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Recession Pushes IT To Find New Value In Old Gear 206

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the bad-eweek-no-interstitials dept.
buzzardsbay writes "Trying to put a bright spin on a gloomy subject, the folks at eWEEK unearth an emerging trend: There's a booming cottage industry of dealers in refurbished computer and networking gear serving folks on the hunt for 'slightly used' and 'new to you' equipment. The dealers selling the stuff tell eWEEK the equipment is practically new, most of it less than a year old, and that the prices for things like servers and routers are lower than they have been since the post dot-com / Sept. 11 days in 2001. Used gear isn't for everybody, obviously. The story points out that while many of these used IT dealers offer configuration services, they don't do installs, and most are not authorized resellers. They do, however, offer decent warranties, so if you can do some of the work yourself, you'll probably be OK."
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Recession Pushes IT To Find New Value In Old Gear

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  • just load a clean copy of XP SP3 and OOS - you are good to go.
  • Sweet (Score:2, Funny)

    by Jinky (565098)
    Anyone want my 386DX? $4000 refurb AS IS.
    • Re:Sweet (Score:5, Funny)

      by Dare nMc (468959) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @12:59PM (#26162373)

      Your going to need some more marketing spin on it.

      "I am being forced to sell my Computer to pay rent, paid $6000 new, and have added $2000 in upgrades, I will let go for just $4000 to the first lucky person to bring cash.
      Thanks to Vista, this model is very difficult to come by, it comes preloaded with over $1000 worth of software."

      Then just load it with linux, openoffice, and all the free games you can find"

      • The thought of having openoffice on a 386 just makes me sick. Installing Linux on a 386 is no walk in the park either. Way too much work for even $4000. As long as you're being dishonest, just superglue a dvd with ubuntu to the top of the case and be done with it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Jon_S (15368)
          I had a 386 running linux as my home's main file server for a year or two. Worked great. This was a Northgate Elegance that cost >$4000 when new [nytimes.com]. It seemed like a real classic, so I still have it down in the basement, ready to fire up into an old version of slackware any time.
          • I know its possible. Just not going to be as easy an install as modern hardware. There are some pieces of hardware that just never got any support in Linux. I have 486's that won't take Linux, even old slackware, due to their old obscure ide controllers and/or the Packard bell label on front.
      • Re:Sweet (Score:5, Funny)

        by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:31PM (#26163729)

        Your going to need some more marketing spin on it.

        "Vista Ready."

    • Re:Sweet (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JWSmythe (446288) * <jwsmythe AT jwsmythe DOT com> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:18PM (#26162677) Homepage Journal

          Actually, when I have the cash (that's going to plenty of other places) I buy Cisco stuff at auction. I generally go for the bigger equipment. I get some broken stuff and give it to a recycler. The good stuff I test, use for a little while to be sure it's good, then sell at a decent markup. I put a decent markup on it, so I always turn a profit, but it's still a whole lot cheaper for the customer than buying it new elsewhere.

          I'm not the biggest place doing it, but I can keep my prices low, because I'm working out of the house in my spare time.

          For someone with a decent size office (say 100 desks), a Catalyst 5500 for less than $1k customized for them will do them a lot better than a stack of consumer grade hubs and switches.

          I focus on Cisco gear, because I know it really well. I tried to touch the server market, but there is so little profit margin it usually ends up costing me money to sell it.

          The last "big" purchase I did, I bought 1 Cisco Catalyst 5000 (5 slot) 1 Cisco Catalyst 5505 (5 slot), 1 Cisco Catalyst 5500 (13 slot), and 3 servers. By the time I got rid of the 5500, 5505, and 1 server, I had already turned a profit. I sold the other 5000 and 1 other server, and that was just more profit.

          For me, my problem is that I lost my good high pay job about 2 years ago. It took some time to change my cost of living (get rid of the house, one car, etc), so right now I'm in recovery mode and can't buy anything else to move, even though it would always be at a profit.

