I am good for the environment.

OK. I’m not GREAT for the environment, or even really that good, because all I really did was take something incredibly wasteful and make it slightly less so.

A few years ago, I designated one PC as the “Media” PC, with the fairly ambitious goal of ripping all of our CDs to its hard drive.

This took a while to accomplish, actually, but eventually I got through them.

With the primary chore done, it became the PC that we could offload tasks to so they wouldn’t bog down our main computers.

It got a video capture board so I could convert Laserdiscs and VHS to digital formats, and a Sound Blaster Audigy with the optical IO daughterboard so I could import minidiscs.

Then I needed a bit more RAM to handle the huge WAV files that importing minidiscs was making…

Somewhere in there it got upgraded from a P3/450 to an Athlon 1100 and I installed a DVD burner while not removing the CDRW drive.

And then, it started getting left on all night as a download PC.

And all those components were sitting in this PC burning electricity.

But, I really didn’t have any way to do any thing about it.

Then, earlier this year, I upgraded my main PC.

The old PC kind of sat idle for a while as I didn’t want to migrate everything over. Also, it runs a 2.8GHz Pentium 4. This is not a processor you want to be leaving on all night.

It was a bit of a frustrating situation, since I hate seeing hardware that doesn’t have a purpose.

Today I decided to see what I could do about the situation. This involved getting out my Lucky Screwdriver and going elbows-deep in PC entrails.

The end result: The “Media” PC lost its CDRW drive and its DVDRW drive. I’ve got an external DVDRW drive hooked up to it – when I need to burn large files, I can turn that on.

I pulled the video capture board and the Audigy, and pulled out a stick of RAM so it’s only sucking down electricity to power 512MB. Then I hunted down enough casebacks to seal up the gaping holes so airflow wouldn’t be impacted too badly.

It’s left with just enough hardware to be a download box.

The displaced hardware has a new home in the form of the other PC – so I can still do VHS-to-MPEG conversions and such, but it won’t be left on longer than a couple of hours at a time.
Everything has a purpose, and it’s been customized to better suit that purpose. On a scale of geek happiness, that’s at least an 8.

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