11 cheap or free ways to make your old PC run faster

Linux isn’t the only way you can repurpose a computer. Rather than using a pokey PC as a traditional do-it-all machine, consider giving your system a singular role if you have another PC you can use as your primary rig. Let’s look at some ways you can make obsolete computers purposeful once again.

If you’re a gamer, the easiest option for an old laptop is simply to use it to game while you’re away from your main gaming rig. “But Brad!” I hear you wailing. “You can’t game on an old PC!” Ah, but you can with a decent Internet connection. After years of teasing, the promise of cloud gaming’s finally coming true, letting even the most humble computers get in on the action by streaming your gameplay from far-away servers, Netflix-style. Nvidia’s GeForce Now is the best bet for PC gamers, as you BYO games by linking your existing accounts to various platforms. Better yet, there’s a surprisingly full-featured free tier. Google’s rival Stadia is like a (somewhat half-baked) console in the cloud, while Shadow gives you access to a powerful remote desktop, capable of both playing your games and running your software. Amazon Luna recently launched in early access with a Netflix-style pricing structure that unlocks a bunch of streaming games for a low monthly price.

And there’s always Steam in-home streaming if you want to use an older PC as a secondary gaming computer. Steam in-home streaming runs games on your beefy gaming rig, but beams them over your home’s Wi-Fi network so you can play them on other devices. It’s like cloud gaming, but right inside your home.

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