So are you getting a new PC? Yay! Congratulations, you must be excited. But what about your old one? The one who was there for you through thick, thin, and BSOD, just kept following along with love and determination?
Buying one of the best computers for you doesn’t mean the end of your old one; there are many things you can do with it. Let’s go through some.
Serve me, serve you
Set them all up on your server!
An obvious – and very useful – use of an old computer is as a file server. Google Drive is useful; it’s convenient and certainly easier to get started than some server setup of your own, but it has drawbacks. The most obvious is that it depends on an Internet connection; a home server shouldn’t need more than your LAN.
Many people use a Raspberry Pi for their best home server, but an old desktop or laptop is probably better – faster and, at a low, free price, even cheaper than the famous Pi. Even an old PC will have more disk space than a Pi’s SD card, enough to get started, although later on you might want to plug in some hard drives.
“Server” sounds like a very fancy term, but your server can be as simple as some Samba shares. Another option is Nextcloud, which is, in your words, a “productivity platform”, and in our words “like Dropbox”.
More fun than files, though, are – let your mind explode – games. And open multiplayer games like Valheim, Ark: Survival Evolved, and Minecraft are some of the best PC games you can play with your friends, and they’re even better without having to text someone: “Um, you can put the server, why not? favor … “
All-in-one Mega TV and Game Machine
Speaking of games, it’s fun to play them while sitting in your chair. And also for watching movies while doing the same. There are several programs to help you in these endeavors.
One of them is Retroarch, a frontend for emulators, although you can also play native games through it. For the movie, you can use Kodi, a media player with an interface designed to be readable on a TV and which can be controlled by a remote or controller.
You can run all of these on Windows 11. A simple solution, however, for anyone who wants to use Kodi might be to install LibreElec, one of the best Linux distributions, although their only goal in life is to run Kodi. Even with that focus, it’s still a Linux distribution, so there’s no reason why you can’t (with some knowledge) install Nextcloud or Retroarch.
recycle or donate
Recycling is another option. Many of a PC’s internal components need to be disposed of properly, and there are many options for recycling or donating your old parts.
One is to sell them online on a marketplace like eBay. You don’t just need to sell pieces of work; you can sell defective or broken ones, and there are people who will buy them. You have, of course, to make their condition clear. It’s a great way to make sure every part of your old PC is put to good use, and you can make a little money out of it. Win-win.
Another is to donate your PC to charities and organizations whose mission is to eradicate the digital divide. Some large organizations in the UK are the Restart Project and The Turing Trust, which pass on used and refurbished PCs to partner organizations to donate to families in need. Computers for Charity has some criteria for its donations, such as ensuring that no donation is older than seven years, and the similarly named Computers4Charity does something similar.
Many of these organizations exist in the US, such as GivingCenter and Computers with Causes.
And then, of course, there’s no way to put him in the pasture. You might want a shiny new PC with shiny new parts, and you can still get it, just with your old PC.
Start by deciding exactly what you want from him. How do you want it to work? How do you want it to look like? What do you want him to be able to achieve? 4K gaming, fast processing speeds, be an aesthetic marvel? Then research the parts you may need to achieve this. So, if your PC has a previous generation or lower GPU, you can either go for one of the best graphics cards or go for one of the best cheap graphics cards if you don’t want to spend too much.
It’s also important that you consider the screen you want to use for your new PC, because then you can really adapt your build to suit it. If you own one of the best gaming monitors, it’s best to upgrade from at least the NVIDIA RTX 3070 or AMDs RX5700 XT. Admittedly, these are expensive options, as most of these cards can cost anywhere from $400 to nearly $1,800 in this climate.
There are also other things to consider: Can the new parts fit your current case? Will you need to update your PSU to match the parts? Do you want to use one of the best processors or invest more money in more specialized hardware?
If you want to make sure you don’t miss any details, check out our article on how to build a PC.
As you may be aware, however, there was a massive shortage of many parts. It’s slowing down a bit, but there’s still some time ahead.
Whatever you choose to do with your old PC, you can see that there are many interesting options for you to consider, so don’t feel like you have to throw it in the trash.