This was what my old website originally was about back in 2001 when most of the PCs on this forum were called "dinosaurs" "Doorstops" and "boat anchors".
TBH most things 386 on forward are pretty capable still.
For example, I have a 486 DX4-100......this is what I all can do with it that's not gaming.....
- modernish web browsing using toastytechs modified SeaMonkey and Firefox.
- instant messaging via AIM Phoenix
- website authoring and creation
- data recovery
- IRC chat via mIRC or leetIRC
- circuit design using Circuitmaker 6.x or 2000, which PCB printers still use the Gerber files from on pro projects or so I've see with other guitar pedal manufacturers.
- I've managed to get the 486 to work as a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) using Cakewalk Pro 4.5 Digital Audio under 95 using PIO-4 mode drivers on my VLB HDD controller and fast ATA, SATA, and SATA SSD drives. Just the fact I can render CD Quality audio on a 486 almost as easily as a modern PC is kind of surprising.
- I still prefer GFX-II for pixel art and lo-res retro PC graphics. I also use it to dabble in making new games for these old boxes.
- NES ROM Hacking....all my old tools still work and work well.
- guitar tablature & composing (RandyTab is my friend)
- MIDI stuff (programming keyboards, guitar effects units...etc).
Now if I could just finish stuff and actually release it. I swear I must have one of the busiest retro-pcs still running outside of gaming.
My DOS Boxen
85' Tandy 1000(a)- 8088/4.77, 640K, 8gb XT-IDE, TGA, 3-voice
89' GEM 286 - 286/12 w/287, 6MB, 1GB SCSI, 2XCD-ROM, ET-4000 1MB, SB Pro2
Creeping Net 486 - 486DX4100 WB, 128MB, 512K L2, 15GB+40GB, S3 809 2MB VLB SVGA, SBAWE64