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Recession Pushes IT To Find New Value In Old Gear

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the bad-eweek-no-interstitials dept.

206

buzzardsbay writes "Trying to put a bright spin on a gloomy subject, the folks at eWEEK unearth an emerging trend: There's a booming cottage industry of dealers in refurbished computer and networking gear serving folks on the hunt for 'slightly used' and 'new to you' equipment. The dealers selling the stuff tell eWEEK the equipment is practically new, most of it less than a year old, and that the prices for things like servers and routers are lower than they have been since the post dot-com / Sept. 11 days in 2001. Used gear isn't for everybody, obviously. The story points out that while many of these used IT dealers offer configuration services, they don't do installs, and most are not authorized resellers. They do, however, offer decent warranties, so if you can do some of the work yourself, you'll probably be OK."

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load it up (2)

Leadmagnet (685892) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162077)

just load a clean copy of XP SP3 and OOS - you are good to go.

Help.. (4, Funny)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162607)

XP won't install on the Cat 7000 I just bought from a firesale. OMG what should I do????

{:-)

Re:Help.. (5, Funny)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162649)

XP won't install on the Cat 7000 I just bought from a firesale. OMG what should I do???? {:-)

You should be using Vista obviously.

Re:Help.. (3, Funny)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162731)

You should be using Vista obviously.

Vista won't install on the Cat 7000 I just bought from a firesale. OMG what should I do???? {:-)

Re:Help.. (4, Funny)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162801)

You should be using Vista obviously.

Vista won't install on the Cat 7000 I just bought from a firesale. OMG what should I do???? {:-)

You cheaped out and got the basic version of Vista. I think Vista Ultimate runs on the Cat.

Re:Help.. (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162973)

Aaah, that explains it. It was thrown in free, but you'd think that spending $40,000 on the Catalyst would have got me Ultimate not basic. Bloody cheapskates eh?.

D'ya think I should try that new-fangled Linux wotsit?

Re:Help.. (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163885)

Nah, better stick with MS-DOS.

Re:Help.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163565)

> XP won't install on the Cat 7000

The fucking WHAT?!?!

Sweet (2, Funny)

Jinky (565098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162079)

Anyone want my 386DX? $4000 refurb AS IS.

Re:Sweet (4, Funny)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162373)

Your going to need some more marketing spin on it.

"I am being forced to sell my Computer to pay rent, paid $6000 new, and have added $2000 in upgrades, I will let go for just $4000 to the first lucky person to bring cash.
Thanks to Vista, this model is very difficult to come by, it comes preloaded with over $1000 worth of software."

Then just load it with linux, openoffice, and all the free games you can find"

My Computer goes to 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26162851)

After learning the guitar, I've learned better marketing.

It's not 'slightly used', it's 'vintage'.

Pre-CBS linux has the best tone.

Re:My Computer goes to 11 (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163935)

In the antique business, it's not "used". It's "Previously enjoyed!"

Re:Sweet (1)

sussex-shores (1434671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162881)

You are not the only one selling their equipment to pay the bills. If you've got the cash to buy hardware this is an excellent time to do it.

Re:Sweet (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162937)

The thought of having openoffice on a 386 just makes me sick. Installing Linux on a 386 is no walk in the park either. Way too much work for even $4000. As long as you're being dishonest, just superglue a dvd with ubuntu to the top of the case and be done with it.

Re:Sweet (2, Interesting)

Jon_S (15368) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163299)

I had a 386 running linux as my home's main file server for a year or two. Worked great. This was a Northgate Elegance that cost >$4000 when new [nytimes.com] . It seemed like a real classic, so I still have it down in the basement, ready to fire up into an old version of slackware any time.

Re:Sweet (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163345)

I know its possible. Just not going to be as easy an install as modern hardware. There are some pieces of hardware that just never got any support in Linux. I have 486's that won't take Linux, even old slackware, due to their old obscure ide controllers and/or the Packard bell label on front.

Re:Sweet (4, Funny)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163729)

Your going to need some more marketing spin on it.

"Vista Ready."

Re:Sweet (4, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162677)

    Actually, when I have the cash (that's going to plenty of other places) I buy Cisco stuff at auction. I generally go for the bigger equipment. I get some broken stuff and give it to a recycler. The good stuff I test, use for a little while to be sure it's good, then sell at a decent markup. I put a decent markup on it, so I always turn a profit, but it's still a whole lot cheaper for the customer than buying it new elsewhere.

