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Old 05-16-2013, 07:40 AM   #226
rvijay
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I just tried to play a CD on this P3 tower. The good thing about this is it has
two optical drives, so I can use the first CDrom drive for linux live cd and the
second for a music CD. This is yet another good thing about older PCs.
If you come across a spare optical drive, install it in your older PC, then
you can use these to do various tasks. The CD I loaded is a piano solo from
the dollar store. It took well over 5 minutes to load and was very slow to start,
however, it is playing it now and is very relaxing. Need to explore this feature
more. The software for this is pMusic and is a part of puppy linux OS.

Edit: Wow, I am glad that I decided to play it safe and look at process info.
when the CD was playing. Almost all memory was being used and
CPU usage at 100% when the CD was playing. Appears this is too much
effort for this old PC. Best to rip the CD\DVD and then play it from file.
Don't want this PC crashing.

To rip this audio CD it took almost an hour on this P3 tower.
Also, the file is quite big in mp3 format.
Next time if I have to do this, will try using the ogg format,
these are smaller in size. However, it is playing quite well for now
and this is pleasing to listen, old PC zen.

I feel I will benefit from buying a 16 or 32G USB flash drive to use with this
PC. This will be more peaceful as I can have a variety of audio etc., to listen
on this. Will reserve this for the future.

On a different note, I have to use a USB hub with this PC as there are only
two USB ports on this one. The end of this is heavy and due to its
weight, specially when other devices are attached, seems to be damaging
the wire slowly and create loose contact. I got this from dollar plus store
for 2 bucks. Will have to try duct tape on it in the future to hold it secure
to see if this helps. Another project for the future.

Edit: Even if I learn a new software or a hardware feature on this PC once
a week or once a month, it will still be a good learning experience in a year.
I don't have to be at this all the time.

On the hardware note, the PSU fan is making noise. It will be wise to
clean and oil it down the road to avoid future issues.

My uptime has slowly increased after I started using this old PC.
All my learning, browsing no matter how demanding for the day is done in
about an hour to an hour and a half. However, when used as a media center
this PC got an uptime of even ten hours recently listening to mp3s
and also streaming radio.

Today, I had a very sad experience, this PC stopped working when I tried to
rip a CD. It stressed me so much that I overate and went to sleep. I reminded
myself later that all this is an exercise for fun and I can always use a better
PC if needed. So, I booted this PC fresh and tried to rip the CD to ogg format
and now it seems to be working. So the lesson learned is that for hard
tasks, best to reboot PC after some rest and use it for the hard task first
before trying out anything else on it. Will see how it finishes the rip, the
size of the ogg files and if they play on this PC later.

Wow, it ripped the CD very well in about 25 minutes for the ogg format !!
Quite impressed. However, the file sizes are still larger than expected.
Perhaps by setting lower values for the bitrate etc., I could have reduced
then further. Still it is too much to store on this small flash drive.

If use a 16G USB drive, I can covert this PC into an excellent media center.
Last week, they were on sale for 10 bucks each. A friend adviced me to grab
3 of them atleast and I decided not to. This week I see a real need for one of
them, however they cost 13 bucks a piece now. Will reflect on this more, for
now I have the last 100 Mb or so free on my 2Gb USB drive. If this PC
crashes and anything happens to the data on the drive, it will be a
horrible disaster. This will be one another good reason to get a 16Gb
USB drive and backup everything on this USB into that one.
Not backing data is one of the worst things one can do with an older
unreliable PC but I am guilty of it now.

For now, I will enjoy listening to wonderful vocal music by a sweet
talented lady on this PC. I got this CD on the kerb a few months ago,
decided to grab it before the garbage collectors took it.

Last edited by unSpawn; 05-21-2013 at 04:37 PM.
 
Old 05-18-2013, 09:48 AM   #227
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvijay View Post
They seem to prefer SolusOS which needs 4G hard drive space at the minimum.
I don't see the need for such big a hard drive space for entire PC, now just for the OS.
If this is what the nonprofits are offering, then most of the older PCs will be recycled.
I am like a dinosaur and will be lucky if I find 100 folks or so who use such old PCs in North America.
Infact, the number may even be as low as 15 to 20.
4GB is a lot when you're talking about ancient P1s and even P2s, but once you get into the P3 era 4GB for the OS isnt that bad.

There will be 1000s, if not 10,000+ of those old systems still in use. Yeah, some of them will even be runnign old win98 installs, and some will have 2k/XP or even BSD/linux.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rvijay View Post
I just tried to play a CD on this P3 tower. The good thing about this is it has
two optical drives, so I can use the first CDrom drive for linux live cd and the
second for a music CD. This is yet another good thing about older PCs.
If you come across a spare optical drive, install it in your older PC, then
you can use these to do various tasks. The CD I loaded is a piano solo from
the dollar store. It took well over 5 minutes to load and was very slow to start,
however, it is playing it now and is very relaxing. Need to explore this feature
more. The software for this is pMusic and is a part of puppy linux OS.

