How old is too old?

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by ToolPackinMama, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. I decided to start telling my friends that some computers are just TOO
    OLD for me to fix.

    Not that they can't be fixed. Just that I can't be bothered.

    I chose five years as a cut-off date, but I am thinking of making it
    four years.

    I might as well mention the incident that sparked this rebellion...

    A friend of mine obtained two OLD computers from an unknown source, via
    a soon-to-be ex-husband. She told me that one of them sort-of worked,
    and just had a bad CD drive. The other maybe didn't work at all, but
    she wanted me to evaluate both of them.

    I told her to do a Google search on both models, to get the basic info
    about how old they were, and what might be under the hood.

    THAT'S when she told me that they were both at least six years old, and
    that she furthermore wasn't sure where they came from.

    I said, "Get them out of your house, for all you know they are infested
    with cockroaches or bedbugs."

    What I didn't say is that NO WAY was I going to crack those cases and
    start inhaling whatever was in there.
    ToolPackinMama, Oct 6, 2011
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  2. ToolPackinMama

    Davej Guest

    Depends on whether they were crap to begin with or top-of-the-line.
    Also depends on how inexpensively they can be fixed.
    Davej, Oct 6, 2011
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  3. I wouldn't care about the age per se but anything of that age simply
    isn't worth paying someone to repair.
    Loren Pechtel, Oct 6, 2011
  4. ToolPackinMama

    Grinder Guest

    Why so picky now?
    Grinder, Oct 6, 2011
  5. What kinds of repairs are we talking about -- board replacement or
    board level? Board repairs are usually kind of cheap because it's
    usually the power sections that fail. About 6-8 years ago, desktop
    computers became fast enough for most non-gaming users even today, and
    does it really cost more to fix an old computer than a new one?
    Other than DDR memory being a lot more expensive than DDR3, I don't
    think so.
    larry moe 'n curly, Oct 6, 2011
  6. ToolPackinMama

    VanguardLH Guest

    Depends on the availability of replacement parts. For example, you
    might not be able to find a CPU for sale that fits the CPU socket. Try
    looking around for a Slot2/3 Intel Pentium yet? I'm still using an old
    host with AMD Athlon XP (1-core). Yes, I can find the part but because
    of their rarity it's not worth the cost to replace.

    As far as dust, lint, or whatever is inside, the age isn't a factor.
    Could be it was in a house with wood floors, no cloth drapes, painted
    walls instead of textured wallpaper, had no pets, and had an electrified
    air filter in the A/C and the ducts blown out every 5 years, or so.
    That computer would be clean for m-a-n-y years. Now consider a 2-year
    old unit sitting atop a deep-pile carpet, lots of traffic across lots of
    traffic, lots of drapes, several pets, and a house full of smokers.
    That unit will be scummy inside (and the cig smoke will make it stick
    everywhere so a duster can won't be enough).

    At work, we had an archive of old computer parts. It was in a storage
    area with no moving air flow (because no one was there that needed air
    conditioning or much heat), no carpet, no window coverings, and pretty
    much nothing humans like for esthetics. We'd salvage cases that were
    over 10 years old and there wasn't very little dust inside (unless the
    unit got stored that way).

    The years aren't what piles up the fluff inside a case, inside the PSU,
    on the fans, in the fins of heatsinks. It depends on the environment
    where it was used.

    If you want a cutoff, just say you too afraid of dust and don't know how
    to use cheap breather masks you can buy a dozen for under $5. Say you
    won't repair anything where it's cost is more than 100% than when it was
    new in the era when the product was readily distributed (i.e., you won't
    pay extra for rare parts). Obviously this isn't a computer shop or
    repair service you are operating but just some favors you decide to do
    for someone else. You do have the option to say No when asked for a
    VanguardLH, Oct 6, 2011
  7. I said, "Get them out of your house, for all you know they are infested
    Ghosts are more fightening! ;)
    Man-wai Chang, Oct 6, 2011
  8. Oh? Not if you ask someone who has dealt with bedbugs!
    ToolPackinMama, Oct 6, 2011
  9. ToolPackinMama

    VanguardLH Guest

    Worse than cockroaches scurrying out? How about spiders? Or ants?
    Those eat bed bugs but are a bit more unnerving when they run up your
    arm or over your hand when you open the case. It only takes a couple
    weeks for those pests to get inside if they're present in whatever
    environment in which the computer was used/stored.

