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A List of New Uses for Old Computers


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Hey guys,

I just thought it would be a great idea if we put a list together of things to do with those (functioning) doorstops and footrests we have lying around the house. Old computers for anyone that didn't get the metaphors...

Here it goes:

- HTTP Server

- FTP Server

- POP3/IMAP Server

- NNTP Server

- Printer Server

- Firewall/Router

- File/Media Server

Anything else?

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Paperweight :). Or a very inconspicuous safe. You know, just remove the side panel and put your pr0n magazines in ;).

And I was under the impression that rip wasn't much of a soccer fan either...

Edited by Aegis
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Save them and pull old parts out to put in friends/clients computers, so you can mark up the cost of repair? Why buy a $50 part on thier tab when you have one laying around you can put in and charge them the $50 for?

I win.

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I was thinking of creating an SQL Server out of my old Windows 95 computer that will be serving millions of customers simultaneously. But seriously, time to turn it into a print server.

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  • 2 months later...

Sorry to revive this thread, but as we've had new members register in the past two months, maybe some other people have some original ideas as to what could be done with old computers lying around.

Right now, I have two spares sitting in my room that need a purpose. I'd like to do something original with them, not like what I mentioned in my first post.

Any more ideas? :}

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I wouldn't expect too much more ideas. There is only so much you can do with old/slow hardware.

And for the most part, I wouldn't even use it for that, I'd rather have one PC with VMWare Server and a dozen Virtual Machines/Appliances eating ~200w in total instead of a dozen old clunkers lying around each one using up 200w. Old PCs are slow, not so reliable, replacement parts tend to cost more (like older RAM) or even be hard to find (e.g. socket A or 370 CPU), etc. It also takes up a fair amount of space, and makes a wiring mess: for a dozen PCs, you'd have 12 network cables, 12 power cables, 12 video cables, 12 keyboard and 12 mouse cables - 60 cables in total. You'd also need an expensive 12 port KVM switch and a medium network switch (another expense, another thing lying around, etc). Like someone said before, I'd pick the "paperweight" option if this was a poll.

Mind you there's always a few more uses: interfacing using old and cheap ISA cards with 8255's on 'em, or over parallel port (or serial if you're into UARTs a lot), hobby CNC machine controller, good enough to communicate with (or program or debug) embedded systems and microcontrollers (atmel/pic/arm/whatever) over rs232 or rs485 or jtag or i2c, good enough to plug and old eprom programmer to it (like willem), good enough to control lab equipment or do logging over rs232 or gpib, etc. Mind you, I do all these things using a newer PC - it's just that the old one is "good enough" to do it.

But mainly, 99% of folks use 'em for those things mentionned in the first post. I've seen some ppl keep an old box around with old OS'es (dos/win98) on 'em to play older games too.

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