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?

13 thoughts on “The Old Desktop Computer May Have Bit The Dust”

  1. I think computers are like dogs in that they age much quicker than us over the same period of time. Maybe computers even faster than dogs!

    I usually build my own from scratch, this way I can control exactly what was going into it. Once, I made the mistake of purchasing my parents a slim HP pc for their den. Those things are complete junk, as the parts are custom sized and it is impossible to even get in there to swap out memory.

    The one I use at home I didn’t build, as I needed to get it on the spot as a replacement for a dead laptop (which was at the time my primary computer). That was in 2008, and I haven’t done anything to it since, as I only use it for business and blogging. No heavy graphics like movies or games, so the specs still work for me, and I use cloud-based storage so I’m not very worried about losing data.

  2. I’m impressed that the computer even lasted 8 years – I don’t use a desktop because I usually just use my laptop on the couch. We do have a desktop but it goes unused most of the time. I use my computer for blogging, homework, and browsing, and I’d say I’m on it for hours a day for sure.

  3. We have a desktop that was purchased in 2009 and no laptops. It is still working fine. Maybe you can still utilize that old one without a monitor, maybe hook it up to your TV as a entertainment hub? 8 years for a computer is like a turtle living to be 200 years old.

    • Haha, I wonder what those ‘equations’ are. Electronics seem to last a long time in my house. Our main TV is a 32″ tube that is from 1997.

  4. We don’t get new computers that often but my husband desperately needs to replace his (very) old desktop. It can’t handle any of the new programs and it runs s…l…o…w. It hasn’t been a financial priority until recently and we are trying to actively save for a new one. He needs it since he telecommutes some days but fortunately, his work has provided him with a decent laptop.

    As for me, whatever the laptop equivalent of no green thumb is, I have that. My current laptop is 16 months old and I’m just waiting for something to happen.

  5. My desk top is approaching 3 years old. My last computer was 10 years old. I use it for mostly internet and Microsoft Office applications. I have an older lap top for quick work, but prefer the desk top.

  6. I am surprised that you got 8 years out of your computer. I actually haven’t used a desktop in years. I am mostly on my laptop for everything, but I found that I have to replace them every 3 years. The other thing I have learned is never to get an extended warranty on anything, even laptops. If they do go bad within a year, you still have the manufacturer’s warranty. Why spend extra money, when I can probably get if fixed for far less at a local PC shop instead of the big box stores!!

  7. Whenever my laptop decides to give up on me regularly despite new installs, I move on to another laptop. This usually takes 3-5 years.

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