    You can use a normal vacuum with a decent hose to suck up anything that
    crawls or falls out. Using a duster can should be done outside, never
    inside (unless you have a filtered housing with pass-through gloves or
    you're hoping a nearby vacuum will suck up all the floating crap). Most
    of the loose big crap can be sucked up WITHOUT touching the tip to
    anything since it generates static due to the rushing inflow of air.
    Thereafter you want to use a anti-static vacuum certificed for
    electronic/computer repair (hard to find, pricey).
    VanguardLH, Oct 6, 2011
  10. ToolPackinMama

    Krypsis Guest

    So that's the crux of the matter then...
    I fix up old computers and pass them on to financially straightened
    friends. I limit them to P4 or better these days but exclude Celerons.
    All P3s end up scrapped for any usable components. That said, a friend
    to whom I passed along an old P3 733 MHz machine tells me that it is
    still running perfectly whereas a P4 from another source has become
    unusable. It has been his primary internet machine for over a year now
    and, whilst slow, still serves his family's needs. I passed along an
    eMac and a 3GHz pentium desktop to supplement the old P3.
    And exactly how is she going to find out what's under the hood from a
    Google search? This is assuming that she is technically literate of
    course. Most women I know who use computers haven't a clue what's "under
    the hood". All they want to do is use the blasted thing!
    Six years old is still eminently usable. Where they come from isn't a
    concern. What matters is what they have inside in the way of hardware
    and that can easily be determined by (a) booting up and checking out the
    CMOS info or (b) removal of covers and a peek inside. Note that most
    women don't know how to even get into the CMOS menu or, for that matter,
    what all the information means in the first place. Not a lot different
    to telling them to go for a drive in your car, then asking what engine
    and transmission it has fitted to it.
    So? Take them outside, remove aforesaid covers and blow the dust and
    assorted bugs out. That's why I have a compressor out in the garage.
    Comes in very handy for such tasks.
    BTW, bedbugs typically do not infest computers as their needed sources
    of food are not available. For that matter, I've never seen a cocroach
    in one either. Come to think of it, I don't think I've even seen a
    spider inside a computer either. Dust, yes, seen plenty of dust in
    computers but not much else.
    Why not? If you are so paranoid, why don't you give up on computer
    repair and spend your time eating good healthy food, sucking on health
    supplements and working out at the local gym?

    I've seen 1 year old computers with CPU fans and heatsinks clogged up
    with dust. That's why they were brought to me .. they shut down due to
    overheating. A quick blast of compressed air and they were as good as new.

    I really don't like to condemn any computer unless it is no longer able
    to support a useful function under current operating systems, including
    Linux. Why should I? Most people only use a computer for internet
    browsing, watching a few movies or email. You don't need the latest
    powerhouse for that sort of thing. My 7 year old G5 Powermac is still
    doing sterling service as is my 6 year old 3 GHz Pentium desktop. My
    powerhouse Q6600 Quadcore stands idle for much of the time being only
    pressed into service for the occasional heavy duty task such as running
    virtual machines. Note, I don't generally play games other than
    solitaire or the like hence my need for a powerhouse computer isn't great.
    Krypsis, Oct 6, 2011
  11. Worse than cockroaches scurrying out? How about spiders? Or ants?

    Venomous insects are really scary, esp in Australia! Thank you for
    bringing it up.
    Man-wai Chang, Oct 6, 2011
  12. This bypasses the basic test question:
    What do you want to do that justifies the expense?