Edit: Wow, I am glad that I decided to play it safe and look at process info.
when the CD was playing. Almost all memory was being used and
CPU usage at 100% when the CD was playing. Appears this is too much
effort for this old PC. Best to rip the CD\DVD and then play it from file.
Don't want this PC crashing.
Running a liveCD requires more resources than an install. You'd have a better result if you installed rather than using a liveCD....

Quote:
Originally Posted by rvijay View Post
I feel I will benefit from buying a 16 or 32G USB flash drive to use with this
PC. This will be more peaceful as I can have a variety of audio etc., to listen
on this. Will reserve this for the future.

On a different note, I have to use a USB hub with this PC as there are only
two USB ports on this one. The end of this is heavy and due to its
weight, specially when other devices are attached, seems to be damaging
the wire slowly and create loose contact. I got this from dollar plus store
for 2 bucks. Will have to try duct tape on it in the future to hold it secure
to see if this helps. Another project for the future.
Dont use USB on those old machines if you have any choice in the matter. USB sucks CPU cycles, its not that much of an issue with newer, faster machines but on old ones..ycuk. USB 1.0/1.1 will also be very slow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rvijay View Post
Wow, it ripped the CD very well in about 25 minutes for the ogg format !!
Quite impressed. However, the file sizes are still larger than expected.
Perhaps by setting lower values for the bitrate etc., I could have reduced
then further. Still it is too much to store on this small flash drive.
Things may have changed, but last I checked MP3 decoding used less resources than ogg vorbis. BTW, using MP3 CBR (constant bit rate) uses less CPU than VBR (variable bit rate) and bigger files use less CPU tha smaller files. 320K CBR MP3 probably the best choice for older machines, aside from space issues. Flac is by far the best of the lossless codecs, the others use much more CPU for decoding.
 
Old 05-18-2013, 11:00 AM   #228
rvijay
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Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Quebec, Canada
Distribution: Debian HD install of Knoppix 5.0.1
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Original Poster
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Who will be using these older PCs in North America and for what reason ? Even
a P4 gives far better performance and is so cheap. Infact, folks are even
starting to give P4s without hard drive for free slowly here.

There is no hard drive on this PC, so have to use a Live CD with USB.

I will try Flac format next time. Thanks a lot for all this info.

Edit: I found this thread with win 98 users on older PCs. The main reasons are for special multimedia
software(audio, scanning) and nostalgia purposes.
http://blog.oldversion.com/why-use-windows-98/

A lot of CNC machine users also seem to be using win 3.1 PCs. This is
quite interesting to know:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numerical_control
This means for sure there are a lot of older PCs in use for specific purposes
this I agree.

However, for routine use as a regular PC with Linux, still I feel that the number
of older PC users is quite limited. With all the malware around and lack of
support, it would be hard to use the net with older unsupported versions
of Windows like 3.1, 98 etc.,.

Last edited by unSpawn; 05-21-2013 at 04:40 PM.
 
Old 05-18-2013, 02:50 PM   #229
273
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This talk of Win 3.1 reminds me that I want a copy of Win 3.11 and Microsoft Bob for playing with in VMs.
 
Old 05-19-2013, 04:06 AM   #230
rvijay
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I did push this PC to the extreme by adding too many files to the USB drive.
It started to freeze very badly even after reboot. Luckily it didn't crash and
allowed me to delete some big audio files I burned. So, it is working ok for
now again it appears.
 
Old 05-19-2013, 05:41 AM   #231
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvijay View Post
Who will be using these older PCs in North America and for what reason ? Even
a P4 gives far better performance and is so cheap. Infact, folks are even
starting to give P4s without hard drive for free slowly here.
There has to be at least 200 million personal computers in north america. Even if only 0.1% of them were old pentium 1-3 systems, thats still 200,000 computers.

Theres still lots of pentium pro, P1, P2 and P3 systems running in odd places, like some IT places. I know of at least 3 here that have old boxes hooked up to the network. At least one of them calls them 'mystery' boxes (whats that box do? I dont know, but if we turn it off the network stops....). Besides CNC there are other industrial/manufacturing places that have systems controlled by old ISA cards. While it was possible to get ISA slots with P4s, they are super rare and were very expensive to buy, so they tend to have older systems as well.

I know of a few people running firewalls on old pentium systems.

Lots of 'legacy gaming' systems around as well.

Early P4s are actually pretty slow, and can in many cases be slower than pentium 3s with lower clockspeeds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rvijay View Post
I will try Flac format next time. Thanks a lot for all this info.
No problem. Flac will use more CPU than MP3, proably about the same or a bit lower than ogg vorbis.

*edit-

Quote:
Originally Posted by rvijay View Post
However, for routine use as a regular PC with Linux, still I feel that the number
of older PC users is quite limited. With all the malware around and lack of
support, it would be hard to use the net with older unsupported versions
of Windows like 3.1, 98 etc.,.
Most of those very old systems had no network card installed, so they arent on the net. I wouldnt use an unsuported Win9X or win3.X system on the net at all, but offline it doesnt matter.

Last edited by cascade9; 05-19-2013 at 05:43 AM.
 
Old 05-19-2013, 08:00 AM   #232
rvijay
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Thanks for all the above info. again.

