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Old 04-17-2019, 02:50 PM   #1
ReFracture
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Smile Lets talk about older computers


Let's talk about old computers.

Do you run something daily that you could conceivably find sitting out on a curb or at a goodwill?

I have here today a circa 2006-7 compaq presario v6000.
It shipped with Windows Vista, an AMD Turion 64 X2 1.6ghz, 1gb ram, a 160gb 5400 RPM HDD, and a GeForce 6150m.

The previous owner told me that from day one it was a slow and miserable experience and he regretted ever buying it.
He put up with it for a few years before he couldn't stand how slow it was anymore and bought a new Macbook. He's been an Apple man since, but who could blame him after coming from this?

He knows I work in IT and asked me to remove the hard drive and destroy it.. I happen to have access to a degausser at work so.. mission accomplished. As for the laptop itself he is ill-concerned with its fate, he told me I could either have it or he will throw it in the trash. I told him I'd take it so I could if nothing else take it to an electronics recycler.

This actually was not my first run in with a Presario v6000, I had seen them often at a computer service shop. They were nick named 'Easy Bake 6000s' for the Nvidia GPU's tendency to over heat and eventually break the solder holding the chip in place. They were also known for the wifi malfunctioning, a fault on the motherboard so replacing the wifi card will not resolve it.

I recalled as I was looking at this laptop what I had seen in the Doom community years ago.. that many of the players there only cared about one game: Doom, and that game happens to run on just about anything. Many of those guys run some flavor of Linux, and many of them are using computers that are 10 years old or beyond. When asked why they don't upgrade.. you're liable to get an answer along the lines of: "It plays Doom, it browses the internet, I can pay my bills, print my documents, and really anything else I care for. Only an idiot who hates their money upgrades when they don't need to." In the early days of Windows 7 I was nothing short of astonished to find people running computers that shipped with Windows 98 or ME feeling little to no desire to upgrade after installing a light weight Linux distro of sorts. Mind you, this was around 10 years ago.. well before 'brootal doom' came onto the scene and brought a lot of new blood into the fold.. for better or for worse.

I decided to give that approach a shot. What if I didn't have my very decent desktop, my much faster laptops, or the money to move on to something newer?

While this laptop is far newer than anything those guys ran, I'd say it's safe to say it's well past its prime given that it's pushing 12-13 years in age.

To increase the odds of it being usable I decided to upgrade it a little bit; 2 gigs of ram instead of 1, I installed a cheap SATA SSD I had lying around and finally I found a USB wifi adapter in a drawer to get wifi back. The battery is dead but I don't mind, they're cheap to replace but I don't see myself ever needing to run off battery with it. A thorough cleaning of the screen that somebody apparently mistook for a touch screen was also in order.

Last night I had things I needed and wanted to do on a computer:
1. I needed to type up and print out a paper.
2. I needed to apply for a job online.
3. I wanted to watch some YouTube and play Doom.
4. I wanted to listen to music for most of this.

Slackware Linux64-Current with XFCE seemed like a good bet. And it was. Apart from brief moments while loading web pages and while compiling the source code for chocolate-doom the CPU generally never went above 60-70% utilization, meanwhile the memory peaked at.. maybe 1200 megs with libreoffice, firefox (with a bunch of tabs.. I'm a tab junkie), audacious.. biggest concession really was limiting YouTube to 480p to keep the frames from dropping, but that was it. I ended my session by playing some classic Doom while listening to some appropriate 90s era metal.

There was nothing I needed or wanted to do last night that I couldn't do on this old laptop. Admittedly if I tried to compile qt5 or something it would get real old real fast.. but for general use this isn't bad, and fortunately the packages that are a bit.. much to compile on older hardware have been taken care of already by wonderful people like Eric. (Thanks to you by the way for maintaining the -current iso).

So to the point:
Who is running a yesterdecade (or older) computer to do their daily tasks and for whatever reason (monetary or lack of need/desire) won't be upgrading anytime soon? What are the specs and what do you do on it? Are you worried that in a few years your ability to do what you need to will change?

