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Building a $200 Linux PC
HardOCP ^ | Sunday July 25, 2010 | John

Posted on 07/26/2010 9:43:02 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

Ever find yourself in need of a cheap computer? Yeah, me neither. But if you do, here’s a writeup on the building of a $200 rig and testing it against a $300 eMachines.

We weren't expecting our sub-$200 computer to be an outstanding performer. But that doesn't mean we wanted it to be slow, either—building a computer yourself that can't do what you need well is a waste of time and money. We wanted to know exactly what we had so we'd know what we could expect from it. That meant benchmarking it—and comparing it to another, similar system.


(Excerpt) Read more at hardocp.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: computers; hitech; lowtech
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-54 next last

1 posted on 07/26/2010 9:43:03 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: ShadowAce

Decent article...done by ExtremeTECH...


2 posted on 07/26/2010 9:44:44 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Ever find yourself in need of a cheap computer? Yeah, me neither.

LOL

3 posted on 07/26/2010 9:46:00 AM PDT by library user
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
If this is someone trying this for the first time...be sure and get the usual Anti Static devices ...

See this article:

Comprehensive Anti-Static methods to protect PC hardware

4 posted on 07/26/2010 9:53:34 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

How about a free computer?

Here’s how you do it...

Get that old old 486 computer out of your basement.
wipe the hard drive
install DSL (Damn Small Linux)

Tada! free computer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damn_Small_Linux


5 posted on 07/26/2010 10:05:09 AM PDT by mamelukesabre (Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum (If you want peace prepare for war))
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To: library user
My local toy store ( FRY'S) has a special this weekend for a combo AMD Athlon II X2 245 & Biostar MCP6P M2+ for $69.99 less $10 rebate .

That processor may have more power than what 80% of the Freepers out there currently have...rough estimate based on what I see in comments ...like "I have had this computer for 5 years and it still runs great"...

Now a AMD X2 245 is a pretty powerful little chip.

Newegg :

AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor

6 posted on 07/26/2010 10:08:45 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: library user
Right....this is more interesting----from Newegg:

Phenom II X6/890GX/4GB DDR3/1.5TB Upgrade Kit

Introduction

This GIGABYTE Phenom II X6/890GX Upgrade Kit includes:
  1. AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 2.8GHz Socket AM3 125W Desktop Processor (Model: HDT55TFBGRBOX)
  2. GIGABYTE AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Motherboard (Model: GA-890GPA-UD3H)
  3. OCZ AMD Black Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory (Model: OCZ3BE1600C8LV4GK)
  4. Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive (Model: ST31500341AS)

    And under 500$.


7 posted on 07/26/2010 10:14:14 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: mamelukesabre

Or you could remove the innards from the case and then...well ... see #7.


8 posted on 07/26/2010 10:15:32 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: mamelukesabre

Relative gave me an old computer last week. Hard drive was bad, pitched it. I saw a post a while back about Pendrive Linux so I found it and installed Lucid Puppy on a SD card in a USB adapter.

It worked slow so I cleared off my external hard drive and installed Puppy from the memory card. It works but it tends to freeze up if trying to view youtube or anything that takes memory.

Kubuntu was recommended to me, I’d like to get that on the external drive but no luck so far. Kubuntu live CD even fails. Must need a hard drive.

If I have time next weekend, might try DSL.


9 posted on 07/26/2010 10:18:23 AM PDT by Gun142 (Where Will You Be When You Get Where You're Going? -- Jerry Clower)
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To: Gun142

Yep, you can pretty much forget about YouTube or any web pages using Flash without enough memory.


10 posted on 07/26/2010 10:19:34 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

To read later.


11 posted on 07/26/2010 10:23:53 AM PDT by conservativehusker (Ben Nelson makes me ashamed to be a Nebraskan. (Kinda like Bill Calahan once did))
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To: Gun142

I’ve had good luck running vector linux on older hardware.

Slackware derivitive; comes with the divers pre-loaded to play a commercial DVD (a big PITA on most Linux systems).


12 posted on 07/26/2010 10:36:10 AM PDT by Brookhaven (The next step for the Tea Party--The Conservative Hand--is available at Amazon.com)
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To: All

bump 4 later


13 posted on 07/26/2010 10:40:44 AM PDT by Squidpup ("Fight the Good Fight")
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To: Gun142
For the Lurkers...

