Refurbishing old Desktop PC’s, SMART!

USELESS RAMBLINGS (Skip down to read important USEFUL ramblings! 😉

This post is just some ramblings, that will hopefully help others. I am NOT a IT Pro, nor a computer tech or expert, just a truck driver stuck on stupid! I have been tinkering, and playing with computers since 1983, and simply put, have been addicted ever since!

For about 2 months now, I have been on a blitz to refurbish older computers, revamp them, and make myself, and my Wife, at least 2 desktop PC’s that can handle heavy duty BROWSER based computing to the extreme. Let me explain that. First off, I absolutely KNOW for a fact, the latest and greatest computers on the market are too powerful. Yup, that’s correct, TOO POWERFUL! (LOL).I don’t need super power for Netflix, or youtube, or any other BROWSER based internet needs.

Keep in mind, this comment is relative to MY lack of money sufficient enough to obtain these machines. In other words, I can’t afford a Intel® Core™ i7 with 16GB DDR3 RAM, water cooled case, and a $1,000+ Nvidia GPU or graphics card, and all the other support hardware & software! Nor… I “need” it! I am not a genius, or gamer! LOL

So, I stick to older machines, after all, since I came up the ranks from a Timex Sinclair ZX81 in 1983, I KNOW what power is out there these days, and when/where I found that I was left in the dust, right about the time Intel® Core™2 Duo processors flooded the market actually!

I even have a couple old (but in it’s own right, VERY powerful!) Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.73 Prescott Single-Core 3.73GHz Hyper Thread based machines! Love them! Think of it as my version of the guy that collects 68 Camaro’s, or Nova’s 😉

OK, so a year ago or so, I started buying these $50-$100 machines off of ebay, that had the slower Core 2 Duo processors, and at least 2GB DDR2 RAM. Well, the next thing I knew, I had 10 computers, just laying around, except for 3 actually running in home. I started wondering, what if I make a list of what each has with regards to RAM, hard drives, speed, etc, and start swapping stuff to make at least 2 GREAT old timers, then start getting rid of the rest?

Ultimately, I decided I needed at least two towers to do this, because all the pc’s I have, are small form factor (SFF) or ultra small form factor (USFF). No room for expansion at all in the USFF, and very darned little in the SFF! Where as a tower usually has room for much, much more! I wanted to add cards to give me USB 3.0 right away! I want to be able to change out video/graphics cards. I might want to add a modem to them, what ever.

So, I bought two more desktop pc’s, two towers, for $35 each! These are my latest! They have the Core 2 Duo E8400 processors in them, and came with 2GB RAM, or was it 4? Anyway, NOW I could start swapping stuff, and/or upgrading stuff, and create “Franken-Tay”! LOL


This section of my post, will be like a list, to keep it short, readable, and more useful!

1. Started learning and testing Linux, to get away from Windows cost!

2. Bought Windows XP Professional 64bit anyway! Pretty cheap on ebay, smallest footprint, powerful! VERY fast! (keep in mind, I am building for BROWSER BASED power only, no gaming!)

3. Upgraded Wi-Fi router, and Ethernet cables. The cheaper cable was not allowing gigabit speed! Wi-Fi router didn’t allow MULTIPLE devices, nor sufficient bandwidth to each!

4. TESTED hard drives, to find best available to me that had least “health” issues, or bad sectors, etc.

5. Bought new USB 3.0 PCIe cards, and related USB 3.0 Flash drives, I now have about 23 all together, both USB 2, and 3! LOL

6. Researched many, many hours, to learn about Windows XP, Vista, and 7/8! Tried all, installed, ran, and then did the same with Linux! (Ubuntu and Mint).

7. Decided to look for BEST deal on an SSD or two (Solid State Drive, or electronic non-mechanical hard drive), found 2 Kingston 64GB SSD’s for $30 each used, bought’em!

8. Researched many hours about software and driver updating, and SATA 1/2/3 specs and details! LOVE SATA! Simple, plug in and run! LOL

9. Bought various Linux distros on DVD from ebay, about $5 each average. Bought a driver update DVD as well, what a freaking time saver!!!!!!

10. Learned to download, and have at the ready, any and all software needed for al of these installs and swaps! For example, initially, when you install Windows XP, it will need to update to SP2 before your internet will even be acknowledged! USB 3.0 is loaded AFTER the computer is booted, so must have all software in a USB 2 port first, THEN move Wi-Fi adapter or other USB goodies to a USB 3 port!

11. Learned about disk partitioning, and the difference between FAT32, exFAT, and Linux file systems!

12. Learned a lot about BIOS!!!!!! LOL

13. Learned that no matter what you do you are still at the mercy of Internet, and the ISP and their speed allotment. You can speed up a PC all you want, but if the internet connection you have, or website server you connect to, is slow, or has heavy traffic, you will still wait! LOL

That’s about all I can think to write here at the moment, I’ll update THIS post/blog a few more times in the next weeks, as I think more, get my notes in order! Bottom line, I now have a VERY powerful dual core 3GHZ (x2!) TOWER with 8GB RAM, 2 HD’s and an SSD, and plenty of USB 3.0 ports! 🙂 If you want to discuss computers, or ask a question, or inform me of a mistake, please contact me in the form below, or look me up on FaceBook, or Twitter! (SoapinTrucker).


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