    I'm not the biggest place doing it, but I can keep my prices low, because I'm working out of the house in my spare time.

    For someone with a decent size office (say 100 desks), a Catalyst 5500 for less than $1k customized for them will do them a lot better than a stack of consumer grade hubs and switches.

    I focus on Cisco gear, because I know it really well. I tried to touch the server market, but there is so little profit margin it usually ends up costing me money to sell it.

    The last "big" purchase I did, I bought 1 Cisco Catalyst 5000 (5 slot) 1 Cisco Catalyst 5505 (5 slot), 1 Cisco Catalyst 5500 (13 slot), and 3 servers. By the time I got rid of the 5500, 5505, and 1 server, I had already turned a profit. I sold the other 5000 and 1 other server, and that was just more profit.

    For me, my problem is that I lost my good high pay job about 2 years ago. It took some time to change my cost of living (get rid of the house, one car, etc), so right now I'm in recovery mode and can't buy anything else to move, even though it would always be at a profit.

    Some things are just fun. I bought an oscilloscope for something I was working on. It was cheap because the guy selling didn't even know if it worked. I tested it, bought a couple cheap probes, and then sat on it for a year. I finally decided I wouldn't need it again for a while, so I sold it for double what I had invested. It was a Tektronix, built in the 60's, but it still sold as soon as I made it available.

 

Re:Sweet (4, Interesting)

blincoln (592401) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163053)

Have you run into trouble with customers who find out that they can't get support from Cisco for their secondhand gear? Or worse, threats from Cisco for running unlicensed OS/firmware?
Cisco makes great hardware in most cases, but I stay away from it like the plague myself because of those and other similar support/licensing policies.

Re:Sweet (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163645)

What makes you think a 386DX is worth as much as a house?

This Just In. (5, Funny)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162083)

This just in, when you're poorer you make due with what is cheap.

Re:This Just In. (4, Funny)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162169)

Translation: This story needs a 'captainobviousstrikesagain' tag?

Re:This Just In. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163149)

Translation: This story needs a 'captainobviousstrikesagain' tag?

Where's Ric Romero when you need him?

/ At Fark, obviously
// Hang on, this isn't Fark...
/// Slashy slashy

Old Gear (2, Funny)

dcw (87098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162115)

Hey! I can fire-up my Amiga 1000, 2000 and 4000!
Damm, I'm cutting edge again!

Re:Old Gear (1)

MilesAttacca (1016569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162147)

My SGI O2 has you beat. :)

Re:Old Gear (1)

dcw (87098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162173)

Oh yah, TS1000 with the 16K ram pack and I'll throw in the big rubber band!

Re:Old Gear (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162949)

Yeah, those spontaneous resets (when the expansion pack loses contact with the mainboard) are real killers ... especially if you haven't saved your BASIC program to cassette tape for a while.

Re:Old Gear (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162289)

Fancy new stuff you got there.

Me, I have a Commodore 64!

Re:Old Gear (1)

aka_zedweb (1434697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162933)

See your commodores and raise an Atari 1600, a couple of ZX Spectrum 48k and a Timex :)

hey, don't forget the ti-99 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163251)

complete with 20lb expansion box...and then there's the geneve 9908-on-a-card, now with myarc dos!

Re:Old Gear (1)

Temkin (112574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163391)

Hah! Desk bound heathens! I still have a working Tandy model 100 laptop. :-)

Re:Old Gear (1)

moxley (895517) | more than 5 years ago | (#26164217)

My customer cluster, composed of 10 TI-99's, 4 TRS-80s, and 4 Apple II's

links to reliable resellers? (3, Interesting)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162125)

Does anyone have URLs to resellers with whom you've done business? Being able to compare prices to something other than ebay without having to make a couple dozen phone calls would be extremely helpful.

Re:links to reliable resellers? (5, Informative)

dnormant (806535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162377)

I am not affiliated with them in any way but I use anysystem.com. The have Sun, IBM, HP and Cisco hardware (systems and parts). They also offer a 1 year warranty on what they sell.

Re:links to reliable resellers? (3, Informative)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163921)

I've been an Anysystem customer both personally and professionally.

I was happy with my experiences. They even gave me a yellow rubber ducky with one of my orders.

Re:links to reliable resellers? (2, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162413)

Being able to compare prices to something other than ebay without having to make a couple dozen phone calls would be extremely helpful.

Why did this get modded "Troll"?

