Out of curiosity I spun up my last remaining beige box after ~10 years in lofts/garages. Forgot what hardware was in there, so found a 2002 Athlon XP 2000+ on an Asus A7V-133C (great mobo in it's day), 768MB pre-DDR SDRAM. A rusting Seagate 80GB PATA HDD, that died from the shock of re-animation. Dropped in my favourite Plextor 24x CD writer which gladly still works. So much nostalgia, tempted to restore it into a period-accurate PC, but maybe I've been watching too much YouTube.

This experience caused me to burn the first CD (or any physical media for that matter) since god-knows-when. In fact so old my CD-R stack has discs that only support 10x write speeds. Writing 2020 on a CD-R feels so strange. If only the 20-year-old me could see this.

After reading your post, I checked out my current desktop PC built when I was writing for computer magazines and needed to run several VMs, before most of them went bust.
AMD A6-3670 quad core 16Gb Ram, 2 DVDROM drives built in 2012, changed the hard disk in 2016 to a 1TB.
Still more than adequate for my needs, but might be time for a new HDD.

@wyliecoyoteuk that's still a pretty decent spec. My newest desktop PC is a Core 2 duo @ 3GHz/8GB/128GB SSD. built in 2009, later upgraded RAM/SSD/GPU but is otherwise closer in time to the beige box than today and is still acceptably usable. Could use more RAM and storage and the CPU is a little slow for some more intensive jobs. Apart from GPU my Haswell laptop out-performs it on every level.

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