How many PCs do you use/maintain at home?

I feel like my Windows PCs proliferate like mushrooms. Here at the house I count … seven? in regular use.

* My daily driver, a 2016 Acer desktop

* My husband’s daily driver, a 2012 (!) Samsung laptop

* 2012 Lenovo desktop that’s a server for Plex and Windows Media Center (sorry Paul)

* 2011 Lenovo desktop that I use for certain utility tasks, like ripping physical media for Plex

* 2013 Intel NUC that I use in the living room to listen to surround music

* 2016 Fujitsu tablet that’s my main content consumption device

* 2007 Dell laptop that I use for … OK, I don’t really use it. Works fine though (fine being a relative term)

How about you?

A few comments. One is that I love how flexible and adaptable Windows is. I can use a single Windows PC for a great variety of purposes, like the writing, surfing, hobby programming, social media-ing etc. I do on my daily driver. Or I can use a PC for basically one purpose, like the surround music listening I do in the living room.

Remoting is essential to maintaining this fleet. I use Chrome Remote Desktop.

I still prefer a big hulking tower PC for my daily driver. That’s a habit I picked up in … 1995? And when I retire one I typically find another use for it, as with the media server. What’s this about? Easy upgradability is a big factor. A few weeks ago I upgraded the media PC’s boot drive to an SSD and it was a snap. And just this week on my daily driver I replaced an eight-year-old Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 Keyboard. I’m probably going to upgrade the RAM soon, and that will (knock wood) be painless. OK, upgrading laptop memory is likewise pretty easy, usually — although on that old Dell laptop, one of the memory slots is under the keyboard, and accessing it would be a hassle.

I’m having fun. I do nearly all of my work at the office, so most of this computing power is for one leisure activity or another — reading, video, music, social media. But for me maintaining all the devices and the network is also a leisure activity. I enjoy the configuring, the problem-solving. I like devising better ways of doing things and learning about new-to-me technologies, like the MoCA LAN adapters that have really improved my spousal acceptance factor.

I know this isn’t normal behavior. Most people have no patience for malfunctioning computers. Me, I like a good challenge.

Conversation 29 comments

  • kenneth_burns

    09 July, 2020 - 7:06 am

    <p>Whoops, make that eight. I also have a 2017 Acer laptop that I use when I need a laptop.</p>

  • peterc

    Premium Member
    09 July, 2020 - 7:56 am

    <p>Its funny, I had quite a stack of PC's in one form or another which id accumulated, then lockdown came and everyones working/schooling from home now. </p><p><br></p><p>So my son has one of my old surface pro 3 (i5 4GB 128SSD) with my old dock and a 24" monitor/keyboard set up and has converted the spare bedroom as his office, my wife now has what was my current surface pro 5 (i7 8GB 512SSD)) with my other dock/27" monitor/keyboard and a new Lenovo T530 (AMD Ryzen 16GB) Legion desktop set up which has stacks of ram and graphics etc so she can fully work from home for the next year at least and shes using the other actual office room. Theyve both commandeered my 2 Logitech 922 Pro web cams for lessons/meetings etc. </p><p><br></p><p>This leaves me ……. with my Lenovo C530 Legion gaming PC (i7 16GB 1TB) which is a great little beast, but no office/room to work in and an ipad pro to hold video calls on etc. My son wants to use my PC for gaming too at times !!!!! .. so I have the corner of the living room and a little make shift desk to make the most of the time when everyone else is working in their space and I can concentrate…. however even as I type this my son has finished or is taking a break in his work to get on the xbox and game with his mates loudly in a party group except one if his mates headphones broke so he also plays but has to have a web phone call open and on speaker phone with my boy. </p><p><br></p><p>(oh and a broadband connection that can barely handle all of this..)</p><p><br></p><p>It was never meant to be like this….. </p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    09 July, 2020 - 7:57 am