Granted, we can normally consider eBay more-or-less the definitive price guide for used stuff, but the parent post has a good point - Online 2nd-hand storefronts tend to have an abysmal record when it comes to keeping prices and product availability up to date.

Offhand, I know of only two reasons for doing that - Either they can't keep track of their own inventory, or they play the classic game of "once someone calls for a price, they'll say yes to almost anything"... And I for one wouldn't recommend buying from someone in either category.

Re:links to reliable resellers? (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162491)

I know you can search pricewatch and pricegrabber for refurbished equipment with ratings etc.

Re:links to reliable resellers? (2, Informative)

brentc3114 (1047790) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162669)

This is a shameless plug for a vendor that has treated me very well. I would contact Great Lakes computers, my representative is named Dani Mora and she does give very competitive pricing. I have purchased almost new servers, SAN parts, network gear, SANS-almost anything that you can think of. http://www.glcomp.com/ [glcomp.com] Brent Campbell, Olympia WA

Re:links to reliable resellers? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163303)

Horrible website. Its not worth my time to dig through it to find any bargains, or even to see what products they had in stock.

Re:links to reliable resellers? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163695)

Fuck you in the neck.

Re:links to reliable resellers? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163751)

Gotta love that rotating pyramid. Gotta adore the fsact that it's a flash animation.

Re:links to reliable resellers? (4, Informative)

David_Hart (1184661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162723)

For network gear I would recommend cxtec.com. My former company did business with them to save money. Failures were few and far between. When a piece of equipment did fail, it was replaced quickly.

The one thing to remember when buying refurbs for enterprise use is to always go n+1 (i.e. have at least one spare on the shelf).

David

Re:links to reliable resellers? (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163991)

we use them because we have slightly older equipment and don't want to be on the upgrade treadmill simply to add/replace one or two switches and don't want to lose the benefit of using the same model across the network. That's the real benefit of the refurb places, if you're already 3-4 years in and the manufacturer wants to obsolete equipment/software to make you buy new, it's a great place to look.

Re:links to reliable resellers? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163567)

http://www.redrabbitt.com

This is the refurbishing arm of the same company that owns MicroCenter. They have depots in Columbus, OH and Reno, NV.

I picked up a couple of Dell Optiplex 280's. Each had 1GB ram, 3GHz Pentium HT, cost was less than $90 incl shipping and had a 60 day warranty (for non-commercial customers). Added a 320GB hd for $45 and used XP Pro install media (used license keys on the machines) for cheap Windows machines. They spec these in bulk, so you get surprises like video cards with dual-DVI output and TV capture cards every once in a while.

Warranty returns were relatively quick and painless. One of the Dells had an overheating problem and it was no trouble to drop the unit off at the depot and get a refund for it. I don't know if they cover return shipping if you are non-local, however.

and to think, some people made fun of... (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162151)

the thought that 2009 will be the year of Linux on the desktop. Seriously, I'm running Ubuntu 8.10 on a 700MHz laptop with 256MB RAM and a 20GB hard drive. It works fine given I know that I can't open up 40 apps at once, and it will be a bit slower than my desktop, but it's great for where I use it.

Speaking of desktops, I have several that are nearly 8 years old and running Ubuntu quite well. In fact the 'end users' in my house don't know the difference between the old systems and the new ones.

I'm thinking that the push for re-utilizing older hardware will have Linux on the Desktop very shortly. It's about time.

Re:and to think, some people made fun of... (1)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162915)

Same here. My old laptop with 256 MB takes a few second more to load heavy applications (i.e. OpenOffice) but you don't feel any difference with the modern hardware while using it.

It's not about when Linux will be ready for the desktop. It already is, and has been for at least as long as Ubuntu exists.

Re:and to think, some people made fun of... (2, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163191)

Well, I like Ubuntu quite a bit, and it presents a good UI to the 'end users' in my house, but I am also using Ubuntu Server edition, CentOS 5.x, RHEL 5x, OpenSolaris, DSL, Puppy, and every now and then attempt OpenBSD/NetBSD on some older MVME hardware I have out in the garage. -- yes, this means I am a junk computer hardware collector :) I like Linux

Just for teh h4x0r cred, I'm trying to stick a small mobo in an old external tape drive unit, cd drive where the tape used to be, laptop hd RAID-1 behind it, and all the normal connectors out the back... but that's just a hobby thing. Linux makes it possible for me to do that. $350+ dollars for a copy of windows for such an adventure would be insanity^2 when I'm putting out all of ... oh... fifty cents for the hardware.

