Making The Most Out of My Aging PC

Sunday, February 8, 2009

It's been a while since I last blogged. I haven't been getting enough time to do so. Mostly I update Twitter, but that's because I can easily access it through SMS. It's really trivial to just jot down an update, especially so when your limited to 140 characters.

Anyway, I was looking forward to an upgrade but I had to use the money for car repairs. So I just decided to extend the functionality of my current PC, until I save up what I need. I have an old XPS T500, just to give you an idea what I meant when I said "aging PC".

Since most of the things I do need updated hardware, I prudently bought what could improve its functionality, considering this is a 10-year old machine. Here's my very short list:
Let's get into what I needed and why the above hardware. The LAN card on this 'Kublai' machine died around 2 weeks ago. No amount of coaxing could resurrect it. Hence the need for a LAN card. I settled on the D-Link as I have been using their products for years and I have had a great experience overall.

The USB ports on this machine hail back to the early days. It only has two USB 1.0 ports. Painfully slow, I knew I needed a boost eventually, I just had to find good enough reason. Enter the great season of Christmas and I got a hand-me-down iPod Video (Thank you, Auntie!!!). So now, I felt the pangs of having a slow USB connection hampering my transfer speeds. I got the PCI USB card primarily to speed up syncing the iPod. Second benefit is I could connect more devices on the same hi-speed interface now. I solved the dilemma of having to remove my USB Bluetooth Dongle when I need to connect another device. It was kind of odd though that the PCI card had 4 ports at the back and 1 additional port located on the side of the card. I found a use for the internal port. I connected the Bluetooth dongle and it's now inside the case :-) I also bought a recently-made card reader so I could transfer files to my wife's phone (the mini-card uses an MS Pro Duo adapter). It's always connected to the machine now.

As for the PCI SATA controlller card, I needed to buy a hard drive for extra storage. IDE HDD's are now becoming rare. Most HDD's are now SATA. Add to that the fact that my machine will choke on anything bigger that 120 GB's. The PCI Card allows me to use a bigger SATA Drive. The catch is that it would be difficult to install XP on it since it I would need to slipstream the SATA/RAID drivers into the installer before XP detects it. That doesn't matter to me right now. I have a working 80GB IDE HDD where I have the OS installed. What matters is the ability to use SATA to allow me the flexibility to use bigger drives and use current hardware on my aging machine. Heck the card even has an external port for connecting SATA devices. This card is what we call "sulit" in Filipino. My next buy would probably be a SATA DVD Writer ;-) How's that for an old machine?

I did buy a few other things from CDR-King, mostly for the iPod. But that's another blog post :-)


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