How can a PC be used as a firewall if it is offline ?

Retrogaming seems to be big and this is understandable:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retrogaming

I knew folks also who liked them but they used emulators.
Retrogaming older PCs server a special purpose and so are
expected to be offline. Nevertheless, they will still be in use, agreed.

EDIT: I wonder what those companies using machines will do, if those old PCs go down or their parts fail ?
I hope they have upgrade plans in place. Even if one uses a PC very carefully, with time, fan, hard drive,
floppy drive etc., will fail. Parts have failed on this older PC that I am using even.

Last edited by unSpawn; 05-21-2013 at 04:41 PM.
 
Old 05-19-2013, 09:40 AM   #233
cascade9
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You cant use a computer for a internet firewall if its offline (though it is possible to use one as an internal firewall on a network wthout net access).

BTW, the older systems I know off being used for firewals tend to use smoothwall or a similar linux/BSD distro.
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?dis...ion=smoothwall

Retrogaming can work on an emulator, but there are sometimes troubles, like sound or video being bad/unable to work with the game. Its easiest to get a 1990something 'PC' game going with win9X/DOS because thats what the games were designed to work with. Many people remember what they would loved to have had at some point in the past, but could never afford at the time. AWE 64s used to be several hundred dollars, now you can get then 2nd hand for $10-20. Similar situation with video cards, RAM, CPUs.....its not hard to build a whole retrogaming system with 'top of the line' 1990soemthing parts for less than the cost of a modern CPU.

The companies using ISA control cards will just have to find the parts somewhere. Its not just limited to older systems, you can even get i3/i5/i7 DDR3 LGA 1155 Q77 chipset boards with an ISA slot!

http://www.adek.com/ATX-motherboards.html

I havent checked the pricing, but from previous experience I'd guess that board is going to be $500+ US.
 
Old 05-19-2013, 11:38 AM   #234
rvijay
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Wow, this explains a lot indeed then. Feels good to have things that were
unaffordable in the long term past atleast today for sure.

Just CDROM drives alone costed like 200 bucks + tax when they were new.
No one cares for them today.

By the way, I went to dollar store again today. The number of IT items there
is constantly decreasing, wonder why ? Will be nice to see some old OSes
at the $ store someday

Someone offered 5 big boxes of old IT parts on freecycle yesterday. I was considered
for it initially. I thought I could pick and choose what I wanted.
However, they wanted that entire set gone ASAP to make space. So, I was
declined for the present. This is understandable.

I need some special parts and was adviced that I will be considered for these
in the future, this is quite good enough.

Abandonware is also very interesting and exciting. Freedos is a good example
in this regard. So folks into this would also love to use an older PC.:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abandonware

Last edited by unSpawn; 05-21-2013 at 04:41 PM.
 
Old 05-20-2013, 03:02 PM   #235
frieza
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
This talk of Win 3.1 reminds me that I want a copy of Win 3.11 and Microsoft Bob for playing with in VMs.
not sure if discussing abandonware downloads is allowed here, but i do know where to find a copy.
 
Old 05-20-2013, 03:04 PM   #236
szboardstretcher
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You can download 3.11 from MS TechNet legally with a subscription.
 
Old 05-20-2013, 03:06 PM   #237
273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frieza View Post
not sure if discussing abandonware downloads is allowed here, but i do know where to find a copy.
Sadly neither Windows 3.11 nor even Bob are abandonware. You can get the former direct from MS with a Technet subscription but I admit I'm not sure about the latter.
A colleague did once obtain Windows for Workgroups for me but I sadly couldn't get hold of DOS to run it on and it didn't run on FreeDOS.
One day I'll buy an old copy of DOS and give it a go.
 
Old 05-21-2013, 04:50 PM   #238
unSpawn
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@rvijay: please note forums outside of the "General forum" are meant for technical questions only. Even after cleaning up your (repeated!) excessive amount of posts, what you have posted about and the way you did that does not relate to your original question. Please confine such posts to your personal LQ web log.

Thanks for your understanding and cooperation.
 
Old 06-05-2013, 03:20 PM   #239
rvijay
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Thanks a lot for moving this thread to the General Forum. You are an awesome mod unSpawn.
 
Old 06-08-2013, 05:24 AM   #240
rvijay
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For those interested in this thread, here is a summary of what happened. This thread solved my technical needs. However, there are still a lot of interesting things about older PCs, I was learning these slowly and others were also sharing here. So, I didn't close this thread. However,
this path didn't suite a technical forum. I had no idea that a thread can be moved to another more appropriate forum. After I was advised of this, I reflected on this for a few days and then requested this thread to be moved to the General Forum. This request was processed almost immediately. So, this thread is open again now.

For my part, I have learned all that is there to learn about older PCs and even a lot more. Also, for the tasks that I am doing currently,
I need to use a more recent browser and hence a more recent PC (from 2006 or so). So, for now I have nothing else new to share here.

However, if you have any info. regarding old PCs, questions or even regarding windows software for older PCs, please feel free to share here.

Thanks in advance and enjoy.
 
  


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