. It occurred to me that perhaps Angelica wasn't getting much attention. I'll have to do something special for her after we get the Zephyr Badge. Yes, after. Not if. We're gonna win! As long as we're prepared, we can defeat anybody; that's what I believe. And that means training. If we're gonna be up against Flying types, we'll need to hone our skills enough to fight through the type disadvantage. And, for now, that means we need to go back to Sprout Tower.
The emergence of a Butterfree is a beautiful thing. I highly recommend the experience be seen by anybody and everybody who has the chance. It's quite easy to see; the metamorphosis of a Caterpie takes place rather quickly. You probably already know, but an area of the Kanto region, near Saffron City, has a yearly celebration in which scores of Butterfree are released to find mates. I'd love to see it in person someday. They say it's impossible to witness without crying. I don't wanna try to watch it without crying; I just wanna be there. Someday, I'll save up enough money to go see it. But, for now, Julia underwent her final transformation recently. After some more felled Bellsprout, she shook as a crack bloomed on her hard emerald-green shell. Little by little, she cast off her shell until she was fully revealed. Light streaming in through the windows set her new pearl-white wings glimmering in a beautiful light show. She stretched out these new appendages and finally took to the sky with a cute trill. Julia had reached her final form.
With Julia being a Butterfree now, the rest of our training in Sprout Tower went by quickly. It seemed nothing could stand up to her. Until the building shook. I heard a loud bang and instinctively ducked, thinking perhaps an explosive had been set off. But there was no screaming. There were no alarms. I looked up. The head monk was engaged in a Pokémon battle. I thought it was his Pokémon that caused the noise, but they were sprawled out on the floor. His opponent laughed in a cold tone of voice I recognised right away. The Cyndaquil trainer! No wonder. He's lucky he didn't start a fire! I ran to the scene just in time for him to escape. No way was I going after him; I don't harbour a death wish for myself or my Pokémon.
The head monk offered me a battle, just the same as he had, I assume, offered one to that mystery trainer. He would have to get his Pokémon healed first, of course, but I was willing to wait. In exchange, I helped him with patching his Pokémon up. How they managed it, I have no idea, but they managed to avoid any serious injuries. Our battle began soon. Julia made quick work of yet another Bellsprout. But the Hoothoot that came next gave us some problems. It, too, was dispatched. But the troubles it caused us made me realise something. I couldn't expect Julia to go it alone when it comes to our upcoming gym battle. She would need backup. And, at the moment, the only member of my team who isn't weak against Flying types is Brittany.
Brittany's training went well, though we hit a speed bump along the way. I heard that there was a young lady on Route 29 who gave out scarves. I thought there'd be no harm in checking it out. Plus, the extra experience from trainers on the way would be worth the trek. So, we set off. Unfortunately, we went all the way to Route 29 only to realise that she only shows herself to trainers with a Zephyr Badge. Damn. Well, you know what they say. Nothing worth having comes easy. On the way back, we tackled - both figuratively and literally - several more wild Pokémon. I think it's finally time for Violet City Gym.
I'm slightly acrophobic, like I said. I mostly got over it by virtue of my profession. As a doctor, and an emergency physician at that, I would, at times, need to travel by air to the scene of a disaster. But a bit of the fear stuck with me. And the Gym didn't help, to say the least. To accomodate the myriad of winged Pokémon being trained there, the building is of enormous size. It's practically a skyscraper! I had to take an elevator to the top. I still remember looking down and feeling a little sick. This was it. The first Gym.
The first trainer must've noticed my trepidation; he laughed before the match. But, thanks to Brittany, he wasn't laughing for very long. Being high up, I had a fear that I know is irrational. In fact, I knew it was irrational then. But I worried Brittany would land on a weak floorboard after an attack and fall. She moves so lightly across the battlefield, though. The second trainer was fought with my fears mostly alleviated. As such, I was able to focus better when giving attack commands. He and his winged beasts fell the same as their predecessors. Then came Falkner.
Greetings were formal; like that mystery trainer, Falkner has a tone of voice that's quickly recognisable. He spoke elegantly, almost regally. But I can speak from experience now in saying that he fights with brutality. From the moment I saw his first Pokémon, I knew he was fighting seriously. A well-trained Pidgey spread its wings and stared Brittany down. At a glance, I could tell this Pidgey has seen maybe dozens of fights. I could also tell, from looking at Brittany, that she was determined to make this encounter difficult for it. No backing down now. It was time to fight.