Next project is MythTV or similar in an old VCR case. You guessed it, CD where the old tape drive was etc. 160GB laptop HDs are cheap and plentiful, makes the whole thing easy because of reduced power requirements.

After that, old laptop conversion for under the cabinet waterproof pc in the kitchen for recipes and such. One of the end users here likes to look up recipes online. But that will involve hunting for some hardware to allow the laptop screen and keyboard parts to fold and slide under the cabinet for out of the way storage... but Linux makes such a hobby possible... or at least legally possible.

Re:and to think, some people made fun of... (2, Interesting)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163539)

Sounds great! You are spot on that Linux and all the other great free software makes it possible to tinker again.

I'm started in the 8-bit era and extending the hard- and software was a normal thing. After the demise of all the great platforms (Amiga, Atari) it was hard to "play" with your computer. Windows isn't open enough, and the hardware was boring also.

Now, once again, it is easy to use a computer for anything you can imagine.

I'm still looking for a cheap, low-power single-board computer for some projects. The Linksys NSLU is a bit low on memory and the Soekris board are a bit too expensive for me. One day... :-)

Re:and to think, some people made fun of... (2, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26164111)

You might like to see what I've been keeping an eye on then:

This site has kind of a turn-key feel to it for my hobby needs:
http://damnsmalllinux.org/store/motherboards/EPIA_5000 [damnsmalllinux.org]

Here is some other mini board news etc.
http://www.mini-itx.com/ [mini-itx.com]

and of course, newegg is your friend:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813121342 [newegg.com]

I'm experimenting with the various junk cases I've got in order to do something that is retro, not steampunk, and qualifies as a useful hack. Seeing an old VCR in the entertainment cabinet is cool, better if it is a mythtv system with wireless keyboard/mouse. Small odd looking cases is just some how more aesthetic than standard white box cases that 'look' like computers. I bought a computer credenza recently (used for $20) that needed a leg repaired. I'm thinking about embedding the mobo etc. in the underside of the desk. That won't require small parts etc. just some plexiglass to keep fingers and cats out of the electronics.

FP... (0, Offtopic)

ghee22 (781277) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162163)

^fRom my s%%%lightl.y us5ed PC!$

Missing from the fucking article: (0, Flamebait)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162179)

Linux, Linux, ..., ad infinitum.

I found the ???! (4, Funny)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162187)

How to make money when times are hard:

1. Buy oodles of cheap hardware
2. Search it for confidential info
3. Blackmail
4. Profit!

Re:I found the ???! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26162461)

God, there are some idiots with mod points today.

Re:I found the ???! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163795)

That's totally unfair. What's so special about today?

Special about today!?! (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 5 years ago | (#26164171)

Today is my birthday you insensitive clod!

Re:I found the ???! (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163617)

I think steps two and three are really the ???. Lets try it for underwear gnomes first.

1) steal Underpants
2) Search for personal info
3) Blackmail
4) Profit

Ok that seems to work.
How about web 2.0?

1) Use Ajax + Social networking
2) Get Personal Info
3) BlackMail
4) Profit

It seems to work for most. Good Job.

Re:I found the ???! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26164075)

3. Blackmail

Blackmail's such an ugly word. I prefer extortion. The "X" makes it sound cool. /Bender

Refurbish um... "Experienced" Hardware. (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162231)

For the most part Used hardware is a good deal. Getting new stuff is often more emotional then rational. Oh you need to expand your 100Mbit network. You don't need the giga bit network so why not pay say 50% less for network gear that is a good fit for your infrastructure. A lot of this equipment are real work horses and will run fine for decades. Even PC's a 2 year old High End PC is now a mid range PC today. and if you can get a used MidRange PC at 25% off new then why not.

Re:Refurbish um... "Experienced" Hardware. (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162305)

Not only is getting new stuff more emotional than rational, but the same goes for the OS upgrades.

I have ran my business on a antiquated dual P-III dell server with a raid 5 in it running server 2000 for a while now. it does the job GREAT, it's a file server and domain server for only 20 people. and it will run just fine for another 5 years.

I would upgrade it to Linux and Samba but the adaptec raid card has no stable drivers for Linux. so I either downgrade to software raid or stick with what is working.

Re:Refurbish um... "Experienced" Hardware. (1)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163023)

I have ran my business on a antiquated dual P-III dell server with a raid 5 in it running server 2000 for a while now. it does the job GREAT, it's a file server and domain server for only 20 people. and it will run just fine for another 5 years.