          Some things are just fun. I bought an oscilloscope for something I was working on. It was cheap because the guy selling didn't even know if it worked. I tested it, bought a couple cheap probes, and then sat on it for a year. I finally decided I wouldn't need it again for a while, so I sold it for double what I had invested. It was a Tektronix, built in the 60's, but it still sold as soon as I made it available.

       

      • Re:Sweet (Score:5, Interesting)

        by blincoln (592401) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:44PM (#26163053) Homepage Journal

        Have you run into trouble with customers who find out that they can't get support from Cisco for their secondhand gear? Or worse, threats from Cisco for running unlicensed OS/firmware?
        Cisco makes great hardware in most cases, but I stay away from it like the plague myself because of those and other similar support/licensing policies.

      • Re:Sweet (Score:4, Funny)

        by FishAdmin (1288708) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @03:55PM (#26164999)

        I tested it, bought a couple cheap probes, and then sat on it for a year.

        Very, very bad visual, that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It was a Tektronix, built in the 60's, but it still sold as soon as I made it available.

        No doubt - a Tektronix scope made in the 60's will probably still be working after we're all dead. HP stuff used to be like that too.

    • What makes you think a 386DX is worth as much as a house?
      • Well (Score:3, Funny)

        by coryking (104614) *

        Since you asked,

        Your mom is so poor, a 386DX *is* worth more then her house.

        She is also so dumb, the 386DX has more transistors then she has brain cells.

        She is also so fat, you can throw a 386DX at her and it will float around her in orbit.

        (ps: booya)

  • by Gerafix (1028986) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @12:43PM (#26162083)
    This just in, when you're poorer you make due with what is cheap.
  • Old Gear (Score:2, Funny)

    by dcw (87098)

    Hey! I can fire-up my Amiga 1000, 2000 and 4000!
    Damm, I'm cutting edge again!

    • My SGI O2 has you beat. :)

    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      Fancy new stuff you got there.

      Me, I have a Commodore 64!

    • by Temkin (112574)

      Hah! Desk bound heathens! I still have a working Tandy model 100 laptop. :-)

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Have you seen the prices those things fetch on eBay? It's ridiculous. You could easily spend more on an old Amiga than a brand new PC.

      Personally, I'm having a lot of fun with my Apple IIGS right now, but I always keep an eye on Craigslist for someone with an Amiga who doesn't know what it's worth.

  • by prgrmr (568806) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @12:45PM (#26162125) Journal
    Does anyone have URLs to resellers with whom you've done business? Being able to compare prices to something other than ebay without having to make a couple dozen phone calls would be extremely helpful.
    • by dnormant (806535) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:00PM (#26162377)

      I am not affiliated with them in any way but I use anysystem.com. The have Sun, IBM, HP and Cisco hardware (systems and parts). They also offer a 1 year warranty on what they sell.

      • by tsstahl (812393) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:45PM (#26163921)
        I've been an Anysystem customer both personally and professionally.

        I was happy with my experiences. They even gave me a yellow rubber ducky with one of my orders.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Bishop10101 (1434799)
          I did a little research on Anysystem just now, and they seem like a pretty shady dealer. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-125495220.html [highbeam.com] Apparently the owner of Anysystem, John R. Butler, stiffed his vendors (like QSGI ), moved money into other assets and then went back into business right after his bankruptcy. I'm personally staying away from them!
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by tsstahl (812393)
            Yea, but they gave me a ducky!!

            ----

            Seriously, that is sad to hear. I will think twice if the occasion to use them again presents itself.
      • by prgrmr (568806)
        Thanks for the info! I just bought a desktop system from them: half a gig of RAM, 60GB HDD, and a DVD player for $99. I can put Fedora on that and add the 80GB hard drive in my current home system back to Windows now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pla (258480)
      Being able to compare prices to something other than ebay without having to make a couple dozen phone calls would be extremely helpful.

      Why did this get modded "Troll"?

