VOGONS


First post, by RetroMaster137

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

I don't think this is the correct section, but I couldn't find any more appropiate... I'm a noob, take it easy with me 🙁

Motherboard: A55BM-K
CPU: A8-6600K
RAM: 16GB DDR3
iGPU: AMD Radeon HD 8570D
dGPU: AMD RX 580 2048SP

Hello. I got a 10 year old PC, and soon enough, it will be time for its retirement. I'd like to preserve this machine though; by doing its maintenance just right, could it last for like, 20/30 more years with occasional use? Just like an old 486 that still works today. I'm not a hardware expert, but I do know I have to replace the thermal pastes after some time, and make sure the machine is not covered in dust. It's in my plans to buy more 8GB DDR3 sticks (the maximum I can find on DDR3) before they get discontinued, a better CPU than this (FM2+ socket, I'm getting an A10-7890K unless I can actually find a PRO A10-8850B), more thermal paste IF it ever gets discontinued (?), and I got some working HDDs stored somewhere. I don't know if should I get another motherboard of the same model before it's too late, just in case.

But what else should I take care of? What kind of parts can die? "Capacitors"? (what are those?) which chips?

For the judgmental people who wonder "why", on the personal side... it's just the best PC I had in my life: Believe it or not I can STILL play many modern games at decent speeds IMHO (I'm CPU bound), there no AMD PSP/Intel ME, and BIOS provides me the necessary switches which means compatibility for old software is completely possible (aside of too much RAM/CPU speed (there's limiters), lack of VESA support from the dedicated GPU (though the integrated GPU works like a charm), and lack of SoundBlaster card (though there's a DOS-based emulator for AC97)). I use Windows 10 everyday, but not long ago I managed to install MS-DOS 7.1, and run Windows 3.11 on it. I bet if I find a diskette drive and necessary adapters I could install MS-DOS 5 and run Windows 1.0 on it.
I'm just not going to find this high level of compatibility on a newer PC.

Reply 1 of 11, by the3dfxdude

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I have a couple of machines in this class. One is 10 and another is 13 years old. These are my daily drivers. I am with you. I'm never going to stop using them. They are decent, modern like machines that still work fine.

I think you may want to consider the possibility of not just hardware, but software, and the chance of Win10 going away. At least for me, my machines have always been linux machines. You might say, what if the cpu gets too old to run current software? Well for example, I already compile my web browsers. I'm not too worried about that. I'll make a stand if I have to.

I don't think DDR3 is going away anytime soon. It had a long life, and these machines are probably still hanging around for much the same reasons. They just work. It's the bigger sizes to max out systems that might be an issue. If you do find a good source of 8GB DDR3, let me know. I was looking for them used in the local area to keep costs down, but so far it doesn't seem like there are much going around in the used market. If I splurge for even more than 16GB total in a system with new DDR3 after I had bought my first 4GB of DDR3 in 2010, that will be a momentus day. Hopefully there is a good stock of them then.

It's stress that kills components. So if you want longer life, make your build less power hungry and over compensate on cooling. You already know about maintenance, that is important to keep stresses down. This may mean less fun for some, but at some point, I think it's nice not spending time to tweak things for performance all the time as is usually encouraged.

Reply 2 of 11, by jakethompson1

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Maybe it makes sense to buy and mothball a compatible power supply. Similar to the +5V Athlon issue, it seems the annoyance is that the ATX standard slowly drifts away. Perhaps 15-20 years from now it will be hard to find something not ATX12VO. Who knows.

Reply 4 of 11, by CwF

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I'm not sure what the DDR3 opinions are about? I do think a few of my current systems will go for many more years, they have DDR3 and none of them have such a low limit. Being actual workstations of the era my biggest has 8 32GB modules. I'd say the ability for quality things to go 20+ years is established.

I used to know what I was doing...

Reply 5 of 11, by paradigital

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
rmay635703 wrote on 2023-11-06, 01:17:

The common 8/16gb limit on ddr3 was always confusing to me, even when ddr3 was current high end cad systems butted that limit instay

Was it ever actually a “limit” though, or just a combination of availability of higher density sticks at the time of mainboard manufacture, and only really testing common values?

99% of the time I find that DDR3 systems will happily go above their paper limits for RAM.