In particular I'm curious on the thoughts of those running 32 bit only CPUs, the doors are closing on many popular distros to such CPUs and Slackware may be a safe haven as long as Patrick is willing to maintain it.
 
Old 04-17-2019, 03:05 PM   #2
RandomTroll
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I have a 2009-vintage eMachines laptop, a Walmart special. It does everything I want a computer to do. The DVD drive failed; I've replaced the keyboard twice. It is 64-bit though, with 2 CPUs.
 
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Old 04-17-2019, 03:05 PM   #3
Lysander666
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I run a 2009 Samsung netbook. A 1.6Ghz Atom, it shipped with 1GB RAM which I upgraded to 2GB. After purchase I took it to a lot of places, wrote diary entries in it, did work on it, discovered music with it. It was running Windows 7 Starter - which didn't allow the user to change the wallpaper, so I had to 'hack' it so that it could. It was very well used and appreciated.

Then one day in 2011 it just stopped working. I was confused and mortified. I thought it was dead. I stuck it in a box and had no idea what was going on. But it looked so pristine and had been treated so well I thought, "it can't be dead". So I kept it anyway.

In spite of calls from my wife to throw it away, one day in 2017 I had a brainwave and thought, "maybe it's just the charger that broke". I bought a new charger for it, plugged it in and fired it up - it turned on immediately after sitting in the cupboard for six years. I salvaged the documents on it [including a very interesting July 2011 diary entry which I had forgotten about] and put Debian on it. After a few weeks I put Slackware on it instead: it was my first machine to run Slack.

That computer has since travelled the world with me and was the first machine that I learned Slackware on. However, it is slightly beginning to outlive its usefulness, unfortunately, since it can't play streaming videos properly now. If they're saved locally, yes, but it seems that most streaming sites are getting too heavy for it.

It is, admittedly, slowly getting phased out by my new Ultrabook which runs -current and is a hell of a lot faster. The netbook still works perfectly well though, and the battery is still at 100% of its capacity, amazingly. A very important computer to me and highly contributory to my Linux and Slackware learning experiences.

Last edited by Lysander666; 04-17-2019 at 03:15 PM.
 
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Old 04-17-2019, 03:38 PM   #4
bassmadrigal
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My current "old" system isn't nearly as old as others here. It is an AMD Athlon 5350. It was released in Feb 2014, but it was pretty low-end at the time. But this thing is my media center PC and it performs flawlessly with Slackware, even playing 1080p h265 material.

However, I was running a relatively old system until it finally died on me. In 2017, I was running a system that I build back in 2008. It was an AMD Athlon64 X2 6400+. It was pretty high-end when I built it, but over the years, it was starting to show its age. However, with Slackware, it was still plenty quick and could handle my workload pretty well. About the only time it "hurt" was when I was trying to compile bigger programs. Eventually the motherboard failed on it and I decided it was time to upgrade to another beast that will hopefully carry me another almost 10 years.
 
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:52 PM   #5
Richard Cranium
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I have a Phenom quad-core w/8GB DDR2 Corsair RAM mounted on an ASUS M3N72-D that I removed from my gateway server last week.

It was fully operational when I removed it, but any capacitors it has could fail tomorrow for all that I know.

Anyone who wants to pay for shipping can have it.

Last edited by Richard Cranium; 04-17-2019 at 07:53 PM.
 
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:55 PM   #6
phalange
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I have a Thinkpad T61 (c.2008) running Slackware at this moment. I've been meaning to use it for a BSD - and I may yet - but for now it's doing its thing with Slack Current. I may ebay myself a dinosaur desktop for a home music server at some point too, and naturally that would run Slackware too. Full disclosure though, the old one is not the norm for me; I like the new and shiny.

Honestly the T61 can handle basic stuff but multitasking is not on the table. Browsers bring it to its knees, though admittedly I'm spoiled and I use tabs lavishly. The screen is the most obvious weakness. So much has improved in resolution and brightness in these 10 years.

But I do expect to squeeze some more use out of it yet. With the older gear it's just about finding the right task for it.
 
