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I have an old computer:

Custom made Q9300, 8GB, 9800GTX on a decent Gigabyte's motherboard, 500W Antec EW PSU, all in a nice looking and functional Antec P182 case.

I was wondering recently what to do with that old buddy of mine?

I considered:

- selling it (but I couldn't really estimate its current market price, not to mention the nasty thought that some crazy kid would buy it and destroy it by overclocking everything at once, just to play BF3 on full details),

- converting it to home file server (Q9300 and 8GB would be a total overkill, so... bad idea)

- converting it to home media+file server with XBMC. Meaning: HTPC+file server.

Those last two options would require from me to buy an array of at least two or three hard disks to hold the data ripped from all of my AudioCDs, DVDs and BRDs (and I would need at least one or two yahrens to rip'em... >>Go Battlestar!>>). And the very last option means: "Oi AJ, ye gotta buy an IR panel to have some means to steer yer bloody HTPC with, eh(?)/". Luckily, that's just a minor inconvenience, because such panels cost relatively cheap.

Rendering node is out of the question unfortunately. I can't afford additional licence for a mere home server. Not when everything in our industry costs hundreds to thousands of dollars (I think we're in the second most expensive job a man can afford when it comes to license price, preceded only by CAD/CAM software... Damn!).

The Q9300 would be more than adequate in a media+file server role, but it's still... Q9300. It's pretty dated now (5-6 years?). I don't think it has THAT much power saving features like modern SB, SB-E or IB CPUs do have (I bet my 3930K uses much less power than my oldie). I would use it in this role, but I'm a bit worried about the power bill I might get after the server keeps on workin' 24/365.

But do I have other options?

What would you guys do with your old PCs?

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I keep them. I have an area in my office where I have them set up and out of the way. They all still run and our networked. They have some older programs that aren't compatible with the new operating systems so I can still use my old programs on the older PC's when I need. I typically access them from my main work computer through Remote Desktop Connection. I also use them to make periodic backups from data on my main working PC. I only power them up when I need them.

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I vote for turning it into a living room HTPC & Gaming station, I have an old AMD Phenom II X4 3.4Ghz, 8GB RAM with a NVidia 660 ti that has become my home theater pc and game station for my living room. I run Windows Media Center for Digital terrestrial TV, Netflix, Hulu Plus, & Vudu. But the main and best use is using it as an old school MAME & emulator gaming machine.

I run GameEx as a launcher that works beautifully by remote control from the couch giving me access to many many arcade games and ripped versions of my old school console game discs. I have a one-stop shop to watch tv, internet movies, and game one old school arcade games and console emulators that run flawlessly like Atari 2600, Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, Nintendo NES, Super Nintendo, N64, Nintendo GameCube, Sony Playstation and Playstation 2 games + MAME. And the cool thing is that Xbox 360 wireless controllers work great for it and I can play games a 2x to 4x the original composite resolution of the PS2 on a living room LCD! Yes, the emulators are smart enough to turn on antialiasing and upscale the 3D to 4x or more the res of the original games (textures are still as big as the maximum on the discs but the increase in res makes playing older games like Katamari Damacy or GTA San Andreas amazing looking - and better than on the original consoles.)

Plus I figured out how to get 6 (I might be able to get more running if I buy some more) of the Wireless Xbox controllers working via PC USB so friends can play multiplayer games on the couch when they come over - like the best multiplayer game in the world: can you say 10 player Saturn Bomberman!?! Seriously GameEx is an excellent launcher - ALL the games (that you have) at your fingertips launching multiple open source emulators from one simple interface! It took me half a weekend to set up the 15+ console emulators I have and set it up so that it can also launch virtual CDs and DVD isos, but it's been working well for like a year+ now with no problems. Everyone of my friends is blown away at how well the emulators run and it's kind of like how the iPod reveolutionized music... When I had hundreds of CDs - I'd never go to the trouble of finding one track on on CD from the back of the shelf and listen to it, but having it at a swipe at it's there makes you listen to music more! Same goes with this emulator launcherand games. Oh, I feel like playing Nintendo Gamecube Super Mario Sunshine." Click. Boom. There, playing it. and now better looking than it did on the original console. :)

Let me know if you decide to do this and need help setting it up and I can help, plus the GameEx forum users are generally very helpful! Best use of an old machine ever.