Brittany and this Pidgey traded blows for some time, and, to my delight, Pidgey was wearing out. I just had to keep an eye on Brittany to make sure she didn't take any big hits. Finally, Brittany connected with a crushing blow. I was surprised with the power that came from her petite body. Pidgey crashed to the floor, defeated, and I felt happy. Julia was waiting as backup, but, the way Brittany was going, I decided to keep her in for Falkner's second Pokémon. A Pidgeotto, this specimen had an intimidating aura that made even Brittany cringe. I gave a command, and Brittany lunged. She made contact, but Pidgeotto barely reacted. Clearly, this would be a challenge in and of itself.
Hit after hit, they fought. A Quick Attack was answered by a Gust again and again. Brittany's speed had Pidgeotto confounded, for sure. But a Sentret versus a Pidgeotto? I had my doubts. Until I saw somethjng I'm glad I was around to see. Pidgeotto had Brittany cornered in the rafters. I was ready for Brittany to take a fall. Instead, she took a leap. A leap onto Pidgeotto's back. It all happened so fast. Pidgeotto flew around wildly, but Brittany held firm. Finally, in its thrashing, the mighty bird crashed into the floor trying to shake Brittany off. Falkner was aghast, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel similarly. Then, in a ruffle of feathers, Pidgeotto rose again. It wasn't over. But it was about to be. I ordered a Quick Attack. Brittany leapt again, but came down hard this time. Pidgeotto squawked in pain, then fell once more. We did it! We won!
#11: Metapod, the Cocoon Pokémon
Along with its toxic counterpart in Kakuna, Metapod sometimes drop from trees in forests during periods of heavy wind. Take care travelling through these forests. Upon its final evolution, Metapod splits open, and the empty shell is discarded.
#12: Butterfree, the Butterfly Pokémon
Albeit exceedingly rare, pink Butterfree are known to exist. It was thought that they hail from the Orange Archipelago, but further research is required. Rubbing the wing of a Butterfree will leave your hand covered in a prismatic silver powder. This powder is non-toxic, and waterproof.
#165: Ledyba, the Five Star Pokémon
These Pokémon produce an aromatic fluid that is used to mark their territory, as well as for communication and courtship purposes. Diluted and mixed, it makes a fine perfume, sold in especially large quantities in Johto.
Sorry this installment took so long. As you well know, I had a family emergency to attend to. But enough about that. In this entry, we learn that Brittany is a savage(she actually did sweep Falkner; I didn't make that up.)! Seriously, that... whatever Sentret is based on... I wanna say raccoon... is not to be fucked with. We also get to see Julia evolve! They grow up so fast, huh? Hopefully, Angelica is next. Or will newly-acquired Diane beat her to the Comet Punch? Find out next time! If you WANT a next time, that is.~ Oh, and let's not forget our shiny new Zephyr Badge! Now that things are calming down, I'd like to write more. Only if you want it, though! ^_^
*Dear Diary: A Pokémon Crystal Custom Nuzlocke Experience*
*For this Nuzlocke, I decided to put my own twist on it. I have changed only 2 things. I am allowed to choose 1 Pokémon per route, etc, to catch. Fail to capture it, and I must not attempt to capture any non-shiny or non-Legendary there. I'm allowing myself to reset for genders, etc.*
*This copy of Pokémon Crystal is a North American version, downloaded from the Nintendo eShop and played on an original model 3DS console. A duplication glitch will be used for one-off Pokémon, but this will not effect gameplay. Clones will remain boxed until the Elite 4 are defeated.*
My name is Tyler. Tyler Miller. Formerly Dr. Miller, but let's not talk about that. In an effort to find inspiration, as well as knowledge, I have left Goldenrod City for New Bark Town. The Johto region is beautiful, and I want to explore it. Through this diary, I'll chronicle my journey through Johto with the Pokémon I will call my friends. This is our story.
