It's nearly 10 years now since I discovered Linux and at the time my interest in it was to keep an old Dell Dimension 4100 desktop going. It was about 7 years old, ran Windows Me. Turns out it it was a great Linux machine - Dell built them to last and the hardware was perfect for Linux.
That got me into the recycling business as a number of friends in Almonte were junking their Win 98 machines back then to either buy a Windows XP desktop or laptop. A lot of these old junkers ran Linux well and I gave a bunch away after I fixed them up. I even took pride in installing some version of Linux on really old machines. I had a Pentium II laptop from 1998 that originally ran Win 95 and was so old it didn't have either wifi or even Ethernet connections. The ultimate was a 1997 Fujitsu laptop with Pentium 133 and 80 MB of RAM. I got that functional with Deli Linux as I recall.
As much fun as that was,I had to face the fact that sometimes Junque is Junque. This became more apparent to me in 2008 when I got my first brand new Linux only desktop. It was around the time Bruno was building a fire-breathing Intel Core 2 Quad. I couldn't afford that so I got an AMD Athlon 64 X2. This machine was amazing after all the old hardware and it is still a fine unit today for music and light surfing.
I replaced that X2 a couple of years ago and my main Linux driver now is a quad core A8-5600K, 16 GB of RAM, SSD and HDD, and a recently added R7 360 video card. Although it's not bleeding edge it is a fantastic machine and quite frankly I don't want ever to settle for anything less. I am sure if I ever replace this machine I'll build another new one from scratch.
Now when I get someone offering me a new machine, I am far more picky - even if I intend to give the machine away afterward.
Of course it goes without saying that I'll never take anything with a CRT monitor. Even VGA flat screen is getting a bit long in the tooth. Other things I want to see:
- Dual core processor and 64 bit capability. That technology has been around for 10 years now and that is as old as I want to work with. Virtualization capability is also nice.
- At least DDR2 memory modules.
- SATA cabling. I'll take PATA on the optical drive but not on the hard drive.
- Full size case. There are increasing problems with integrated graphics of the mid 2000s and I want the option to stick in a cheap video card without worrying about low profile brackets and airflow. This pretty much means I look for some sort of PCI-e slot on the motherboard.
- No laptops. By definition a 7-8 year old laptop is pretty much fried and the ones I see were cheap to begin with. Maybe a Latitude or Thinkpad can be fixed up but I never see those in the wild.
Come to think of it, I had pretty much an 8 year window on age when I started ten years ago and I have the same 8 year window now. Of course, an 8 year old machine will still give you another 3-4 years with Linux so it isn't impossible to see a 10 year old desktop still functioning well. And I always upgrade my own stuff so they could in theory run even longer.
I have cleaned out some of my computer museum over the past couple of years and now the oldest functional desktop I have is a Dell Optiplex 620 from 2005. It was a state of the art screamer when new and has a very capable Pentium D 840 in it with 3 GB of RAM. Right now it's gathering dust but it's handy as a backup and doesn't take up a lot of space. I can plug in a wifi "dongle" install something new and cool I guess. Maybe I will someday - after my afternoon nap.
Edited by raymac46, 09 January 2016 - 09:30 PM.