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Advice needed on the usability of a 10 year old PC.

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posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:08 AM
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I recently aquired some old desktop pc's and flatscreen monitors, one of them turned out to be a Dell dimension 8400 which when sold in 2005 was arount £1500($2200)

Specs are

Pentium 4 3.4 gig HT

160gb 7200 rpm sata hard drive.

256mb Nvidia geforce 6800 graphics card.

Soundblaster Audigy 2 Z5 Sound card

No ram but I can buy 2 gig DDR2 533 for £10($15)

Windows XP professional SP3

16X MAX. DVD+/-RW AND 16X DVD.

I also aquired a whole heap of graphics software and 3rd party prorams a while ago from round about the same period.

I only want to use this particular machine for business use autocad, corel draw x3, office 2000 running a couple of printers and a vinyl cutter, emails and running an online shop.

To buy a new setup will cost a fortune whereas this will cost me around £15 so can anyone see any obvious drawbacks to this idea?




posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:15 AM
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a reply to: nonspecific

I have not seen any bad things happen to XP users online, but I recommend to my customers that they not be the first to find out how bad it might be. If you don't require the PC to be plugged into the net, I doubt you will have issues. Keep the internal fans clean and dust free, backup any critical data. (old HDD have a life and also an end of life)

Older machines are tanks. Good luck.



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:18 AM
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a reply to: nonspecific

Those specs are garbage for any new software.

Your auto cad and other software bundles, better be older versions that do not have high system requirements, or that thing is as good as burnt.

Buying a brand new system to support your video software etc, would cost about 900$ bucks in the US.

Even a cheap, 2015 laptop would do a better job than that above. Onboard Graphics included.

~Tenth



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:18 AM
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Make sure the HDD has no duff sectors and it'll be worth the 15 quid itself, you could probably get a better dual core/c2d machine for not much more and i've seen better next to skips

But at 10 years old its like an old car, it could run forever with virtually no cost or be a dog where its always needing a replacement part



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:21 AM
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That should be more than adequate for what you are doing. Drawbacks would be if you wanted to run newer software on it. Or supporting the older versions. Or having to replace hardware at some later time.



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:22 AM
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a reply to: network dude

It's certainly a tank, It weighs a ton and is far better built than my other pc which is one of the reasons I am considering it the hard drive is a replacement and I will back it up regularly.

Would you suggest keeping it offline then? I only ask as I want to keep the cpu usage to a minimum and not needing any virus protection would be an advantage.

I loved it when PC's were more about external cards, upgradeability and third party programs and less about all in one solutions.

Given that the OS and software would be a lot smaller than modern equivalants would it be worth getting a small ssd to run the os and software from and use the HD to store data?

I can pick up a 30 gig SSD for £25, would it make much difference to the speed?



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:23 AM
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a reply to: nonspecific

You'll be able to use this setup for what you've listed, however it will bog down on some tasks. A Pentium 4 running high details in autocad will bog down a bit. Not unusable, but will run slower than on a newer multicore CPU. Really depends on how detail intensive the autocad work is. Save some money and give it a go, if it doesn't perform as you'd like come back on here for some upgrade advice.



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:25 AM
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a reply to: tothetenthpower

I realise that I could not use new software but I could not afford to buy it even If i needed to, The idea was that as it was a top spec model back in the day that as long as I ran software from the same time period I should have a top end solution for almost free, There is nothing I can think I need to do that could not be done ten years ago.



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:26 AM
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a reply to: nonspecific

For what you want to use it for it sounds fine , if all it's costing you is 15 quid for memory then its a bargain.



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:27 AM
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a reply to: nonspecific

If you're only using this to run older software your as good as gold. Nice find for your needs.



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:29 AM
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a reply to: Nucleardoom

The auto cad usage will only be basic stuff primarily plotter templates for woodworking, the same for coreldraw, basic 2d vector graphics that I was doing 10 years ago on a pentium 2 with 64 meg of ram!



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:34 AM
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a reply to: nonspecific

Just remember your limitations. On a 32 bit system (like XP) you will only be able to use 3.2GB of ram, no matter how much you install. And yes, keep it offline for best results. Use another PC for online stuff (preferably with a supported OS) to ensure you work PC stays available for work.



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:36 AM
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a reply to: nonspecific

Put Windows 7 Pro on it, I can give you a genuine license key if you want. If you do that you will be safe enough to go online and I've ran Win7Pro on that cpu previously and it's fine.

You can download the installation media legally from here.



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:43 AM
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a reply to: network dude

the Autocad requirments are


Intel Pentium III or later with 800Mhz Processor
Microsoft Windows XP (Professional, Home Edition, or Tablet PC Edition), Windows 2000
512 MB RAM (minimum)
500 MB free disk space
1024x768 VGA with true colour (minimum)
Mouse or other pointing device
CD-ROM drive
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 SP1

Well below the spec so I should be ok, the coreldraws are even less.

I also 2 new laptops and an i3 desktop with 6 gig of ham and a 2 terrabyte harddrive so I'm in any trouble if it dies.

Also If anything does go wrong Spares are so cheap it's not hard to get up and running again.



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:43 AM
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a reply to: nonspecific

you should be good then...my first thought was autocad can be a resource hog if you have alot going on but if you are doing very basic stuff i bet it will work...also one other idea is to install linux on it which will run better ...however im not sure if linux will still let you use autocad....but if autocad does work with linux that could be an option that will free up more resources for you.



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:43 AM
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a reply to: nonspecific

Windows xp is no longer supported. I'd stay away from it if possible.

While I'm a fan of re-purposing hardware. I wouldn't recommend using this setup for mission critical use.

Old hardware has a bad habit of failing when you need it the most.

You could spend under $1,000 on the Dell outlet online and get a great pc that will last you another 10 years.

Don't be penny wise and pound foolish.



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:46 AM
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a reply to: mclarenmp4

Thanks for the offer but I never really got on with windows 7, I replaced it on my other desktop with vista.



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:47 AM
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a reply to: nonspecific

Ah yeah, if you intend on running anything, beyond the few years that machine was 'top of the line', you should be fine.

I would consider updating the OS to Win 7 however, just because that software is likely to work better anyway.

~Tenth



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:49 AM
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a reply to: rockpaperhammock

I did think about giving Ubuntu a go but my Vinyl cutter uses pretty specific software and drivers so it's not really an option for now plus having to familiarise myself with a whole new os and software packages is not really an option right now, I have shelved that idea for future use.



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 10:52 AM
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a reply to: tothetenthpower

Would Windows 7 not be a little resource hungry?

The idea that by keeping in period I should have a solid machine, I never really had a problem with XP after they finished updating, my vinyl cutter runs on a serial cable and I don't know how long modern pc's will still support them?



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