    <p>Not many now. I've cleaned up a lot.</p><p>2018 Ryzen 7 desktop (my main PC)</p><p>2016 HP Spectre X360 (my wife's main machine)</p><p>2010 Sony Vaio 15.6" Core i7 (now running Linux as a test machine)</p><p>2 x Raspberry Pi 3B's (1 PiHole and 1 test machine for Unifi Controller)</p><p>1 x QNAP 453B NAS</p><p><br></p><p>We got rid of a 2010 Sony Vaio 14" Core i3 laptop last year, as well as a 2008 Fujitsu Core2 Q6600 PC, 2007 iMac, 2009 Mac mini and Apple TV (version 1).</p>

  • rob_segal

    Premium Member
    09 July, 2020 - 9:34 am

    <p>I have a 1st gen ThinkPad X1 Extreme. I upgraded the RAM to 32GB and have 2 512GB SSDs in it. It's my daily driver. Work gave me a Surface Laptop 3. I also have a Huawei Matebook X Pro. I'm going to sell it after the first Apple Silicon MacBook is released. By the end of the year, I want to have the ThinkPad X1 Extreme and the Apple Silicon MacBook as my two laptops.</p>

  • evox81

    Premium Member
    09 July, 2020 - 9:46 am

    <p>I have 4 that get regular use.</p><ul><li>Main desktop (i7 6700K from 2016)</li><li>Another desktop pulling server duties for Plex, HD Homerun DVR, and BlueIris (security cams) (Ryzen 3600 from this year)</li><li>A mini-ITX build pulling media duties connected to the living room TV (Pentium G4600 from 2017)</li><li>Surface 3 for some general web surfing/media consumption. </li></ul>

  • gjsman

    09 July, 2020 - 9:50 am

    <p>Get ready for this:</p><ul><li>3x Lenovo 330S laptops for the family</li><li>One MacBook Pro 2017</li><li>One Self-Built Desktop system from 2016</li><li>Raspberry Pi 1, 2, 3, 3+, 4 2GB, 4 4GB, Zero, and Zero W</li></ul><p><br></p><p>And a few older systems:</p><ul><li>3 old Inspirons sitting on the shelf doing nothing</li><li>Intel Galileo + Ti Launchpad + Arduino UNO/Mega</li></ul><p><br></p>

  • wp7mango

    Premium Member
    09 July, 2020 - 11:20 am

    <p>I have 4 PCs in regular use – </p><p><br></p><p>Surface Pro 7 which also docks with my external monitor, keyboard and mouse for a full desktop experience. </p><p><br></p><p>Dell XPS 18 – this is basically an 18" tablet with Core i7 laptop internals, which can be used as an AiO when placed on its stand and connected via Bluetooth to a mouse and keyboard. </p><p><br></p><p>Standard Asus Core i7 mini desktop tower, connected to a 4k monitor, keyboard and mouse. This is my digital audio workstation for all my music stuff.</p><p><br></p><p>Dell 2-in-1 13.3" laptop for my main line of work.</p><p><br></p><p>All of these run Windows 10, all have SSDs, 3 of them have touch screens, and all are really great to use.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

    • paradyne

      09 July, 2020 - 2:07 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#553065">In reply to WP7Mango:</a></em></blockquote><p>Love the XPS 18 and really wish they'd do a modern follow up with a 4k (or better, a UHD+) and slim bezels and modern internals. If they gave it great pen support too, I think they'd have artists biting their arm off for it.</p>

      • wp7mango

        Premium Member
        09 July, 2020 - 4:57 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#553103">In reply to paradyne:</a></em></blockquote><p>Agreed </p>

  • lecter

    Premium Member
    09 July, 2020 - 1:55 pm

    <p>Let's see: </p><p><br></p><ul><li>Intel Gen 7 main desktop PC for daily use and tons of storage in a Fractal Design 804 case</li><li>DELL OptiPlex 990 as my smart home &amp; self-hosted services server</li><li>DELL OptiPlex 780 as my test environment</li><li>Raspberry Pi 3B+ as my presence detection server (and hopefully soon my hydroponic plant monitor)</li><li>HP EliteBook 840 from my workplace </li><li>HP EliteBook 850 from my gf's workplace</li><li>Microsoft Surface 2 for my 4-year old to tinker with (Windows RT's limitations are a feature for such a use case) </li></ul><p><br></p><p>On the way is also a Raspberry Pi 4 8GB for my "smart home to go" solution for when going to a hotel 😀 </p>

