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How many more years can I use my Pentium D desktop?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hi there, I have an old, Optiplex 620, pentium d 915, with 4gb ddr2 ram and 1tb seagate HDD running windows 10 32 bit. It runs a bit slow but does productivity work with no problems such as microsoft word and youtube. How many more years can I keep using this desktop to do simple, productivity work without absolutely unacceptable lag? I reinstall my system maybe once or twice a year to keep the bloat free.

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That's more of a YOU question. How do you feel your work flow is? Could it be faster? Do you NEED it to go faster? Do you WANT it to go faster AND have the money to spend on a newer system? 

 

Is there more you wish you could do? Do you feel like you're missing some sort of experience? 

 

Questions like this, it's up to you and your workflow and how you feel about it. 

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To me a Pentium D is already unusable. Anything pre-Core 2 is scrap in my book. So yeah, it's entirely subjective.


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When YOU don't want to use it anymore or some component dies. 


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If it's working well enough for you, you don't have to upgrade. (Although I totally recommend putting an SSD in)


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13 minutes ago, columbusohio said:

Hi there, I have an old, Optiplex 620, pentium d 915, with 4gb ddr2 ram and 1tb seagate HDD running windows 10 32 bit. It runs a bit slow but does productivity work with no problems such as microsoft word and youtube. How many more years can I keep using this desktop to do simple, productivity work without absolutely unacceptable lag? I reinstall my system maybe once or twice a year to keep the bloat free.

If you can, throw a small SSD for a boot drive in there and you'll probably have a performance increase and the decreases that come from the future will be minimal until your hardware actually starts dying.

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19 minutes ago, columbusohio said:

Hi there, I have an old, Optiplex 620, pentium d 915, with 4gb ddr2 ram and 1tb seagate HDD running windows 10 32 bit. It runs a bit slow but does productivity work with no problems such as microsoft word and youtube. How many more years can I keep using this desktop to do simple, productivity work without absolutely unacceptable lag? I reinstall my system maybe once or twice a year to keep the bloat free.

It all depends on your standards for what is "unbearable"... just keep using it until you can't anymore. As others suggested, adding an ssd would probably make it snappier without breaking the bank (and you can reuse the SSD if you ever decide to upgrade). You could also try running a lightweight linux distribution, they're usually faster than windows on old machines.


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15 minutes ago, columbusohio said:

Hi there, I have an old, Optiplex 620, pentium d 915, with 4gb ddr2 ram and 1tb seagate HDD running windows 10 32 bit. It runs a bit slow but does productivity work with no problems such as microsoft word and youtube. How many more years can I keep using this desktop to do simple, productivity work without absolutely unacceptable lag? I reinstall my system maybe once or twice a year to keep the bloat free.

I ll tell you what. I still use an old pentium 4 3.2 Ghz with 1.5 gb ddr2 memory and a 8600 gts 256 mb vram card and it runs just fine for office , browsing, Settlers III and AoE 2(windows xp or linux). And all that on a 40 Gb SATA HDD(that desktop handled crysis 1 once), so as long as it doesn't explode i think you can use your pentium just fine. 

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SSDs are dirt cheap now you could probably do a bunch more years with a 120gb


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I put a SSD in a Pentium 4/XP computer the other day and about tripled its speed vs the 70GB HDD it had in it. 


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6 minutes ago, ITheSpazI said:

I put a SSD in a Pentium 4/XP computer the other day and about tripled its speed vs the 70GB HDD it had in it. 

3x0 is still 0 y'know :D 


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If it works for you, then nah you don't need to upgrade.

 

For me personally, I don't want to work on any computer that uses something older than the i-Series chips (EG: Core 2 Duo and older).

 

I have a personal preference for "At least Quad-Core, with SSD storage".

 

I can't stress enough how much of a difference SSDs make though. I might actually be okay with Core 2 Duo if paired with an SSD - I wouldn't know because I've never tried it. I imagine it's very possible that it could simply be the slowness of old 5400RPM hard drives that I'm so adverse to, rather than the CPUs. I know that if I stick a 5400RPM drive into even a modern i7 machine and try booting off of it I feel like I'm in the early 2000's again. I think that perhaps hard drives have always been the bottleneck, even way back when.

 

So as a personal suggestion to anyone browsing on ancient computers that really don't want to buy an entirely new computer, I say that if your computer has the connectors for it, try buying a cheap-o $50 SSD like the Samsung 860 Evo or PNY CS1311 and see what performance boost it might net you. I've installed them on my grandparent's old computers and it definitely made a difference, they love it. SSDs are just an easy instant upgrade for just about any machine really.

 

But nah, for me personally, I think my personal "minimum spec" preference is Quad-Core at at least 3Ghz with at least 8GB DDR3 Memory and a small SSD storage. I think that's pretty safely within "average" for 2018. I do generally think you should just get a new computer really, but if what you have does what you need with no problem then so be it. Some people just want to check e-mail and read the news. It entirely depends on your usage case.

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45 minutes ago, Sauron said:

It all depends on your standards for what is "unbearable"... just keep using it until you can't anymore. As others suggested, adding an ssd would probably make it snappier without breaking the bank (and you can reuse the SSD if you ever decide to upgrade). You could also try running a lightweight linux distribution, they're usually faster than windows on old machines.

Agree, I was then about to say almost the same things. I personally couldn't bear it, even running a lightweight linux distro, but if you're only using it for content/web stuff, media, it should be OK in linux for sure. Definitely get an SSD though for about $20-30 for a 120GB SSD and it'll seem much quicker overall.


