A note to the owners of "old clunkers".
Just wanted to share my experience. I have an old clunker that I like a lot. It's a IBM/Lenovo T61p with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 2.5Ghz CPU, NVidia graphics card, 4GB ram, a nice 1680x1050 display, wifi, bluetooth, DVD ... all the trappings. It's even got a fingerprint reader (which I don't use because it's less secure than a good password).
I bought it in a used computer store a little more than a year ago. By my estimate I paid less than a sixth the initial retail price of roughly $2500.00
Ok it's kinda bulky and heavy by today's standard of the ultra-thin MacBook Air my son uses, but I like it because I'm not worried that I'm going to break the darn thing when I handle it.
I installed Ubuntu (12.04 recently) and it works like a charm. Everything works OOTB (out of the box) ... except the fingerprint scanner, you have to install another package... but that is a niggle.
The battery is old, but I was still getting a little less than 2 hours on a charge, which I consider not bad for a now 5 year old laptop.
So here I was with my old clunker happily chugging along, when I decided to go a little crazy.
I intalled a OCZ 120 GB SSD. Now I know what most are thinking... why waste an SSD on a 5 year old laptop? Well I can answer that with this: SPEED and BATTERY LIFE.
The difference in boot times, and load times is ASTOUNDING. The extension to the battery life is about 25% to 30%. Now please understand that this is all subjective. I did however measure some boot times: Power button to login: less than 30 seconds. Full desktop in less than another 15 seconds (INCLUDING the time to type in my password).
So that is my story. So for those of you who are still chugging away on old hardware and wondering if you can get more life out of it, maybe this will inspire you.
PS: To get the full potential out of the T61p with an SSD, I had to reflash the BIOS with a third party BIOS called "MIDDLETON" (as per the name of the guy who did the modifications) to allow the T61p SATA bus to operate at SATA2 speeds (300Mbps) as opposed to it's original SATA 1 speeds of 150Mbps. The reasons for the initial limitations are technical, but the laptop chipset was designed to operate at SATA2 speeds, so it's not like I am "overclocking" the SATA bus.
Here is the link to the "MIDDLETON" BIOS (which btw works on other Thinkpad models). (note: I have NO affiliation with "MIDDLETON" although his BIOS mod works great.)http://forum.notebookreview.com/lenovo-ibm/459591-t61-x61-sata-ii-1-5-gb-s-cap-willing-pay-solution-8.html
Thinkpad T61p 6460 DVF