  • Stoicjim

    Premium Member
    09 July, 2020 - 2:25 pm

    <p>Intel NUC desktop (8th gen-i5).</p><p>Surface Laptop 3 (primary portable).</p><p>Surface Book 2 (because the Microsoft Store let me upgrade to it for a few hundred dollars after my SB1 developed problems. I will not be replacing it with the SB3.)</p><p>Surface Pro 5 w/LTE (for when I need something light and portable for traveling).</p><p>Surface Go 1 w/LTE (for when I really need something light and portable for going out).</p><p><img src=""><img src=""></p><p><br></p><p>I also have a Surface Pro 3 that my adult daughter gave back to me when I gave her my Surface Laptop 2 after upgrading to the SL3. I dualboot Linux Mint on it for funsies.</p>

  • SWCetacean

    Premium Member
    09 July, 2020 - 3:29 pm

    <p>Recently I've tried downsizing my computer collection. I used to have a primary custom-built gaming desktop, an older gaming desktop that I used as a plex server and remote work computer, a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop that I got to keep when I left my previous employer, and a Surface Pro 4. 4 PCs in all. I moved away from Plex, and my new employer doesn't allow me to connect from non-work-issued devices, so I donated my old desktop to Goodwill. I used my ThinkPad for music listening and web browsing, but it was way overpowered for that task, plus the fans would spin up occasionally even after adjusting the power settings and would interrupt my music listening (my headphones are open-backed so they offer no noise isolation). So I gave it to my sister.</p><p><br></p><p>My Surface Pro 4 still works, though the fan seems to have gotten out of alignment and will make a grinding noise when it runs. But the biggest problem is that it can't hold a charge for very long. This makes it inconvenient as a travel option. Plus it doesn't have a USB-C port so I can't connect it to my USB-C 4K monitor. So I got a Surface Pro X to fill the spot of both the ThinkPad and the Pro 4. The X works perfectly for that role.</p><p><br></p><p>The Pro 4 has been repurposed as a drawing tablet for my wife. She usually uses an HP Spectre convertible, but drawing on that laptop isn't as easy as on a Surface, so she will use the Surface for her diagrams that she makes as part of her work. She also plans to use it to display sheet music when playing her piano. The benefit of the Surface is that the power and volume buttons are on top, so she can place the tablet on its side in portrait mode. The Spectre has its power and volume buttons on the sides, so placing it in portrait mode means that the power button or volume buttons get randomly pressed from the weight of the laptop.</p><p><br></p><p>So now my personal collection is my gaming desktop and my Surface Pro X. We have a Surface Pro 4 shared between me and my wife. She also has her Spectre and her own gaming desktop.</p>

  • hrlngrv

    Premium Member
    09 July, 2020 - 3:43 pm

    <p>There are 6 in the house.</p><p><br></p><p>In my home office 2 mini PCs, one a 2016 Dell Optiplex which is my main desktop machine, plus a 2012 Zotac M-A-G which runs a now very ideosyncratic Bunsen Labs Linux configuration. A 2014 Chromebook (out of support, not updated for over a year now, but squat all stored on it or in the Google Drive account tied to it; if hackers want my reddit and passwords, have at it); someday I'll purge Chrome OS from it an install Linux. My wife's iPad, though maybe that doesn't count. Finally, my son's old gaming PC from ages ago which is in the bedroom we use as a guest room which dual boots Windows XP (it's original OS, which I configured as if it were an ATM, so it was updated through 2018, IIRC) and Linux Mint. Finally, a 2013 iMac my wife uses occasionally in her workroom (she sews and knits).</p><p><br></p><p>I'm not including my work laptop.</p>

  • Daishi

    Premium Member
    09 July, 2020 - 5:24 pm

    <p>(Wow. You guys are unreal)</p><p><br></p><p>Two. Well, more like one and a half really.</p><p><br></p><p>A year old Yoga 730 15, which is my all purpose machine for work, gaming, coding etc. And my wife’s Envy 15 which I think is about 8 years old, it certainly has a Sandybridge processor, which she uses very occasionally and, although she tells me she “loves” it, she winds up yelling at it every time she does. I keep trying to convince her to at least let me swap out the old hard drive for an SSD and put Windows 10 on it, but she’s adamant that she doesn’t want to risk losing anything off it. So on the whole I’m not sure it really counts under the headings of either use or maintain.</p>

