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Reusing my older Computer: What should I use it for?

Hi,

I apologize if this is the wrong section. I'm looking to reuse my older computer, since I built a new rig.

Here are the specs of my older computer:
AMD Athlon II X4 620
NVIDIA GTS 250 512MB
8GB DDR2 RAM
1.5TB Seagate Hard Drive
550W OCZ PSU

I'm looking into what I can use this machine for, and have thought of the following:
1. Using the machine to record TV shows - this seems impossible, because I have DirecTV Satellite. Turns out, a TV Turner card will not work with Satellite.
2. Setting up a file storage network, so I may backup files onto the large hard drive, and share them with the family through my wireless router.

I'm really NOT a fan of Windows, and are more a Mac guy (I run OS X Lion on my new rig), so I think I'll be going with either Ubuntu or Linux Mint. I haven't used either in years, but I'll adjust easily.

I really want to use this machine for something, but I only have one desk/keyboard/mouse/monitor. Is it possible to setup this computer on my network - and be able to control it on my primary computer through the router? Something similar to TeamViewer, but that allows me to control the entire computer, and goes through my wireless router. If I were to do this, would it be slow/laggy? Or will it run as if it were connected to my monitor? I can indeed hook my primary computer and it up via ethernet - providing a very fast transfer speed.

I'm open to any ideas, and will consider all suggestions. Please, for the love of my older computer, find me a use for this machine. I don't want to see it going to waste!

Thanks!
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  1. Best answer
    1. You can record shows from DirecTV. Typically you put an infrared blaster in front the direct tv control box you currently use -- this allows your PC to change channels on the direct TV box. Then bring STD def TV into a video capture card. If you have a win7 system with MCE this is fairly easy. DirecTV box goes out using Coax to your tuner card.
    2. Setting up a file server is also doable. Consider one of the linux dedicated loads to act as the server. If you google Linux and file server you'll get a lot of hits like this one. http://www.turnkeylinux.org/fileserver
    3.Google KVM switches. They allow you to use one set of Keyboard, Video and Mouse to control mulitple PCs. Or just use get up the pc with everything attached and remove it. If you are using your PC to record TV then the video will be the TV set, and you'll want to get a wireless keyboard/mouse so you can sit across the room and still interact with your PC.

    Other suggestions: This PC is still a VERY desirable PC. You can get a few bucks on ebay, donate it to a scout troop, give it to a friend/family, etc.
  2. Best answer selected by Colton127.
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