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Grandpa's New PC, and Inside His Old One

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Dan Euritt
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Re: Aerodynamics of PCs
Dan Euritt   12/15/2016 10:48:31 PM
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that's a trip down memory lane! the amount of dust there isn't bad, considering how long it took to accumulate.

win10 has it's own anti-virus software, you don't have to spend money on it.

realjjj
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Re: Aerodynamics of PCs
realjjj   12/15/2016 8:12:15 PM
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PSUs have been sucking air from under the case for a while now with the exhaust the same way so at the back.. You don't want to suck hot air from inside the case into the PSU nor do you want to put more hot air inside the case. Some cases (like some from Lian Li) even have a PSU compartment to reduce the interaction between the PSU and GPUs.

Nowadays even relatively cheap cases have air filters for intake fans. Silverstone had some positive pressure PC cases. Bitfenix Outlaw has the motherboard uspide down, i assume for better GPU airflow. Some Silverstone cases rotate the mobo by 90 degrees and all intake comes from under the case with the air traveling up.There are all kinds of solutions out there as cooling is a key metric in the DIY market.

perl_geek
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Aerodynamics of PCs
perl_geek   12/15/2016 7:13:11 PM
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One of the lesser mis-decisions of PC design was the airflow direction. The fan on the power supply was designed to suck air from the inside of the box to exhaust the heat outside. That's all very well, but the effect is to suck dusty outside air in through the drive slots and any other gaps in the box. That swirls and eddies, leaving horrible deposits all over the inside, and components overheating because they're not just coated, but embedded, in crud.

The problem goes right back to the early days; about 1985 or so, I cured some intermittently unreliable 286s by shovelling a couple of years' worth of office atmospheric solids off their motherboards.

A better arrangement is a fan sucking outside air through an external filter, raising the internal pressure above the ambient, and hence repelling dust. It does require attention to the filter and periodic cleaning or replacement, but that's better than internal encrustation.

DeeCee430
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static electricity
DeeCee430   12/15/2016 7:04:25 PM
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My 10.5-year-old Dell desktop with Windows XP died 8 months ago, after several warnings appeared about a "thermal event".  I found lots of dust in it, which I guessed affected the cooling, so vacuumed it out.  Must have damaged the CPU fan in the process, but even replacing it didn't help.  Fortunately the hard drive was still OK, so didn't lose any data.

But -- if you Google vacuum cleaner static electricity you will find lots of warnings about the potential damage vacuum cleaners can cause to electronics due to static electricity.  There are some ESD-safe vacuum cleaners made for cleaning electronics.

WO1N
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Re: old computers
WO1N   12/15/2016 4:11:30 PM
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Yes, unfortunately I fit the profile. Trying to be better about it, though after having to help dispose of two Silent Key estates in the past few years. Do not leave your significant others with a pile of crap.

One holiday break I set out to purge my collection of 3.5" diskettes. It took two days and freed up a lot of shelf space. Thought I got them all but low and behold another 50 or so have made their presence known. Really crazy.

Good article, Martin. In my case it's my uncle I'm primary support for. Thank goodness his grandchildren and great-grandchildrn are all grown up. Inevitably they would manage to get every virus known to man when they came over and played with his computer. Teamviewer is a lifesaver!

 

Ken

MeasurementBlues
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Re: old computers
MeasurementBlues   12/15/2016 3:43:27 PM
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I still have my first PC, an Eagle luggable. No hard drive, just two 360k floppies. I's stitting the  the basement rotting at this point, but might boot if I can find a bootable DOS floppy disk.

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Nicely done.....
MeasurementBlues   12/15/2016 3:40:33 PM
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@TonyTib

I copied all of my files from 5.25 floppies onto CDs some time ago. As for 3.5 floppies, I'vedome that too, but another reason for leepin at least one of the Dell XP laptops is they have external 3.5 floppy drive that I can plug in and copy files if needed. At this point, I don't connect them to the internet so they're pretty sefe from security problems.

There's still one 5.25 floppy drive in the closet, but I don't have a machine that will accept it.

realjjj
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Re: Nicely done.....
realjjj   12/15/2016 5:58:37 AM
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In the US you can easily find deals for Bronze rated 450W mid range PSUs bellow 20$, sometimes even bellow 10$ but i prefer higher quality and efficiency . The Corsair i've mentioned comes at a bit of a premium because of the monitoring feature, if it was some 90$ instead of 120$ it would be a good enough buy - does have a 10 year warranty and that helps. In case you are not familiar with the 80 Plus rating https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80_Plus

And ofc you are right about used parts (everybody seems to buy refurbished laptops or chromebooks nowadays) and the fact that the PC got stuck with just 4 cores makes it so much easier to just buy something slightly outdated if it's sufficient for your needs.

traneus
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old computers
traneus   12/15/2016 1:39:20 AM
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My main machine is 11 years old, a first-generation AMD 64-bit tower running 64-bit Slackware Linux. Thanks, Martin, for prompting me to clean out the dust! My newest laptop is a 5-year-old Dell running Ubuntu Linux.

My oldest machine is a 1987 Heathkit clone of the original 1981 PC, which I use for occaisonal text editing, and to see how long it will last. Its harddrive died a few years ago, so now it has two mismatched floppy drives. A: is the original 360K 5.25-inch drive for booting MS-DOS. B: is a 720K 3.5-inch drive for transferring files. The 720K drive is a recent upgrade, and takes USB flash memory sticks instead of floppy disks.

David Ashton
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Re: Nicely done.....
David Ashton   12/14/2016 10:34:32 PM
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@Realjjj... I doubt if I'd ever spend that much on a power supply, but I do agree it is worth getting a good one.  I have a nice motherboard around which needs a strange power connector so will probably have to buy a PSU for that. If you don't want a bang up-to-the-minute PC you can usually scrounge or buy very cheaply the bits to build one.  There are enough gamers / porn addicts around who HAVE to have the latest flashest stuff and will give you or sell you cheaply their old bits.

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