Saturday, 23 August, 2003

A new computer

I had hoped to wait another month or so before upgrading computers, but I needed to re-task my big desktop test server (a Celeron 666).  So on my way home from work yesterday I stopped by Fry's and picked up a new machine.  This is a Shuttle SK41G (no link available to specs on Shuttle's Web site).  Small as it is (11-1/2 inches deep, 8 inches wide, and 7 inches tall), it's surprisingly roomy inside, and the cables are well laid out.  There's room for a hard drive, diskette (or second hard drive), and a DVD.  Documentation is surprisingly good, and I was able to get everything installed with a minimum of fuss.

The motherboard has everything:  diskette, IDE, video controllers, 2 serial ports, infrared comm port, AV and S-VIdeo, 2 USB connectors, 2 1394 connectors, and built-in 10/100 Ethernet.  The front panel has speaker, microphone, USB, and 1394 connectors, which makes it very convenient when hooking things up.  There is one AGP slot and one PCI slot, but I don't know what I'd need to hook up.  Maybe a second Ethernet card if I'm going to use it as a router.

This machine will eventually be my home file/print server, so it doesn't need a whole lot of horsepower.  I put in 512 MB of RAM and an AMD Athlon XP 1800.  Windows reports that it's running at 1.150 GHz.  It was the slowest processor I could get at Fry's.  I scavenged the DVD from my other system (it only needs the CD), and paid a whopping $13.00 for a diskette drive.  The hard drive is a new Maxtor 120 GB unit that, once I get the $30 mail-in rebate, will have cost me less than $80.  I don't know what I'll do with all that space, but the drive was cheaper than the 80 GB units, and only a few dollars more than a 60 GB.  All told, the system was less than $600.

I'm happy with the size of the box, but a little disappointed that it's not a little quieter.  Sitting on my desk, it's as loud as the Dell that's sitting on the floor.  I know that it'll be a bit quieter once I get this one on the floor, but I was hoping for a little less noise.  Still, I'm very happy with the size and the way it looks.  I have Windows 2000 Server on a 60 GB partition.  Until I get the other system (it'll be 3 GHz or faster with at least 1 GB of RAM), I'll use the other half of the drive for installing and playing with different Linux distributions.

Damn, this is fun!