Old 04-17-2019, 08:20 PM   #7
ehartman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReFracture View Post
Do you run something daily that you could conceivably find sitting out on a curb or at a goodwill?
Not daily, no, but I do own two rather older computers that I use from time to time:
Code:
- 486dx2/66 with 16 MB ram and 540 MB disk
  used to run older DOS programs, including dBase-IV and some old TurboPascal 3 programs
  I wrote in earlier days and never converted to something newer.
  Is the only machine too that still has working floppy drives (both 5.25 and 3.5" ones).
- Pentium III/800, 512 MB ram, 40 and 200 GB disks
  used to be the (NFS) file server for a Bulletin Board Server (BBS).
  Nowadays mostly used to store "sensative" files on, so that IF my main machine should
  get hacked, they still cannot access those (as it isn't switched ON by default).
  Used as a "music centre" too, with rips of my CD-roms and LP's too.
As I said, they normally are switched off, the 486 is from 1994 and used to be my first ever Linux machine (it isn't running Linux anymore, too old) and the PIII is from about 1999 and originally came with Windows/ME. It still is running Linux, but an older release, because of the limited RAM prevents it from running a more modern kernel.
 
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:30 PM   #8
Gordie
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Not daily but it is capable.

A friend gave me an old HP desktop, Core2 Duo computer, no strings attached. Original OS was Windows XP 32-bit but it had been upgraded to Vista.
So I began to play.
The 2G RAM was the first casualty and now the slots are filled to 4G capacity. Soon found that it would run 64-bit Linux. A 500G HDD was added to the original 250G HDD for a respectable size of 750G total. Unable to boot it from a USB disk, I used DVD's to format the drives and install Windows 10 64-bit and Slackware64-Current happily (but slowly) dual-booting with LILO
 
Old 04-17-2019, 11:26 PM   #9
denydias
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Don't count as 'yesterdecade', but I still have the old Asus X450C i3-2365M c.2012 laying around. It was my primary machine until last year and works pretty fine with -current.

I've found that my workflow - which includes development of some image processing/recognition routines - asks for an upgrade every ~7 years and that it could be fitted with a somewhat recent, second hand machine like the ThinkPad X250 i5-5300U c.2016 I'm right now. My job can still be done with the older Asus though. It'll only need more time for the unit tests.

Fun fact: when the test times starts to rise, that's also when the image processing code evolves more because the optimizations I make so it could run quicker... Then I remember that an upgrade time has arrived. :P

Last edited by denydias; 04-17-2019 at 11:27 PM.
 
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Old 04-18-2019, 12:59 AM   #10
1337_powerslacker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReFracture View Post
Many of those guys run some flavor of Linux, and many of them are using computers that are 10 years old or beyond. When asked why they don't upgrade.. you're liable to get an answer along the lines of: "It plays Doom, it browses the internet, I can pay my bills, print my documents, and really anything else I care for. Only an idiot who hates their money upgrades when they don't need to."
I feel much the same way about my computer, an FX-8370 w/ 32GB DDR3 and an NVIDIA GTX 1070 w/ 8GB VRAM. Admittedly, it hasn't come across much that I do on a regular or semi-regular basis that it can't handle with aplomb, but given the Ryzen fever sweeping across the AMD computing community, I thought that this thread would be the perfect opportunity to sound off about what I think of slavishly upgrading. I've already said what I think of software upgrades, but hardware is different, because with software, while you can royally bork your system with the wrong upgrade, at least with open source software, it's (mostly) free, at least the programs that I want to run. With hardware, money is involved. I don't know about anyone else, but living is expensive, and I don't have a whole lot of spare money to dedicate to computer upgrades.

These guys that the OP talks about think exactly as I do; just because a processor isn't hip and sexy doesn't mean that it can't still do useful work. My system works exactly as I intend it to, and upgrades to the latest and greatest will most likely involve little quirks that no one talks about, but pop up at exactly the most inconvenient time. While my computer's technology has aged, it at least has the advantage of being extremely well-known, and its bugs already accounted for.