      Granted, we can normally consider eBay more-or-less the definitive price guide for used stuff, but the parent post has a good point - Online 2nd-hand storefronts tend to have an abysmal record when it comes to keeping prices and product availability up to date.

      Offhand, I know of only two reasons for doing that - Either they can't keep t
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by petermgreen (876956)

        Granted, we can normally consider eBay more-or-less the definitive price guide for used stuff,
        Stuff they turn over significant quanities of probablly though sometimes even then thier prices can be higher than elsewhere. Lower volume stuff though fluctuates hugely on auction sites like ebay.

        BTW if you are searching ebay to get an idea of prices always do a completed items search. A large proportion of bidders snipe so the value of auctions that haven't ended yet is pretty uninteresting.

    • by plopez (54068)

      I know you can search pricewatch and pricegrabber for refurbished equipment with ratings etc.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by brentc3114 (1047790)
      This is a shameless plug for a vendor that has treated me very well. I would contact Great Lakes computers, my representative is named Dani Mora and she does give very competitive pricing. I have purchased almost new servers, SAN parts, network gear, SANS-almost anything that you can think of. http://www.glcomp.com/ [glcomp.com] Brent Campbell, Olympia WA
    • by David_Hart (1184661) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:21PM (#26162723)

      For network gear I would recommend cxtec.com. My former company did business with them to save money. Failures were few and far between. When a piece of equipment did fail, it was replaced quickly.

      The one thing to remember when buying refurbs for enterprise use is to always go n+1 (i.e. have at least one spare on the shelf).

      David

      • we use them because we have slightly older equipment and don't want to be on the upgrade treadmill simply to add/replace one or two switches and don't want to lose the benefit of using the same model across the network. That's the real benefit of the refurb places, if you're already 3-4 years in and the manufacturer wants to obsolete equipment/software to make you buy new, it's a great place to look.

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @12:47PM (#26162151) Journal

    the thought that 2009 will be the year of Linux on the desktop. Seriously, I'm running Ubuntu 8.10 on a 700MHz laptop with 256MB RAM and a 20GB hard drive. It works fine given I know that I can't open up 40 apps at once, and it will be a bit slower than my desktop, but it's great for where I use it.

    Speaking of desktops, I have several that are nearly 8 years old and running Ubuntu quite well. In fact the 'end users' in my house don't know the difference between the old systems and the new ones.

    I'm thinking that the push for re-utilizing older hardware will have Linux on the Desktop very shortly. It's about time.

    • Same here. My old laptop with 256 MB takes a few second more to load heavy applications (i.e. OpenOffice) but you don't feel any difference with the modern hardware while using it.

      It's not about when Linux will be ready for the desktop. It already is, and has been for at least as long as Ubuntu exists.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zappepcs (820751)

        Well, I like Ubuntu quite a bit, and it presents a good UI to the 'end users' in my house, but I am also using Ubuntu Server edition, CentOS 5.x, RHEL 5x, OpenSolaris, DSL, Puppy, and every now and then attempt OpenBSD/NetBSD on some older MVME hardware I have out in the garage. -- yes, this means I am a junk computer hardware collector :) I like Linux

        Just for teh h4x0r cred, I'm trying to stick a small mobo in an old external tape drive unit, cd drive where the tape used to be, laptop hd RAID-1 behind it,

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by berend botje (1401731)
          Sounds great! You are spot on that Linux and all the other great free software makes it possible to tinker again.

          I'm started in the 8-bit era and extending the hard- and software was a normal thing. After the demise of all the great platforms (Amiga, Atari) it was hard to "play" with your computer. Windows isn't open enough, and the hardware was boring also.

          Now, once again, it is easy to use a computer for anything you can imagine.

          I'm still looking for a cheap, low-power single-board computer for s
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by zappepcs (820751)

            You might like to see what I've been keeping an eye on then:

            This site has kind of a turn-key feel to it for my hobby needs:
            http://damnsmalllinux.org/store/motherboards/EPIA_5000 [damnsmalllinux.org]

            Here is some other mini board news etc.
            http://www.mini-itx.com/ [mini-itx.com]

            and of course, newegg is your friend:
            http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813121342 [newegg.com]

            I'm experimenting with the various junk cases I've got in order to do something that is retro, not steampunk, and qualifies as a useful hack. Seeing an old VCR in the enter

            • I'll check out those links on the weekend, a quick peek showed a lot of interesting boards!