The amazing part is it can do all that while sending out thousands of pieces of spam every day!

Seriously though, while it's true that most people don't need to upgrade as often as they do, software does eventually get EOLed by the vendor and needs to be replaced if you want any support for it. In the case of a Win2k box, it will probably serve just fine for another 1 or 2 years, but I think 5 years is pushing it.

Re:Refurbish um... "Experienced" Hardware. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163151)

software does eventually get EOLed by the vendor and needs to be replaced if you want any support for it.

The number of systems still running software that was EOL'd some time ago should give you some clue as to how important vendor support is for many people.

Re:Refurbish um... "Experienced" Hardware. (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163441)

That's the problem we're in. We have several P3 Xeons in the 300-500 MHz range that run absolutely great for our needs as AD controllers. But lack of support and difficulty with integrating newer XP 64bit, OSX (and in the future, Vista) workstations means that we'll have to replace the machine relatively soon even though they are sufficient for their taks.

EOL on software forces hardware obsolescence.

Re:Refurbish um... "Experienced" Hardware. (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163269)

it will run just fine for another 5 years.

Except that much sooner, MS is dropping support for Windows 2000, so you'll potentially be vulnerable to exploits.

Re:Refurbish um... "Experienced" Hardware. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163839)

How is that different from XP or Vista?

Re:Refurbish um... "Experienced" Hardware. (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162411)

Probably partially depends on where the gear came from. You wouldn't want used gear from my work, for example. I work for a university and we do sell all our used systems at auction. However people buy them for scrap for the most part. Why? Well we keep them until they are run in to the ground. The highest end hardware we are getting rid of currently are Pentium 3 systems. Same deal with our network. We did recently do a network upgrade, took the core of the network to gigabit. The switches that were there got moved further out to replace older switches and so on. Net result sent to surplus? About 8 10mbit hubs, 3 10mbit switches and an old 10/100 switch that didn't work well.

Stuff just kinda gets handed down the chain until it is finally broken or just too old to be useful. Only then is it sent to surplus and sold.

So I could see it being useful if you are buying from a company that has the "Always gotta have the latest, greatest," mentality. However some places, like us, keep our gear for a loooooong time before we get rid of it. A 10 year old car is fine, a 10 year old hub is probably not a good idea.

Oh, I don't know.. (1)

Fished (574624) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162765)

I just picked up 10 10/100 Mbps dual-speed 24port 3com hubs for $10 off ebay, as well as a 12 port 3com 100mbps hub for another $5. Shipping cost another $10, and I used them to network my friends computers shop by putting one on each desk. Granted, switches would have been nicer, but I would rather have a quality hub than a questionable (read "consumer grade") switch. In any case, a consumer grade switch would have cost me several times as much, and likely not performed as well.

In any case, this network is easily capable of keeping up with my friend's (limited) needs, and unlike the old network (a mix of antique 10mbps hubs) it doesn't get collisions all the time. So, even though everything involved is at least 10 years old, it seems to be a pretty good deal for $30.

Re:Oh, I don't know.. (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163249)

No, switches would perform much better. Sorry, but hubs suck. Consumer grade switches of today blow away hubs. The big problems hubs have is contention. Their total bandwidth is shared among all ports and everything is in one collision domain. So as the number of users goes up, more and more collisions happen and total throughput goes DOWN in fact. This is one reason token ring used to be popular. Despite much higher latency, it scaled better. You could have 100 computers and not have contention problems. Also things slow down if you have something like a server that needs to be talking both direction continuously. Hubs are half duplex so send and receive are mutually exclusive. Thus you get even more collisions and reduced performance if something is trying to do a large amount of sending and receiving at the same time.

Switches don't have that problem, of course. They break up the collision domain. You can get full bandwidth to every port in both directions, provided the backplane can handle it (and they can these days). You don't run in to scaling issues until you are actually saturating a link, and bandwidth doesn't go down as numbers go up.

Now I'm not saying that hubs can't work, that they can't get traffic from point a to point b but don't confuse yourself in to thinking that the hubs will perform better than a switch. They won't.

Re:Refurbish um... "Experienced" Hardware. (3, Interesting)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163003)

depends on where the gear came from

I've learned from experience that you don't want used computer gear that's been exposed to heavy cigarette smoke for several years.

Re:Refurbish um... "Experienced" Hardware. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26162525)

Oh you need to expand your 100Mbit network. You don't need the giga bit network so why not pay say 50% less for network gear that is a good fit for your infrastructure.

