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View Full Version : Do I Need A New PC? Breathing new life into 'old' PCs



manfromthezoo
November 26th, 2011, 11:13 PM
Hello all.

I put a blog post up that OMG! Ubuntu carried, it's been getting a fair few hits and it made sense to share it here, too.

It's an opinion piece regarding Microsoft's Windows 7 advertising that was, in my opinion, a little bit misleading to non-tech folk. Anyway, rather than repeat it here, take a look:

http://ubuntubotherer.blogspot.com/2011/11/do-i-need-new-pc.html

TTFN, pop-pickers!

cariboo907
November 27th, 2011, 04:55 AM
This isn't a testimonial or an experience, moved to the Cafe.

LowSky
November 27th, 2011, 06:05 AM
I actually just got a new laptop. My netbook just wasn't covering it anymore. I needed a laptop with a screen bigger than 10" and I wanted something that could play a game or two if I wanted.

So now I got a AMD A8-3500m powered laptop, which kills my Intel Atom N270 netbook any day of the week. No version of Linux could fix that.

keithpeter
November 27th, 2011, 12:09 PM
Hello All

Well done manfromthezoo

I've found that Ubuntu 11.10 with Unity2d is usable (not brilliant, but no crashes or freezes) on a Dell 610 laptop, P3 coppermine with 512Mb of ram and 16Mb of separate video memory dating from around 2002 ish. Would do for someone who did wordprocessing and web surfing mainly but will play a YouTube (not full screen).

Too much electronics in landfill.

manfromthezoo
November 27th, 2011, 12:29 PM
This isn't a testimonial or an experience, moved to the Cafe.

Apologies - I should have put it there.

manfromthezoo
November 27th, 2011, 12:55 PM
I actually just got a new laptop. My netbook just wasn't covering it anymore. I needed a laptop with a screen bigger than 10" and I wanted something that could play a game or two if I wanted.

So now I got a AMD A8-3500m powered laptop, which kills my Intel Atom N270 netbook any day of the week. No version of Linux could fix that.

Hey LowSky - I'm glad you found a machine that works well for you. I'm not really saying that a Linux distro can fix the gap between a netbook and a fully-fledged laptop, though. In this case you're comparing a Fiat Uno to a Ferrari Enzo! No amount of premium fuel will make the difference between those two ;)

The point I was making in the article is really that your 'Joe Average' user, with an average so-called 'old' machine, can glean a lot of benefit from Ubuntu (with the all the commensurate performance and security benefits).

In those cases - and I've rebuilt countless machines in such a manner myself - it's injected new life and pleased owners who were labouring under the misapprehension that their PC 'just got slow with age'. The marketing bods have no interest in educating users technically, because one PC in the skip equals a new purchase. Really, they were just suffering from the usual Windows maladies - malware, fragmentation, registry bloat - we all the know the score. In the event of Windows 7's arrival, an issue is hardware spec - more horsepower needed to just carry on doing what they were doing with their computer anyway. That's where, in my opinion, an Ubuntu re-build can throw a lifeline.

You raise a good point though - people should be helped to buy machines fit-for-purpose. You sound like a hardware informed person capable of making his own educated choices. But most consumers aren't. Back before I stopped going into retail PC stores, I would cringe hearing sales-people feeding customers bent-truths to scare them into thinking they needed an IBM Deep Blue to type a few letters or browse the internet!

At least part of this syndrome is why consumers get stuck in the 'you need a new PC' marketing loop.

Kantis
November 27th, 2011, 05:35 PM
Back before I stopped going into retail PC stores, I would cringe hearing sales-people feeding customers bent-truths to scare them into thinking they needed an IBM Deep Blue to type a few letters or browse the internet!


I'm writing this on a 7 year old second-hand IBM T42 ThinkPad that works as well as the day it was bought, running Ububtu 10.04 LTS. I'm not exchanging it until it breaks or becomes obsolete, which I don't see happening in the near future. Take that, enemies of recycling! :P

Astarroth
November 27th, 2011, 06:43 PM
Well said,
I have to agree with everything you said. I have an "old" pc that has ubunto 10.4 LTS on it and have not had a moments problems with it since the switch from Windoze Xp Pro. I have rebuilt several old machines be wiping them of Windoze and installing Linux and all have been "fixed" of the issues that they were having. People just need to take the time to educate themselfs and they will find out the truth. That said however very few will take that time.

docbop
November 27th, 2011, 07:04 PM
Want to speed up an old computer with any OS add memory. The more RAM the more of programs and data an OS can keep in physical memory without swapping. Swapping chews a lot of cpu cycles and slows everything down.