Lucid Puppy - Linux for Legacy Computers

One of the original targets of Linux was the under-powered computer gathering dust in the closet destined for electronic disposal. While that sounds like a noble goal, it isn't reality for the majority of today's Linux distributions. Xubuntu says it's for the limited resource computer, but even it has a minimum memory requirement of 256 MB. You probably won't have a very pleasant experience running Firefox on a machine with less than 512 MB of memory.<i>figure 1</i>
figure 1

There are a number of distributions targeted at minimal resource computers including DSL, Puppy Linux, Slitaz and Tiny Core Linux. For this review we decided to take a focused look at the latest version of Puppy Linux called LuPu 5.0.1. This release is based on Woof and Ubuntu Lucid Lynx. The live CD is a mere 130 MB but does contain a lot of applications. As far as system requirements go, the Puppy Linux wiki says the current version will run on a 166 Mhz machine with at least 128 MB of memory.

Bring on the Puppy

We tested Puppy Linux on an old Compaq iPaq desktop computer with a 733 MHz Pentium III processor and 128 MB of memory. The original hard drive was a Western Digital 10 GB WD100AA. The built-in Intel graphics is not the best performer, but with Puppy Linux we were able to get a 1400X1050 display as the default max resolution. You, too, can own one of these screamers for a mere $60 from your favorite PC liquidator.

Puppy's live CD includes automated tools for creating a bootable USB or a local installation. Installing to a local hard drive is a little tricky but doable. Our first mistake was not initializing the hard drive beforehand. No problem as the Puppy installer includes GParted to make quick work of deleting and then partitioning your hard drive. Once this step was completed the rest of the installation went without a hitch.

The desktop uses Openbox/LXPanel. LXDE stands for Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment and is specifically built with minimal resource computing in mind. If you haven't caught on by now, the common theme is "minimal resource computing". It's pretty much the same for available applications as well. All the core apps meet the requirement of running on a machine with limited performance CPU, graphics and memory.

14 posted on 07/26/2010 10:41:30 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: dfwgator

It’s my first shot at Linux. I think the computer needs a little more memory and obviously a hard drive. Should be able to pick up something cheap or check with some other people and see if they have an old computer.

Tried putting Kubuntu on my XP computer but it didn’t play well with the video card.

I can see this becoming a winter project already.....


15 posted on 07/26/2010 10:47:06 AM PDT by Gun142 (Where Will You Be When You Get Where You're Going? -- Jerry Clower)
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To: Gun142
Might look at this one...done by one of the technical developers of DSL:

Tiny Core Linux

16 posted on 07/26/2010 10:48:35 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Thanks, will check that out.

I used http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/ to install to USB memory. I didn’t have an empty one so I used a camera memory card in a USB adapter. It’s a very easy way to try Linux and doesn’t mess with the hard drive.


17 posted on 07/26/2010 10:56:19 AM PDT by Gun142 (Where Will You Be When You Get Where You're Going? -- Jerry Clower)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
I have built so many PC's I have lost count (well then again I work on computer and computer networks for a living)...To be honest if you shop around and look for rebates and returns you can buy complete systems (then self upgrade) for less then building...I once put together a complete home office (PC, all in one Printer and Hi speed Internet connection) for someone for less then $200 up front (+ $12 a month Hi speed Internet)

I like Micro Center... find a good basic box, that been returned(go for the best CPU, MB inside you can get for the money with rebates and other offer...do not focus on memory, video, sound, hd space, cd, dvd, etc. that can be be added after for less...) always upgrade the total memory. Memory is normally the best aftermarket back for buck you can buy .. (look for the rebates on memory).

Get you bargain returned PC home, install you extra memory, and then fire up and first do a full restore of the OS to factory defaults to get it back to the new out the box state (after all it was a return so you want a fresh slate)

18 posted on 07/26/2010 11:03:41 AM PDT by tophat9000 (.............................. BP + BO = BS ...........................Formula for a disaster...)
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To: Gun142
RE: Flash

Location : Tiny Core Linux > Flash Player

Just dropping all of this here...never really looked at Tiny Core before:

What is Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware?

