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Using a computer over 10 years old as a daily driver


These things really do work.

While true new desktop PCs are under $200, new laptops are under $300 and tablets easily bust under $100, there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of old PCs and laptops out there for under $50...

...and I just bought another one because the one I thought I saved had its CPU fan once again decide to fail despite my repair efforts. Given that particular model, the Dell Latitude E6430s, has its fan in a ridiculously hard-to-get spot, I said screw it (the effort to get in there again just isn't worth it), time to get another Dell. This time I bought a E6430, which I know has a fan that is easy to get to and replace if necessary.

This is actually my second E6430. I have another, my daily driver, running Kubuntu and "maxed out" with 16GB of RAM. The main drive is a Samsung 870 SSD of the 500GB flavor.

What's my reason for getting a second E6430? It's going to be the replacement Windows 11 computer since the E6430s doesn't have long for this world with its almost-dead fan. Like the laptop it's replacing, it does meet all the minimum requirements (it has TPM and Secure Boot) so it's an easy installation.

Why do I use old laptops?

Price. That E6430 I just bought? 30 bucks shipped.

I've always hated spending money on computers ever since my 20s. I'm middle aged now and I still feel the same way. Given the price of tech always dives and everything new is obsolete before you even buy it, I made the decision many moons ago to just go with "good enough". Buy what works and get it for as cheap as you possibly can.

How long did the E6430s last for before the fan finally began to give up the ghost? Seven years. I definitely got my money's worth. And again, the only reason I didn't replace the fan is because it's too much of a hassle to get to it. Spending $30 for a complete replacement computer that will get the job done is a pretty darned good deal.

I should note that yes, there are renewed Dell Latitude business class computers for under $300 that are far newer (and therefore have faster CPUs) than the E6430 I just bought. Heck, I've seen some for under $200. I'm a dirt cheap computer user so I didn't do that, but for those willing to get one for 3 figures, yeah, good machine.

Lastly, where did I buy my E6430 from? Goodwill! And it's not the first time I've acquired computer stuff from there. If you don't have a Goodwill near you, eBay still has tons of old Latitudes too.

Published 2023 Aug 10

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