Back when I started my GIS research project, I purchased a used computer from Temple University's Computer Recycling Center. To be more specific, I purchased a Dell Optiplex GX270 SFF. It runs a 2.x GHz Pentium 4 and came with 512 MB of RAM (later upgraded to 1 GB).
Shortly after purchasing it, I installed Folding@Home so that it could contribute to the ACM's F@H Community Service effort. My friend Tim Henry thought that the machine would die from a heat stroke. This model is known for blowing its power supplies and for leaking capacitors. I thought it would hold up, so I decided to make a bet out of it. If it lasted a year, then Tim would have to buy 2 tickets to a heavy metal concert and take me. If the machine failed within a year, I'd have to purchase the tickets. The bet was on.
I purchased the machine sometime in September, so the machine had to last until 1SEP2010. I had a scare when the CPU fan died a few days ago -- I thought this might put me out of the race. After replacing it, Tim said that this did not constitute losing -- only a dead processor, dead power supply, or malfunctioning capacitor qualified. This was great -- I was still in the running!
...until I noticed something. After replacing the CPU fan, I noticed that the power supply fan was not turning. After getting very hot, the fan finally loosened up and started turning. This is how I left the machine this past Saturday. It's now the Wednesday after and my machine appears to have turned itself off. The power light on the front was flashing orange. I'm guessing that there was a 'heat event,' so the machine shut itself down. My power supply's good, but the machine won't run for multiple days in a row. Go figure that it dies with 5 or 6 weeks of winning the bet.
And with that, I must admit defeat. I'll get you Mr. Henry! </inspectorGadgetBadGuy>