LowSky
November 27th, 2011, 07:51 PM
It isn't just Microsoft making people buy new machines. Most of the PC makers don't even give recovery disk anymore. If the hard drive fails you basically out of luck if you don't back it up. Then you also have computers that sell for only a few hundred dollars. For those its basically cheaper to replace than have a technician look at it, especially if its over 2-3 years old.

keithpeter
November 27th, 2011, 08:16 PM
If the hard drive fails you basically out of luck if you don't back it up.

Hello LowSky

I understand the issue, however that laptop or pc with a failed hard drive could be booted from a USB stick and become a 'zero dollar laptop', see

http://www.furtherfield.org/zerodollarlaptop/

and

http://puredyne.org/

the latter being a USB oriented media distro based on Ubuntu 10.10.

What I am saying is, yes, sure, replace your $300 laptop but don't skip the old one, try to find someone who can use it sans hard drive.

LowSky
November 27th, 2011, 10:52 PM
My old stuff gets handed down through my family or friends. I do see it as shameful when people just throw stuff out.

what I was saying was a general statement of how most people react to broken equipment. Many people don't see the need to buy a new drive, install it, then install an OS. So they buy new and junk the old one.

benpack101
November 28th, 2011, 12:15 AM
I don't want to sound like I'm advertising, but if you're looking for a new comp, (or possibly building your own), check out the forums at overclocking.net. They've been really helpful to me.

Good luck, and of course, let us know what you get!

mamamia88
November 28th, 2011, 06:46 AM
Do I need a new pc? No I don't. With the exception of fullscreen video this netbook will serve me well for a long time. Do I want a new computer hell yes. I want to build myself a powerful gaming rig as soon as I can afford it.

Khakilang
November 28th, 2011, 09:50 AM
I got a few old computer before and Linux had enough distro to suit most of them. Distros like Puppy linux works fine and has most of the features to be use from day to day. I haven't bought a new computer in about 5 years now. Currently using Debian Squeeze with Xfce DE on my 5 year old dual core machine.

stalkingwolf
November 28th, 2011, 06:40 PM
I'm writing this on a 7 year old second-hand IBM T42 ThinkPad that works as well as the day it was bought, running Ububtu 10.04 LTS. I'm not exchanging it until it breaks or becomes obsolete, which I don't see happening in the near future. Take that, enemies of recycling! :P

I recently purchased a T42P for a family member, dual booted it with 10.10
super os. She inadvertently upgraded it to 11.04. It is working just great. at times she uses it in place of her gaming computer. ( long story)

Just as a side note, about 6 mo. ago or so i bought an emachines, a complete system including a printer and hd monitor for 75.00 because the people couldnt get it to do anything. after removing 225 viruses and such it ran like a top. in fact my wife is using it as we speak dual booted with Super os.

MG&TL
November 28th, 2011, 06:56 PM
Hello All

Well done manfromthezoo

I've found that Ubuntu 11.10 with Unity2d is usable (not brilliant, but no crashes or freezes) on a Dell 610 laptop, P3 coppermine with 512Mb of ram and 16Mb of separate video memory dating from around 2002 ish. Would do for someone who did wordprocessing and web surfing mainly but will play a YouTube (not full screen).

Too much electronics in landfill.

Why would you run Ubuntu on a machine like that?? Run Xu- Or Lu-.

mr-woof
November 28th, 2011, 10:57 PM
I must admit, I do enjoy playing around with old hardware. I've got a p3-800, 512mb ram running smoothwall as my firewall, 6 year + old laptop running Min10, all working fine and dandy.

This machine I'm typing on is a Core2Duo@2.50 with 4gb ram, it's a couple of years old now, I've just upgraded to 11.04 tonight and so far it seems be fine.

I work in an IT department and it's a running joke in the office about me and old junk hardware, old stuff is always dumped on my desk :)

I've got a p1-100 ish old laptop under my desk that the boss hasn't set his eyes on yet as well lol

TeamRocket1233c
November 29th, 2011, 04:44 AM
Well, a new PC would be nice, I can give you that, but if you're PC's a Pentium III or Pentium 4, you can still get some use out of it. Just set up a lightweight Linux distro such as Crunchbang or Tiny Core, and it'll fly. Just gotta be prepared to do a lot of work setting up Tiny Core though.

In addition, if the old PC has a Pentium 4 under the hood, it should do Ubuntu, its variants, Debian, Fedora, or PC-BSD just fine.

So no, a new PC isn't necessary (unless your PC happens to have a Pentium II or Slot 1 Celeron under the hood), but it would be pretty sweet.