Arriving in New Bark Town in the morning, Professor Elm put me to work immediately. A friend of his had called on him to help with a discovery. But, being busy with research, he couldn't go himself. So he sent me over in his stead. In exchange, he gave me a choice of my first partner for this adventure. Ever since I treated a very sick Chikorita, I've wanted a Chikorita of my own. My choice was obvious. Being that my Chikorita is female, I named her Angelica, after a type of flower called an Angel's Trumpet. I'll likely see some on my journey, but I'll have to be careful around them; they're poisonous.
Of course, Angelica and I had to fight off wild Pokémon on our way. Our destination was a house north of Cherrygrove City. A bit of a walk, but nothing compared to the trek I'll be taking later. I almost feel jealous of little Angelica; she gets to ride along in her Poké Ball. Anyway, we stopped for a bite to eat before continuing on. Route 30 was more of the same; dealing with attacks from wild Pokémon. The only difference is that the Sentret and Rattata of Route 29 were replaced with Caterpie, and a Weedle or 2. But we made it.
The man Elm sent me to see wouldn't tell me his name; only that he was known as Mr. Pokémon. Fair enough. The discovery he made was a Pokémon egg. Apparently, it had appeared at the Day Care Centre near Goldenrod City, secluded from any couples who may have produced it. I was shocked not only by that, but by the fact that this "Mr. Pokémon" had company! Professor Oak, from Pallet Town in Kanto, was looking into the egg too, but, pardon the pun, he just couldn't crack it. With neither of them able to solve this mystery, I was given the egg to take to Professor Elm. And, from Professor Oak, I got a Pokédex! I'll have to remember to check it on a regular basis. So, I left Mr. Pokémon's house. And that's when shit hit the fan.
I had only just set foot outside when my PokéGear went off. Probably Professor Elm, wondering where Angelica and I were. Or so I thought. I was half right; it was Elm. But he was understandably not too concerned with us. The lab in New Bark Town was... Well, Elm wouldn't say what happened. But he wanted us back ASAP, so we started our return trip. On our way back, we were stopped by a trainer. An angry young man, tone of voice bitter as unsweetened tea. His hair, were it any colour but blood red, I'd be envious of. I don't much like redheads. Anyway, this kid challenged us out of the blue. Thankfully, he wielded just a low-level Cyndaquil; Angelica and I subdued him. He predictably spat insults at us, then ran off. I thought he was a real dick, frankly. Turns out, I didn't know the half of it.
We returned to the lab, only to find it in disarray. Somebody had broken in while I was running my errand! In fact, an officer was there, questioning the professor. Apparently, nobody was hurt, and nothing was damaged. But a Pokémon was taken. A Cyndaquil. I had just battled a Cyndaquil user! I offered that information to the officer, but I couldn't for the life of me remember the trainer's name! I remembered his appearance, though, which was helpful. After the officer left, I completed my errand and gave Elm the mysterious egg. In the midst of thanking me, he noticed my Pokédex. I guess he reasoned that, if Professor Oak could trust me, so could he, because he gave me a suggestion. The suggestion to tun this journey into a mission. A mission to collect the badges from Johto's Pokémon Gyms. Well, I wasn't planning on it, but I guess I should at least try it, if Professor Elm believes in me. I accepted. To get me started, he had one of his aides give me a set of Pokéballs. Happily taking them, I walked out the door. My journey was beginning.
Going back through Route 29, I was glad I packed sunscreen for my trip. Angelica didn't need to protect herself from the sunlight; she uses it for energy. But I'll have to remember to pick up some aloe gel or lotion. Grass types like that stuff, and it'll help keep her coat shiny, and her head leaf healthy. But I can't complete this challenge with her alone. In short order, I found and captured a Sentret, who I named Brittany. I dunno why I chose that name; it just sounded right. After a small bit of training, we set out north of Cherrygrove, to Route 30. There, we found another new team member. A Caterpie. Knowing that Caterpie evolves into Butterfree, I named her Julia, after Julia Child, a famous chef known to use lots of butter in her dishes. The trainers along the route were not an issue for us. We tore through them, reaching Violet City just as the sun began to set. We decided to take a break there, and spend the night at the Pokémon Centre. All in all, a good, productive day. I just hope we can keep up this pace.