The Tiny Core Linux wiki is an implementation of TikiWiki (external link)

19 posted on 07/26/2010 11:03:45 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Lucid Puppy - Linux for Legacy Computers
figure 1

<i>figure 1</i>

« Back to Lucid Puppy - Linux for Legacy Computers

20 posted on 07/26/2010 11:08:13 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: tophat9000

People have been trained that if their Windows box gets slow,...then it is time for a new one...and the Retailer gets rewarded....and microsoftie of course.


21 posted on 07/26/2010 11:12:16 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Gun142
Just trying to be complete here,...there is another nice system based on Slackware ...

Slax - your pocket operating system

22 posted on 07/26/2010 11:21:08 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; admin

I thought Jim Rob had forbidden all tech articles.


23 posted on 07/26/2010 11:21:57 AM PDT by calex59
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To: Gun142

Try Mint, it is an offshoot of Ubuntu and works better, IMO.


24 posted on 07/26/2010 11:26:20 AM PDT by calex59
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And:

Slax modules

Links below not fixed...including to just show variety...click on above link for working page complete with nice graphics....

Slax modules

artwork
120 items
graphics
148 items
education
79 items
games
133 items
editors
99 items
multimedia
239 items
network
396 items
security
103 items
system
381 items
develop
239 items
drivers
189 items
multilang
103 items
console
195 items
libraries
636 items
utilities
387 items

25 posted on 07/26/2010 11:28:29 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: calex59

“I thought Jim Rob had forbidden all tech articles.”

Not the tech articles, just can’t disagree with anything, and no name calling.


26 posted on 07/26/2010 11:29:24 AM PDT by FreedomGuru (Marge Gunderson 2012......You betcha...)
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To: calex59

I think Jim just wanted the Flame Wars to stop...to express differences of opinion is always likely to happen on technical threads.


27 posted on 07/26/2010 11:41:03 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Gun142
Would it run off a dvd/ram drive, or is that too slow?
28 posted on 07/26/2010 11:43:41 AM PDT by kitchen (One battle rifle for each person, and a spare for each pair.)
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To: All
Back on lucid Puppy....

Announcement and release notes for Lucid Puppy 5.0.1

Lucid Puppy 5.0.1 is built from a "Puppy builder" system named Woof (http://bkhome.org/woof), which can build a Puppy Linux distribution from the binary packages of any other distro. There are many "puppies" built with Woof, and this image gives an appreciation of some of them and how they fit into the Woof time-line:



Each "Puppy distro" built by Woof is a distinctive distribution in its own right, with unique features. You choose a puppy based on your particular needs, be it specific hardware, software, or access to and compatibility with the package repositories of a particular distro.

29 posted on 07/26/2010 11:44:15 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
People have been trained that if their Windows box gets slow

I'm not sure if it "trained" but it sure it is the way people this...ever time some one tells me that ( My PC is getting slow... I need to get a new one) I look at them like their nuts...I tell the "Your PC is not getting slow your OS is just need to be clean up/restored"...

A PC (hardware) never "get slow", you do an OS restore, it's as fast is the day it came out of the box

Get a new PC for being slow is like getting a new car because you need to replace the air filter and get an oil change...

OS's need basis maintenance including occasional restore refresh depending how you use it... I restore my window box's about ever 6 mo.

30 posted on 07/26/2010 11:46:05 AM PDT by tophat9000 (.............................. BP + BO = BS ...........................Formula for a disaster...)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
People have been trained that if their Windows box gets slow

I'm not sure if it's "trained" but it sure is the way people think...ever time someone tells me that ( My PC is getting slow... I need to get a new one) I look at them like their nuts...I tell them "Your PC is not getting slow your OS is just need to be cleaned up/restored"...

A PC (hardware) never "get slow", you do an OS restore, it's as fast as the day it came out of the box

Getting a new PC for being slow is like getting a new car because you need to replace the air filter and get an oil change...

OS's need basis maintenance including occasional restore refresh depending how you use it... I restore my window box's about ever 6 mo.

31 posted on 07/26/2010 11:48:51 AM PDT by tophat9000 (.............................. BP + BO = BS ...........................Formula for a disaster...)
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To: All
And I know very very little about this distro:

Slitax

***************************EXCERPT********************************

Main page

Boot baby... boot!

