When is It Time to Get a New Computer?

As I mentioned earlier today my computer is somewhat limited in capacity.

Thing is though; it works. If any part of the hardware would fail it's not really reparable, but I happen to have another computer just like it (a hand-me-down) as a spare.

It's a trade-off to have a computer like this. The model is rare enough that there aren't drivers for all of the hardware. WiFi has never worked on it. When I first installed Linux on it I chose Raspbian, which I later switched to Debian proper. Strangely enough Raspbian had more drivers I needed than Debian. I had to copy some over. Sound started working when I switched to Debian, though.

WiFi still didn't work, but that's alright. I've always had a USB network card for it.

Limitations keep piling up, however. I upgraded from Debian 11 to Debian 12 a couple of days ago and sound stopped working again. I've used it without sound before. I'll manage. It's just a nuisance.

Before the upgrade I had just installed Blender 3D. It kept crashing all the time and I don't know why; I just know that it wasn't an OOM error. This was part of the reasons I chose to upgrade now. I was hoping a newer version would work. As it turns out there is no newer version available for me. Blender is no longer compiled for 32-bit x86 CPUs even for Debian. I made a couple of attempts compiling it myself but somewhere along the way it tries to fetch stuff from some subversion server and can't find whatever it is for 32-bit x86 CPUs. Obviously.

When is it time to get a new computer? If I get a new and better one I'll stop using this one. There's just no reason to stick to it any more. That means discarding perfectly functional hardware. And not just one at that; the spare would also go. One of them can find a second life as a learning/playing tool for a kid. From experience I can tell that it won't last long, but at least it'll be a little while of extra use.

I certainly won't find anyone willing to take it on as their primary computer.

These were manufactured in 2015 and 2016/2017 respectively. They haven't lived long enough to justify the environmental impact of their construction. They'd have to be in use for another 20 or so years for that. Each.

Obviously that's completely unrealistic. Is 8 years close enough? The spare has only seen 2-3 years of active use. Is it okay to let something like that go?

My employer has a used computer initiative where employees can buy discarded computers for €80 as and when they become available. I've put myself down on the waiting list for one. Alternatively I could get a fully refurbished one with decent specs for about €120 from a company that sells them.

I don't know... There's some stuff I'd like to do that I just can't do with this computer. Using my work laptop would probably be considered okay, but I'd rather purge it from anything personal to be honest.

Am I being overly anxious and environmentally conscious?

-- CC0 Björn Wärmedal