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Upgrades Hardware

Proper Disposal Of Old PCs? 409

Posted by simoniker
from the down-sewer-to-sea dept.
IMNTPC writes "Over the years, I've advanced from a 386DX-33 to a Celeron 1.3 Ghz system. I've slowly been accumulating enough old parts that now I think it's time to start disposing of anything that predates a Pentium 166. Does anyone know of a good place that will properly dispose/recycle of these old parts and PCs for little or no money? So far I've found pcdisposal.com, but anyone know of any others, either online or physical dropoff points in major metropolitan areas?"
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Proper Disposal Of Old PCs?

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  • by rastakid (648791) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @06:30AM (#7807407) Homepage Journal
    You could give your old systems away to schools and such. The schools with younger kids (up to the age of 10-12) are still able to do a lot of things with older systems, like grammar and mathematics educational games, requiring not more than MS-DOS. Of course there are enough schools with a rather big IT budget, but there also enough school who have to do it with less, is my experience. And they will really be glad with your donations.
  • You could... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@gmaiCHEETAHl.com minus cat> on Thursday December 25, 2003 @06:31AM (#7807410) Homepage
    ... say throw linux on it [or wipe the drive] and donate it to a local school. You could post a bulletin in your local newspaper [usually you can find ways of doing this for free] and offer it for free.

    I can imagine there are families out there that wouldn't consider a P166 [in working order] a "bad computer".

    So I'd say as long as your older machines still work clean on up and offer it to someone needy.

    That, or you could fill the thing with propane cylinders and explode it in a local abandonned quary. Make sure you tape it and post a url to your video later on!!!

    Tom
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 25, 2003 @06:37AM (#7807428)
    Licensing problems, lack of support, and a myriad of other problems plague these old computers.

    They will turn you away at the parking lot, let alone allow you to drag that crap in through the front door.
  • industry barometer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 25, 2003 @06:43AM (#7807446)
    One way to check up on the "state of the art" as practiced by the average schmo is to check out the curbside pickings. For a long time in my area, the curbside offerings were Pentium 1 machines with FX chipsets and 16K to 32K of DRAM. In the last six months things have improved. Its not uncommon to find PII 300 systems or AMD K6 300 systems with 64K or 128K. Disk drives now are now usually a respectable 4 or 5 gigs or so.

    One weird thing is all the perfectly good monitors that end up in the trash. I've found two Dell Trinitron 17 inch units in the last few weeks alone. Not ragged out units but clean and in excellent working condition. I suspect the reason so many good monitors end up at the curbside is the move to flat screens.

    The weeks after Christmas are a good time to keep an eye on your neighbors trash. They have to make room for their Christmas computer and the old one will end up by the curb. Happy hunting.

  • Re:You could... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 25, 2003 @06:59AM (#7807474)
    I don't mind if someone accepts donated ancient computers to use them at home, but don't donate them to schools. A "free" 486 or slower will cost more in lost administrative time than the price of a non-free low-end Duron system which can handle current software. Don't take teachers away from kids. They will do a much better job without your trash. Just because some schools' computer labs look like computer museums doesn't mean you have to add to the misery.
  • by Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) * on Thursday December 25, 2003 @07:17AM (#7807514) Homepage
    You could give your old systems away to schools and such. The schools with younger kids (up to the age of 10-12) are still able to do a lot of things with older systems, like grammar and mathematics educational games, requiring not more than MS-DOS. Of course there are enough schools with a rather big IT budget, but there also enough school who have to do it with less, is my experience. And they will really be glad with your donations.

    Please don't donate very old hardware to schools. Many schools have policies that require them to accept donations like this, and others might accept the computers because they don't realize how old and worthless they are (remember, the article mentioned "older than a Pentium-166").

    All you're doing is shifting the disposal cost to the school, which may end up costing them more than the value of the computer itself.