#152: Chikorita, the Leaf Pokémon
Chikorita are loyal companions, and very affectionate towards their owners. During long stretches of inclement weather, these Pokémon may become lethargic, or even ill. When possible, they should be allowed time to lie down in direct sunlight. This keeps them healthy and happy. The leaf on their head is prehensile, and sensitive.
#161: Sentret, the Scout Pokémon
Sentret are capable of balancing on their tails to appear taller, as well as to obtain a better vantage point. Their bodies have a membrane that connects the forepaws with the hindpaws, and can stretch slightly. Upon spotting danger, Sentret will release an earsplitting cry to alert other members of their group. They can, however, be trained to curb this.
#10: Caterpie, the Worm Pokémon
A common sight in forests, these Pokémon release a harmless, but rotten stench from their antennae when threatened. Trainers who attend school are often told to keep these Pokémon in their Pokéballs. This Pokémon is a wonderful choice for beginners.
This is inspired by the work of @NyxAvatar69. If they do not approve, I will promptly remove this. Pokémon Crystal is probably my favourite of the main series games. I've already completed this challenge in the Virtual Console releases of Gold and Silver. Generation II is by far my favourite Generation of Pokémon. Because this Nuzlocke has different rules to a normal one, I will call this a "Choicelocke." This is because, rather than having to catch the first Pokémon you see in each new area, this challenge allows you to choose one Pokémon in each area to catch. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy.~
*Chapter Three: Finding Good Help*
Faced, sure enough, with a padlock, Artemis took a deep breath. She reached behind herself and gripped the twig nesting in her vermilion tail. As she unsheathed it, sparks ran down its length. Even as she was holding the fully removed twig, the tip was alight with crimson flames. Embers broke off from the fire, only to fizzle out upon hitting the wet grass. "Wait!" "Well, now's a fine time to be giving warnings," Artemis teased, turning to face Bellossom, who had called out to her. "Collateral damage," Bellossom said. "The embers on the ground reminded me. Hold on just a minute." The maid bent down, and, with a sharp tug, broke off several blades of grass. "We want the lock to still work when we're done with it; right?" There was a collective nod as she stuffed the keyhole with the grass. "There. Now, the actual lock is safe; it won't melt and deform from the heat of your wand." Artemis shrugged, carefully pointing the tip of the twig at the top of the lock. The flames died out along most of the "wand," concentrating on the tip. "Alright; stand clear!~"
With Bellossom and Pesky both out of the way, Artemis thrust the twig forward. From the tip shot a whip-like ray of flames. Despite her trepidation, it was a figurative bullseye. The flames cut through the metal bar, leaving the lock intact and the bar split cleanly in 2. "Nice shot!" Pesky cheered as Artemis quelled the flame by bringing a paw down over it. "Hush!" Artemis shout-whispered. "Wait until we're in the forest." With the lock broken, the gate opened easily. Pesky and Bellossom hurried in, while Artemis quickly got to work at welding the metal bar back together. When she rejoined the group, she was nursing a paw, holding it close. "Are you alright?" Bellossom asked, advancing gently on her. "Lemme see your paw." Artemis held it forward to reveal a patch of charred fur.
With a figure like Goodra's, it was only natural that she turned some heads as she walked through the Goldenrod Department Store. And she stepped lightly. That she was filled out in all of the decidedly best places to be carrying extra weight still meant that she carried extra weight. Seeing her walk with any sort of grace was, in many ways, as striking as it would be to see Wigglytuff carrying herself in such a manner. She had almost finished shopping, and was looking through the list she brought with her. Written on in beautiful cursive, the paper she held was stained with her slime. "Hmm... Yes; this should be enough meat to keep the carnivores happy for quite some time." As she double-checked the shopping list, she found the paper suddenly wet. She was crying. Softly but surely. It finally seemed to hit her that what she was buying, only she and the other residents would partake in. Her master was gone. If he wasn't, the list would likely include his favourite foods. Goodra loved to spoil him. Another tear fell, and she took a sharp, shuddering breath inward. "I should be over it by now, but... I can't forget about you, sweetie. You wouldn't wanna see me like this; I know." She vigorously shook her head, as though she were trying to shake her sadness away. With a smile on her face to mask her true feelings, Goodra trudged on.
