I’ve been restoring and updating old PCs with Linux for nearly as long as I’ve been in Almonte. That is one of the great features of the Linux operating system – just about any old piece of junk will run it. When I first started these projects my starting material was 1999 or earlier stuff with low grade single core processors and massive CRT displays.
A lot of this detritus ended up in my basement computer museum. I got rid of the most egregious stuff a few years ago but not before I stripped the old machines of anything I thought would be useful in future builds. As it turned out, much of it was not useful – so yesterday I loaded it into boxes and today it went to a recycle depot. I’ll document some of this legacy crud below just to remind myself not to store it in the junk room again.
By the way if a used computer doesn’t have at least a dual core PC and DDR2 memory it isn’t worth keeping around today. My principal desktops are all quad core machines and so is my notebook. I do have a dual core or two still around but one is a jukebox and the other’s in mothballs. They both could run a 64 bit O/S as well. No point in 32 bit machines nowadays.
But there’s a lot more dead technology that I sent to the bin. Here are some examples.
- PCMCIA boards – some old laptops didn’t have Ethernet or wifi connections so you needed one of these cards plugged in for Internet access. But that hasn’t been the case in the first decade of the 21st century, so..buh-bye.
- Ethernet adapters – now obsolete as most motherboards have it built in. The oldest PCI boards don’t even work that well with modern modems and routers.
- Parallel printer cables. You don’t even need a cable with a wifi printer now, let alone this dinosaur parallel port connection.
- AGP video cards – old slow and obsolete 3D technology. Nuff said.
- CD-ROMS and CD-RW drives – a far more capable DVD-RAM drive costs $20 new.
- Low capacity PATA hard drives – when you can get a 64 GB thumbdrive for $30, who needs a bulky 40 GB parallel ATA drive in your PC? Even 160 GB PATA hard drives are questionable, although I did keep one around until the next cleanup. Got rid of a bunch of PATA cables as well. And don’t even get me started on VGA video adapters and cables.
- PS/2 mice and keyboards – I had a bunch and they won’t plug into anything without an adapter. Besides most peripherals are wireless today.
- Wired routers – even a basement PC needs wireless connectivity. You have it anyway for your laptop and tablet so why snake cables around the house?
- SDRAM and DDR memory – nice if you want to fix a 10 year old PC but I don’t any more.
- 56K dial-up modems – oh really? I have a real discrete 56K modem around here just in case there’s someone on the planet still using dial-up. It won’t be me.
I’ve become far more critical of what sort of hardware I’ll resurrect with Linux now so hopefully I won’t have another clean-up like this in my near future. No guarantees though. Technological time certainly flies.