It's been drawn to my attention that I spend lots of time making computers do great things (well, mostly work at least) at school, but our domestic IT is lagging behind.
We've got one vaguely modern i3 laptop running Windows 7, but that is business critical to my wife's job, so not available to the rest of us really and is 3 years old anyway. I spend enough time at school looking at a screen to not miss having a decent home machine too much. For the rest, we've got 3 xp laptops, only 1 of which is vaguely operational and a couple of custom build desktops which are all other people's cast offs, so over 5 years old when we got them. Obviously this is more than enough computers, but none of them are really powerful enough to run anything modern. I am well known for being tight, but more importantly, I don't like throwing stuff away which is still useful, just because of the needs of the consumer society.
I can make the machines we've got usable with a light Linux build, but that's still a significant compromise. I'm wondering about converting them to thin clients - something I've thought about for school too - and buying one powerful machine (2nd hand server or a new i7 desktop). Full editions of MS server seem a bit overkill and very expensive. Windows Multipoint server is probably about right but still over £300 plus CALs. A left field option would be a Mac mini with server OS - you can apparently tweak thin clients to work as it's based on standard rdp, but that seems like an expensive risk. Another idea I had was to set up a Linux server as a host for a number of windows desktop vm's.
Trouble is, apart from the last option, which i haven't worked out all of the licence implications for, all of these seem to work out as expensive as two or three half decent laptops.
Anyone else done this kind of thing or have any better suggestions to avoid chucking stuff away or should I just forget it all?