Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

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benali72
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Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by benali72 »

I support a bunch of 7 to 10 year old computers...they're early dual-core boxes. Each has either 2 or 4 gig of memory.

All run Linux Mint 17 (either 32- or 64- bit) with Xfce. Our users happily perform office tasks, run video, audio, etc. with no problems. They express no desire or need for fancier interfaces than good ol' Xfce.

My question is -- would there be any reason to upgrade or replace these computers? They're pretty old, yet seem to do the jobs the users want to do.

Advice?

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BenTrabetere
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by BenTrabetere »

You just described my machine - 10 yo, Athlon 64 X2 4200+, 4GB RAM. It is more than enough to handle the tasks I throw at it.

If I were in your position the only thing I would do is check the condition of the capacitors on the motherboard and consider replacing any machines that showed signs of problem. If the caps check out I would let everyone continue to use what they have. As long as they are satisfied....

I would not upgrade any of the machines, but I would be prepared to replace HDDs.

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Pierre
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by Pierre »

define "old"

- still have a Laptop that still has a working copy of Mint 9 LTS - on it. ..
got no intention of "upgrading" that !.

likewise - a few Mint 13 LTS PCs - will stay "as is" - for another year - at least.

those PCs of yours - are good for some years yet. ..
- as is.
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richyrich
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by richyrich »

I have an older machine running Mint 17 Xfce. It is running fast and very stable. I will NOT be upgrading this machine to 17.1 or 17.2.

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jimallyn
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by jimallyn »

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. As long as those computers are doing what you need them to do, why change anything?
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crossroads
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by crossroads »

Not unless you are looking to scrape a few unnecessary dollars off your client's dinner plates, which you are not. Therefore, the question is honest, and fair. The responses to this question, in my opinion, are also reasonable. However, I too was perfectly satisfied with an old (10 year ++) Dell laptop ... but I'm even more thrilled with my new Lenovo laptop running Linux 17.1. I will never discount a trusted source about possible upgrade options as long as it is sincere and relevant.
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benali72
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by benali72 »

Thanks everyone. You've confirmed what I thought. Outside of a fancier UI -- which these users really don't want or care about -- there's no reason to change what they've got. Thanks for the tip about capacitors, I'll check those out. I keep several extra disks on hand in case one conks out and of course have a good backup regimen to protect user data. Cheers.

benali72
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by benali72 »

BenTrabetere wrote:You just described my machine - 10 yo, Athlon 64 X2 4200+, 4GB RAM. It is more than enough to handle the tasks I throw at it.
.
Funny coincidence here... two of our machines are Athlon 64 X2 3800+ and one is exactly like yours, a 4200+ with 4 gig. I think these were from that brief era when AMD had the edge on Intel and became very popular. Our oldest machine is a Pentium D, which I think was the competition from that era. Our newest are Intel core duo E2200 at 2.2 ghz and 2.5 ghz.

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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by thom_A »

I think most people have old PCs they don't want to discard. When I say old, I meant the early dual cores with 2 GB rams and with Vista in them. I've got 2 and I added IGB ram for each by replacing the 1GBs with 2GBs, and cheap NVDIA cards, probably doesn't even matter which graphics card brand. At first I thought they're only 32-bit capable. But then I found that they are actually 64-bit systems. Anyways, I tried both and I didn't see any speed difference between 64 or 32 Mint 17.2. And so they're running in 64-bit OS environment with no problem.

Then I offered to add Mint in my sister's old laptop. I found that it's not even dual core, it's old and only runs Windows XP. Mint can't even boot straight from either CD or USB. It's booting forever after the count 1,2,3..10. Then it just stays there trying hard to boot. This is why I'm still amazed to what XP can do on very old systems, it's speed, simplicity and elegance. I didn't even try looking for an appropriate distro with such old computer. I've seen and tried some of them. They just can't match XP's elegant graphics and resolution. The Linux equivalents are almost like in the DOS days.

