We all have old hardware. Really old hardware that tends to linger around your man cave like ancient debris on a Tomb raider set. It’s probably fair to say that I am guilty of hoarding old hardware as much as the next man. I know it. If it still works, I don’t throw it away or recycle it. It stays put, just in case one day it can be of use once more.
It turns out that such an occasion did arrive. A week or so ago, an old friend of mine who now runs an Animal Sanctuary in Northern Taiwan, posted on their Facebook thread that they were desperately in need of a few old computers for their new office. The organization, known locally as The PACK Sanctuary is, in their own words:
“An animal sanctuary on the northern tip of Taiwan specializing in the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing or lifelong care of animals in dire need of help or unlikely to find suitable homes elsewhere.”
Run by along time acquaintance of mine, I was keen to help out. I know just how much good work these guys do rescuing animals, many of which are unfortunately found in appalling conditions. In fact their work in Taiwan has also done a great deal to raise awareness of issues such as animal cruelty to a wider, local audience.
His request came with a caveat however. We need old, but working computers for our office and the budget is zero. I started digging through my collection of hardware and eventually managed to put together two machines that (although painfully slow by today’s standards) still managed to perform well enough for most daily office tasks.
The first machine was based on the classic Conroe-based Core 2 Duo E4500, a dual core 2.2GHz chip from 2008. It was a relic of an old Acer machine that I upgraded for a friend several years ago, but it still worked a treat. I dug out and tested 4GB of DDR2, hooked up an old Hitachi HHD and was actually surprised by how well it ran Windows 7 (although it did take about a day to successfully update Windows). The second rig was based on an AMD Phenom II 9850, an Agena-based quad-core chip clocked at 2.5GHz. Not a hugely popular choice when it first arrived in 2008, it was good enough for the job and at least had the benefit of having four cores. Again 4GB DDR2 would have to do, as well as a Seagate HHD that I found lying around doing nothing.
The fun of tinkering with old hardware cannot be over exaggerated. I enjoyed several hours of testing and messing about with decade old hardware that I rememebr well from back in the day. In fact I almost enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed helping out some very, very good people. Old hardware, surrendered for a very good cause. Check out the PACK Sanctuary website here.