Giving Microsoft the Boot: Part II

The path to a Microsoft-free home requires many steps. Our blueprints for a home file server and basic client PC will guide your first steps.

If you had an older sibling growing up, youre no doubt familiar with hand-me-downs.

Parents have always tried to foist siblings old stuff—everything from action figures to nylon parachute pants—in an attempt to avoid the expense new purchases.

What may have meant some indignity for a kid turns out to be a great way to get the most mileage out of your computer gear.

A gaming PCs useful life is only about two years, and while you can stretch it further, youll be giving up progressively more eye candy in newer games that your aging system cant draw fast enough.

This problem also turns out to be an opportunity.

Unless you require every system in your house to be bleeding-edge, an older gaming PC isnt necessarily a dead PC.

A common upgrade strategy for gamers is to replace only those parts (usually the CPU, system memory, motherboard, 3D card) that are running out of gas, and harvest other still-good parts (hard-drive, optical drive, case, display) for a new system.

But those cast-off core system components are still very serviceable, even if they cant run the latest games.

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