  • darkgrayknight

    Premium Member
    10 July, 2020 - 4:06 pm

    <p>That is quite the collection.</p><p>I currently have 9 towers just laying around. I have an older custom built gaming desktop that needs to be updated and isn't currently used. I also have several old tablets of various iterations, some with broken screens.</p><p><br></p><p>Current in use machines:</p><p><br></p><p>Work laptop – HP Elitebook – docked with two more monitors and latest Microsoft Ergo keyboard and Ergo mouse.</p><p><br></p><p>HP Server (still running Windows Home Server 2011)</p><p><br></p><p>Surface Pro 4 – Main travel PC</p><p><br></p><p>Custom Built Game Development PC – i9-9900K 8 core up to 5.0GHz, 32GB DDR4, (2) Samsung EVO Plus 500GB M.2 NVMe, ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER AMP Extreme 8GB GDDR6 256-bit 14Gbps Gaming Graphics Card, Ice Storm 2.0, Extreme Overclock, Spectra Lighting w/32inch 4K ViewSonic – so very, very fast</p><p><br></p><p>Samsung Series 7 Windows Tablet (currently getting it updated — Win 10 Pro 1909)</p><p><br></p><p>Chuwi Windows Tablet w/Intel Celeron N3450 – a bit slow, but running Windows 10 Home 20H2</p><p><br></p><p>also currently building a new PC for my dad to use for music recording.</p>

  • beckoningeagle

    Premium Member
    10 July, 2020 - 5:48 pm

    <p>I have 1 Desktop for Office and Gaming purposes, 1 Intel NUC for Plex Server and VMWare, An Apple Mac Mini just so that I can play around with Apple stuff and help out customers, 1 HP Spectre 360 15"Late 2019, My Wife has 1 Lenovo, 2 HP Spectre for my children, 1 HP Spectre 360 2017 model for my niece. That's 8 computers at home.</p><p><br></p><p>Counting Raspberry PI 4 and a Scale Computing Single node Cluster, would bring the total up to 13.</p>

  • infloop

    Premium Member
    10 July, 2020 - 8:39 pm

    <p>I have ten systems, but four of them currently aren't used often, if at all.</p><p><br></p><p>The ones I use regularly:</p><ul><li>1 Intel Core i7-3770k system – built in 2012 as my primary desktop, and for gaming</li><li>1 Intel Core i5-3570 system – also built in 2012, currently running Client Hyper-V for virtual machines and as a backup point</li><li>3 Intel NUC8i5BEH – one as my main Linux (currently Ubuntu) desktop, two running Hyper-V Server 2016 for virtual machines</li><li>1 Apple MacBook Pro 2015 – as my primary laptop running macOS for Continuity, and for system administration when I am out of the house</li></ul><p><br></p><p>The ones I don't use regularly:</p><ul><li>1 Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 system – built in 2008 as my primary desktop, now running Ubuntu, and occasionally boots to Gentoo from USB for wiping hard drives</li><li>1 Intel Core i3-4130 system – built in 2013 for my mother to use, currently decommissioned</li><li>1 Apple Mac mini 2012 – currently decommissioned, previously was a Hyper-V server. May repurpose back to macOS as a Time Machine backup point</li><li>1 HP Pavilion 8180 – from the 90s that I've kept around to run some old games and software that do not run well on NT-based versions of Windows and today's modern processors, and for nostalgia reasons. Windows 95 stock, upgraded to Windows 98.</li></ul><p><br></p><p>All Windows installs are always the Professional/Ultimate versions for features like domain join, Client Hyper-V, and Remote Desktop Host. Remote system administration is done with Microsoft's Remote Desktop Client, IKEv2 IPsec VPN, SSH, and Apache Guacamole.</p>