Thirdly, decent CAD systems would have been workstation class machines, likely running Registered ECC/Fully Buffered DIMMs. I myself have a dual Opteron system that I used to use in-period for professional IT workload that has 64GB of DDR2 let alone 3.

Reply 6 of 11, by darry

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

I got an X58 chipset board with triple channel DDR3 when this was new (Asus P6X58D) and initially ran with 12GB RAM, then 24GB RAM when GB modules became available. That board and was replaced with another X58 on (Supermicro, that died in a different way a few months ago) AND got an upgrade to 48GB RAM in 2018. The P6X58D could have worked with 48GB RAM too, if it had not died.

While these were high end boards, they were consumer segment boards, arguably not even workstation class. I am not even sure ECC was officially supported on the Asus one (or if it worked at all).

Reply 7 of 11, by the3dfxdude

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I bought my stuff new, from the typical store for home use. I wasn't buying workstation stuff. If there is an AMD workstation class board that seems reasonably available that is pre-2014 as mentioned criteria above, then I will take a look at that to save for the apocalypse.

Reply 8 of 11, by the3dfxdude

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
paradigital wrote on 2023-11-06, 08:04:
Was it ever actually a “limit” though, or just a combination of availability of higher density sticks at the time of mainboard m […]
Show full quote
rmay635703 wrote on 2023-11-06, 01:17:

The common 8/16gb limit on ddr3 was always confusing to me, even when ddr3 was current high end cad systems butted that limit instay

Was it ever actually a “limit” though, or just a combination of availability of higher density sticks at the time of mainboard manufacture, and only really testing common values?

99% of the time I find that DDR3 systems will happily go above their paper limits for RAM.

Thirdly, decent CAD systems would have been workstation class machines, likely running Registered ECC/Fully Buffered DIMMs. I myself have a dual Opteron system that I used to use in-period for professional IT workload that has 64GB of DDR2 let alone 3.

I'm sure it was common values. You can see that when they share their table of tested capacities. There will still be limits though. What are the signs for capacity that I can wager a guess? Opteron is one class of CPU, that will have different characteristics. But what about Athlon64, Phenom, FX, the consumer models? I poured over many block diagrams for AMD motherboards, and did not solve why 16GB vs 32GB max on a few, besides the number of memory slots. I am thinking right now there are lanes to the CPU, but this is just a thought. I don't make motherboards.

Reply 9 of 11, by acl

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
darry wrote on 2023-11-06, 13:12:

I got an X58 chipset board with triple channel DDR3 when this was new (Asus P6X58D) and initially ran with 12GB RAM, then 24GB RAM when GB modules became available. That board and was replaced with another X58 on (Supermicro, that died in a different way a few months ago) AND got an upgrade to 48GB RAM in 2018. The P6X58D could have worked with 48GB RAM too, if it had not died.

While these were high end boards, they were consumer segment boards, arguably not even workstation class. I am not even sure ECC was officially supported on the Asus one (or if it worked at all).

X58 aged very very well. I used mine for games until last year (running Linux). I still use it for non gaming purposes.
It's a system i found in trash 8y ago and upgraded.

I only replaced if for games by a SteamDeck because performances are about the same but in a portable form factor. (And also is made to run Linux)

It aged well because in the past 7/8 years, CPU performances stayed on a plateau. Without competition from AMD, Intel stopped to move forward. And they reacted only when AMD released Ryzens.

"Hello, my friend. Stay awhile and listen..."
My collection (not up to date)

Reply 10 of 11, by chinny22

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

Main problem I think will be how integrated everything is. Once something starts going it's getting more tricky to repair.
Not that its a new problem. as far back as 386/486's things that used to be cards like like serial ports hard drive controllers were been integrated into the motherboard, just that it's getting harder to fix but no reason you can't get another 20+ years out of it still.

Reply 11 of 11, by Bruno128

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
RetroMaster137 wrote on 2023-11-05, 19:05:

doing its maintenance just right, could it last for like, 20/30 more years with occasional use?

Hi. Let's suppose your target is to make this system work without component replacement until 2053. Obviously the economical sense of such an asset is nil because it's full of common parts with no collectible value. But let's take as granted that you are serious, after all we are not gathering here for rationality. Besides the following applies to any other computer. Lay out an O&M routine along the lines of:

  • dusting every year (every 6 months if house has pets / harsh climate)
  • nb and cpu thermal paste replacement every 3 year.
  • gpu thermal pad replacement every 5 years.