              I've been thinking about building a completely hidden media center (the wife has a problem with computers in the 'nice' room). Hiding it in the television furniture can be done, provided I can keep it under 3 inches in height.

              It's a fun project to keep me busy over the holidays... :-)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bcrowell (177657)

      and to think, some people made fun of the thought that 2009 will be the year of Linux on the desktop. [...] I have several [desktop systems] that are nearly 8 years old and running Ubuntu quite well.

      Yep. I have a somewhat different set of circumstances that have led me to the same conclusion. I teach physics at a community college. There are 7 school-provided Windows boxes in the room where I teach lab classes of 10-25 students, so I decided that if I didn't want one member of each lab group making the grap

    • Ditto. I have Xubuntu on a 800 MHz notebook and UbuntuLite on a Celeron 350 MHz Notebook with 192MB RAM. The latter is surprisingly zippy, and while I use it mostly for CLI purposes (mobile webserver, network troubleshooting) it's nice having a functional desktop when needed.

      Both notebooks were give-aways from my brother-in-law. When his current notebook becomes too slow under Windows, and the techs tell him he needs to upgrade, he buys a new one, keeps the old one as a backup, and gives me his previous

      • by zappepcs (820751)

        Oddly, that is exactly how I came to have the two IBM laptops that I have :) and several desktops. This source of second hand hardware is never ending thanks to Microsoft :) I can truly say this is the feature of Microsoft Windows that I most appreciate ROFLMAO

        That 700MHz laptop has become the console for my music entertainment center, and functions perfectly well for that. I'm listening to Internet radio on it as I type this now. It's awesome!

        What's even better is these laptops are upgradeable and parts ar

  • by 6Yankee (597075) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @12:49PM (#26162187)

    How to make money when times are hard:

    1. Buy oodles of cheap hardware
    2. Search it for confidential info
    3. Blackmail
    4. Profit!

    • I think steps two and three are really the ???. Lets try it for underwear gnomes first.

      1) steal Underpants
      2) Search for personal info
      3) Blackmail
      4) Profit

      Ok that seems to work.
      How about web 2.0?

      1) Use Ajax + Social networking
      2) Get Personal Info
      3) BlackMail
      4) Profit

      It seems to work for most. Good Job.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @12:51PM (#26162231)

    For the most part Used hardware is a good deal. Getting new stuff is often more emotional then rational. Oh you need to expand your 100Mbit network. You don't need the giga bit network so why not pay say 50% less for network gear that is a good fit for your infrastructure. A lot of this equipment are real work horses and will run fine for decades. Even PC's a 2 year old High End PC is now a mid range PC today. and if you can get a used MidRange PC at 25% off new then why not.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @12:56PM (#26162305) Homepage

      Not only is getting new stuff more emotional than rational, but the same goes for the OS upgrades.

      I have ran my business on a antiquated dual P-III dell server with a raid 5 in it running server 2000 for a while now. it does the job GREAT, it's a file server and domain server for only 20 people. and it will run just fine for another 5 years.

      I would upgrade it to Linux and Samba but the adaptec raid card has no stable drivers for Linux. so I either downgrade to software raid or stick with what is working.

      • by eln (21727)

        I have ran my business on a antiquated dual P-III dell server with a raid 5 in it running server 2000 for a while now. it does the job GREAT, it's a file server and domain server for only 20 people. and it will run just fine for another 5 years.

        The amazing part is it can do all that while sending out thousands of pieces of spam every day!

        Seriously though, while it's true that most people don't need to upgrade as often as they do, software does eventually get EOLed by the vendor and needs to be replaced if y

        • by jimicus (737525)

          software does eventually get EOLed by the vendor and needs to be replaced if you want any support for it.

