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What to do with old pc's : dumb tablet terminal??

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I have two really old desktops (machines 7 and 8 !!) with wired internet upstairs in the spare bedrooms, which I keep lying around as they are still actually perfectly fine for lite internet browsing and email checking, old games, etc..especially when we cant sleep and don’t want to go downstairs!...or simply have visitors. One runs XP on a Dell P3 500; the other Win98 on a Dell P2 300..

However I recently needed to redeploy some stuff, and now I am short two monitors.

I am hesitant to lay out $$$ for two new monitors... As well, the towers and keyboard and monitors are bulky. While I can just chuck it all, I hate to throw out perfectly working stuff. THought of other uses, but small hard drives make them useless for backup or as a file server (and I have other hardware for that purpose). I don’t know anything about Network Access Server s (NAS) but again these are old, so likely not suitable.

As I have wired access to both machine and I can still access the machines remotely for my other PCs. Ideally, I would love to throw these lan/internet connected machines in a closet (no keyboard no monitor) and remotely access them via a wired or wireless/Bluetooth ‘device’ to act as keyboard/monitor.

I guess this is what a tablet is…..but that would be far too costly. However, I don’t need a “smart” tablet….just a dumb one, ie a "tablet terminal", that would wirelessly access those machines. Even a wired device would be okay! Does such a thing exist???
I haven't seen virtually any bluetooth devices that would act as a monitor to another system. I've seen a few 'dumb wireless tablets' in the industrial space, but they aint cheap. I dont really think such a thing exists, at least not in the consumer space, and nto at any sort of reasonable cost. Can't really wrap my head around what the point would be. In this case, you'd be better off just buying a cheap tablet/laptop and RDPing into the machines - but again, for what end? The tablet would probably be more powerful. What is it exactly you're trying to accomplish? Although being able to wirelessly remote into those machines would be cool, unless it serves a specific purpose, the novelty would wear off in about 5 minutes.

Some other ideas:

- A powerful router/firewall with something like pfsense? Just add some NICs and you're good to go. 300/500MHz would be sufficient for home use.
- Perhaps a music server? You generally don't need much to stream some MP3's. I has an old celeron 667 that did that once just fine.
- Perhaps add a big USB hard drive and use it as a backup server that runs at night. Throw on asterisk and you have a fully featured PBX / voicemail server... With a big external HDD, you could do lots of things with it that require storage but not a lot of speed. I used to have an old system like this at work that just held Ghost backups.
- Lots of Linux distros that would run well on there and could act as a decent server for any number of purposes (SFTP, LAMP, etc).
- Test systems for various things.

And the list goes on.
If you don't really need them and they aren't usable without investing more money in them one way or another, then either donate them or recycle 'em.

I had a few similar desktops sitting around for a few years and a few months ago decided to try to upgrade them. Long story short, technology has marched forward enough that I coudn't even use the power supplies and cases! Ended up taking advantage of BestBuy's free recycling program...
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