:)

tjeremiah
November 29th, 2011, 06:30 AM
still using this 4-5 yr old Sony Vaio NR series notebook (cheap Vaio for the time and is surprisingly well build). Everything runs smoothly including HD videos. I do however want to update to a desktop because I find that better and would like to, for the first time, build one.

This notebook would then go to my mom as I think the netbook has run its course. She still uses it with Ubuntu 11.10 2D but the screen is too small (I dont like how she struggles to read text) and the system is becoming frustrating as it seems to get slower and slower. Battery died too.

PPY
December 4th, 2011, 01:37 AM
I'm currently consider buying a new laptop, but that's only because two my old laptops have broken screens, and it is not worth to replace screens (and for one of them I'm not even sure where the problem is, if it is a screen or something else). They are both about six years old now, and I ran Ubuntu on both of them before (one was dual boot and one was Ubuntu only). Now one is collecting dust in my storage room, and another one connected to TV and used by my son to watch movies and presentations and play some simple games. So in fact now I don't have a PC besides my work laptop (which I use now)and yes, I need a new one. But I'm totally agree with OP - it is not efficient to look for stronger newer hardware to suite newer OS and software. It is smarter to find OS which will suite your existing hardware.

mamamia88
December 4th, 2011, 03:08 AM
I love people who think that if their computer slows down it's time to dump it. Next pc I get will be off craigslist.

rg4w
December 4th, 2011, 05:03 AM
I love people who think that if their computer slows down it's time to dump it. Next pc I get will be off craigslist.
I'm typing this on a Dell Vostro 1400, which I got off Craig's List for just $300. :)

It takes a while for the Linux community to come up with drivers for newer hardware anyway, so staying just one generation back from the bleeding edge keeps us Linux folks stable and saving serious money.

rokytnji
December 4th, 2011, 05:52 AM
This came out of a dumpster. It plays movies just fine with no stutter. Boots in seconds. Has a DVDRW drive. Does everything a 400 dollar Desktop can do (with my skill-set and needs). I'm running it wireless in my Motorcycle Shop. It streams music also to a pioneer amplifier to supply music in the shop also. I plan on driving this Baby into the ground. :cool:

http://i43.tinypic.com/noby9g.jpg


$ inxi -F
System: Host: biker Kernel: 2.6.38-7.dmz.2-liquorix-686 i686 (32 bit)
Desktop Fluxbox 1.3.1 Distro: antiX-M11-base-686 Jayaben Desai 25 April 2011
Machine: System: GATEWAY product: W3507 version: 500
Mobo: Intel model: D102GGC2 version: AAD70214-201
Bios: Intel version: GC11020M.15A.2010.2006.0817.0956 date: 08/17/2006
CPU: Single core Intel Celeron D CPU (-UP-) cache: 512 KB flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3) clocked at 3199.883 MHz
Graphics: Card: ATI RC410 [Radeon Xpress 200] X.Org: 1.11.1.902 driver: radeon Resolution: 1024x768@85.0hz
GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on ATI RC410 GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 7.11
Audio: Card: ATI IXP SB4x0 High Definition Audio Controller driver: HDA Intel Sound: ALSA ver: 1.0.23
Network: Card-1: Realtek RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ driver: 8139too
IF: eth0 state: down mac: <filtered>
Card-2: Realtek RTL8187B Wireless 802.11g 54Mbps Network Adapter driver: rtl8187
IF: wlan0 state: up mac: <filtered>
Drives: HDD Total Size: 120.0GB (7.5% used) 1: /dev/sda ST3120213A 120.0GB
Partition: ID: / size: 109G used: 8.5G (9%) fs: ext3 ID: swap-1 size: 2.17GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap
Sensors: System Temperatures: cpu: 46.4C mobo: 46.6C
Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: 2255 fan-2: 1116 fan-4: 0
Info: Processes: 81 Uptime: 14:42 Memory: 238.9/880.0MB Client: Shell inxi: 1.7.27
~$ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0bda:8189 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8187B Wireless 802.11g 54Mbps Network Adapter
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 058f:9360 Alcor Micro Corp. 8-in-1 Media Card Reader


I don't play games though, I'm not a gamer type. My small EEEPC 701SD and 900 which are getting long in the tooth are running AntiX just fine also.
They play movies OK also. Fit in my vest pocket. Use free wifi spots also.
The 701SD came with XP which was pretty slow on it. Poor baby could not stand the strain of Anti-virus and all the other malware programs running in XP. Glad I have a option for that.

My Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is a older shuttle box with a asus dual core board with a older Nvidia gforce card. It works just fine also. I don't plan on buying new gear when all kinds of options to that abound. Especially in today's economic environment.