          The number of systems still running software that was EOL'd some time ago should give you some clue as to how important vendor support is for many people.

        • by Dynedain (141758)

          That's the problem we're in. We have several P3 Xeons in the 300-500 MHz range that run absolutely great for our needs as AD controllers. But lack of support and difficulty with integrating newer XP 64bit, OSX (and in the future, Vista) workstations means that we'll have to replace the machine relatively soon even though they are sufficient for their taks.

          EOL on software forces hardware obsolescence.

        • by MBGMorden (803437)

          Depending on the network it's running on and what it's doing, security updates drop in importance. Don't get me wrong you still want them when available, but realistically a server with a good software firewall, connected to the LAN with no Internet-accessible IP (ie, NAT'd), and that is not used to browse the web, is generally pretty safe regardless of age.

          With that in mind, barring hardware failures they might just get 5 years out of it. Hell we're running some old COBOL programs that have been in use s

          • ealistically a server with a good software firewall, connected to the LAN with no Internet-accessible IP (ie, NAT'd), and that is not used to browse the web, is generally pretty safe regardless of age.

            Most of the security problems I've dealt with have been caused by people bringing outside machines inside the firewall.

            e.g. Remote unauthenticated buffer overflows against Windows file sharing or IIS.

            If you firewall everything, you're probably quite safe. :)

      • by blincoln (592401)

        it will run just fine for another 5 years.

        Except that much sooner, MS is dropping support for Windows 2000, so you'll potentially be vulnerable to exploits.

      • by 1s44c (552956)

        I would upgrade it to Linux and Samba but the adaptec raid card has no stable drivers for Linux. so I either downgrade to software raid or stick with what is working.

        Software RAID isn't a bad thing. If your hardware RAID card blows up tomorrow can you replace it?

    • Probably partially depends on where the gear came from. You wouldn't want used gear from my work, for example. I work for a university and we do sell all our used systems at auction. However people buy them for scrap for the most part. Why? Well we keep them until they are run in to the ground. The highest end hardware we are getting rid of currently are Pentium 3 systems. Same deal with our network. We did recently do a network upgrade, took the core of the network to gigabit. The switches that were there

      • I just picked up 10 10/100 Mbps dual-speed 24port 3com hubs for $10 off ebay, as well as a 12 port 3com 100mbps hub for another $5. Shipping cost another $10, and I used them to network my friends computers shop by putting one on each desk. Granted, switches would have been nicer, but I would rather have a quality hub than a questionable (read "consumer grade") switch. In any case, a consumer grade switch would have cost me several times as much, and likely not performed as well.

        In any case, this networ

        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:58PM (#26163249)

          No, switches would perform much better. Sorry, but hubs suck. Consumer grade switches of today blow away hubs. The big problems hubs have is contention. Their total bandwidth is shared among all ports and everything is in one collision domain. So as the number of users goes up, more and more collisions happen and total throughput goes DOWN in fact. This is one reason token ring used to be popular. Despite much higher latency, it scaled better. You could have 100 computers and not have contention problems. Also things slow down if you have something like a server that needs to be talking both direction continuously. Hubs are half duplex so send and receive are mutually exclusive. Thus you get even more collisions and reduced performance if something is trying to do a large amount of sending and receiving at the same time.

          Switches don't have that problem, of course. They break up the collision domain. You can get full bandwidth to every port in both directions, provided the backplane can handle it (and they can these days). You don't run in to scaling issues until you are actually saturating a link, and bandwidth doesn't go down as numbers go up.

          Now I'm not saying that hubs can't work, that they can't get traffic from point a to point b but don't confuse yourself in to thinking that the hubs will perform better than a switch. They won't.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by powerlord (28156)

          A switch would be much better than a hub. Go look up CSMACD.

          "Old" 10MB ethernet could have packet collide and you would hit a quick drop off in bandwidth once you had more than a certain percentage of utilization happening.
          Switches created isolated segments for each connection, limiting the collision domain so you could talk two different destinations could talk without interfering with each other.