The price difference between fast ethernet and gigabit ethernet is negligible. A lot of things will max out a 100 megabit connection these days.

Re:Refurbish um... "Experienced" Hardware. (4, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162771)

    You're exactly right about the networking gear.

    One place I worked for, they had consumer grade "switches" in 4 suites, with a mismatch of technology connecting the suites (all in the same complex). I spent $300 on 6 Cisco Catalyst 2924's with 4 port 100baseFX fiber cards. I spent another $150 on enough fiber to interconnect them all.

    I did the upgrades very carefully so as to not break anything during working hours. One suite per day to change them from their cheap switch to the 2924. I spent 3 days on ladders running fiber between the suites. On the last night, I switched their cross connects from the old ways to the fiber. That next morning, people were amazed how fast everything was working.

    The VoIP guy was laughing the whole time. I put an office of about 30 desks on "enterprise" equipment. Well, it's old, but when it was new, sure it was "enterprise" equipment. For $450, I couldn't have done anything better. :)

Re:Refurbish um... "Experienced" Hardware. (1)

Analog_Manner (1326359) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163153)

Agreed. I bought a $700 Pentium D early in 2006, and it still runs Crysis is pretty good with a 9800 gtx I got used for $130. DDR2 667 is still pretty fast too. Couldn't find a reason to upgrade to Core 2 Duo or Core i7.

Doing the work yourself... (1)

xpuppykickerx (1290760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162349)

They do, however, offer decent warranties, so if you can do some of the work yourself, you'll probably be OK. Damn! I was hoping for a Plug and Play server.

Old stuff never stopped working (4, Interesting)

logicassasin (318009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162361)

...Which is why I still have much of my old stuff in use today.

Granted, newer OS'es have gotten much more resource intensive (including Linux), but by and large a lot can still be done on old hardware.

P2's and P3's can still be used as web servers, desktops, and thin clients. Old-school Pentium/Pentium MMX machines are great as simple x terminals. Take an old Compaq Proliant quad Xeon 450 server, throw a copy of linux on it and run a bunch of "classic" Pentium machines as xterminals and there's your new call center's environment for only a few thousand dollars. There's a number of scenarios where investing tens of thousands of dollars in shiny new hardware doesn't make a lot of sense. Does the accounting dept really need PC's with 4GB of ram and two dual core procs? Can't they do their work on Athlons or P4's loaded with a decent amount of RAM? Does the secretary pool really need PC's with enough power to do nuclear simulations on? Didn't our corporate domain controllers used run P3 Xeons?

I still have a Thinkpad 570/333MHz/192MB that sees daily use with Win2000 installed. I have an IBM 300GL p2-333MHz machine that I use as the desktop companion to the laptop, again I get real work done on these machines along with the P3-550 and my primary Athlon XP 2500 machine.

Old hardware didn't stop working, we just stopped using it.

Re:Old stuff never stopped working (1)

kyrio (1091003) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162605)

Why not upgrade to XP and possibly just get it up to 512MB RAM.

P2s run XP beautifully with more than 256MB RAM (more RAM the better), pretty much any P3 as well (like the P3 500/640MB sitting beside me).

Re:Old stuff never stopped working (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162843)

Does the accounting dept really need PC's with 4GB of ram and two dual core procs? Can't they do their work on Athlons or P4's loaded with a decent amount of RAM?

No and no. But the Security Dept can force load enough software to make any but the latest dual-core processor/SATA drive PC worthless to use. Ever seen a Windows box with a 1.8Ghz P4 and 512MB of RAM try to load McAfee Enterprise on boot? Especially after about 18 months of all Windows updates have been forced onto the system?

I expect we will all require multicore personal systems in the future. One core for internal system security, one core for network (external security), one core for user applications, and one spare core for peak load assistance to the other cores.

Re:Old stuff never stopped working (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163871)

Just make sure to clean those intake filters and clean the dust out of that old gear. It is pretty scary how much builds up in an air cooled box.

I also like to take a little copper polish to the motherboard every now and then but that is just me.

Hooray for the landfills! (3, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162539)

If this keeps some gear out of the landfills it's a good thing. The computer and electronics industry are filthy industries. We don't need more heavy metals leaching out of the landfills. Or getting dumped in the 3rd world.

Re:Hooray for the landfills! (2, Funny)

frehe (6916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162757)

The computer and electronics industry are filthy industries.