Sylveon still fussed with her hair as she and Ruri stood outside the Pokémon Centre. "Sylvie, for Arceus' sake, your hair is fine!" Ruri insisted. Sylveon scoffed. "Of course it is, honey! Or it damn well had better be; I spend so much time on it. But fine isn't enough.~" Ruri, exasperated, shut her eyes tightly, likely in an effort to calm down, so she wouldn't lash out at her friend. By the time her eyes saw the world again, the duo was already inside the Pokémon Centre. All around, trainers and their Pokémon waited to be tended to. Sylveon approached the front desk. Before she could strike a bell that would alert staff to somebody waiting to check in, a nurse was already in front of her. "Hello, miss! Do you have an appointment?" "I don't," Sylveon admitted. The nurse turned to look back into the office behind her, at which point Sylveon gave a thumbs up to Ruri. She began to sniffle. It was a talent that was often unused, for fear that it would ruin any trust for her, but Sylveon had a very convincing fake cry. "I... I d-didn't have time to... I..." Ruri was stunned, but understood the thumbs up as a sign to play along. "It's alright. I'm sorry, miss. My friend here, miss..." She paused to look at the lady's nametag. "...Nurse Joy. My friend, she's a maid. I'm sure you could tell by her outfit." "Yes, I could," Nurse Joy replied. "Is she hurt? Or is she here on behalf of somebody else?" She offered Sylveon a tissue, which was politely refused. "S-Somebody else," Sylveon answered her, and, by this time, some of the trainers in the waiting room had taken notice, and were watching the situation unfold. "M-My master; he... He was hurt in the storm. Please; I'm a terrible cook. C-Can you spare any food?"
There were enough plants in the flower shop to make a house for a Chikorita! Wigglytuff actually raised a sticky paw to slap herself, but lowered it when she remembered she was in public. "Of course there's a buncha plants here, you big dummy! What did you exp- Oh! Hello, ma'am.~" The older of 2 sisters who ran the shop was in front of her. Brown hair swept her shoulders, and her appropriately floral print dress reached her knees. "Hello yourself, miss," she responded kindly. "We haven't had many customers since the storm. What can I help you with?~" The politeness of the shop owner got the portly bunnygirl to smile. "I'm looking for berries. See, our garden was drowned by that same storm, and we have a lot of herbivores to feed. Do you have any in stock?" With a slightly sorrowful, understanding nod, the florist pointed fowards a corner with several terra cotta flower pots full of plants. "Do you want the plants, or just the berries themselves, dearie?" Wigglytuff looked towards the indicated spot, and felt a pang of nervousness. She was certainly gluttonous, but what she wasn't was impolite. The only member of the household, to her knowledge, that could cultivate a berry plant was Bellossom, and not only was she out helping Artemis and Pesky, but it would be a slap to the face to give her a berry plant and ask her to do all of the work. "J-Just the berries, please. I'm not picky; anything edible will do." Nodding again, the lady led her to a counter. Used to immediately putting money on a counter when walking into a candy store or a bakery, Wigglytuff did the same here. She had a small amount of money. Mostly coins, as her paper money had by and large been exchanged for sweets already. "Can I get anything for this, ma'am?"
"How'd you hurt yourself?" Bellossom asked, eyes darting across the forest floor. "I slipped," Artemis replied. "My paw hit the padlock." Pesky rolled his eyes. "Damn. I hate to use this analogy, but when it rains, it pours." "Very funny," Artemis scolded him. Bellossom stepped away slightly to pick a large cyan berry from a nearby tree. "Hold out your paw." Artemis did as instructed, but, rather than handing over the berry, Bellossom took a bite of it. Pesky gasped. "Are you serious?! You can't just eat wild berries; you'll get poisoned!" Bellossom dismissed his concern by waving a hand in his direction. Ever polite, she swallowed before speaking. "It's a Rawst Berry. Perfectly safe to eat, though a bit of an acquired taste." With that, she revealed the remains of the fruit. "Here, Artemis." Before the burnt vulpine could react, Bellossom rubbed an exposed end of the berry onto the blackened area of her outstretched paw. The colour didn't improve, but the pain was quickly dulled. The group didn't have access to bandages, so the application of the healing berry was all that could be done. Through thick foliage, the group pressed on in near complete darkness. Artemis had several times offered to light her wand tip to help, but Bellossom's response was always quick and to the point. Even with the plant life wet from rain, lighting a fire was still a bad idea. It wasn't until the third time Artemis made this offer that a voice besides that of Pesky or Bellossom answered her. "Are you trying to start a brushfire?!"