          100MB connections and up had send and receive on different lines so it was impossible to really collide.

          One go

      • by oldspewey (1303305) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:40PM (#26163003)

        depends on where the gear came from

        I've learned from experience that you don't want used computer gear that's been exposed to heavy cigarette smoke for several years.

    • by JWSmythe (446288) * <jwsmythe AT jwsmythe DOT com> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:25PM (#26162771) Homepage Journal

          You're exactly right about the networking gear.

          One place I worked for, they had consumer grade "switches" in 4 suites, with a mismatch of technology connecting the suites (all in the same complex). I spent $300 on 6 Cisco Catalyst 2924's with 4 port 100baseFX fiber cards. I spent another $150 on enough fiber to interconnect them all.

          I did the upgrades very carefully so as to not break anything during working hours. One suite per day to change them from their cheap switch to the 2924. I spent 3 days on ladders running fiber between the suites. On the last night, I switched their cross connects from the old ways to the fiber. That next morning, people were amazed how fast everything was working.

          The VoIP guy was laughing the whole time. I put an office of about 30 desks on "enterprise" equipment. Well, it's old, but when it was new, sure it was "enterprise" equipment. For $450, I couldn't have done anything better. :)

    • If you can afford it along with the unnecessary extended support your boss would probably consider you crazy to suggest doing otherwise (and certainly hold you accountable if/when things went wrong). Of course when we're looking at survival we end up somewhere between desperation, fantasy and reality and make decisions accordingly.

      And in some ways it's basic risk management: Would you rather roll out a new production system on shiny gear backed by expensive warranties and on-site support or purchase the b
  • by logicassasin (318009) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @12:59PM (#26162361)

    ...Which is why I still have much of my old stuff in use today.

    Granted, newer OS'es have gotten much more resource intensive (including Linux), but by and large a lot can still be done on old hardware.

    P2's and P3's can still be used as web servers, desktops, and thin clients. Old-school Pentium/Pentium MMX machines are great as simple x terminals. Take an old Compaq Proliant quad Xeon 450 server, throw a copy of linux on it and run a bunch of "classic" Pentium machines as xterminals and there's your new call center's environment for only a few thousand dollars. There's a number of scenarios where investing tens of thousands of dollars in shiny new hardware doesn't make a lot of sense. Does the accounting dept really need PC's with 4GB of ram and two dual core procs? Can't they do their work on Athlons or P4's loaded with a decent amount of RAM? Does the secretary pool really need PC's with enough power to do nuclear simulations on? Didn't our corporate domain controllers used run P3 Xeons?

    I still have a Thinkpad 570/333MHz/192MB that sees daily use with Win2000 installed. I have an IBM 300GL p2-333MHz machine that I use as the desktop companion to the laptop, again I get real work done on these machines along with the P3-550 and my primary Athlon XP 2500 machine.

    Old hardware didn't stop working, we just stopped using it.

    • by GaryOlson (737642)

      Does the accounting dept really need PC's with 4GB of ram and two dual core procs? Can't they do their work on Athlons or P4's loaded with a decent amount of RAM?

      No and no. But the Security Dept can force load enough software to make any but the latest dual-core processor/SATA drive PC worthless to use. Ever seen a Windows box with a 1.8Ghz P4 and 512MB of RAM try to load McAfee Enterprise on boot? Especially after about 18 months of all Windows updates have been forced onto the system?

      I expect we will a

      • by cparker15 (779546)

        Let's see... BlackICE, Disknet, Symantec Enterprise, Credant Mobile Guardian Shield, Spysweeper, wmiprvse (for monitoring users' installed applications, as everyone is set up as Administrator (I kid you not)). Top all that off with Lotus Notes and then whatever else you need to do actual work, and a ThinkPad T43 is practically useless.