SliTaz is a free operating system, working completely in RAM and booting from removable media such as a cdrom or USB key. SliTaz is distributed as a LiveCD, and weighs less than 30MB. The system is quick and responsive, clean and robust. SliTaz is simple and intuitive, providing a lightweight, elegant desktop, detailed documentation and easy to use configuration tools. More information...

32 posted on 07/26/2010 11:52:55 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; Salo; Bobsat; JosephW; ...

33 posted on 07/26/2010 11:53:27 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Aren’t you gonna need a new PS if you want to put that in an old box?


34 posted on 07/26/2010 12:06:17 PM PDT by raybbr (Someone who invades another country is NOT an immigrant - illegal or otherwise.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Comprehensive Anti-Static methods to protect PC hardware

Honestly, I have been working on PLC's, computer and PC boards for almost thirty years and have never used a strap. Never had any problems either. Am I lucky?

I always touch some sort of metal/ground before I pick any boards, etc.

35 posted on 07/26/2010 12:12:08 PM PDT by raybbr (Someone who invades another country is NOT an immigrant - illegal or otherwise.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

and this, from todays Woot.com:

HP AMD Athlon II Quad Core Desktop Computer
$389.99

+ $5 shipping

Condition:
Refurbished
Product:
1 HP Pavilion p6310f Athlon II X4 2.8GHz, 6GB DDR3, 1TB SATA, DVDRW, Win 7 Home Prem 64-bit

I’m constantly seeing old P4 computers for $89 usually 2.8 or 3.0 with 512meg ram. Those make excellent Linux computers.


36 posted on 07/26/2010 12:24:36 PM PDT by Big Giant Head (Two years no AV, no viruses, computer runs great!)
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To: raybbr
I always touch some sort of metal/ground before I pick any boards, etc.

I work barefoot.

37 posted on 07/26/2010 12:25:34 PM PDT by Big Giant Head (Two years no AV, no viruses, computer runs great!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

For those of us who don’t have Fry’s toystores nearby, Microcenter.com is running a similar deal:

AMD Athlon II X2 250 Dual Core Processor
Biostar A785G3 Socket AM3 785G mATX Motherboard
$72.99 - $10 mail in rebate.
http://www.microcenter.com/specials/promotions/0720_AMDbundle.html

a $35 case w/300W PSU, PowerSpec TX366 mATX Case

$20 DVD-RW, Samsung 22x DVD±RW Burner with Dual/Double Layer Support OEM

$39HDD, Samsung Spinpoint S166 HD161HJ 160GB 7,200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5” Internal Hard Drive - OEM

$28 2GB DDR3 RAM, Crucial 1GB, 240-pin DIMM, DDR3 PC3-10600 memory module

$194 total before tax before $10 mail in rebate. Only 3.5% sales tax at my local Microcenter.

Could do it cheaper on case and get 2GB RAM if using microcenter’s open box/returns from my local store.

Only downside to the mATX motherboards is the 2 RAM slots, though the one I selected has a Radeon HD4200 integrated video card.

Crazy thing is, this PC would have SATA3 HDD, and DDR3-10600 RAM, both faster than my current PC.


38 posted on 07/26/2010 12:31:34 PM PDT by JerseyHighlander
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To: raybbr
This article is about a new build with an AM3 processor socket...

For the older machines that have entered the conversation.... Well it all depends...the newer mother boards have 24 pin power plugins...but older boards with 20 pin are available.

At the start of this article,...they choose a case that had a power supply included.

3rd page:

Case and Power Supply: Rosewill R424BK with 350-watt PSU ($29.99).

39 posted on 07/26/2010 12:33:53 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
For the older machines that have entered the conversation.... Well it all depends...the newer mother boards have 24 pin power plugins...but older boards with 20 pin are available.

Actually I was referring to the innards you speced in Post #7....

40 posted on 07/26/2010 12:36:28 PM PDT by raybbr (Someone who invades another country is NOT an immigrant - illegal or otherwise.)
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To: raybbr
Well,...I wasn't that lucky...I also got a carbon mat to put stuff on.

More stuff seemed to work after that,.

41 posted on 07/26/2010 12:37:29 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: raybbr
That system I spec-ed at post 7 is a screamer compared to anything else in the AMD line...nearly as good as the Black 1090T...which is what I am running.