Run-to-breakdown: all the fans. 120mm fans are not going anywhere anytime soon, no need to hoard them. The tough part may be gpu cooling solution fans with specific mount, so it's a point to consider. Though even if you decide to stock on them ahead the grease may dry over time in storage. Make your inventory and establish a routine for monitoring the stock condition (bearing noise) every 3 years.

PSU may also be a point of consideration though I firmly believe there will still be enough ATX 2.x PSU's in stock by 2040s-2050s. Considering the enterprise market the full adoption of new standard will take decades and even after that there would be adaptors, the same as you can power a BabyAT board with ATX 1.x PSU today. Solution is investing in A-tier 80+Gold or higher PSU now and shop for the next one in 2035-2040, that brings you to 2053.

RetroMaster137 wrote on 2023-11-05, 19:05:

It's in my plans to buy more 8GB DDR3 sticks (the maximum I can find on DDR3) before they get discontinued

It won't be an issue even in 2040-2050 because DDR3 has little defects and isn't even discontinued just yet. Finding secondhand DRAM modules in working state is the least of an issue in building pc.

RetroMaster137 wrote on 2023-11-05, 19:05:

unless I can actually find a PRO A10-8850B

If you are keen on it, set a watchdog and buy just once when it surfaces. The performance gains of medior updates will be minimal.

RetroMaster137 wrote on 2023-11-05, 19:05:

more thermal paste IF it ever gets discontinued

Won't be an issue and it's counterproductive as liquids have limited shelf life.

RetroMaster137 wrote on 2023-11-05, 19:05:

and I got some working HDDs stored somewhere.

Unless you specifically want a spinning drive you shouldn't have problems with cheap SATA SSD storage in 2040-2050, those will likely be produced well into 2030s in quantities enough to make stocks last for 10-15 years. If you want a good mechanical hard drive it's a hunting game that gets harder every year.

RetroMaster137 wrote on 2023-11-05, 19:05:

I don't know if should I get another motherboard of the same model before it's too late, just in case.

It's not a bad idea if you are adamant about this very model. Seen that it's low value those won't be resold as collectible items and will go to e-waste in 10-15 years time.

RetroMaster137 wrote on 2023-11-05, 19:05:

Capacitors

You needn't stock on caps now because those have limited shelf life. There are procedures recapping stuff in a planned manner for extra long storage life, think every 10 years for poly's and 5 years for elco's if you are serious, double if you are lax and your stuff just works.

RetroMaster137 wrote on 2023-11-05, 19:05:

Believe it or not I can STILL play many modern games at decent speeds IMHO (I'm CPU bound)

Steam drops Windows 7 and it will drop Windows 10 in just a 10 years time so it's not sustainable for your end goal. Your options to make it to 2053 is to stay offline with WinXP/7 and use either DVD hard copies or DRM-free releases offline installers from GOG.

RetroMaster137 wrote on 2023-11-05, 19:05:

lack of VESA support from the dedicated GPU (though the integrated GPU works like a charm)

There are indeed VESA modes troubles with newer cards but that goal sounds outside of the general scope. With oldest PCI-e cards such as Radeon X800 you should be ok-ish DOS compatibility-wise but that's probably not the point.

RetroMaster137 wrote on 2023-11-05, 19:05:

and lack of SoundBlaster card

You have 32-bit PCI slot for SB Live!, 8738 or whatever supporting DOS natively.

RetroMaster137 wrote on 2023-11-05, 19:05:

I bet if I find a diskette drive and necessary adapters I could install MS-DOS 5 and run Windows 1.0 on it.

Succeeding in this will be difficult with a usb floppy drive and lack of FDD and IDE controllers. Things like that mostly ended during AM3+ era and SB9xx chipsets for AMD, some 2 years prior to your configuration. Your viable option is FreeDOS.
[/quote]

RetroMaster137 wrote on 2023-11-05, 19:05:

I'm just not going to find this high level of compatibility on a newer PC.

Nothing leads to that conclusion. This system is about as incompatible with old stuff as a modern Ryzen.

My builds: 1995 VLB, 2003 Acrylic
SBEMU compatibility reports