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Old 02-24-2010, 03:29 PM   #1
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Default Repurposing an old laptop

I suppose this is a multi-tier question I'm posing. A few years back my old laptop had a cracked screen and for some reason or another I opted to buy a new one instead of get it fixed. That's neither here nor there, because if I tried to use it now-a-days for what I use this laptop for I'd be screwed.

However, a few weeks ago this laptop's motherboard burnt out and I had to ship it off to get it fixed. In the meantime I was scrambling for a replacement to use for my schoolwork. My brother has one of those Asus netbooks....but its such a low-end one that I couldn't use it as a replacement.

The old laptop, however, I had given to a friend and got it back maybe a year ago. Long story short, I cleaned it out and was using it while this machine was in the shop.

Now I have both computers and I'm trying to think of what to do with the old one. Let me list the specs before the questions I want to ask:

It's an HP Pavillion zv6000. Got 100+ GB hard drive, 1GB RAM and a nice 2.67GhZ processor.

It's a big computer. Extremely bulky and not very fun to lug around. Also, the screen is still cracked. And from years of XP bloat and viruses have slowed it down to a pace faster than the netbook my brother has, but not nearly as fast as it can operate.

Here is what I was thinking I could do with it:

1) There's manuals on how to strip down XP to the bare basics. I'd reinstall it but I have no CD, nor does the laptop come with a restore option (you need to make the disk yourself and I never did or lost it).

2) Install Ubuntu. I've been burnt by Ubuntu before because it's very difficult to install the correct network drivers for a wireless card when you can't get to the Internet to download them. I've run it live, and Ubuntu does not play nice with Broadcom adapters...which it has.

3) Sell it. I'm looking to save up for a new desktop (so I can spend the same amount I would on a laptop for something much more powerful). If that's the case, I could sell the parts I have....if there's a market for 5 year old laptops. I'm not sure where to go....


Any ideas? Any fun projects I can do with this all while keeping the integrity of the machine as a basic word processor? Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 02-24-2010, 04:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Repurposing an old laptop

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Originally Posted by ArcadiaJohnson View Post
I suppose this is a multi-tier question I'm posing. A few years back my old laptop had a cracked screen and for some reason or another I opted to buy a new one instead of get it fixed. That's neither here nor there, because if I tried to use it now-a-days for what I use this laptop for I'd be screwed.

However, a few weeks ago this laptop's motherboard burnt out and I had to ship it off to get it fixed. In the meantime I was scrambling for a replacement to use for my schoolwork. My brother has one of those Asus netbooks....but its such a low-end one that I couldn't use it as a replacement.

The old laptop, however, I had given to a friend and got it back maybe a year ago. Long story short, I cleaned it out and was using it while this machine was in the shop.

Now I have both computers and I'm trying to think of what to do with the old one. Let me list the specs before the questions I want to ask:

It's an HP Pavillion zv6000. Got 100+ GB hard drive, 1GB RAM and a nice 2.67GhZ processor.

It's a big computer. Extremely bulky and not very fun to lug around. Also, the screen is still cracked. And from years of XP bloat and viruses have slowed it down to a pace faster than the netbook my brother has, but not nearly as fast as it can operate.

Here is what I was thinking I could do with it:

1) There's manuals on how to strip down XP to the bare basics. I'd reinstall it but I have no CD, nor does the laptop come with a restore option (you need to make the disk yourself and I never did or lost it).

2) Install Ubuntu. I've been burnt by Ubuntu before because it's very difficult to install the correct network drivers for a wireless card when you can't get to the Internet to download them. I've run it live, and Ubuntu does not play nice with Broadcom adapters...which it has.

3) Sell it. I'm looking to save up for a new desktop (so I can spend the same amount I would on a laptop for something much more powerful). If that's the case, I could sell the parts I have....if there's a market for 5 year old laptops. I'm not sure where to go....


Any ideas? Any fun projects I can do with this all while keeping the integrity of the machine as a basic word processor? Thanks for any suggestions.
Turn it into a Mugen/MAME arcade cabinet. Get some old 360 USB controllers, take the buttons out and put them into the cabinet. Install a frontend, tons of games, and you're ready to rock
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Old 02-24-2010, 05:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: Repurposing an old laptop

Hmmm that's a good one!

Hopefully I get out of the dorms soon and I can build my own cabinet (or reface an existing one) and have a nice piece for the rest of my life.

Also, the entire libraries for SNES, Genesis and NES wouldn't be very expensive to the hard drive, so I can use it as an external HDD as well!
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Old 02-24-2010, 05:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Repurposing an old laptop

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Hmmm that's a good one!

Hopefully I get out of the dorms soon and I can build my own cabinet (or reface an existing one) and have a nice piece for the rest of my life.

Also, the entire libraries for SNES, Genesis and NES wouldn't be very expensive to the hard drive, so I can use it as an external HDD as well!
Exactly! add a hidden tray for the keyboard/mouse, and it's a functioning computer as well

You can even add a wheel and have a racing cabinet, or add 2 monitors and a divider, and make your own Marvel VS. Capcom machine
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Old 02-24-2010, 05:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: Repurposing an old laptop

The only problem is where can I cheaply get an arcade cabinet? :P

Then again, I guess I'd still need to strip down XP huh?
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Repurposing an old laptop

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The only problem is where can I cheaply get an arcade cabinet? :P

Then again, I guess I'd still need to strip down XP huh?
I would just suggest building your own out of fiber board, unless you can find an old cabinet. There are plenty of guides out there.


I would just reinstall it, I've formatted and reinstalled drivers for an old Pentium 4 HP laptop, you can probably find everything as well. Or, you could just go with Linux.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: Repurposing an old laptop

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I would just suggest building your own out of fiber board, unless you can find an old cabinet. There are plenty of guides out there.

I would just reinstall it, I've formatted and reinstalled drivers for an old Pentium 4 HP laptop, you can probably find everything as well. Or, you could just go with Linux.
I have a half-way built arcade cabinet. I got all the pieces cut out, just need to route the edges and assemble. I've been putting it off for 4 years now.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: Repurposing an old laptop

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I would just suggest building your own out of fiber board, unless you can find an old cabinet. There are plenty of guides out there.


I would just reinstall it, I've formatted and reinstalled drivers for an old Pentium 4 HP laptop, you can probably find everything as well. Or, you could just go with Linux.
My current problem with Linux is that I can't get my Broadcom wireless adapter to work. I also want to use it as an external HDD, but I can't figure out how to make a home network between my computers without having to use my wireless adapter, meaning I can't be on the Internet and connected to the secondary computer at the same time.
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Repurposing an old laptop

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My current problem with Linux is that I can't get my Broadcom wireless adapter to work. I also want to use it as an external HDD, but I can't figure out how to make a home network between my computers without having to use my wireless adapter, meaning I can't be on the Internet and connected to the secondary computer at the same time.
Oh God, that's right. Linux is horrible with wireless drivers, especially for laptops IMO. Ran into the same wall with my Acer laptop,

So, XP it is :P Did you see if you could find drivers for it to reinstall XP?

Also, can't you just make either an FTP type thing, or just set up file sharing?
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Repurposing an old laptop

I'm trying to set up file sharing but I need to connect to it via wireless adapters.

I could do FTP, but I don't want to have to re-download files to use them. Kind of defeats my purpose. I'd like to be able to run X on my machine from the auxiliary machine, and browse through Y-Z on the aux. hard drive through my primary device.
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