English Invader
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by English Invader »

I'm running a home built PC from cheap/used parts. The only expensive part I bought was the power supply (£60 Corsair):

- AMD Athlon II CPU (dual core 2.8 Ghz)
- 2GB RAM (DDR3)
- Radeon HD 5450 graphics card
- 500GB hard drive
- Ubuntu 14.04 (32-Bit)

I have a 4GB RAM stick and a 128GB SSD waiting in the wings for when I finally make the transition to 64-Bit but for the time being 32-Bit and 2GB RAM is doing everything I want it to do so it's not worth the hassle of upgrading ATM.

I also have a couple of old XP laptops. With 512MB RAM, the only Linux options are low spec distros with zero mainstream software support so XP is still the way to go for them. I keep the XP offline and use Puppy for online tasks.

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Jim Hauser
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by Jim Hauser »

My system is based on an "old" Athlon 64 (single core) with 2 (soon to be 4) gigs of memory. I assembled it the year the White Sox won the World Series. Currently it runs Linux Mint 17.2 KDE 64 bit with 12 activities, each with 4 virtual desktops. My only issue has been the occasional swap partition activity while having multiple open tabs in Chromium. Doubling the memory should help...

Watch what you are calling old! :-)

Cheers!

Jim

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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by thom_A »

I'm no expert in PC hardware, but obviously, CPU's are not created equal, whether 1core, 2cores, quad, etc. I had a laptop (with XP) that I gave away to my niece years ago. I remember it running smoothly even with a paltry 512M ram, if I remember correctly. I could even run Blender 3d, for learning purposes, as long as you're not running multiple windows at a time. I guess my point is, a speedier CPU helps propel the app quickly, then begins to lag when it's looking for ram memory that is not there, or when accessing disk cache which is slower. Fast forward, I think 3GB ram is just right for most everyday tasks, and it's not even using all of it in most cases.

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ajcardiac
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by ajcardiac »

Agree with earlier answers:

- no need to upgrade if the users are happy with the current setup
- worthwhile checking the capacitors - if they show signs of corrosion (bulging or leaking caps) then mobo lifespan is limited
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by StitchInTime »

Oh, so those are the capacitors. Thank you for that information, ajcardiac. :)

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InkKnife
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by InkKnife »

I can think of one reason to buy new computer: Energy use.
My big old Core2Quad and video card can easily consume 200 watts. New machines are MUCH more efficient and may be worth the investment for a business depending on the local cost of electricity.
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by BlueKnight »

InkKnife wrote: I can think of one reason to buy new computer: Energy use.
My big old Core2Quad and video card can easily consume 200 watts. New machines are MUCH more efficient and may be worth the investment for a business depending on the local cost of electricity.
I would say energy and performance... Newer systems are much faster as well.

I changed from a Pentium E2200 Dual Core to a Celeron G1610 and it is 2x faster. Electricity cost is big issue for me as I am paying 0.80 per kWh.

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jimallyn
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by jimallyn »

BlueKnight wrote:Electricity cost is big issue for me as I am paying 0.80 per kWh.
I hate to go off topic, but I am curious: where do you live that you pay 80 cents per kWh?
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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by BlueKnight »

jimallyn wrote: I hate to go off topic, but I am curious: where do you live that you pay 80 cents per kWh?
Oops, I meant 0.80 in local currency. Not US dollars.

Still a pretty good amount: 180kWh month on average is about 140.00/month + 50.00 from internet. That alone eats about 25% of my income.

The computer alone is responsible for 35kWh.

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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by thom_A »

Don't know if you can make a general assumption that newer systems equate to saving electricity considering there are so many variables at play here. The reverse could also be true as more computing power consume more energy. Some are just better in hiding the consumption with better heat sinks, fans, etc. If you can convince people that upgrading means saving electricity, I'm all ears.
Last edited by thom_A on Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Any reason to upgrade these old computers?

Post by jsalpha2 »

Just keep the dust bunnies out and as one goes down scavenge it for parts instead of fixing it. Max out the RAM with the scavenged RAM and have two hard drives per box for disk images.
Xfce is my favorite desktop. With a little work you can make it look a lot like the older versions of Windows, so there is little need of training.

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