(plus it's an extra render machine on my home office network if I need it - you should switch to Lightwave render nodes are free up to like 999 or some crazy number)....

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I also use them to make periodic backups from data on my main working PC. I only power them up when I need them.

same use here

OS: Kubuntu

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Nice ideas guys.

Yeah, computer for periodic backups would be very useful indeed. But I guess I'd have to add some more services to it, because data storage doesn't require that much processing power. Maybe an intranet HTTP and SAMBA/CIFS, XBMC or GameEx program Photon mentioned?

Speaking of GameEx, it seems it is a Windows only program and I was planning to install one of Linux distributions on this machine. I do have a separate academic Win7 Pro license bound to it from the times of my studies, but I'm not sure if I can install it now. If I remember the license agreement correctly, we were allowed to use it after graduation for non-commercial purposes, but I can't remember what it said about re-installation of the OS. I'll have to ask Microsoft about that.

Windows would be soo much easier to work with than Linux.

Meanwhile, I've found a GameEx alternative for Linux called Gelide, but not only it's nowhere as sleek and nice looking as GameEx, but also it's not a media integrator.

Photon, what do you use to control your GameEx HTPC when you're not playing? One of your XBox controllers or something else? Also, have you tried running VICE or CCS64 emulators with GameEx by any chance?

Thanks.

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Speaking of GameEx, it seems it is a Windows only program and I was planning to install one of Linux distributions on this machine. I do have a separate academic Win7 Pro license bound to it from the times of my studies, but I'm not sure if I can install it now. If I remember the license agreement correctly, we were allowed to use it after graduation for non-commercial purposes, but I can't remember what it said about re-installation of the OS. I'll have to ask Microsoft about that. Windows would be soo much easier to work with than Linux. Meanwhile, I've found a GameEx alternative for Linux called Gelide, but not only it's nowhere as sleek and nice looking as GameEx, but also it's not a media integrator. Photon, what do you use to control your GameEx HTPC when you're not playing? One of your XBox controllers or something else? Also, have you tried running VICE or CCS64 emulators with GameEx by any chance? Thanks.

My case an Antec Fusion Remote max came with a remote (click that link to see it) plus I also use a Lenovo handheld backlit keyboard remote with mouse for some things like Hulu which don't have good keystroke shortcuts. The Xbox controller does work to control GameEx too so once I set down whatever other remote I am using (the Lenovo works good for couch browsing the internet and typing), the gamepad does work to control GameEx too so if I'm mid game I don't have to switch remotes.

I actually don't really use the jukebox/media/integrator/karaoke stuff in GameEx (though other guys in the forums say that works great), I just use it soley for its Game and emulator launching and collation. GameEx can be run standalone or integrated into Windows Media Center (which also is my main set up for media - though I use that for Live TV & recording dvr stuff & dvds & blurays - but I use the Windows Media Center plugin called MediaBrowser to play other video files like .mkv s or whatever WMC can't play. It also seems to work great and automatically downloads IMDB actor info & screenshots and episode stills etc with even crappy named files - so you get this great headsup display which looks really sexy).

I believe Tom the developer of GameEx has made a mac version recently - and may?? be working on a Linux version too? But I don't know much about other launchers like Gelide - but I can tell you that GameEx launches so many different emulators flawlessly for me (once I set it up right) that it is not funny. I mean I'm still blown away I can play PS2 and Gamecube and Sega Saturn and MAME arcade games instantly with a click I highly recommend GameEx if you can sort your Win 7 license out - It's probably worth it.

I guess with any old PC you could make it a file server or something, but with a decent one like this, it seems a shame not to make it a casual living room gaming set up. :)

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Btw, I tried XMBC like 4 years ago and didn't like it that much - I imagine it is better now? Back then I liked MediaPortal better than XMBC, but all of them at the time were a little unstable, and I ended up switching to Windows Media Center once Win 7 came out because it was better than all of those especially for Live TV and has been rock solid - especially with the GameEx & MediaBrowser addons. I probably shouldn't for my electric bill, but I run WMC + GameEx 24/7 attached to my living room TV and never had a problem in a couple of years...