  • sherlockholmes

    Premium Member
    11 July, 2020 - 12:26 am

    <p>Currently 1 desktop PC for my son for school. This was my old gaming PC. My wife and I both use a Surface Laptop 3. 13,5 inch, Intel i7 with 16 GB RAM. 256 GB HDD. </p>

  • Usman

    Premium Member
    11 July, 2020 - 7:20 am

    <p>5960X, 64 GB RAM, 2 x 1 TB NVME for work and gaming</p><p><br></p><p>Laptop for mobility for watching movies, VR Gaming or for working around the house</p><p><br></p><p>iPad / Phone for the rest of computing</p>

  • minke

    11 July, 2020 - 9:26 am

    <p>At home I have a traditional big-case PC my son built many years ago that I have wiped Windows 10 from and instead use various flavors of Linux on, depending on my mood. Super easy to open up the case and replace or swap out parts. It has a SSD for the operating system and a bigger 1TB hard drive for storage. Most recently I have been using Endless OS since most of my home computing involves using a browser to access stuff in the cloud. It's funny, but the old PC (maybe 8 years old) running Linux just blows away the performance for my daily tasks compared to other current generation Windows 10 devices I use at work. I also have a Pixelbook that I use daily for the same purposes. However, our household also has several Macbook Airs used by my wife and daughter and an iPad. At work I use iMacs and an old PC daily, so I get to work in most ecosystems. I have zero interest in gaming, and rarely watch anything on a big screen except for the news, so a Roku plugged into a cheap TV does it for that.</p>

  • james_b

    11 July, 2020 - 11:34 am

    <p>I no longer wanted all the clutter so I unloaded almost all of what I had (too much to talk about) and am left with a Surface Pro 6 and a Surface Go. There remains a Lenovo Thinkpad but it's old and I rarely use it; just haven't had the heart to ditch it. The rest is done on my OnePlus phone. I'll never return to a tower… too cumbersome. I want lighter and smaller and am tooling in that direction.</p>

  • StevenLayton

    11 July, 2020 - 2:00 pm

    <p>I clearly have to hand in my "geek badge" as I only have one computer, a custom tower PC running an AMD Ryzen 7 2700X.</p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    11 July, 2020 - 4:59 pm

    <p>My main squeeze is a circa 2010 Lenovo Thinkstation S20 with a Xeon E5530, 8GB, and around 1.25 TB of storage. Windows 10 2004 runs on a 500GB Toshiba EVO 950 SATA SSD. I’ve added a GeForce GT 1030 card for esports titles, World of Warcraft, and Star Trek Online. This machine has handled everything I’ve thrown at it. Mainly it’s productivity and light coding, browsing, gaming, and some virtualization.</p><p><br></p><p>#2 is a Thinkpad X140, a small, rugged model from around 2013. AMD APU powered with 16GB of RAM and Windows 10 1909 running from a Patriot SATA SSD. This system is useless for gaming, but more that sufficient for productivity and browsing. The small screen makes development unsatisfactory.</p><p><br></p><p>#3 is a 2008-vintage Gateway desktop. AMD Phenom X4, 6GB of RAM, and a GeForce GT 710 card. It’s our living room PC. It probably getting replaced this year with the 2012 Mac mini now that Apple has kicked it to the curb. </p><p><br></p><p>Edit: Forgot to mention both a Raspberry Pi 4 and a small fleet of vintage PCs and Macs (Pre-OS X)</p>

