My new computer
February 2, 2009
A couple of weekends ago, I completed the somewhat quaint task of assembling a computer.
Parts were chosen on a value basis. By no means was I going for maximum performance, but I didn’t go for the cheapest components either. As CompUSA recently re-opened stores in my area, I bought from them when possible.
- Ultra MicroFly SX6 micro ATX case with 600 watt power supply. This was a close-out at CompUSA for $80.
- Asus M3A78-CM motherboard. Again $80 from CompUSA, seemed to be the cheapest motherboard they had with modern technologies.
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 processor. Yet another $80 item from C-USA. The motherboard dictated an AMD processor. This seemed to offer a good price/performance balance.
- Western Digital Cavier Black 750 GB hard drive. $90 from New Egg. A lot of reading of reviews went into this decision, yet it came down to a mental toss of the dart.
- Sony DRU-V200S DVD burner. C-USA had these on sale for $30. Pretty basic. Doesn’t have Lightscribe; to me that’s just something else that can fail. Getting a Blu-Ray drive seemed silly as prices are sure to drop quickly.
- Acer X193WBD. $130 from C-USA
- 2 GB Kingston DDR2 1066 SDRAM. The mother-board accepts up to 8 GB. Didn’t see any need to start maxxing it out just yet.
I scrupulously avoided Vista, so I can’t really say anything intelligent about 7 vs Vista. That said, I have enjoyed using 7.
The only problem I’ve run into in Windows was with the Java plug-in and Firefox. Since there isn’t an official 64-bit version of Firefox, I’m running the 32-bit versions of each. The plug-in didn’t run out of the box. Somewhat foolishly in retrospect, I filed a bug, thinking that it was a Windows 7 specific flaw. However, while Googling around for a fix, I came across a blog post pertaining to the same problem in Vista 64-bit. Following the steps in the post resolved the issue.
I didn’t have any sound when I fired up Ubuntu (apparently due to the on-board sound driver). I fixed it, but don’t remember how (as I’m typing this from Windows, I don’t have the history handy to find the page that contained the solution I used). Otherwise, no issues.