Monday, 18 August, 2003

Contemplating computer upgrades

It's time I upgraded computers at the house.  My primary machine here is a 700 MHz Pentium 3 with 512 MB of RAM.  This was just a few steps under "top of the line" when I bought it 3 years ago.  It's a good machine, this old Dell, but it's starting to bog down.  Plus, it's big and noisy.  I'm getting tired of listening to it, and the other machine, my home-build Celeron 666 is even noisier.  Finally, this 21" monitor, nice as it is, just takes up too much real estate on my desk.

I'm trying to decide now whether to build my own or buy.  I've been very pleased with the size and silence of the Dell Optiplex SX270 with the ultra small chassis.  I've had one on my desk (a test server) at the office for over a month now, and the only way I can tell that it's on is to look at the lights.  It's quiet.  Top of the line goes for $1,800 or so, which is pretty darned good as far as I'm concerned.

But I'm also looking at the shoebox-sized Shuttle cases I can pick up at Fry's.  They come with the motherboard already installed, although I do have to add processor, RAM, and peripherals.  Still, a couple of those and an external DVD burner can probably be had for $2,500—maybe even including a new flat panel monitor.  The only problem is that I don't know how much noise the things make.  Fry's is not the ideal place to gauge machine noise.  If you have experience with the Shuttle cases, or know of other small quiet computers I should consider, please drop me a note.  I'm hoping to upgrade before Christmas.