Yes, for example, I've heard that it's more and more common for automatic garbage collectors, in languages with that functionality, to take all the dirty memory that is no longer used, and smuggle it to third world countries, where the data ends up in large heaps in the countryside, polluting the precious bodily fluids of the local people.

Re:Hooray for the landfills! (0, Troll)

Teresita (982888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162781)


The computer and electronics industry are filthy industries.

Yeah, God hates pr0n. Ironically they are pushing everyone to replace their incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones to save the Carbon. If you break one it's a major HAZMAT incident on the level of a radiological "dirty bomb" going off. Lord forbid you should try to dispose of a dead one.

Re:Hooray for the landfills! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26162783)

If this keeps some gear out of the landfills it's a good thing. The computer and electronics industry are filthy industries. We don't need more heavy metals leaching out of the landfills. Or getting dumped in the 3rd world.

here here

It's about time (1)

JBG667 (690404) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162581)

IT Managers have been spending like drunken sailors. It's quite appalling that policies and strategy of most corporate IT shops are dictated by hardware and software vendors who cozy up to the management and staff through gifts, golf games and lunches.

Old hardware is thrown out instead of re-used, and nine times out of ten more powerful (and expensive) hardware/solution is chosen. It's time for IT to tighten the belt and re-direct some of the money lining vendors' pockets to some old fashioned internal R & D.

Re:It's about time (2, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163785)

I worked in a video production/editing shop for a couple years. They replaced 1/3 of their systems every year. Now granted, they're work is time critical. And faster is always better. But the old systems saw reuse in the front office or were demoted to the render farm.

Things that had been there for 5 years were then finally taken off the line with employees and friends getting first dibs. That's how I ended up with a Quad 500Mhz DEC Alpha machine with a whopping 2GB of Ram for $650. Complete with NT4 for Alpha and Lightwave 5.6!

Thrifty (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26162813)

How's this for being resourceful. Turning an old iPod Classic in to an external drive by partitioning it and putting Linux on it. It still runs and plays music too.

Yeah, I can't afford an external drive.

New value in old gear? (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162823)

I don't see it. While I see the value in old gear personally, I do not see the value in old gear professionally. Part of what IT does is manage disasters. If you are using old gear, you'd better have some OTHER old gear standing by in case the old-gear-in-use fails. With new gear, part of the value is warranty and service. I have somewhere to turn in case of problem. All of my servers are under next-business-day service warranty. All of my workstations and laptops are too. To me, that is where I see value.

Re:New value in old gear? (3, Insightful)

blincoln (592401) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163369)

With new gear, part of the value is warranty and service. I have somewhere to turn in case of problem.

Yeah, exactly. I hate getting rid of working gear, but the cost of maintaining our own supply of replacement parts is huge.

Most of laptops on New Egg are refurb (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162891)

Seriously. So are half the laptops on Tigerdirect.

It's not the hardware costs (2, Interesting)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162941)

By and large board level execs would prefer to spend $5000 on equipment than $2000 on support staff.

Perhaps there is a point to this, after all - it may be easier to place an upper bound on equipment costs whereas support costs for an older set of equipment could be harder to determine.

Also, you enjoy the new equipment and can look forward to it being longer before it needs replacing.

Finally - who stands by you for sox, HIPAA, PCI compliance if the vendors have stopped supporting equipment with bug fixes etc.

As sensible as it seems, old equipment just does not work for many organizations and it has nothing to do with the basic health of the equipment.

Re:It's not the hardware costs (1)

cetialphav (246516) | more than 5 years ago | (#26164023)

By and large board level execs would prefer to spend $5000 on equipment than $2000 on support staff.

Perhaps there is a point to this, after all - it may be easier to place an upper bound on equipment costs whereas support costs for an older set of equipment could be harder to determine.

There is more to it than that. The old equipment is generally usable for several years, so the $5000 capital outlay gets amortized over several years. So while you spend $5000 to buy the equipment, it is not a $5000 expense on the corporate balance sheet (because the total value of the assets of the company has stayed the same). You incur a small expense monthly (as depreciation) to pay for the equipment. And at the end of the equipment's lifetime, you may be able to recover some of the cost by reselling it.

On the other hand, spending $2000 on support staff is just money gone. You didn't get an asset for it. It is also a recurring cost because you probably have to spend $2000 per year maintaining the old equipment. Spending $2000 instead of $5000 can help with short term cash flow, but the $5000 expenditure is probably more profitable over the longer term.

You are right, though, about the benefits of establishing an upper bound on the total cost. When you are trying to run a business, precisely knowing what your costs are allows you to use pricing to compete more effectively. I.e., you know exactly how low you can go on a price and still be profitable.

