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raymac46

Upgrading an old desktop is kinda like souping up a 1968 Camaro - it can be a fun hobby, and you'll end up with a pretty good hunk of iron. You'll never have up to date tech though.

Consider my 2012 Acer Veriton M. I've worked on it off and on since it was practically new. Still am.

What I have not upgraded:

  • The case. It is an  understated mid tower that fits neatly under my desk.
  • The motherboard. Industrial grade Intel - couple of SATA3 ports and many SATA 2 ports. Lots of USB2 but no USB3. No M.2 or NVME. No wifi onboard.
  • The CPU. Intel i5 Sandy Bridge. Runs at 3 GHz and has 4 actual cores. A legend.

What I have upgraded:

  • PSU - It was a wimpy 300W with no PCIe support. It was standard ATX though, so now I have a Corsiar CX650 in place.
  • Memory - DDR3 1333, and I'm now up to 16GB from originally 4 GB
  • Video - The original was Sandy Bridge onboard - terrible today.The MB has PCIe 16 so I've had several upgrades. Now I have a GTX1060 6 GB in there. It handles all my older games at 1080p with ease.
  • Storage. I originally had a 1TB mechanical HDD. I added a 480 GB SSD a few years ago and when capacity got tight, I recently upgraded it to a 1 TB SSD. I also have a 1TB USB external drive for backup.
  • Keyboard and Mouse. These are now wireless USB.
  • Camera. Added a Logitech camera and microphone combo for the Grandkids.

I honestly don't think there is much more I could do to this rig. I do not need wifi as it's wired in about 3 feet from the router. I suppose I could put in a USB 3 card, but I have plenty of time to do USB 2 transfers. I hope my old CPU and motherboard keep on keepin' on - they were impressive Intel pieces of hardware in their day.

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raymac46

I suppose I should mention the other "go cart" project I did last year.

I got this Dell Inspiron 530 desktop from Lillian back in 2012. It was in pretty sad shape back then. It had a slow Pentium dual core, 2 GB of DDR2 and a messed up Windows Vista O/S. At the time I offered to install Linux, but Lillian would have none of that and got a new Windows 7 all in one.

I installed Linux Mint, put in an Nvidia GT520 video card and gave it to another older lady who used it for 8 years. When Jean passed away her brother gave me back the old desktop.

I overhauled it again, upped the memory to 8GB DDR2, put in a used Core2Duo E 8400, added a cheap SSD and a USB wifi dongle. This rejuvenated antique is now my younger granddaughter's remote learning PC.

Running Mint, it's perfect for her school Google account, and good enough for videos and Google Meet. It works as well as any Chromebook could.

Edited by raymac46
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raymac46

In retrospect I was quite lucky in my original choice of desktop. Veriton M by Acer is a US assembled PC and has off the shelf, standard components. The combination of an Intel mobo and i5 Sandy Bridge CPU was one of the best at the time and has aged exceptionally well as far as performance and reliability goes. The case isn't really designed for lengthy GPUs but something like an MSI Aero will fit just fine. There's not a lot of cooling capacity but my temps are never excessive.

You can plug in 2 SATA3 drives so I use an HDD and an SSD. DDR3 memory is still OK for most uses. I haven't gone over 1080p, I have just one screen, and my games are not really that demanding as far as frame rates go. Now with the 1 TB drive, I should be OK as long as the CPU and motherboard last.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by raymac46
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  • 2 weeks later...
raymac46

Activity in keeping an old PC on the rails:

  • O/S - started with Windows 7 Pro and upgraded to Windows 10 Pro.
  • Motherboard - original still works.
  • CPU - original still works.
  • CPU cooler - original still works.
  • Case fan - added one after a year or so. That one failed so now on my second one.
  • CMOS battery - replaced a couple of times.
  • RAM -original 4GB stick still works. Added 3X4GB a couple of years later.
  • GPU - on my 4th - first 2 now obsolete, 3rd moved to another PC, current one will be the last I'll install.
  • HDD - original still works and I use it for data.
  • SSD - on my 2nd - the 1st one lacked capacity.
  • PSU - on my 4th- 1st one not powerful enough and lacked PCI-e cable, 2nd was non-modular, got noisy and now is a backup, 3rd failed completely.

Note that the box is off the floor, in a rather cool and dry environment. I keep the dust cleared away as much as possible. Right now the CPU and mobo are at 30 C, graphics card at 40 C and storage at 35 C. I think my experience is rather typical when it comes to component failure and obsolescence.

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raymac46
Posted (edited)

Having upgraded  my old Veriton M as much as I have, I now possess a desktop which runs great, does everything I want. I think it'll meet my future needs as well, as those needs are modest enough.

Now my major worry would be motherboard or CPU failure. If that happens, I am in the Catch 22 position where my only solution would be to build a new system and keep my old components where I can.

If I were to buy a new PC I would get faster and more cores on my CPU, more efficient power utilization, maybe better graphics, NVME, DDR4, and USB3. But I would maybe have a proprietary and weaker power supply, cooling might be an issue, and I wouldn't have as much boot drive capacity. If I got another business class Acer I would be into upgrading the graphics, storage and memory right off the bat. So I might as well get the parts I need and DIY.

Really my hope is that in the best case scenario the mobo and CPU just keep on trucking. If I keep them clean and cool and provide a steady and reliable power source, I may be OK for a couple more years at least. Fingers and toes crossed.

Edited by raymac46
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raymac46
Posted (edited)

Actually I don't think there is a better time to keep what you have in service than now. Supply of silicon being what it is, it's almost impossible to get a new graphics card. Even 8 year old GTX 650 Ti Boost GPUs are selling on eBay for close to $100 Canadian. Not to mention that certain CPUs are also hard to come by (Ryzen 5000 series.)

Everybody seems to be in the market for the latest PC gaming, if not Bitcoin mining. If you are satisfied with your current rig, I'd advise keeping it going as long as you can.

Edited by raymac46
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