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What do you do with old developer/regular user workstations?

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5 Answers 5

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We do much as David describes - Machines migrate through the various layers of users. The final stage is back at IT, where I do one of the following:

  • Use them for various light duty jobs, generally running Linux so the hardware can cope (e.g. our network fax system runs on an old 400MHz P2).
  • Send them out to various charities or others who can make use of them.
  • Strip what few parts are worth the bother and send the remains to a recycler of electronic goods. Needles to say, the drives are first wiped.
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We buy new developer workstations, give their old ones to sysadmins and give the old sysadmin computers to sales and customer support departments. Their old workstations are given to QA to use for testing weird combinations or given to a local recycling firm.

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This sounds like a lot of cascading effort. –  Kyle Hodgson Jul 1 '09 at 13:33

If you can afford not to donate them for the write off, then give them to employees. Invest in your work force. Every little bit of "thank you" makes harder working, more loyal employees.

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Same here, older dev workstations go down to the other end of the office for generic office duty. Developers tend to be highly cognizant of the quality of their hardware :)

Before I discovered cheap Dell servers on eBay, we would use some old PC boxes to test out new server functions, especially Linux-based ones. The also some in handy for monitoring stations, with a decent multi-port video card in them.

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I have a "super computer" in my basement. I use it to render images and other similar tasks just for fun. The Beowulf project has info.

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I had one of those, too. Then I purchased a modern computer for $1100, used virtualization to do all my platform experimentation, got renders out of it faster than the farm, and had my electrical bill for it drop to 10% of what it was previously. "Because you can" is usually a good enough reason, but there are hidden costs to "free stuff". –  David Mackintosh Jul 2 '09 at 3:14
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"Because I can" is entirely the reason for the cluster. Doing it on a modern PC would not be nearly as "fun". –  Jim Blizard Sep 14 '09 at 12:41

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