Pachirisu sat in the living room of the Delphox's abode. On her lap, warm from near constant use, was her radio. It was a special radio, capable of picking up broadcasts beyond the range of a normal Pokégear; previously, it was a belonging of her master, who gave it to her when he had his Pokégear updated with similar functionality. Even so, the only advantage the upgraded Pokégear offered was portability, since the radio was a clunky machine. Normally, Pachirisu kept it on her bedside table, so it could provide background noise while she slept. Now, though, she was listening intently to every word spoken by the inhuman voice coming from it. "There are unconfirmed reports of rare Pokémon seen near Ilex Forest. These Pokémon are not to be confronted until conditions improve. Severe weather is expected within the next few minutes, which will endanger the lives of trainers and their Pokémon." Severe weather? "Oh, no!" Cassie and Dragonair had already returned from fishing by this point, and Goodra and Wigglytuff were likely close behind. But Artemis, Pesky, and Bellossom were completely exposed to the elements. "Mistress!" Pachirisu called out. "Mistress!" The sound of footfalls cushioned by fur soon followed as Kianna entered the room. "What's wrong, Pachi?" "I-I just heard that a storm is coming. Pesky and the girls are gonna get caught in it, and we don't have a way to contact them and call them back here!" Kianna stood, taking this information in for a short time. As a mother, she couldn't help her concern. "Poor dears. I hope they get back soon." Concerned as she was, though, she was unable to get Pachirisu's meaning. "No, mistress," Pachirisu corrected her gently. "I have to go after them!"
Yes, Pachirisu. Run outside, confident in the belief that a thunderstorm is coming. What could possibly go wrong? So, in this chapter, we learn a few things.
Goodra is still sad about her master. Goodra and Wigglytuff are both A B S O L U T E U N I T S. In awe at the size of these lasses! Yeah; we already knew that. But I like reaffirming it. XD Sylveon can cry on command. Bellossom has decent survival skills. The ones who went near the forest were spotted; the report of "rare Pokémon" was about them. Pachirisu's radio is a hand-me-down. So, do you think you can tolerate a fourth chapter? Special thanks again to @SMFoxy, for allowing me use of his characters.
What do you call a computer strapped to the back of a monitor?
Apparently it’s a AiO computer… 😕
I found this strange little thing on bid for £4.99, and there really wasn’t all that was said about it. No specs, no model number, nothing. Just “It turns on” but “It has a password” therefore it was being sold for spares and repairs.
A BIOS password is extremely easy to bypass; usually it’s just a matter of moving a jumper and turning the computer on, or just taking out the CMOS button cell battery (Usually a CR2032).
I figured at £4.99 (Plus £9.99 shipping) there really wasn’t much to lose, and took the plunge, putting in a bid for it. My max bid was £20; I wasn’t really willing to spend more than £29.99 on it, because it was a curiosity more than anything, and I had no idea what the specs were, at all. I was surprised that no one else was interested in it. He claimed he had brought a load of them from a joblot and was selling them individually on eBay. It was advertised as coming with the power cables and VGA cable, but other than that; there wasn’t much.
Of course after I bought it, the seller started charging £14.99 for them +£9.99 Shipping.
Item: Ex-School AiO PC (Parts and Spares)
Price I paid: £4.99 Shipping: £9.99 (Courier) Total Cost: £14.98 Came With: A heavily modified Windows 7 Installation. This topic won’t be as long as the others because there’s not really much to talk about.
When I got it, I was impressed with the condition of the machine; I have to admit I had reservations about the overall build quality, especially when one of the CEO’s for Viglen back in the day was Bordan Tkachuk who is perhaps famous/infamous for saying:
He’s completely wrong, of course, in more ways than one. So I wasn’t inspired to say the very least, as the man seems to know nothing about basic knowledge for people who are supposed to be working in Technology.
Anyway, the condition of the machine was pretty good, and when I booted it up there was indeed a BIOS Password. Removing this was a simple matter of opening the case and flipping the jumper which was readily accessible. When I turned on the PC it told me that the password had been cleared and that I needed to reboot the machine with the jumper in the correct position.
