A few days ago I bought a new computer. As a survey I went straight to Ars Technica’s System Guide from August 2007. It’s the best guide I’ve seen, enumerating the pros and cons of every part. They always give three configurations: Budget Box, Hot Rod and God Box. I went for the Hot Rod for two reasons:
- I don’t need a God Box, which is mostly for gamers.
- While the retail prices here are about the same as in the US, we don’t have rebates so the prices are eventually higher.
Trying to follow the suggested configuration of the August 2007 Hot Rod, the configuration of my new computer is:
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R (142$)
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Retail (235$)
- RAM: 2GB PC6400 DDR2-800 SDRAM (73$) – in two 1GB DIMM modules
- Video: Gigabyte GV-NX86S256H (NVIDIA 8600GTS) (217$) – here I chose a cheaper model than the suggested one by Ars because the model they suggested was considerabely more expensive and I really don’t need that kind of graphics power.
- Sound: on-board – I decided not to buy a sound card because the on-board one should be enough for me and I also have Sound Blaster Audigy at home, which I’m very happy with.
- Network: on-board
- Hard Drive: Western Digital Raptor 10000 RPM 74GB (203$) – I decided to follow Jeff Atwood’s advice and get a 10000 RPM hard drive, which costs more and has less space, but I have my old hard drive for the non-boot partitions and it should be enough. In any case, considering that the hard drive is the computer’s bottle neck these days, I think it will prove to be a good choice.
- Optical Drive: Pioneer DVR-212 DVD±/CD-RW (44$)
- Case: Compucase HEC CI-6919B-NPS (61$) – when it comes to cases, I have no idea. I took something that is not the very high end but is supposed to be good, strong and quiet.
- Power Supply: ThermalTake TR2 550W (101$) – power supply is also something I have no clue. I took a power supply that is quiet and has good support here in Israel in case something goes wrong. Again, this isn’t high end stuff, but probably good enough to last.
Like the title of this post says I decided to finally switch to Linux. I ran Linux a few years ago on a dual boot machine, but had no Internet connectivity back then (USB ADSL modem, not compatible with Linux) so I didn’t do much with it. This new machine should be completely Linux compatible, my cable modem should support Linux (I specifically asked for one) and following my experience with Linux at work I think it would be a better choice over Windows.
I’ve been a Windows user since Windows for Workgroups 3.11. I enjoyed playing with it, was excited about Windows 95, happily used Windows 98 until Windows XP arrived and currently I have Windows XP installed on my home computer. Windows Vista’s pricing is a big turn-off for me, and it offers no exciting feature for me both as a user and as a developer. While .NET is advancing and C# has exciting features, I am no longer on the Microsoft technologies path, which requires you to always remain updated even in terms of programming language (I’m not a Magpie developer, even though I do enjoy advances in computer languages). I think I’ll continue to run Windows XP in a virtual machine on my new Linux box, just for the “must have” stuff.
I plan to install Ubuntu Linux. I believe it’s the safest choice these days, considering that it’s a very popular distribution and has a vibrant community with a lot of support. It also has a strict release schedule that promises new, better versions with an upgrade path that guarantees I won’t be left behind with an old version of Linux.