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I have a bunch of old CPUs lying around in my house... Most of them are Pentium D or Pentium 4's... Is there a simple way in which I can bunch them together and build a better computer? Or anything I could do to put themm to a good use?

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closed as not constructive by random Nov 9 '11 at 5:04

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2 Answers

The best way to put them to good use is either to assemble them in to a fully working computer and give to a charity or alternatively, sell on eBay and donate the money!

I wouldn't recommend mixing CPUs (and not sure you can from different generations) but you may find an entry level server board which can take multiple desktop grade CPUs. However, for the price (and cost of electricty usage) you are probably much better off in the long run simply buying a new Core based machine which should be a lot faster than several older CPUs.

As for clustering, if you are actually talking about splitting a single computer workload out amongst other machines, it is technically possible (see here (Beowulf Cluster) but the latency involved makes it not very practical for every day usage.

The only time I would recommend or can see a benefit is for actual heavy workloads such as rendering or similar where you usually have the ability to install agents and split workloads. However, again, you have to look in to the true cost - Whilst it wouldn't be as much fun, it would probably cost less in electricity and time to do one hours work on a Core I7 based machine than 2 hours on 3-4 Pentium 4 based machines.

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+1 Excellent answer –  sabertooth Aug 13 '10 at 19:59
    
As AJ said. Because computing power per dollar increases exponentially, and power consumption per processor-dollar decreases, it is rarely worthwhile, either economically or ecologically, to continue using very old computers. –  Gilles Aug 13 '10 at 20:52
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Check this out: Building Your Own Super Computer. It will teach you about setting up a cluster of older machines to work together.

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