- Computers & Software
Reuse Or Recycle?
One of many...
Trash or Re-Hash? Do PC's outlive their usefulness?
Here's the thing - I've been working with various bits of technology for 12 years, ranging from the cheapest rubbish to million dollar plus solutions, but everything, eventually, get's replaced. Subsequently I recently realised that I'd amassed an unenviable amount of kit from this period...the good stuff is running my home network but most of it was languishing in the attic, or in other slightly random locations around my house. I'm aiming to have a much more efficient, hardware-lite setup by the summer so something had to be done...
My initial thought was my usual route of E-Bay or my local online (and free) classifieds website, and this was something I went through with, making a few hundred €uro along the way (although it has to be said that during my ad postings, I ended up buying some bits which kinda defeated the purpose). After my 'clearout', I'm now left with a bit of a mix:
- A very very old Gateway 2000 laptop that may or may not be of 'specialist' interest.
- 1 Dell laptop (D610) where the battery holds no charge and wouldn’t boot cleanly.
- A 2002 IBM desktop I used to use as development/project box.
- Finally, a very large tower that's pretty well specc’d and has excellent upgrade potential for the right investor.
- Various 2.5/3.5" IDE/SATA hard-drives, bits of RAM, a couple of monitors (always useful).
So I sat there asking myself what the hell to do with it all, and this is what I came up with...
The Gateway is a lost cause really, I figured out a way to get Windows '95 on it and had a few views on various sites when I offered it up as working with no OS, but no bites, so I'm hopeful that someone wants a future antique now it's screaming along with Win '95.
Tthe D610. After a few offers I decided, in true scrapheap fashion, that the sum of it's parts was most likely worth more than it's whole so I started to break it out. I'd sold the HD, RAM, and DVD Writer, and had an offer in on the screen assembly but suddenly realised I had those bits again in a box in my magic-attic, so rebuilt it with more RAM, a 60gb HD and Vista Home Premium - it's now sat in it's port replicator hidden away in the lounge and happily wirelessly streams movies, music and TV from the main home server and my satellite box. I got lucky there really as I wanted something quiet for the lounge and rushed into scrapping it without realising where I could put it to good use (but also managed to make a few quid in the process).
I've decided to go ahead and sell the tower - it actually lived briefly in my lounge performing the jobs the D610 now does but was so grossly under-used it got retired to the attic...looking around it's probably worth a few €uros so once it's been spruced up cosmetically (I'll respray the case to a more modern colour) and on it will go, there is definitely a market for this type of kit (large nice case, under 3 years old etc). The IBM is running linux at the moment, purely because I was messing with Linux home networking to see how it got on with OS-X and Windows simultaneously (more on this another time perhaps), and it's worth so little I may as well keep it until it dies (I hope it doesn't it was high spec when I got it and I'm bizarrely attached to it!)
My conclusion, for what it's worth...
New stuff is lovely, and as it's the start of the year I have my little list of what I'd like to get in the next few months to compliment what I already have, and it's nice to treat yourself if you can. I just feel that given the economic climate it may not be necessary to buy a new machine if you have an older one that's not been used for a while because it was becoming too slow or clunky.
If you have old kit about and aren't sure what to do with it, please don't just trash it - I'm not sure of the green impact of making a modern PC or Laptop, but I'm a big believer that for basic stuff anything up to 5-6 years old can do everything nearly as well as a new netbook or similar.
Old laptops can be rebuilt by anyone given the proper media (if you are reading this, and want any help, please contact me) and can provide a useful function as a family hack or to be given to kids, restricted if needs be, to learn more about PC's - my destructive nephew is only calm when he's on C-Beebies, and he's two, but has the full master of point and click already (using a 4 year old Dell desktop replacement laptop that I rebuilt and locked down).
Desktops can be made to work - given the space and inclination they can be made into a simple media server (depending on the home network speed) or network backup location, and again if a monitor (or LCD TV) and a keyboard or mouse are available they can be rebuilt as a cheapo hack for a kids bedroom, especially with a DVD Drive as a basic HTPC.
So generally, I'd re-hash - this may not be for everyone but if you don't have the knowledge yourself find a friend or colleague who knows a bit (I'm often surprised by people who are PC hobbyists) and see if they can help you rebuild...try and make sure they help you, it'll save you money in the long run and you may well be a whizz! If you can't rebuild, try and sell it and see if you can make a few pennies, but please don't drop it off at the recycle centre as a first resort!
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