A Compaq Presario V2000 for the Modern Man?
June 13, 2012 1:16 PM   Subscribe

I have unearthed, from the bowels of my closet, a Compaq Presario V2000 that has been dormant for 4 or 5 years. It is in really good physical condition, but I need to know if I can use it for one main purpose: board game design.

Here are the specs for my Compaq:

Mobile AMD Sempron(tm) Processor 3000+
789MHz, 384 MB of RAM
AC97 Data Fax SoftModem with SmartCP
37.2 GB of space
OS: Microsoft XP Home Edition Version 2002 (Service Pack 3)
I currently have Open Office, not Microsoft Office software

Here is what I want to do with it:

I'm starting up a new hobby of crafting board games. I've got some great ideas, but I need to create a good and professional looking prototype that I can play-test and demo. I need to be able to design and print board spaces of various shapes and sizes and design and print cards (think Magic:TG or Dominion... I want the top half of the card to have a picture, the bottom half to have a description and the back to have a design).

I already have a scanner and printer that can handle these needs, so don't worry about that.

Here are my specific questions:

1. What software do I need to purchase or obtain?

2. What hardware or OS upgrades do I need to make for that software to run on my recently exhumed Compaq?

3. Can all of this be done on a budget of $500? If not, what can I expect to pay?

Normally, I would ask my good design and programming buddy, but he is currently off the grid, gallivanting around Morocco to find himself. Therefore, I turn to you. Help me Ask Metafilter, you're my only hope.
posted by Groundhog Week to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
That ram's... prohibitive to say the least
Honestly just buy a cheapy laptop for 500 dollars and then download GIMP onto it
posted by MangyCarface at 1:19 PM on June 13, 2012

Your compaq is going to suck if you attempt to create the graphics on it. You can, however, use it as your "print run controller" by slapping a linux or BSD variant on it and using ImageMagick to construct your cards, et al, from component image files.
posted by bfranklin at 1:20 PM on June 13, 2012

After five years idle, the battery almost certainly won't hold a charge.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:34 PM on June 13, 2012

Also, for $500 you can buy a new notebook computer which will put that V2000 to shame.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:36 PM on June 13, 2012

I used to run Photoshop CS on a machine with lower specs than that, and it was OK. Give it a go with some older versions of gimp or photoshop (photoshop has a 30 day trial period).
posted by DarkForest at 1:38 PM on June 13, 2012

Laptop screens suck for visual design. Make sure to budget for a large monitor if you use the Compaq.
posted by scose at 1:53 PM on June 13, 2012

I'm really thinking you're going to want a desktop publishing program of some kind. Doing layout and design on Photoshop (or GIMP) can be a real hassle. There's an open-source program called Scribus, but it's system reqs indicate your Compaq wouldn't be able to run it.

Nthing the suggestion to get a new lappy, get GIMP for image manipulation, and Scribus for laying out the actual boards/cards.
posted by ronofthedead at 2:19 PM on June 13, 2012

Old machines run old software just fine. I'd look for versions of Corel Draw, Illustrator, Photoshop, or others from the era. Do up the RAM if you can.

You might (or might not, depending on what you use/do) have some issues with file format compatibility, so that would be something to investigate before you get in too deep.

If you can find Corel Draw 8 at a yard sale for five bucks, it would be worth a try. But you might find, as you get into this, that the money you've spent making the project work on the antique may have been better put toward a more modern solution. Personally, I wouldn't think of spending $500 to make a 7-year-old computer do anything.
posted by sageleaf at 2:31 PM on June 13, 2012

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