    This question is just as useful today as 30 years
    ago when we had to decide whether to spend $2k
    or more on a Kaypro or an Apple II. We had to
    think first what we wanted to do (genealogy or
    games, self-publishing or business accounts.)
    The answer today is just as useful.
    Don Phillipson, Oct 6, 2011
  13. ToolPackinMama

    Mark F Guest

    See how much they would cost on eBay. Decide how much your time
    is worth.

    For me, unless I am buying an exact as possible replacement for
    a computer that died in a way that seemed to mean it would
    never get fixed (for example: after a thunderstorm.), I'd just buy
    a new computer rather than a then 5 year old computer.
    Mark F, Oct 6, 2011
  14. ToolPackinMama

    The Seabat Guest

    Why for? You have special air or something in Australia? Why would
    you be more scared there than any place else?
    The Seabat, Oct 6, 2011
  15. ToolPackinMama

    GMAN Guest

    Something is wrong with the way you are living if you allow your home to be
    infested with bedbugs.
    GMAN, Oct 6, 2011
  16. ToolPackinMama

    Flasherly Guest

    The oldest thing salvageable is a IDE channel. There should be,
    theoretically following MFM controllers, first 30 and 40Mbtyte IDE
    drives that still can be plugged into a six-core motherboard. I
    plugged into a newer system a still-working Trident PCI videoboard
    with 8M of "seated" memory - the kind of memory you can pry out of a
    socket - and that was at least 10 years past those early IDE drives.
    Oldest system I can practically and do still work on is a socket-A
    Athlon, maybe 1200Mhz, that followed a slotted-socket Athlon. Put
    Opera 11.5 on it to get at what Firefox 2 lacks.
    I agree wholeheartedly. Nor could I. Like a guy that owns such, and
    others, who couldn't be bothered lifting a single finger to learn one
    thing about technical aspects to owning or operating a computer.
    Besides being so cheap, they'll hold on, squeezing that buffalo-head
    nickel until either it's prised from their hand or the buffalo shits.
    Oh. Did I mention the Intel Pentium 4 3EGHz 800MHz 1MB Socket 478 CPU
    I got for $7.99 this morning? There's more . . .
    3 DX-AV221-BP -- 6' Dynex DX-AV221 2 RCA (M) to (M) Audio Cabl...
    $2.49 $7.47
    2 10A3-042HF -- 6" 3.5mm (M) to Dual RCA (F) Stereo Audio Cabl...
    $1.49 $2.98
    1 RR-H101-22FK-RA -- Cooler Master Hyper 101A Socket AM3/AM2+/ (2
    heatpipe) $10.50 $10.50
    1 WRP4-16W1-51 -- Pentium 4 Socket 478 Heatsink Retention Modu...
    $1.59 $1.59
    Flasherly, Oct 6, 2011
  17. ToolPackinMama

    RayLopez99 Guest

    One of the scariest bugs is Reduviidae, found worldwide,, commonly known as the
    assassin bug for certain species, when it carries Chagas Disease,
    which is generally hard to treat (
    Chagas_disease) and found in South and Central America. Oftentimes
    people don't know they even have it until they get a heart checkup and
    find that their heart tissues have been eaten away by the Chagas
    protozoa. Open heart transplant is the only cure.

    But more worldwide and more popularly known is malaria and other
    diseases carried by the mosquito.

    RayLopez99, Oct 7, 2011
  18. I found that it could be carried by pets as well...
    Man-wai Chang, Oct 7, 2011
  19. ToolPackinMama

    Peter Guest

    I often work from the software side rather than the hardware. Old
    machines can take forever if you need to run scans, install operating
    systems, software or updates.
    Peter, Oct 7, 2011
  20. ToolPackinMama

    Allen Drake Guest

    Sometimes I think most people don't have a clue or know exactly what
    a computer really is.


    It has been reported that Romney sold his hard drives. What do these
    people actually think a hard drive is?

    How many average people think the computer case it the "computer Hard

    Allen Drake, Nov 24, 2011
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