And the motherboard does require a 24 pin power supply.

But it would go in the same case as the one referenced in the article.

42 posted on 07/26/2010 12:44:29 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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I just looked at the Gigabyte board (post #7) in addition to the 24 pin power connection it also has a 8 pin connection...as my Asus 880 board...but I am running ok with a 4 pin power connector so didn’t have to buy a new power supply.


43 posted on 07/26/2010 12:52:56 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I need to run Windoz for Business but I have three other machines that I have pack ratted that will be fun Toy’s

Good Stuff

TT


44 posted on 07/26/2010 2:09:26 PM PDT by TexasTransplant (I don't mind liberals... I hate liars...there just tends to be a high degree of overlap)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; calex59
What JimRob said was:
That goes for everyone. I don’t see any reason whatsoever to be having flamewars on FR over computer products. Those who have a problem with Apple should just not buy the product and that takes care of that. Don’t come to FR to flame those who like the product. That’s just dumb. Who cares what computer products people use. Everyone on these threads need to lighten up! On all sides!!
That's all. We can still argue. Just do it like civil adults and heed the posting rules of the site, which have not changed and are clearly understandable by all. No personal attacks, and save the flamewars for the forums populated by 13-year-olds.
45 posted on 07/26/2010 2:48:46 PM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: mamelukesabre

Better yet. Find a cheap used p4 or AMD on Craigslist. Install linux. Done.


46 posted on 07/26/2010 2:54:24 PM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: calex59

Just the arguing ones about Mac vs PC.


47 posted on 07/26/2010 2:55:39 PM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Or you could go on Ebay and find a used computer with an XP license probably for less than $100. If you don’t like Windows then you can do Linux the same way. $200 is way too much.


48 posted on 07/26/2010 3:08:44 PM PDT by Moonman62 (Politicians exist to break windows so they may spend other people's money to fix them.)
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To: tophat9000
A PC (hardware) never "get slow"

Mostly this is a true statement. However, hard drives can drastically slow down sometimes as they fail. They can run out of set-aside sectors that are used to substitute for bad sectors, at which point they then are forced to retry reading/writing failing sectors that can no longer be replaced.

This can drastically slow down computer performance, and unfortunately, such slow downs are often the only symptom of a dying hard drive before it completely quits working. This slowing down can occur quite quickly or it can take weeks.

One way to tell if it is happening is if there are periodic and abrupt temporary stoppages at the same time the drive activity light goes on solidly. The worst version of this situation in Windows is if a failing sector occurs in one of the registry files.

49 posted on 07/26/2010 3:33:11 PM PDT by catnipman (Cat Nipman: Made from the Right Stuff!)
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To: catnipman
True what you say about a hard drive (or even other hardware) can cause a slow system but other issue would normally be seen...

In the typical slow system that just needs an OS reinstall, because the disk is rewritten, it going to give you hint if their an underlying hard disk issue...

Many times when I do an OS reload if the customer has never done it before and it had an older small hd I will recommend the customer do a disk upgrade. The reason I do that with drives get cheaper better faster and higher capacity is it a good upgrade...

Plus... I NOT DO CUSTOMER BACK UP ! and I will not touch a customers system till the customer signs off off that they have backed up what they want...backup is always a customer responsibility...I walk you throught it but you got to do it... reason I can replace anything but customer data (old FE saying "customer data is sacred")...when you touch a system anything can happen... (once did an on site and had a business system drive blow up just turning the system off

So the nice thing is.. customer never really have a complete back up ever when they say they have and turn it over for repair..

So if I replace the hd I will set up the new hd put the old hd as a 2 hd but uncabled

Then let the customer use and check out the new system for a few weeks..

That way if the customer stated they are missing a file it's quick and easy to cable up the old drive and find the file..

And after the customer is happy they have all their files on the new disk the old disk gets a format and become extra storage in the system...

FYI to you folk's that work on friends computer ... you want to loose a friend fast .. have them think you lost their data even just that one picture they really deleted by mistake before you ever touched their system..

50 posted on 07/26/2010 4:41:39 PM PDT by tophat9000 (.............................. BP + BO = BS ...........................Formula for a disaster...)
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