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Posted on 2009.04.12 at 12:30
Current Location: 75409
With a couple of glodowg supplied computers which she had recently replaced herself, I carefully crafted these combination of cases for my core computing environment:

Ubuntu Linux 8.10

  • RaidMax Scorpio 868W Mid-Tower case w/7-fans

  • Cooler Master eXtreme RP-500-PCAR 500W power supply

  • Thermaltake Silent 775D heatsink w/4 heatubes

  • Intel Pentium 4 3.60GHz 800MHz 1MB CPU

  • Intel D915PBL Motherboard

  • 4 x 1GB Kingston DDR2 dual-channel PC5300 533MHz (2.8GB usable)

  • Nvidia GeFORCE PCX 256MB

  • Sound Blaster Audigy 5.1 soundcard

  • Western Digital SATA 36GB 10k Raptor

  • Western Digital SATA 160GB 7200

  • Pioneer SATA DVD/RW

Windows XP Professional SP3

  • Vanilla mid-tower case w/4-fans

  • MAX Power KYP-550X 400W power supply

  • Pentium 4 Standard heatsink & fan

  • Intel Pentium D (dual-core) 3.00GHz 800MHz 4MB CPU

  • Asus P5ND2-SLI motherboard

  • 2 x 2GB Corsair DDR2 dual-channel PC5300 667MHz (3.0GB usable)

  • ATi Radeon HD 2400PRO 512MB

  • Onboard Realtek 8-channel audio

  • Seagate 7200rpm 160GB Barracuda

  • Maxtor 500GB DiamondMax


Each box took approximately 8 hours to build-out and install. The most difficult aspect was the decision making, which was so very dependent upon the hardware and operating system. The Asus board is a much better board, with onboard RAID and a configuration which would *actually* let linux-headers enable Physical Address Extensions (PAE) to see more than the 2.8GB the Intel motherboard limits it to, but I wanted to run the linux box on full SATA, and the Intel board didn't have enough IDE ports to allow for all the drives I was planning to put into the XP box. I also wanted to run the dual 2GB sticks in the linux box, though they'll likely work better under Windows. The Intel mobo also downrev'd the memory speed to 533MHz, locking up the motherboard if I tried to force them to 667 - the Asus handles that speed flawlessly. I put the HD frame buffer in the XP box, as I thought it would better utilized there. And all this happened before bsdcat and I conversed over benefits of the dual-core processor in linux vs. XP. Problem is, only the Asus board supports both cores, and my issues repeat.

Regardless of these minor nuances, both boxes are FAST, FAST, FAST! The Ubuntu linux is running full speed at 3.60GHz addressing 2.8GB of RAM, and the XP box is a full dual-core 3.0Ghz which sees 3GB of RAM. I've never seen boxes load so quickly. My previous 'best box' is now in my wife's hands running faster than it ever has before with 2GB of dual-channel memory, and I tore the RAM out of drax0r's PowerMac G4 replacing my son's mini to a PowerMacG4 dual-500MHz PPC on 2GB of RAM.

Before things got messy

Because everything I needed for my systems were part of other systems, I tore everything out of five boxes and started from scratch, where is where a lot of the time went. There is, in fact, a completely empty bare-metal skeleton of a box, stripped of everything, sitting in the hall ready to be disposed of. Some cases had more slots for fans than others, and I was swapping power supplies, motherboards, processors, heat-sinks, video cards...everything. Of course it will take me weeks to get everything perfect, and I still have enough parts to build-out another usable box in a pinch, albeit slower than these.

Well, it doesn't come often, but I'm all upgraded, and now I won't have to buy a new computer for another couple of years. My wife will no longer have to listen to me curse while she's preparing dinner. THANKS glodowg!

I learn something new and terrible about the Windows Operating System everyday. Today was no different. Did you know that if you delete the "Tour Windows XP" executable you'll receive a "FILE PROTECTION ERROR" and it will ask for the original source disc to restore it? This is especially funny (and by "funny" I mean so fucking retarded I want people to die) because the error suggests that without that tour video, WINDOWS WILL BE UNABLE TO PROPERLY RUN!


joey_glover at 2009-04-12 21:09 (UTC) (Link)
your amount of computer savvy impress and terrifies me.
ehowton at 2009-04-13 16:44 (UTC) (Link)
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
(Deleted comment)
ehowton at 2009-04-13 16:58 (UTC) (Link)
“And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.”
glodowg at 2009-04-13 16:22 (UTC) (Link)
Glad you were able to come up with a viable solution. You can thank mr_dowg for not wanting to deal with the overheating - that and the fact that I refuse to touch hardware when I get home!
ehowton at 2009-04-13 17:03 (UTC) (Link)
The overheating issue was tricky - a new Thermaltake heatsink (which gave me fits installing), some thermal paste, and my 7-fan box. Yeah, its noisy, but I stuffed it in my rack and its running like a champ! THANK YOU mr_dowg!

As for the other, my dad calls it the 'Busman's Holiday' A vacation during which one engages in activity that is similar to one's usual work as it consumed me all weekend long, and then I had to work on my mother's computer while we were there this weekend. I finally decided to build her a new one from my leftover parts. Everyone wins!

Thanks again.
wardlejew at 2009-04-13 18:35 (UTC) (Link)
Posts like this remind me that I really am not a geek. I may be a nerd, but I am not a geek. =)
ehowton at 2009-04-13 21:25 (UTC) (Link)
It was a lot of work. A lot of fun, but a lot of work. My wife now has a screaming ubuntu desktop, and that's going to make her very, very, happy.

Life is good when mama is happy :)
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2009-04-14 03:40 (UTC) (Link)
"...because the error suggests that without that tour video, WINDOWS WILL BE UNABLE TO PROPERLY RUN!"

That is because Windows needs the tour video so it can use it for reference on how it is supposed to run in theory.
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2009-07-15 05:19 (UTC) (Link)
Here's a new box for you. The Russians are strangely crazy about the Nazi's. Have you checked out my friends page lately?

title or description
ehowton at 2009-07-15 06:01 (UTC) (Link)
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