Best idea - let your imaginations run wild

By taffia77 · 11 replies
Jan 25, 2006
  1. Okay, I've got a P4 3Ghz 512Mb RAM with a 256Mb Nvidia graphic card and a total of 160gb hard drive with a 2Mb broadband connection running Windows XP.

    I've also got the bare bones of an old P3 500Mhz which I could probably cobble together a spec of 6Gb Hard drive, 128Mb Ram with a 64Mb Graphics card. It's got an internal 56k modem.

    So the question is what, if anything, can I do with the old P3 once I've rebuilt it that will give me some kind of benefit on my P4?

    This is more a project than an actual necessity, I just want to see what's possible.

    My main use for the P4 is image and video editing and using it as a kind of media centre.

    Limitations are a budget of £50 on any necessary cables or parts (I don't own an ethernet cable - so take that out of the price) and space in my flat. While I've got a spare monitor, it would not really be practical to set up an entire workstation unless the idea had mindblowing benefits.
  2. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    50$.. not much of a actuall choice parts.. although a start would be to get yourself an inexpensive network card (or see if there is an onboard NIC for the mobo hidden somewhere) and get a network started.. then you can have the p3 as a networked storage file server, and later on when budget allows you can upgrade the hdd to something of worth, and/or (if you can get winxp running) as a remote desktop/backup computer in case something happens to your main rig..
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    You can do anything with a P3 given you are not in extreme hurry.. Upgrade the RAM - 512MB would be ideal - and that thing will do absolutely anything.

    Serve anything.. Files, printers, web, ftp, media, anything..
    Do anything.. Play games (well, not the latest), test software/operating systems, browse the web, do office stuff, host long downloads, rip CDs, encode DVDs, anything..
  4. taffia77

    taffia77 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 37

    This is true. I had XP running on it for six months last going off before I built the P4 and while it took ages to do anything, the little bugger did it in the end.

    As far as serving goes, would I be advised to set it up with the printer connected and my broadband connection - and network my P4 into it? Would I gain any benefit?

    As for getting it to do the donkey work ie encroding and hosting downloads etc, could I, and if so how do I, do it without setting up the other monitor. So could I get it to do all that but use my current monitor which is connected to the P4 to "switch" to the P3's desktop? I've not got the option to wire up the two PCs to the same monitor though that said my monitor has USB connectivity - is there a USB cable I could buy that would connect my P3 to the monitor?

    Honestly I'm not as stupid as those questions might sound, but like I say this is a "for fun" project and I'm a quick learner!
  5. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    even my friend got a p2 running as his printer server.. altho the 500mhz would limit his options a bit for some things

    well if you can get xp running just set it to allow remote desktop from your p4 (to guide it and stuff) and it should be all good.. otherwise you can get a KVM (Keyboard Video Mouse) switch (some comes with extra usb slots as well) for two computers and have it that way..

    well dont know the extent of the benifit but i'd say if you'd put up a router to share your connection with both you can (if you go for a KVM) have the p4 to do your grunt work with high cpu priority for videos (gets things moving along faster) then switch to your p3 and play some 'classic' games or surf the net or something in the meanwhile.. just a thought
  6. mastronaut

    mastronaut TS Enthusiast Posts: 168

    Let me understand, are you trying to combine the towers so that you'd get the equivalent of a P7? I'm kinda getting that impression. If so I think that would be a cool experiment if you could pull it off. I'm not sure it can be done without using a jumper between the two and running off the same power supply. Sorry if I'm way off here. I'd try that with two P3s so as not to ruin my main machine. Good luck anyway. :D
  7. taffia77

    taffia77 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 37

    Sorry mate, but you are way off! Basically I'm looking to utilise what is currently a piece of junk sat in a cupboard. I'm more than happy with the performance of my P4 but if I can make the P3 and the spare bits I have do something useful, without costing more than fifty pounds, then it'll keep me occupied on these cold winter nights.

    The thing is, when it comes to networking computers, I could probably tell you more about rocket science - that's where you guys come in!

    I'm under no illusions, I know it won't increase the speed of my main baby, what I'm looking to do is get the P4 to "delegate" tasks to the P3, preferably without me having to connect the P3 to a separate monitor.
  8. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    ok.. i assume you already got the p3 up and running? i'd recommend winxp home but if you cant run it good enough try get a copy of winMe or 98... do you know what the make/model of the mobo on the p3?

    ideas: (don't know how much they are in europe but these prices are aussie)
    1.(if you dont have onboard network port) 10/100mbps Network card =$5-$20
    2.Ethernet cable Crossover (pc<->pc)
    or 2x Cat5 cable (pc<->hub/router<->pc) from $5 depending on length
    2b: (if choosing cat5) hub $20 or router (share the broadband connection) starts from $50 <-- maybe you can do this a bit later on....
    3: KVM Switch (if you dont have xp running on both machines or prefer hardware switching ->share the same keyboard, mouse, monitor) $40

    so under $50 most likely have network card + crossover and use windows xp remote desktop function to switch between computers..

    once networked you can share the printer/files/internet... like nodsu says.. endless.. or set it up for guests and even switch to it while your p4 is busy encoding or processing somehting and surf the net or play games etc.. :D

    and dont throw your old monitor away.. if you got another connection for a monitor on your p4 clear some table space and plug it in.. its realy usefull especially using photoshop and other stuff so you have your tools etc on one screen and a full sized image the other..

    word of advice, if you're gonna buy computer parts dont go for big name retailers first go.. try google or your local directory/newspaper classifieds and see if there are computer parts or retailers and try for the cheapest prices, but taking into account that a quality of a product as well..
    so in short: research before buying!
    happy modding! :grinthumb
  9. taffia77

    taffia77 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 37

    I'm thinking a network is the way to go then? Just to get this absolutely straight, I know I can get XP running on the P3, so I'm gathering if I put a network card in it, I can boot it up, then basically it will be able to use all of my periperhals (keyboard, monitor, mouse, printer and modem?) without me having to connect any other cables to it except obviously the networking cable?
    If I'm right on that assumption, it's what I'm going to do.
    Cheers for all the replies by the way
  10. s3xynanigoat

    s3xynanigoat TS Rookie Posts: 94

    Add a network card and use it as network storage.
    Add a network card, get a copy of Team Speak and use it as a TS server.
  11. sjps220

    sjps220 TS Rookie Posts: 106

    I think I'd be tempted to just make a computer dedicated to media. I'd get a decent sized hard drive and put all my music on it and hook it up in the room where my stereo is. I have my computer hooked up to speakers in my room I just always wanted to be able to sit at the computer, make a playlist and then walk around the house and do stuff and listen to music all over the house. That may blow the budget depending on what you already have in terms of a stereo system but I think that's what I'd do. I don't know a lot about media centre (again, may be too expensive) but I think it may be designed for this type of setup.

    Very true. I'm always telling my friends this because when people need a part, the first place they tend to go is the big stores. I am amazed at some of the prices of the components I see at the large stores around here (futureshop and bestbuy) versus my little computer shop that I go to.

    For example, lets look at the graphics card I have. Although both stores are right in town, most people would go to futureshop first and see THIS for $320 (canadian)

    Whereas if you bought it HERE it would be $210 before a $40 rebate that isn't mentioned at the big store.

    That is a huge difference.
  12. taffia77

    taffia77 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 37

    As it goes, my P4 is set up for that already, and putting speakers in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen will be happening in the near future. :slurp:

    I always get my stuff from . Not sure what it's like for you guys in America, but prices are really cheap for over here.
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