        My T43's lease recently expired and I was upgraded to a ThinkPad T400. The T400 is actually usable with all this crapware! I really think I would have thrown the T43 out the w

    • Just make sure to clean those intake filters and clean the dust out of that old gear. It is pretty scary how much builds up in an air cooled box.

      I also like to take a little copper polish to the motherboard every now and then but that is just me.

    • by nxtw (866177) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @11:30PM (#26169299)

      Sometimes, we stop using old hardware for a reason. With modern virtualization software, using old PCs for servers doesn't make a whole lot of sense. One could use ten P3 systems @ 700 W avg. use total or two Core 2 systems running virtualization software at 300 W. avg. The Core 2 systems would be faster, more reliable, easier to manage, more capable... and possibly cheaper.

  • by plopez (54068) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:09PM (#26162539) Journal

    If this keeps some gear out of the landfills it's a good thing. The computer and electronics industry are filthy industries. We don't need more heavy metals leaching out of the landfills. Or getting dumped in the 3rd world.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by frehe (6916)

      The computer and electronics industry are filthy industries.

      Yes, for example, I've heard that it's more and more common for automatic garbage collectors, in languages with that functionality, to take all the dirty memory that is no longer used, and smuggle it to third world countries, where the data ends up in large heaps in the countryside, polluting the precious bodily fluids of the local people.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:28PM (#26162823) Homepage

    I don't see it. While I see the value in old gear personally, I do not see the value in old gear professionally. Part of what IT does is manage disasters. If you are using old gear, you'd better have some OTHER old gear standing by in case the old-gear-in-use fails. With new gear, part of the value is warranty and service. I have somewhere to turn in case of problem. All of my servers are under next-business-day service warranty. All of my workstations and laptops are too. To me, that is where I see value.

    • by blincoln (592401) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:06PM (#26163369) Homepage Journal

      With new gear, part of the value is warranty and service. I have somewhere to turn in case of problem.

      Yeah, exactly. I hate getting rid of working gear, but the cost of maintaining our own supply of replacement parts is huge.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by eth1 (94901)

      On the other hand, brand new equipment is much more likely to fail than middle-aged equipment at the bottom of the bathtub curve.

    • by blhack (921171)

      Part of what IT does is manage disasters. If you are using old gear, you'd better have some OTHER old gear standing by in case the old-gear-in-use fails.

      If you're not ALSO doing this with your new gear, then you're doing something seriously wrong.

    • Seriously... What tech can't replace a hard drive or RAM???

      Say you have a bunch of P3-1GHz machines you wish to deploy for some lowly department. Outfit every machine with Kingston SDRAM and keep a few sticks in reserve. Why? in the event of failure, you can swap it out in the same day. At the same time, Kingston also has a LIFETIME warranty on their RAM. I've received two sticks not long ago, a PC133 stick I bought many years ago failed over the summer and a PC2700 1GB stick of DDR that died in my old Athl

  • Seriously. So are half the laptops on Tigerdirect.

  • by bugs2squash (1132591) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:36PM (#26162941)
    By and large board level execs would prefer to spend $5000 on equipment than $2000 on support staff.

    Perhaps there is a point to this, after all - it may be easier to place an upper bound on equipment costs whereas support costs for an older set of equipment could be harder to determine.

    Also, you enjoy the new equipment and can look forward to it being longer before it needs replacing.

    Finally - who stands by you for sox, HIPAA, PCI compliance if the vendors have stopped supporting equipment with bug fixes etc.

    As sensible as it seems, old equipment just does not work for many organizations and it has nothing to do with the basic health of the equipment.
    • By and large board level execs would prefer to spend $5000 on equipment than $2000 on support staff.

      Perhaps there is a point to this, after all - it may be easier to place an upper bound on equipment costs whereas support costs for an older set of equipment could be harder to determine.

