New life from old computer

Do you have a 2005-onward vintage computer from which you need to squeeze a few more years of life? Here’s what you do.

  • Use crucial.com‘s memory upgrade adviser to figure out what RAM you can buy for it, and order that memory. (If you use their adviser software and the memory you order doesn’t work, you get your money back.)
  • When the memory comes, turn it off, open the case, and use a vacuum cleaner to clean out the dust bunnies. Pay special attention to cleaning the fans.
  • Install the memory.
  • Close the case and start it back up.
  • Put Windows 7 on it.

Do you really want to make your vintage computer run better than new? Replace your old disk drive with a Seagate Hybrid drive. These are partly plain old disk drive and partly solid-state hard drive. Clone your old hard drive onto the new one. This can be tricky; instructions and software are here. Then swap out your old drive for the new one.

NOTE: If you have licensed software like Apple iTunes or Adobe products, you may need to deactivate your software licenses before you swap out the old drive and reactivate them after you start using the new one: those products may think you’re trying to install the same software on a different computer if you don’t.

Why is this a good idea?

For years computer processors were subject to Moore’s Law. A generation ago Gordon Moore of Intel figured out that you’d be able to buy twice as much computer power for the same money every eighteen months. Software makers jumped on this bandwagon and so software bloated up as computer hardware prices declined.

But, around about 2007 computer processors stopped getting dramatically faster. Moore’s Law, the law of dropping prices, started being felt most strongly in the cost of disk drives and RAM. So, if you buy a new computer you don’t get something that’s much faster, but it will have more storage and more RAM.  You can get the same deal by upgrading an older computer. So, why not?

 

What do you think? Let me know!