As long as my system keeps running and doing what I need for it to do on a daily basis, I have no intention of upgrading.

Happy Slacking, Y'all!
 
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Old 04-18-2019, 02:47 AM   #11
theodore.s
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Q6600

Back in 2007 I built a desktop with a Q6600 CPU. Although since then I had to replace (and upgrade) failed RAM (up to 8GB now), PSU, GPU (1030 passive cooled Nvidia) and disks, I'm still using it as my main home computer for daily tasks.

Adding a cheap SSD in my RAID-1 array and enabling write-mostly in HDs was a welcome speed boost, even without SATA-3 support. As for video streaming, forcing hardware acceleration in Firefox was enough to watch 1080 videos in fullscreen without any problems.
 
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Old 04-18-2019, 04:34 AM   #12
fatmac
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Love these old computer threads, proves just how useful Linux/BSD are compared to the 'mainstream' operating systems.

My morning daily is a 2008 Toshiba Satellite, 1.2GHz Celeron, 2GB ram, & now running from a (class 10) 16GB SDHC card.

Most of my others are 2010/2011, various netbooks, an HP first gen i3 laptop, & a (very noisy) first gen i3 mini ITX desktop.

I did treat myself last year to a 'new', (3 year old design), MSI Cubi-N Intel SOC desktop with an M2-SSD, lovely & quiet.

Other than those, I also use RaspberryPi 3B/3B+/3A+ SOC computers as 'desktops', with small HTMI monitors, 8" SVGA, 10" XGA (my main monitor), & 11.6" WXGA.

(Most are running some variant of Debian though, whilst I also like TinyCore, & OpenBSD.)

Last edited by fatmac; 04-18-2019 at 04:36 AM.
 
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Old 04-18-2019, 04:44 AM   #13
FlinchX
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I have a Fujitsu Siemens laptop with 384 MB of RAM that I use to write notes in vim with vimwiki, do some lightweight python programming, read pdf files with zathura, fb2 ebooks with FBReader and casually play Master of Orion 2 using dosbox. It's not my main computer (but it was for a while). It currently runs Slackware 14.2. It can even play videos encoded with older video codecs (not x264 but rather mpeg) quite smoothly.
 
Old 04-18-2019, 08:31 AM   #14
hazel
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All my computers have always been second hand. My present desktop is an old Lenovo Thinkstation that I bought from Computer Exchange for 68 (https://www.linuxquestions.org/quest...ter-4175645931). In spite of being so cheap, it's twice as powerful as my previous machine: four cores and 4 MB RAM. I got my Samsung laptop from the same store two years ago.

I pick up my peripherals for free from stuff that people leave beside the front gate.

That's one of the many joys of Linux. You can run a big modern operating system without needing to buy a brand new machine every two years.

Last edited by hazel; 04-18-2019 at 08:34 AM.
 
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:43 AM   #15
allend
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Quote:
Who is running a yesterdecade (or older) computer to do their daily tasks and for whatever reason (monetary or lack of need/desire) won't be upgrading anytime soon? What are the specs and what do you do on it? Are you worried that in a few years your ability to do what you need to will change?
Not quite yesterdecade, but close as circa 2010
Netbook - specs 32bit architecture bought new at a run out price (I have spent more on replacement batteries than the original purchase price) as Windows XP was being replaced by Windows 7. I like the form factor. A real keyboard, easily portable for my daily commute and equipped with usable ports without ancillary adapter cables except for a VGA to HDMI. Very usable for email, web surfing and light editing of scripts and documents as well as being a general playground for whatever is currently taking my fancy.
Home - specs Bought at a garage sale for $20. Since upgraded with an SSD and a new charger. POS for graphics performance, but otherwise very slick. (Interesting to note that when compiling software updates for the netbook using icecream, the netbook was idle, passing all compilation to this machine.)
I am not worried about my ability to do what I need. Using a low end machine I can access the computing power required.
I have a high end, work supplied laptop that sits on my work desktop because it is so locked down that I consider it less useful than these older machines.

Last edited by allend; 04-18-2019 at 09:57 AM.
 
  


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