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Oh man, that's a very elegant and slick looking case. My P182 is a whooper and I didn't quite figured out yet where to squeeze it.

Last time I checked XBMC several months ago it crashed quite frequently, so it doesn't seem the best option unless there's been some major stability improvements.

Windows Media Centre is surely more reliable, but does it support TXT/SUB subtitles? I have some DVDs I bought abroad which don't include my native language (audio/subtitles), so I ripped and translated them by my own. Lack of text subtitles support might be a problem for some of my friends or family members who may come to visit me, because some of them barely or don't understand English at all.

But...

Instead of a Movie Watchin' Night I could always invite them for a DYNA BLASTER WEEKEND™! :rofl:

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Oh man, that's a very elegant and slick looking case. My P182 is a whooper and I didn't quite figured out yet where to squeeze it.

Last time I checked XBMC several months ago it crashed quite frequently, so it doesn't seem the best option unless there's been some major stability improvements.

Windows Media Centre is surely more reliable, but does it support TXT/SUB subtitles? I have some DVDs I bought abroad which don't include my native language (audio/subtitles), so I ripped and translated them by my own. Lack of text subtitles support might be a problem for some of my friends or family members who may come to visit me, because some of them barely or don't understand English at all.

But...

Instead of a Movie Watchin' Night I could always invite them for a DYNA BLASTER WEEKEND™! :rofl:

I'm not sure of every possible variation of subtitle formats? but WMC does do subtitiles for DVDs - but I use Media Browser plugin to manage my video file library and it launches VLC (which works fine with remote control) and plays mkvs or anything and all subtitles seem to work on that.

WMC and windows doesn't play Blu-ray - VLC kind of plays them without menus, but there is no open source Bluray player as far as I know, so any HTPC Bluray solution means you have to buy Bluray player software and the Cyberlink stuff is crappy but Arcsoft is ok, but is expensive at $99 for just playing back BLuray discs...

Btw I didn't know that Bomberman was called DynaBlaster (where btw?).... Oh and Saturn Bomberman gameplay is by far the BEST version and best multiplayer game of all time -

This is it (yes it is mental when you play 8 players on the small field, but later in the video there is 10 player wide-screen):

And yeah, that case is a bit of a whopper but it fits a 660Ti which plays my PS2 games!

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Oh man, the first video is a mess. I'd die in like five seconds from the start. The second one looks more reasonable. :) Both bring good memories, though in DynaBlaster (Bomberman) for DOS only two players could play if I remember correctly. You could choose either a guy dressed in white or black, both wearing your everyday Bomberman helmets.

DynaBlaster was the European title for Bomberman. I've never heard the word "Bomberman" until I got connected to the Internet in early 00's. This was the time when I found answers to most of the questions bothering me since childhood. Like, what was the name of that awesome Kiwi children horror series from the 80's ("Under the Mountain") or what was the first: the egg or the chicken. Ok, I've never found the answer for the latter.

P.S. Hmm... I'm pretty sure I saw two different links when I browsed the thread with my phone and yet now on my desktop I see only one(?). :wacko:

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Oh man, the first video is a mess. I'd die in like five seconds from the start. The second one looks more reasonable. :) Both bring good memories, though in DynaBlaster (Bomberman) for DOS only two players could play if I remember correctly. You could choose either a guy dressed in white or black, both wearing your everyday Bomberman helmets.

DynaBlaster was the European title for Bomberman. I've never heard the word "Bomberman" until I got connected to the Internet in early 00's. This was the time when I found answers to most of the questions bothering me since childhood. Like, what was the name of that awesome Kiwi children horror series from the 80's ("Under the Mountain") or what was the first: the egg or the chicken. Ok, I've never found the answer for the latter.

P.S. Hmm... I'm pretty sure I saw two different links when I browsed the thread with my phone and yet now on my desktop I see only one(?). :wacko:

you aren't crazy, I deleted the 2nd one since the 1st one contained the wide screen 10 player and had better audio... :blush:

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