The Old Desktop Computer May Have Bit The Dust

I’ve always been a pretty savvy tech guy.  My career has been IT.  One thing I learned, though, is that no technology, especially in the PC world, ever stays current.  Thus, I pretty much have gotten in the pattern of keeping computers until they die or are basically unusable.

Around 2004 was the last time I purchased a desktop computer.  At the time, it was a pretty state of the art machine.  It was a Dell Precision 370 workstation,  and it had a really cool graphics card, additional memory, and SATA hard drives, which were pretty fast back then.

It was a great computer and very fast, but as computers do, it started to slow down over time.  I think that happens because the computer does actually slow down as you use it and install more stuff on it, as well as appearing slower simply because the new computers coming out are faster.

I re-installed everything once a few years later, and a couple of years later I added more memory, an upgraded hard drive, and a few other improvements to basically max it out.

We have since inherited a couple of laptops from my parents, the latest of which we use as our primary computer.  Still, the desktop computer was one I used for browsing, random game playing, and as a hookup to all of our external hard drives where we keep multiple copies of any picture, music, document, spreadsheet or other files, and it also acted as a central print server so we could print from other computers we had.

Recently, I was using it and suddenly it freaked out.  The video got crazy.  That’s the only word I can use to describe it.  It got into a weird test pattern.  Powering down and back up got it into a state where it would start up but not really boot up.  It actually did boot up one time and I used it for a couple of hours, but since then, it hasn’t booted up once.  I’ve reseated all the power connections, memory modules, and external cards, but so far that hasn’t worked.  One time it did boot up and the fan started running so fast I thought it was going to blow a hole in the wall behind the computer.

The diagnostic lights on the back of the computer aren’t giving me any really good information.  I may try another video card but I’m not too hopeful.

I think it may be lost.  But eight years for a computer has to be like 120 years old, right?  If it is gone, it definitely had a good life.

It really wouldn’t change anything if we lost it.  I’m pretty sure the hard drives are fine, and I don’t think that we have anything on them anyways of importance.

I guess time will tell what we do.  Right now, we’ll do nothing, but down the line do I:

  • Get another desktop computer, which could probably be had for a couple hundred bucks?
  • Get a laptop computer?  We already have two of those plus I can use the one from work for stuff as well
  • Get one of the latest trends in technology, a tablet device
  • Just scrap it and do nothing.

I guess time will tell if we actually miss the computer in any way that would warrant us having a new one.  For now, we have an older laptop that I’ve started using.  If that were to die as well, we would definitely need to do something, but since that was probably from 2005 or 2006, we hopefully have another year or two where we could scrape by with what we have.

What are your computer habits?  Do you get new computers regularly?  Do you use your computers mainly for browsing?