      There is more to it than that. The old equipment is generally usable for several years, so the $5000 capital outlay gets amortized over several years. So while you spend $5000 to buy the equipment, it is not a $5000 expense on the corporate balance sheet (because the total value of the assets of the company has stayed the same). You incur a small expense monthly (as depreciation) to pay for the equipment. And at the end of the equipment's lifetime, you may be able to recover some of the cost by resellin

  • by PrimeWaveZ (513534) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:37PM (#26162957)

    Like many of the posters here, I've kept around good hardware that works because it works and it's already paid for (please ignore my credit card balances for now...)

    My primary archiving box and storage server is a Mirror Drive Door Power Mac G4 tower, which is awesome because it holds 2 DVD drives and 4 hard disks, which is better than most other Apple towers (with the exception of the Mac Pros.) It serves up what I need with OS X 10.5 and whenever I end up needing more storage, I'll throw a SATA card in there to use newer, faster, larger drives.

    Sure it's unsupported hardware, but it's solid, it's relatively compact (compared with G5 towers and Mac Pros) and doesn't gobble that much power (survives w/ a ~ 300W power supply.) It gets the job done, and gets no complaints from me or the wife about its performance. Yay for old hardware that works!

  • Craigslist (Score:2, Interesting)

    by swabeui (1291044)
    It's a lifesaver when money gets tight. I just had a router go for my T1 last week and don't really have the cash to pick up a new one. $75 on Craigslist and I'm running again with a Cisco 2600 /w WIC.
  • Buy refurb P4 or Athlon64 HP desktop machines from Tiger Direct for $140 bucks. That's the price of the XP Pro license it comes with. Throw in another gig of RAM, load OO and voila, you have a machine that will satisfy 80% of my corporate users for practically nothing. And it is domain-ready.
  • Not my observation (Score:5, Informative)

    by securitytech (1267760) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:45PM (#26163067)

    For the past decade, I've been a buyer of lightly used servers like IBM 44P, Dell PowerEdge, etc purchasing these mainly as redundant hardware for existing servers.

    In the last year, I have solicited quotes for used equivalents and the price gap has narrowed to the point where new is as cheap as used.

    My last purchase of PowerEdge 2900's was actually cheaper through Dell (brand new, 3 yr warranty, etc) than a stripped down 2900 from refurbished vendors.

    It seems it's followed car parts in that in the 70's and 80's you could save a lot buying from a salvage yard, but now days you save little or none vs buying from new car part dealers.

    I get quotes from multiple vendors so it's not just one company inflating prices.

    Just wanted to add that, in my experience, the trend is the opposite of what the article is suggesting.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ndrw (205863)

      So what you're saying is that as demand for used systems has increased, the supply has been reduced and the price of the newly scarce commodity has gone up? IANAE, but that seems pretty normal.

  • I'd love to find a place to get LCD panels with dead pixels on the cheap - perfect for a server-in-the-closet...
    • Re:dead pixels? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vux984 (928602) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:30PM (#26163711)

      I'd love to find a place to get LCD panels with dead pixels on the cheap - perfect for a server-in-the-closet...

      ebay / craigslist / retail "openbox" deals

      • by PitaBred (632671)

        buy.com sells refurb monitors very cheaply sometimes. I think I saw a 24" 1900x1600 or something like that for just over $200 today. Smaller ones are even less expensive.

  • recycling fun... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 800DeadCCs (996359) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:49PM (#26163123)

    My place has been testing older servers we've had sitting around for power usage, computation power, throughput...
    What fits the curves stays, what doesn't gets nuke-wiped and sold off.
    Seriously... MRI machines are fun.
    Clears up storage and re-purposes still viable servers, usually with vmware.

    So now we have Franken-rack, Bride of Franken-rack (thin cabinet, no side space), and Son of Franken-rack (half-height cabinet).

  • by curtix7 (1429475)
    can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these old machines?
  • When the economy is in the shitter, it's called a "bright spin on a gloomy subject". When the economy is roaring, my booming cottage industry is called "felony destruction of property".

    Maybe the difference has something to do with getting the cottage owner's permission before making them go boom... I dunno, wasn't really paying attention to the judge.

  • 3 year usage life for a desktop? Hardly. You should be able to hit eight easy.

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