Which PC should I keep?

Hmmm…I have an interesting dilemma, and I thought I’d ask for some technical wisdom and advice from fellow Dopers!

I have an “extra” PC that I let my sister use. I’m happy to let her use it indefinitely, she’s disabled, legally blind, and the internet really, really has opened up a new world for her. But, in the back of my mind is the realization that the “extra” PC will be a good “back up” PC in case my regular computer is out of commission for a while. So I like the idea that it is there, in case I need it. (Don’t worry, I wouldn’t deprive my poor sister of a computer for too long. Besides, there is a moldy old 486 still lingering about at her house, she could use that if needs be.)

Through a bizarre series of events, I aquired another PC. I don’t need an extra computer, don’t want it. I had to buy it (like I said, bizarre series of events) and I want to sell it. Or do I? I could sell the computer my sister currently uses and let her use the one I just got. So, here are minimal specs on both machines (I’m pretty technically ignorant, sorry.) Which one should I keep?

The first one (the one my sister is using now) is a CTX w/ 233 MMX CPU, 48 megs of RAM, and 2 GB HD. 33.6 modem. It has had it’s motherboard replaced, because the original motherboard was having problems. I don’t know what motherboard it has now, but I think it’s a no-name cheepie. (Not like ASUS, or antything.)

The second one is an IBM Aptiva, 2176. It only has a 133 MHz CPU and a 1 GB HD w/ 16 megs of RAM. However, it has USB and SCSI ports (at least I think that’s a SCSI port) and lots more room for expansion. (Much bigger case compared to the CTX.) 33.6 modem. A MO drive (some sort of removable storage - like a Zip drive) w/ 2 MO cartridges. I think I know where to get more MO cartidges for backup.

I am leaning towards spiffing up the IBM with more RAM and letting my sister use that instead, and selling the CTX. I can get a faster CPU for it eventually. From what I gather, getting a 233 - 300 MHz CPU isn’t very expensive these days. I just like the idea of having the IBM with the USB port, since I have several USB devices that I could use with it, if necessary. I also suspect that the IBM is a more quality-made machine compared to the CTX, especially since the CTX now has a different (probably cheaper) motherboard and case.) Am I right? What say you?

Quality is not really the issue. All the parts are about the same - regardless of the brand name. If the USB port matters to you - then well you are right you can buy a 233 processor cheap and use that. Most motherboards that can handle a 133 will handle a 233 (check your documentation to be sure though - if you don’t have your documentation, and can’t find the correct jumper settings to clock the thing, then lose it its not worth the hassle).

This is good information! Thanks.

Yes, the USB port is important, one of the main issues. I think I will take it to the shop and see right then if it’ll take a faster CPU. (I won’t be doing the upgrading myself. Too chicken.) It’ll have to be upgraded to Win 98 (I have the CD) also, to get the USB working right. These are all things to take into consideration, indeed!

as long as your sister is using it for the internet, you might get a faster modem while you’re at it. it’d be helpful for you as well if you end up using it at a later point.


Just a thought, seeing as I like dinking around with computers (I built mine and a couple of my friends)
How about taking the better parts and putting them into one computer. Of course, that will leave the other one pretty much worthless, really. But you can use the hard drive, and possibly the RAM (but probably not, seeing as most 133s use SIMMs and the 233s I think use DIMMs - not interchangeable)
Or, how about buying another hard drive, say a 6gigger, and putting it into the better one (believe me 6 gigs is nothing these days.)
Just some thoughts, but there are a lot of possibilites there.

“I dream that she aims to be the bloom upon my misery”

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The 233 sounds like the better computer of the two. Put the best from each together.

USB specs only allow for a 10 foot cable max and no extention cables. USB is only designed for very close use to the host computer.

You can buy a computer for less than $600 that will have Windows 98 second edition at least a 400 celron or k6-2 chip, a minimum drive of 4 Gig, 56K V.90 modem, USB support, new keyboard, and mouse.

Don’t spend your money upgrading either of those two computers. By the time you upgrade just a couple components, you could buy a new minimal system, with a lot more power and guts.