New computer - what uses for the old one?

  Pineman100 15:01 01 Jan 2009

I'm considering buying a new laptop computer in the next few months, to replace my existing desktop machine. I shall re-use the existing 19" flat panel screen and Logitech wireless keyboard/mouse setup, in order to make using the laptop more comfortable and convenient when it's at home.

The old desktop tower unit is still in good nick - it's a Packard Bell Pentium 4, 3.2GHz, 1GB RAM, 250GB HDD. It runs XP SP3 Media Center Edition. The Video Adapter is an ATI Radeon 9550/X1050 Series (256 MB). It has a digital TV tuner card with a TV-Out port. It connects to the internet via a Belkin USB wireless adapter, through a Belkin router.

Here's my question - what practical uses could I put my old base unit to? For example, could I hook it up to my Sky digibox and get it to act as a Sky PVR? If so, how would I do that?

If that's not possible, what other useful functions could it perform - TV-related or otherwise?

By the way, I already have an external USB HDD for backing up.

Any ideas please?

  Fingees 15:45 01 Jan 2009

Just hang on to it.

Then when eventually you get fed up with connecting the new laptop whenever you want to use it at home, you can set it up as it was, and forget the laptop.

All the best.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:01 01 Jan 2009

1. network it with the laptop and use as storage / backup

2. connect to a TV aerial And use as a media centre

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  Pine Man 16:07 01 Jan 2009

As it stands it isn't worth much at all BUT when you are doing something important on the internet, for example, and your lappie goes 'belly up' it will be worth a small fortune and you'll be really glad you stored it in the loft!!

  canarieslover 17:02 01 Jan 2009

We are always talking about backing-up on this forum and there is no better back-up than having a spare computer for that occasion when something goes wrong on the new one. Several times my sanity has been saved by my old back-up computer, om average only a couple of times a year, so I will not part with it until my next upgrade when this one will take it's place.

  Pineman100 17:03 01 Jan 2009

What a cynical lot you are! Reading your posts, anyone would think that computers are unreliable!

Fingees - a fair point, but actually the new laptop won't be away from home often enough to make its connection/disconnection a major issue. I just need to take it away for a couple of lengthy trips each year.

Fruit Bat /\0/\ - given that I already have a USB hard drive for backups, don't you think that a full-size tower unit would be rather a bulky additional storage drive? However, I quite like the idea of using it as a Freeview recorder. I've never really got around to using the Media Center feature. Do you know how easy and effective it is to connect the TV-Out port to a TV?

Dad - thanks for the idea, but I really don't want to venture into the loft again. After all those years when I was banished there in my childhood, I have something of a phobia about it.

I hope the Social Services weren't too hard on you.


But seriously, does anyone know whether I could use it as a PVR to record stuff from a Sky box?

  Stuartli 17:07 01 Jan 2009

My system is pretty similar (Athlon XP 3200+ and 9550 graphics card).

Apart from normal computer use, it's also a full Freeview PVR in combination with a Twinhan Freeview PCI TV card and ShowShifter - a 320GB hard drive plus a 400GB external drive means plenty of room for both data and video storage.

As a result, I haven't used my VCR for recording purposes for a couple of years, only to play back old tapes.

  Pineman100 17:09 01 Jan 2009

I like the idea in principle, but I wonder how workable it actually is, in practice.

Don't you find that wheeling out an old computer a couple of times a year leaves you missing all the latest contacts, emails, data files, Windows updates and security software updates that you need? I can't help wondering how long it takes to get the thing up and running satisfactorily, each time.

  Pineman100 17:12 01 Jan 2009

Do you have any observations about my Sky PVR idea? Is it workable, do you think? I wouldn't know where to start, but I know you have considerable expertise in this area.

  Pamy 17:13 01 Jan 2009

is there no one else (family or otherwise ) that could make good use of it. The spec is way above mine, so must be usefull.

  Pineman100 17:47 01 Jan 2009

Well, there may be. But before I give it away I just want to be sure that I haven't got a good use for it myself.

It's called 'enlightened self-interest' by some people.

'Selfishness' by others.


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