  • Vladimir Carli

    Premium Member
    11 July, 2020 - 6:42 pm

    <p>I never counted them :-)</p><p>1) my daily driver for work and gaming is a custom made desktop PC with i9, 32GB of RAM, GTX 1080ti and several hard drives</p><p>2) surface book 2, which was my main laptop but now used seldom</p><p>3) Dell XPS 13, which is my main laptop for work and personal use</p><p>4) MSI gaming laptop 15 inch</p><p>5) iPad Pro which I use around the house and when I travel</p><p>6) in my office I have an iMac 27 inch</p><p>7) My wife personal laptop, a macbook 12 inch</p><p>8) my wife work laptop, a Dell latitude</p><p>9) my daughter has a Macbook pro </p><p>10) at school they gave her a Chromebook that she hates and uses only at school</p><p>11) an old and glorious 24 inch iMac from 2007 which still works fine but is mainly used to watch youtube, Netflix and amazon prime in the kitchen</p><p>12) an old Mac mini which is connected to a projector but used very seldom</p><p>13) my daughters use an old 10.5 inch iPad Pro and an iPad mini</p><p>14) in the house we also have 3 iPhones, one Huawei P30 Pro, one samsung Galaxy Tab 8, 2 Apple TVs, one nVidia shield, one QNAP NAS with 4 2TB hard drives, one PS4, one Nintendo switch, one Xbox S, 3 smart TVs, one projector with screen, one Lenovo smart display, 4 google home speakers, 9 Sonos speakers, 20+ Hue smart lights and smart plugs, 5 ring cameras (3 outdoors, 2 indoors), 4 linksys Velop mesh access points</p><p><br></p><p>I service everything and struggle to keep everything updated and running. It’s the first time I make a list like this and no, it’s not normal. It’s way more than we actually need.</p>


    11 July, 2020 - 8:46 pm

    <p>This one made me look back.</p><p>My count. 2014 Lenovo k450e now using as my plex server. A 2017 Ideacentre 720 Desktop as my number 2 Fallback. And now the 2020 Ideacentre i5 Lenovo just released as my primary in my home office and of course the Yoga 920 to go…</p><p>Need to start spending money elsewhere. You Think. </p>

  • Daekar

    11 July, 2020 - 9:07 pm

    <p>Offhand… 3. My wife's Surface Pro (can't remember which model), an old HP business-class laptop which runs the 3D printer, and my desktop which gets motherboard/processor swaps and new graphics cards as necessary.</p><p><br></p><p>All of them are Windows 10. I tried to run the 3D printer with a flavor of Linux just for kicks, but the software concessions I had to make over Windows was just too annoying to deal with. Blew the Linux install away and put Windows back on it within a week.</p>

  • erichk

    Premium Member
    11 July, 2020 - 10:00 pm

    <p>More than I really "need," but it sure is fun.</p><p><br></p><ul><li>Main Core i7 gaming PC, recently purchased</li><li>Core i5 4690K machine (was my previous main rig) with Linux Mint</li><li>Dell Inspiron laptop, purchased last fall</li><li>HP ProDesk, dual-boots Windows 10 and Zorin OS (a Windows-like Linux distro)</li><li>Dell OptiPlex 780 with Fedora</li><li>An old NUC-like PC I got from work used for signage, put Linux Lite on it</li><li>An old PC with Windows 98 on it, has a K6 processor, got it for free from coworker</li></ul><p><br></p>

  • wolters

    Premium Member
    12 July, 2020 - 11:17 am

    <ul><li>Dell XPS Tower (Primary Home Media/File Server/Plex/Backup's To NAS)</li><li>Surface Book 3 Core i7, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD, GeForce 1660Ti (Main and daily laptop)</li><li>Surface Pro X (Secondary/LTE Laptop)</li><li>Surface Pro 6 (Wife's)</li><li><span style="color: rgb(4, 12, 19);">HP – Pavilion x360 2-in-1 (Daughters)</span></li></ul><p><span style="color: rgb(4, 12, 19);"><span class="ql-cursor"></span></span></p>

  • lindhartsen

    Premium Member
    12 July, 2020 - 11:55 am

    <p>Let's see…</p><ul><li>HP Pavilion 590-p0050 (2018, Core i5-8400)</li><li>Surface Laptop 2 (2018, Core i5-8250U)</li><li>Apple iPad (6th generation, 32GB)</li><li>Mac Mini (2018, Core i5, work-provided and owned)</li></ul><p><br></p><p>It's just me here so it's pretty simple to manage. Recently upgraded both of the desktops to 4K Lenovo (L28u-30) monitors. Use the older Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard on the PC while the newer Surface Ergonomic is on the Mac, wish Microsoft did multi-device bluetooth on that keyboard. HP tower is for heavier tasks (Adobe apps, web work when I need screen space), Laptop when I don't want to sit at my desk.</p>


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