    Keep in mind that schools typically do not have a staff of IT people to repair computers, install software, train teachers, etc. I wouldn't argue if you wanted to take an old but perfectly working computer, load it up with educational software appropriate for a particular grade level, donate it to a specific teacher who's interested, and train him/her on how to use it. But my guess is that's not what you had in mind.
  • Re:You could... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 25, 2003 @07:29AM (#7807537)
    Point in case is that the knowledge, the publically available support and replacement hardware for old machines is in short supply. Therefore (not just because the machine is slower as such) it takes much longer to make a 486 into something useful than it takes to do the same with a reasonably current low-end system. If a student accepts the challenge of browsing today's web on a 486, I'm all for it. There's a lot to be learned on that path. There are much better uses for a teacher's time though. Total cost of ownership isn't just a buzzword. Go visit a local school's computer lab and tell me if you still feel it's ok to donate your trash. You should properly recycle it and donate the hardware you were going to sell on ebay for $100 instead. Something's wrong if you think "dump", and then "local school" and "cheaper" cross your mind.
  • 386 usage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jacek Poplawski (223457) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @07:57AM (#7807571)
    on 386 you can still do interesting things:

    • programming in many languages (just without visual shit^H^H^H^Hide)
    • edit documents in text editor (then compile them with LaTeX!)
    • watch picture collection
    • play NetHack


    All you need is good, new monitor, because old one can be bad for your eyes. Other parts of computer are perfect to use with completly new software.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 25, 2003 @08:14AM (#7807595)
    The American Dream is happening in India nowadays.

    Now, IMHO, Africa wiould be a better place to donate your PC...

    Merry Xmas to everyone!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 25, 2003 @08:49AM (#7807664)
    If a 4mhz z80 with 1k of ram is so fantastisch, why don't YOU use it?

    The reality is that schools teach their kids to use computers, not to build/rebuild them. That means you need to be able to run something that resembles what they'll see in real life, which is either openoffice or ms office (and for schools I would suggest ms office). Good luck getting either to run on something less than a p166.
  • WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tuxette (731067) * <tuxette.gmail@com> on Thursday December 25, 2003 @09:15AM (#7807729) Homepage Journal
    Being On Microsoft Schools Agreement means that any PC will thus cost money each year in the per-PC fees EVEN IF ITS USED WITH LINUX/*BSD. Don't matter - as long as its a Pentium class PC its fee liable.

    Am I understanding this correctly? That you have to pay a fee for every Pentium class PC you have, even if it doesn't have Microsoft crap on it?!

    If so, find the moron responsible for signing such a contract, and slap him/her silly.

  • by ChuckCaves (713639) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @11:08AM (#7807992) Homepage
    What the hell say do you have about the content of Ask Slashdot? It's an American site... I guess the reason that you hang out here is that wherever you come from must have extremely boring websites since you seem to have to hang out in an AMERICAN website to find interesting material.

    And as far as laziness goes... America is the MOST productive country by far in the world. We work more hours per week than any other country (not sure about Japan... they are probably close to us). But Europeans? They are always on vaction... we work over 40 hours a week on average... while the lazy Europeans work 35 or less... but that's okay... as long as you guys stay lazy... we will maintain our economic superiority.

    So go hang fire bloke
  • by Reziac (43301) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @12:08PM (#7808194) Homepage Journal
    In fact, there are people who make a small living from curb gleanings -- pick 'em up, fix as required, sell 'em for whatever they can get. Everybody happy!

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GPS Pilot (3683) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @12:48PM (#7808339)
    Really? If I couldn't afford a newer computer, I would gladly accept a donation of a 486, if the alternative was not owning a computer at all -- which is the situation most Africans are in.

    What makes you think differently about this?
  • by stuartkahler (569400) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @01:43PM (#7808556)
    A P100 makes a fine SOHO firewall..

    Actually, it doesn't. Back when a router cost $200, an old computer was a good way to run your net connection. Nowadays, you can get a router (with 802.11b AP and 4 port switch, no less) for as little as $30. The difference in electricity costs for running this 24/7 come to $5-10 per month. Not to mention the space savings, and the lack of noise or heat gain.

  • by llzackll (68018) on Thursday December 25, 2003 @11:37PM (#7810702)
    You always see on some TV show or newspaper article that throwing away PC's with the rest of the garbage is bad for the environment. Maybe so, but why do they always single out PC's ? Pretty much every electronic gadget in existence uses the same stuff found in PC's..

Never trust an operating system.

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