One of the strangest things about my job is running a test lab full of the latest hardware. New things are coming in all of the time. As the months pass, Damage Labs becomes an increasingly crowded space that's also brimming with the not-so-latest hardware. I have to keep some amount of older GPUs, CPUs, and supporting motherboards, memory, PSUs, and the like on hand for use in future comparative testing.

Strange person that I am, I also like to retain some examples of each generation of CPU and GPU hardware for the long term. This means, yes, I have Pentium III processors and 3dfx Voodoo cards in storage. Every so often, I'll dust off an old bit of hardware and fire it up for a comparative test. I have ambitions of doing an even longer-term test at some point, comparing a Pentium III or an Athlon 64 to today's newest processors. Hasn't happened quite like I've envisioned just yet, but one never knows. At least Damage Labs retains the capability.

Trouble is, I'm frequently in peril of being overwhelmed by the sheer volumes of stuff that have accumulated over the years. One of my goals for this week is to sift through all of the stuff and decide what to toss. I'll either give it away at the TR BBQ or just take it to an electronics recycling outfit.

I've learned to set guidelines in order to help with the sorting process. This time around, for instance, I'm geting rid of any video cards older than the Radeon HD 5000 series or the GeForce GTX 200 series. For motherboards, the cutoffs are Core ix/LGA1156 and Socket AM3. Anything older is going away.

The exceptions will be, I hope, one or two working copies of a notable product from each generation. So I'll be hanging onto a pair of Radeon HD 4870s to use in potential future CrossFire testing, but the 4850s and such will go into the "out" pile. So will any bulky boxes for the bits I do keep.

This approach, I think, makes sense. But sifting through the stuff is time-consuming work. Given how I'm wired, there's a bit of extra mental effort required just to maintain the right mindset. I keep having to tell my brain, "No, that GeForce 8800 Ultra really isn't worth keeping another few years. We need the shelf space for other things." I'm slowly making progress, but this sort of thing always takes longer than it seems like it should.

Next target: my collection of PS/2-only KVM switches. No amount of USB adapters will make those worth keeping—or so I keep trying to convince myself.

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