I did that, and I was presented with not Windows Vista (Which is what I was sold) but Windows 7 (Enterprise, I think) and it was very heavily modified. It seemed to have come from a primary school, and thus it was expecting a domain server on the network that it couldn’t find.
I’ve spoken about this before in regards to school computers and servers. Quite often there are no sensitive files on these machines because the files aren’t stored on them. Instead they’re stored on a kind of ‘Profile’ on the server that allows you to log into any authorised computer on that network, and have your files/documents travel with you when you log onto that computer. This is because the files aren’t stored on the actual computer - it’s just a workstation. The files are stored on the actual server. So there wasn’t any sensitive files on this device - I knew this before I hacked my way into the OS.
Once I was in the OS (Using a backdoor user account that was created on the machine probably during setup) I confirmed that there was nothing groundbreaking left behind. Not a single document, or text file, incriminating evidence, family pictures or otherwise. I ended up wiping the hard drive and put Windows 10 on it - although I some issues after I opened it up again and took it apart. Which I will get to in a moment. I had rolledl back to Windows 7 whilst I was sorting these issues out, but eventually I diagnosed the fault and put Windows 10 back on it.
And it works perfectly.
Before I get into it this time; let's find out what I bought:
Viglen Genie AiO PC (With Intel DQ35JO Motherboard)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo (E8400) LGA775, 45nm Chip Dual Core @ 3.00GHz L1 Cache 2 x 32 KB instruction caches 2 x 32 KB data caches L2 Cache 6MB (3MB per Core) 4 KB Pages, 4-way set associative, 128 entries 4 MB Pages, 4-way set associative, 32 entries 52.81W Typical Power Consumption (65W TDP) 4GB Max Supportable RAM Chipset: Intel(R) Q35 Express Chipset Family (North Bridge: Intel Bearlake Q35) (South Bridge: Intel 82801IO ICH9DO) RAM: 4GB DDR2 (4 x 1GB) 2x Samsung M3 (1GB Each) Non-ECC RAM Bandwidth: PC-5300 (667 MHz, DDR2) Timings: @ 333 MHz 5-5-5-15 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 20-43-3-5-3-3 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) @ 266 MHz 4-4-4-12 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 16-34-2-4-2-2 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) @ 200 MHz 3-3-3-9 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 12-26-2-3-2-2 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) Model: M3 78T2863QZS-CE6 2x Kingston (1GB Each) Non-ECC RAM Bandwidth: PC2-5300 (667 MHz, DDR2) Timings: @ 400 MHz 6-6-6-18 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 24-51-3-6-3-3 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) @ 333 MHz 5-5-5-15 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 20-43-3-5-3-3 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) @ 266 MHz 4-4-4-12 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 16-34-2-4-2-2 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) Model: Unknown Optical Media: Optiarc DVD RW AD-7633A SCSI CdRom Device Firmware: 1.00 Can read: CD-ROM CD-R CD-RW DVD-ROM DVD-R DVD-RW DVD+R DVD+RW DVD-RAM DVD+R DL DVD+R9 DL Can Write: CD-R CD-RW DVD-R DVD-RW DVD+R DVD+RW DVD-RAM DVD+R DL DVD+R9 DL Network Cards: Intel(R) 82566DM-2 Gigabit Network Connection (1000M) Graphics: Intel GMA 3100 (Integrated) on the Intel(R) Q35 Express Chipset. VGA Output DVI Output Upto 256MB shared memory PSU: 1 x Enhance 250W Power Supply (80 Plus Bronze Efficiency Sticker) Model ENP-7025C HDD: 1 x 80GB (Originally: WDC WD800AAJS-00WAA0, 80GB, 7200 RPM, SATA II) Monitor: A 4:3/5:4 Ratio Maxdata Belinea 17” Display with USB Passthrough and built in speakers (They’re awful). Sound: Realtek High Definition Audio (Realtek ALC268) Stereo Speakers Integrated with Monitor (I don’t know the wattage, they’re absolutely atrocious though). For £4.99 ($6.30 USD, $9.09 AUD, €5.57 EUR, $8.35 CAD, at the time of writing) the specs are really not bad at all! I could easily flip the computer on it’s own for quadruple the price, which makes back the shipping and I get a free monitor for my troubles. It could make a fantastic computer for a child who uses it for homework and basic word processing, as well as light internet usage.
