What to do with my old PC

I should be receiving a new PC in the next few days, which leads me to ask, what should I do with my old one.

My old one (the one I’m writing this on) is a 4 year old 2 Ghz Celeron with 2GB RAM, a relatively new 320GB data hard drive and a 120GB Windows drive that’s partitioned 30/90. All running XP Pro. It’s dying though - fine for the net and basic PC stuff, but freezes/crashes when working with big files in Photoshop and Lightroom. And occasionally gives me the BSOD for no apparent reason.

I figure I can -

1)Pull the 320GB HD out, stick it in an external box and reformat it, use it as a backup drive. The drive is less than 6 months old. Donate the rest of the PC to a charity that takes PCs for poor schools or something (do they exist in TW?)

2)Get a hub, run something like Synergy so I can control both PCs from one keyboard/mouse and use the old one for downloading music/movies etc.

3)Set the old one up with some form of Linux, just because I’ve never played with Linux and would be interested in trying it out. If so, what Linux/open source OS would you recommend to a novice?

4)Keep the new PC offline and use it for photo stuff only, do any net surfing on the old one until it’s dead.

5)Some combination of the above.

What do you guys think?

Also, assuming I keep the old one running in some form, do you have any recommendations for some kind of audio mixer that I can plug the 2 PCs into, plus 1 CD/MP3 player and 1 MD player, so that I can have 4 different inputs running through 1 set of speakers (not at the same time obviously).

Cheers,

Craig

Your old PC may simply need:

  • A registry cleanup
  • A reinstallation of Windows

Strip it down to the minimum number of programs you want to keep (remove programs and clean registry, or else just reinstall Windows and programs), and see how it runs. Hardware like that should be kept, and kept running, if at all possible. It’s worth a lot in real terms (if not monetary terms).

It’s not quite clear whether those freezes are due to hardware issues (overheating? Ever cleaned inside?) or if it is just Windows, but an unreliable machine is annoying anyway…

The large harddisks would suggest some kind of file server (NAS?), but the whole machine sounds like overkill for such purpose. Except a Mac mini, my computers run Linux, with the weak desktop being a C3@800MHz with 512MB RAM, outpowered by far by your “old” machine. My fast desktop machine is a P4@2.4GHz (FSB800) with 1GB RAM - and a somehow decent graphics card, but with much smaller harddisk.

So you could try to install Linux (desktop) on it and see if it still freezes. Ubuntu is pretty easy to handle, maybe you find that it all runs just fine.

Or if you really want to donate, you could take out the big drive and donate the “rest” to a TANet Network centre. I know the Jiayi county network centre is always lacking funds, others may be in a similar situation.

Sounds like a good candidate for continuously running a downloader, but why bother with the hub? You could run it as a standalone, then burn your downloads onto CD, and you’d have better virus protection, no? But what do I know? I’m computer illiterate.

eMule bot. That’s what I’m gonna do when I get a new computer this summer. The old one becomes my dedicated eMule downloader.

Fortigurn - I reinstalled Windows recently, cleaned out the registry and removed all programs I don’t use. Problems still persisted, hence the decision to buy a new one.

dl7und - The inside’s pretty clean, but is does generate a lot more heat than it used to. I need PCs with lots of RAM and big HDs for Photoshop.

DB - the hub is so I can easily connect both PCs to the net. The ADSL modem is in one of my roommates rooms’ and running a 2nd cable to that is a hassle. It’s easier to just use a hub in my office to connect both.

Could be a flakey power supply, CPU, or memory (or even hard drive). I’d be inclined to check each component before chucking it. Even if you can’t use it for Photoshop, it’s certainly sufficiently powered for a server.

Second that. The new version of Ubuntu is MUCH easier to get your head around than previous versions. For a first timer, I would DEFINITELY recommend Ubuntu.

As for the hub (switch?), just be warned that if you are going to set up one computer for downloads (so therefore a bit of a virus/malware risk) and it’s on the same internal network as your new computer, you’re increasing the risk of those, erm, bad things spreading through your own network to the new computer. However, a decent router will let you set up the computers so they’re pretty well protected from each other.

Oh and on the subject of that old computer being at risk from viruses/malware, that’s yet another reason to set that one up with Linux.

Use it to run OpenKore or other online game bot programs and download stuff at the same time… sure beats clicking away for years just to get a character in Ragnarok Online to lvl 99…

Donate it to a poor school, child or Entrepreneur.

Donate it to me. I’m still using a 1Ghz duron with 512mb ram and 32mb vid card. :astonished: