Before moving on to what to do with an old gaming PC, it’s important to understand why it needs to be disposed of. Most gaming PCs have a lifespan of about five years due to advancements in technology, so their hardware and software will become outdated after this time. Additionally, the games and software that you play on the PC may gradually become incompatible with the hardware, forcing you to make a decision regarding its disposal. Now, here’s what to do with an old gaming PC.
Repurpose the PC
If you have spare parts or the knowledge to upgrade the PC, you may be able to repurpose it for more recent applications. This can include substantially increasing its RAM, replacing the motherboard and CPU with more recent models, or installing a larger hard drive. As long as the features that you add are compatible with the other components, then you may be able to get a few more years out of the PC.
Sell or Donate It
If the PC is too old to be upgraded, you have the option of selling or donating it to someone who will be able to make use of the parts and hardware. Before selling, you should contact hardware recycling centers in your area since they may be able to buy the PC from you and dispose of it responsibly. Alternatively, you could donate it to an individual or a library that could use the computer.
If you can’t sell or donate the PC, then the best option is to recycle it. Professional electronic waste recyclers will take the PC apart and separate all of the components, then they’ll be able to recycle metals and plastics. Furthermore, the data will be securely destroyed, so you don’t have to worry about any hard drives that may contain sensitive information.
Create a Retro Gaming System
If you’re feeling creative, you could turn the gaming PC into a retro gaming system. This involves reinstalling a Windows operating system like XP, then ensuring that all of the necessary game files are installed and updated. After this, you’ll have a fun and unique gaming platform that can play classic games from the 90s, such as The Elder Scrolls IV and Super Mario Bros.
Create a Home Server
The gaming PC may still have one more life to put to use – building a home server. This requires installing a server operating system and then setting it up with a task or two. You can let it host websites, manage backups, watch TV, or even stream content. There are plenty of excellent guides available to show you what it takes to set up a home server.
Using the Components
If you don’t want to keep the entire PC, then you can salvage the parts and use them to build a new gaming PC. This requires taking the PC apart and finding compatible replacements for the components. The components include the motherboard, graphics card, RAM, and CPU, as well as storage and peripherals. Once you’ve assembled the components and have a working PC, you can then start gaming.
Repair, Overclock and Tune the PC
If the PC is still functioning but running slower than usual, you may be able to speed it up by repairing it. This includes cleaning the internals of dust, re-seating the RAM and graphics card, and ensuring that the power supply is adequately feeding the components. If the PC still runs slow, then consider tuning the PC performance by overclocking the graphics, or overclocking other components.
Install Custom Firmware
If the PC is connected to an Internet connection, there’s a chance that you can update the BIOS or firmware to get more out of the hardware. Many motherboards come with custom firmware which can improve your gaming experience and allow you to access features that the stock firmware may not. Additionally, some firmwares are designed to increase stability or performance of the PC.
Building a NAS System
Another option is to turn the PC into a NAS device, which is a network-attached storage system. A NAS system is a box that connects to the local network and provides a storage server for files, photo albums and videos. You can also use the NAS for music streaming and for running media servers for streaming services. Your PC would need an Ethernet controller and sufficient RAM and storage, and a NAS operating system like FreeNAS.
Set Up a Media Center
A media center is a hardware device that can be connected with a home theater system to stream videos and music. With the right setup, your old gaming PC can be converted into a media center that can stream movies, photos and music. All you need is a video card, Wi-Fi connection and media center software such as Kodi or Windows Media Center.