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Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: November 12, 2019 05:00PM
So I broke down and bought a cheap chinese CNC laser engraver/cutter... and it appears that my home copy of VMWare Fusion is so far out of date it's probably permanently @#$%&.

So I'm thinking, how about one of those "Mini-PC's"?

It needs to have a USB port, I'd prefer it to have an old Parallel port too (for another CNC project I have in mind for later). It doesn't need much RAM, and it doesn't need much storage beyond what the OS needs.

It just needs to run Windows XP/7/8/10... preferably one of the latter 2.

Again, does NOT need much horsepower... it's going to feed plain text data to a USB device... A complicated G-Code program would be a few dozen pages.

Suggestions for a sub-$300 solution for this $200 engraver, anyone?

And, FYI; this is the engraver I bought... [www.banggood.com]
It should be here in a month or so.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2019 05:02PM by Paul F..
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: Cary
Date: November 12, 2019 05:05PM
Why don't you buy a used laptop - a ThinkPad T series of Dell Latitude would work great.
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: November 12, 2019 05:12PM
Buy used or surplus. I bought a Dell OptiPlex with a Core2Duo for $25 last year for an arcade cabinet project.
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: November 12, 2019 05:18PM
Cary and Will Collier;
Both reasonable ideas! I'll check out both.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: clay
Date: November 12, 2019 05:20PM
Tons of cheap sub-$100 PCs on our local Craigslist
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: November 12, 2019 05:33PM
Newegg has refurb laptops with Windows for under $200, depending on how low your standards are. I still won't buy Lenovo/Thinkpads even though it's been at least 3 years since they were installing OEM rootkits to reinstall crapware.
[www.newegg.com]

Some new hardware may have problems running WinXP or 32-bit programs. A bunch of my old games (2000 to 2008) won't run on my laptop with a 6-series Core i7.



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: November 12, 2019 05:54PM
Quote
Paul F.
I'd prefer it to have an old Parallel port too (for another CNC project I have in mind for later).

For a parallel port you will probably either have to find an old PC or add it through a card. There also at one time were USB to parallel adapters sold, but I have not seen one in years.
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: rz
Date: November 12, 2019 06:25PM
I went to an auction this past weekend where they couldn't get a $10 bid for 12 PCs. That was for all of them, not per PC. From the looks of them, they all should have at least run Win 7. Not sure about 8 or 10 though. Of course, you'd need to supply the OS.

Craigslist is your best bet. Find one that either comes with the original discs, or has a recovery partition.
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: testcase
Date: November 12, 2019 06:34PM
Have you checked your local Salvation Army / Good Will stores?
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: space-time
Date: November 12, 2019 10:21PM
parallel port is the deal killer, otherwise I would have suggested a Raspberry Pi, I know people use those to run 3D printers, basically to feed G-codes to the printer, so I would assume one could tweak the software to run this laser engraver. But I am not sure if you can find adapters for the parallel port... so yeah, get an old Windows machine.

But how can they ship that from China to US for less than $2? You could not even ship that in town, let alone across US or abroad. Heck, you can't even get that moved from one office to another for just $2.

US$1.86 via USA Priority Mail
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: November 12, 2019 11:45PM
Quote
space-time
parallel port is the deal killer, otherwise I would have suggested a Raspberry Pi, I know people use those to run 3D printers, basically to feed G-codes to the printer, so I would assume one could tweak the software to run this laser engraver. But I am not sure if you can find adapters for the parallel port... so yeah, get an old Windows machine.

But how can they ship that from China to US for less than $2? You could not even ship that in town, let alone across US or abroad. Heck, you can't even get that moved from one office to another for just $2.

US$1.86 via USA Priority Mail

Well, the Paralell port is kind of a brass ring... I could live without it, but it would make another CNC conversion I was mulling over easier. If it helps you wrap your brain around the shipping, the whole thing comes broken down into pieces and in a much smaller box. Plus, the sum of the parts is worth about $30 less than the purchase price, so I'm sure a good bit of that is subsidizing shipping.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: Bernie
Date: November 13, 2019 04:41AM
Late to the party.

Remember I used to talk to many machines with a laptop and a dock for the older stuff. This worked on Dell laptops that shipped with Windose 7 and we would image XP and our other needs.
PRO4X



It attaches to the bottom of lap top and is portable.

A docking station my work for you and they are more plentiful.




Staunton, Virginia
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: Michael
Date: November 13, 2019 04:51AM
Quote
space-time
But how can they ship that from China to US for less than $2? You could not even ship that in town, let alone across US or abroad. Heck, you can't even get that moved from one office to another for just $2.

US$1.86 via USA Priority Mail

Here's an explanation and also that cheap shipping from China might be coming to an end: [www.theatlantic.com]
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: BernDog
Date: November 13, 2019 07:06AM
Aren’t there USB-parallel adapters?
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: Bernie
Date: November 13, 2019 07:24AM
USB adapters are not for the faint of heart. Device manager assigns it to port 7 and the older software only sees 1 or 2.

With many adapters and softwares this can become a major headache.




Staunton, Virginia
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: November 13, 2019 09:53AM
However a PCIe card to provide a parallel port is about the same price, and some include serial ports as well if you need those.
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Re: Smallest, Cheapest, PC to run Win XP/7/8/10 as a "one trick pony"?
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: November 13, 2019 12:24PM
Quote
space-time
...
But how can they ship that from China to US for less than $2? You could not even ship that in town, let alone across US or abroad. Heck, you can't even get that moved from one office to another for just $2.
US$1.86 via USA Priority Mail

1874 Treaty of Bern established the Universal Postal Union
discussed earlier

Also, companies like OrangeConnex bring in air-freight containers from PROC,
and mail individual packages from within the USA. They have contracts with the
USPS just like UPS & Amazon.



39°36'17"N 75°44'43"W

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