I'm a long time lurker of this forum, but I always had an interest in old computers, especially in the way how those systems can be pushed to achieve some degrees of usability for day to day tasks.

Well, I'm mostly known as looking4awayout, from Italy. During my past ventures in the web, I have met some people who are still using very old computers as their main systems and enjoy to push them to their limits and look for workarounds in order to make them keep up with present times, mostly when it comes to web browsing, which is one of the most taxing things to do on a old computer after all. Well, I'm one of those people! How low can I go?

Since a year, I am using a old Pentium 3 1.4Ghz Tualatin system (originally a 800MHz Coppermine from year 2000) overclocked to 1.47Ghz as my every day computer, and after a series of important upgrades, such as using fast hard drives, expanding RAM as much as possible, using a fast graphics card and a sound card with low overhead, alongside a drastic optimization and strip down of the OS, it's a very usable and useful machine.

Currently, the computer has 1,2GB of PC133 SDRAM running at CAS2 2-2-2-6, two 300GB Western Digital Velociraptor hard drives (OS drive running with a SATA to IDE adapter hooked to a Silicon Image SIL0680 ATA133 card, data one hooked to a non bootable VIA SATA150 controller card), an ATI Radeon HD3850, a Logilink USB 2.0 card with NEC chipset and a Yamaha YMF724F-V sound card. The computer runs a stripped down version of Windows XP Professional SP3 and runs very well. Web browsing? Check. I currently use Mozilla Firefox 27 with a heavily customized about: config and several plugins to improve privacy and reduce resources consumption. Watching YouTube? Check. To watch YouTube videos I use a Firefox plugin called "YouTube 2 Player" that redirects videos to VLC, saving resources. Gaming? Of course! Retro games, emulation, lots of gaming gems of the past I love to play on my retro daily driver. When it comes to email, I'm currently using a open source client called Sylpheed, which seems to be fast and lightweight enough. For productivity, spreadsheets and word processing, Office 97 is more than adequate for my tasks, and when it comes to more frivolous tasks such as instant messaging on Discord, Pidgin and Telegram Web on Firefox work perfectly. Hardware wise, the system is made by parts that were going to be scrapped: the monitor is a very early 14" SVGA CRT model from 1989, keyboard and mouse are from 1987, and the keyboard itself uses a 84 keys AT layout, while the PC also has a 3,5" and 5,25" floppy drives and a old Panasonic combo CD/DVR reader.

I swear I would've never expected a Pentium 3 to be still so usable. I read that a Tualatin was actually faster than a Pentium 4, but I was kind of skeptical until I found it out by myself. It's why I like to call it my "RDD", a retro daily driver, because it's like a vintage car that takes you from A to B, and I actually have fun at using it. I hope nobody will throw rocks at me for using such a old PC for day-to-day tasks! I do it by choice, and while I have a more modern computer (an i7-7500u laptop with Windows 10) I can use, I prefer to use my Tualatin system since to me is like listening to a vynil record over a CD: it gives me a totally different, warmer feeling.

My upcoming upgrades for the system consist into a Promise Fasttrak TX2300 SATA300 controller, in order to use both hard drives with their native interface, a hopefully error-free 512MB PC133 module in order to bring the machine to 1,5GB (and hopefully running it at Turbo speed) and someday, a more powerful cooler for the graphics card, that currently hovers around 70/75C.

Thanks for letting me stay here!

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