I think it’s got reasonably competent connectability; a gigabit ethernet port is a major plus with this machine, which is on the back with a firewire port, six USB2 ports a VGA and DVI port as well as microphone, headphones/speakers and a lineout port. On the front it has two USB2 ports, a headphone jack and a microphone jack.
However; as I expected with Viglen - which might as well mean buy the cheapest possible components and throw it all into a computer case to see if it sticks - the internal engineering is absolutely abysmal. At 5.1KG for the computer unit alone, (5164g) this is not a lightweight. Cable management was an absolute nightmare and no thought was put in to the case either.
Take a look at the inside:
This is after I cable managed it.
The major problem with this machine is heat, and on that note I’d love to meet the absolute spanner who thought it was a good idea to put a PSU directly above in near contact to the Intel 82801IDO Southbridge heatsink! It gets to temperatures in the region of 92oC hot and it cannot dissipate the heat properly because there’s no airflow over that area, and to top it all off the PSU is generating a generous amount of heat as well. In addition; the HDD is right on top of the RAM (Also generating a good amount of heat). The Power distribution of the system seems precarious at best.
The thermal paste was god awful and was causing several Thermal Cutoffs (Where the machine would outright shut down to protect the CPU), not allowing me to do an accurate test of the CPU temp before thermal pasting. But in fairness most OEM’s have poor quality thermal pastes. I replaced it with my standard Arctic Silver 5, but under the current configuration it’s temperature is erratic under load:
But at least it’s not cutting off outright.
This is this machine’s biggest enemy, and I think I might know of a few solutions to help with it. The CPU fan seems to be an intake, where as the PSU fan and the one opposite are output fans.
Picture I took whilst I was dismantling it to replace the Thermal Paste:
After stabilising the machine, I did some cable management and tied it up. I did try replacing the HDD with a higher capacity one, however I had lots of errors happen when I did that, such as “Memory_Management”, and so on until the computer just outright failed to detect any other hard drive other than the 80GB one. You’d hear it power up, and then it’d power it down repeatedly - and this was with a good hard drive (Because I use it in the HP AiO now and it’s absolutely fine) This is why I suggest that the power distribution is precarious… Perhaps and SSD will do fine in this system - were it not for the heat issues I’m finding. I do not like subjecting SSD’s to more than 35oC of heat, certainly no more than 45oC if I can help it.
That said. Despite the system running much hotter than I’d personally care for, it does run now, and I’ve not had a problem with it. But perhaps I will run it in the winter when I don’t want to use the heater in the house.
I believe this motherboard could be translated to a different case and utilised to its fullest extent. With a decent cooler on the CPU there is plenty of upgradability here; especially with those SATA ports (Red one is designed for External SATA).
There’s not really that much more to say about this machine, it was extremely cheap and you get what you pay for, however individually, the parts are worth more to me than the whole machine. Why I can use the RAM with another old machine I have, and the CPU with the next item I will be featuring. If you do have any questions please leave them below!
I’ll close with some AIDA64 Benchmarks, but I will be comparing them to my next ‘Shit I’ve Bought on eBay’ as the next machine is comparable as it has the same CPU:
Memory Read: 7,098 MB/s
Memory Write: 6,955 MB/s
Memory Copy: 6,384 MB/s
Memory Latency: 100.0 ns
Central Processing Unit Benchmarks:
CPU Queen Score: 12,662
CPU PhotoWorxx Score: 3,498 MPixel/s
CPU ZLib Score: 75.3 MB/s
CPU AES Score: 328 MB/s
CPU Hash Score: 959 MB/s
Floating Point Unit Benchmarks:
FPU VP8 Score: 2,102
FPU Julia Score: 4,056
FPU Mandel Score: 2,144
FPU SinJulia Score: 1,099
SIMD-Enhanced Ray Tracing Benchmarks:
FP32 Ray-Trace: 582 KRay/s
FP64 Ray-Trace: 305 KRay/s
Next on: "Shit I've bought from eBay" - ACER Veriton L670G PC