Truth! (2)

jornak (1377831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162955)

We just got in a crapload of refurbs with fairly decent specs, in the last week we've sold about 75 out of about 100 of them. They come with no OS, so the people are free to choose whether they want us to install an OS (read: Windows XP) or just give them the box with no OS... It's so sad though. We've had customers come in requesting us to put various distros of Linux on the refurbs, but our sales reps have apparently been told by the higher-ups that we're not allowed to - that's probably because I'm the only one here in this damned company that knows *anything* about Linux - although if someone request a FreeBSD install, I'm going to tell them to blow it out their ass. ^_^

New value? How about longevity extending value? (2, Interesting)

PrimeWaveZ (513534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162957)

Like many of the posters here, I've kept around good hardware that works because it works and it's already paid for (please ignore my credit card balances for now...)

My primary archiving box and storage server is a Mirror Drive Door Power Mac G4 tower, which is awesome because it holds 2 DVD drives and 4 hard disks, which is better than most other Apple towers (with the exception of the Mac Pros.) It serves up what I need with OS X 10.5 and whenever I end up needing more storage, I'll throw a SATA card in there to use newer, faster, larger drives.

Sure it's unsupported hardware, but it's solid, it's relatively compact (compared with G5 towers and Mac Pros) and doesn't gobble that much power (survives w/ a ~ 300W power supply.) It gets the job done, and gets no complaints from me or the wife about its performance. Yay for old hardware that works!

Craigslist (2, Interesting)

swabeui (1291044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163011)

It's a lifesaver when money gets tight. I just had a router go for my T1 last week and don't really have the cash to pick up a new one. $75 on Craigslist and I'm running again with a Cisco 2600 /w WIC.

How to save on licensing (2, Insightful)

plymtuxet (635722) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163021)

Buy refurb P4 or Athlon64 HP desktop machines from Tiger Direct for $140 bucks. That's the price of the XP Pro license it comes with. Throw in another gig of RAM, load OO and voila, you have a machine that will satisfy 80% of my corporate users for practically nothing. And it is domain-ready.

Re:How to save on licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26164229)

Or you could just deploy Ubuntu desktops on existing old hardware that you already have lying around and save all costs.

Linux CAN join ActiveDirectory, if you must.

Linux CAN access windows shares, if you must.

Linux CAN access most web applications and if you need IE, you can coax it to run inside WINE, if you must.

fuck A Troolkore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26163029)

fucking surprise, it wwil be among

Not my observation (5, Informative)

securitytech (1267760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163067)

For the past decade, I've been a buyer of lightly used servers like IBM 44P, Dell PowerEdge, etc purchasing these mainly as redundant hardware for existing servers.

In the last year, I have solicited quotes for used equivalents and the price gap has narrowed to the point where new is as cheap as used.

My last purchase of PowerEdge 2900's was actually cheaper through Dell (brand new, 3 yr warranty, etc) than a stripped down 2900 from refurbished vendors.

It seems it's followed car parts in that in the 70's and 80's you could save a lot buying from a salvage yard, but now days you save little or none vs buying from new car part dealers.

I get quotes from multiple vendors so it's not just one company inflating prices.

Just wanted to add that, in my experience, the trend is the opposite of what the article is suggesting.

Re:Not my observation (2, Insightful)

ndrw (205863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163865)

So what you're saying is that as demand for used systems has increased, the supply has been reduced and the price of the newly scarce commodity has gone up? IANAE, but that seems pretty normal.

dead pixels? (1)

dbc001 (541033) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163087)

I'd love to find a place to get LCD panels with dead pixels on the cheap - perfect for a server-in-the-closet...

Re:dead pixels? (3, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163711)

I'd love to find a place to get LCD panels with dead pixels on the cheap - perfect for a server-in-the-closet...

ebay / craigslist / retail "openbox" deals

recycling fun... (3, Interesting)

800DeadCCs (996359) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163123)

My place has been testing older servers we've had sitting around for power usage, computation power, throughput...
What fits the curves stays, what doesn't gets nuke-wiped and sold off.
Seriously... MRI machines are fun.
Clears up storage and re-purposes still viable servers, usually with vmware.

So now we have Franken-rack, Bride of Franken-rack (thin cabinet, no side space), and Son of Franken-rack (half-height cabinet).

how about.... (2, Funny)

curtix7 (1429475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26163699)

can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these old machines?
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