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1 hour ago, Settlerteo said:

I ll tell you what. I still use an old pentium 4 3.2 Ghz with 1.5 gb ddr2 memory and a 8600 gts 256 mb vram card and it runs just fine for office , browsing, Settlers III and AoE 2(windows xp or linux). And all that on a 40 Gb SATA HDD(that desktop handled crysis 1 once), so as long as it doesn't explode i think you can use your pentium just fine. 

Browsing on Windows XP nowadays is kind of risky

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Depends if you value your life and time lol I'm only on this planet a short while. Waiting for technology is not something I need! 

 

If it's a socket lga 775 motherboard you could shove in a core 2 quad q6600 (if its supported. Some required a bios update.. youd need a floppy drive for that..) and it would cost you less than $10. Most recycling centres woukd give you one!


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Posted · Original PosterOP
33 minutes ago, Badger906 said:

Depends if you value your life and time lol I'm only on this planet a short while. Waiting for technology is not something I need! 

 

If it's a socket lga 775 motherboard you could shove in a core 2 quad q6600 (if its supported. Some required a bios update.. youd need a floppy drive for that..) and it would cost you less than $10. Most recycling centres woukd give you one!

That is an excellent suggestion. However I think my Optiplex 620 has some significant chipset limitations, which means the best it can go, according to dozens of online searches on Dell Community and so on, suggests it only supports Pentium D 960 3.6ghz which is for sale on ebay for 40 bucks. For that much money I can get another optiplex with a C2D 8500 CPU for 30-50 bucks? What do you think?

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@columbusohio Check your local schools and see if they have spares C2D or C2Q machine they're looking to get rid of. Usually business or school will have to pay to get rid of those old computers, so giving them away is a better option.

I and others I know got free C2D and C2Q SFF machines that way (and that was like 3 or 4 years ago).


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Theoretically, you'll be able to use it as long as programs are written (and compiled) to use only the instruction sets the processor supports, which are basically MMX, SSE, SSE2 and SSE3.

Any program that uses some instruction set without fallback to one of these or pure software (excruciatingly slow) fallbacks would not function. 

 

In the near future, you'll have video codecs like x265 (hevc) or av1 encoders potentially not run on your processor because your cpu doesn't have AVX or FMA  .... but your processor is so incredibly slow anyway (it would take hours to encode a single video frame on your cpu) that you wouldn't care.

 

 Some programs may also refuse to run on your processor because it doesn't have the AES instruction set - this is basically a set of instructions which accelerate encryption and decryption by doing some of the mathematics with special instructions that run faster compared to using regular code (additions, multiplications etc) 

But generally, that's just just laziness from the programmer's pov, or maybe using these instructions would be the only way to reasonably do some things (like some encryption must absolutely be done within some time frame, guaranteed execution time etc etc)

 

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I'm reminded of the quote "use it until the pieces start flying" as in, use It until you can't any more, but as others are saying, it depends on you.


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If you can bear with the speed of it then there is no reason to retire it. Now for me anything less than a dual core in this day and age is unusable as I like to multi-task. The good news is if you do decide to move on you can buy a retired workstation like a dell 7010 or 7020 with an i5 or i7 in it for like $100-$150. This will come with 4-8gb of ram and a 500gb or better drive. With either win 7 or 10 on it. Toss in an SSD and you have a machine that will last you another decade probably and will greatly increase your experience.

 

For example:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Optiplex-7020-Intel-i5-4590-3-30GHz-8GB-640GB-Windows-10-AS-IS-b/292814507745?hash=item442d1acee1:g:wmMAAOSwSlpb6cIC:rk:7:pf:0

 

Heck I doubt you game, but if you have kids you can easily toss a 1050ti in this thing and it will be a decent gaming machine. I would recommend an SSD 256gb would be my recommendation but a 120 would work for just the OS. You can get a 240/256gb ssd for around 45ish and a 128 for as low as 20-25. So for $160 bucks you would have a much better machine.

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I wanted to add ... sometimes advanced in technology are so big that it may sense to simply retire such old hardware. It becomes a quality of life thing.

 

For example, the 55$ AMD Athlon 200ge (stock cooler included in price) has 2 cores and 4 threads that performance wise are around 10-15x faster compared to your D915 processor. Also, it has integrated graphics that's probably just as fast or even better as a dedicated graphics you would have used back then.

 

In addition to that, it does 10-15x as much work while using maybe a fifth or a quarter of the power compared to the D915. While D915 uses as much as 80-100 watts to crunch through numbers, the whole Athlon 200ge including graphics probably peaks at around 30-40 watts.

 

So you can build a system with 8 GB DDR4 , a Athlon 200ge and a cheap 120 GB SSD and a 50$ motherboard - 200-250$ gets you a computer that's 10-20x as fast, while using less than 50 watts of power.

Instead of turning on and off the computer and waiting minutes to boot and then waiting for pages to load and so on, now that the system idles at 10-20w, you could afford to simply run the system 24/7 and just turn the monitor on or off and when you need to hit a website you're simply there. You can change your behavior and do more things that you didn't think of before because it would simply take too long with your D 915.

When you were worried about power bill or heat produced, now you can leave the system running 24/7 and not stress about it, or maybe use it for other purposes as well (nas, serve videos to tv etc etc)

 

Or, you can simply think of it from power saving pov ... use your d915 for 4-6 hours a day while using 100w, or spend some money and get new system that uses 30-50w so you're saving a few kWh a month - add those power savings and you may find you recuperate the money spent on the new system within 3-5 years.

 

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My Pentium III 999mhz lasted me almost 15 years before I had to say enough for a variety of reasons.

Frankly its a you use case scenario. How much lag are you willing to put up with?


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I’m sure someone else would’ve commented this but... 

if you throw linux on there, it’ll last a lot longer. 

If you're just using word and YouTube, you’ll be fine. 


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