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Author Topic: New Mojo Coming
Erbo
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Icon 1 posted April 28, 2006 22:10            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A couple of weeks ago, I made plans for a set of upgrades to my home workstation, thinking I might have to save up for it for months. Well, today, a benefactor gave me the ability to realize these dreams right away...and I put through a big order to Newegg for all the parts for what has now become a new system build.

Herewith the parts for the new system:

Case: Cooler Master Centurion 5 mid-tower case. When this became a full system build, I needed a case; this one was on special (free shipping), and it looked good to me. A mid-tower size should give me plenty of room to work, and it has front-panel USB ports. No fancy windows or lights, but then again, this is a workstation, not a farking fashion statement.

Power supply: ASUS Atlas A-55GA ATX12V 2.0 550W power supply. That should be more than enough juice for anything I can ever think of to do with that system.

Motherboard: ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 Socket 939 ULi M1695 ATX AMD Motherboard. This mobo is really inexpensive, but has a ton of options: built-in SATA ports, AGP and PCI Express video slots, and built-in surround sound and Ethernet. It gives me lots of options for future enhancement. And most of the onboard devices are supported in the standard Linux kernel, except for a couple that have drivers that are "on the way in."

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 2000MHz HT Socket 939 Processor. I originally specced out the 3000+, but the 3200+ was on sale and should give me a teensy bit of extra oomph.

RAM: Corsair XMS DDR400 (PC3200) SDRAM, 2x512Mb. This'll give me a gig of dual-channel RAM, while leaving two slots free on the mobo to expand to 2 Gb later. It's all about options.

Video card: Sapphire 100158L Radeon X1600PRO 512MB GDDR2 AGP 4X/8X card. This is far more card than I'll really need for the moment. I chose ATI over nVidia because it's slightly more compatible with Linux. The mobo gives me the option of switching to a PCI Express card later.

Disks: 2 Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA drives. I originally specced Maxtors (in this size), but they were out of stock, and these were on sale. I'm not going to RAID them; one spindle will be for Windows, one for Linux, to keep them from stomping on one another. I'm planning on doing some clever partitioning.

Optical Drives: LITE-ON Black ATAPI/E-IDE DVD-ROM Drive, LITE-ON 16X DVD±R DVD Burner W/5X DVD-RAM Write Black ATAPI/E-IDE drive. I run two optical drives in my present system (DVD-ROM plus CD burner) and it's a really handy thing to have. Besides, they're cheap. I will probably use the read-only drive most of the time, to save wear and tear on the slightly-more-expensive burner.

Floppy Drive: Samsung Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive. El cheapo, but one of these is still necessary. I could've got the fancy one with a built-in USB 2.0 card reader, but we don't use that much stuff that has memory cards. Only the digital camera...and the front-panel USB ports should make it easy to just plug that in.

And finally...one Windows XP Home Edition OEM install disc. Hey, I need something to run games on, including that copy of Civilization IV my brother sent me that I can't even play on my present system. My existing Windows license is Win98SE, and, on this monster, that just ain't'a'gonna cut it. But I do want to get XP now, before Vista comes out and XP becomes impossible to find. (My Linux install, of course, will be Debian unstable, but that can be downloaded directly off the Internet, assuming I can build a boot disk with the right Ethernet driver.)

Once the parts arrive, then I shall assemble the machine that will be called...Sangruse. (Named after the nanotech entity that's the real main character of Jeff's book The Cunning Blood.) I'll probably do a pictorial of the assembly, for posting over on Electric Minds.

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted April 29, 2006 11:50      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So what does a box like this cost over in the states now?

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"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

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Flashfire
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Icon 1 posted April 29, 2006 12:00      Profile for Flashfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Erbo:

Floppy Drive: Samsung Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive. El cheapo, but one of these is still necessary. I could've got the fancy one with a built-in USB 2.0 card reader, but we don't use that much stuff that has memory cards. Only the digital camera...and the front-panel USB ports should make it easy to just plug that in.

Ah, the true sign of a computer geek. "It may be a piece of obsolete technology, but darn it! It's just not a computer without one!" [Wink]

Seriously, congrats on the new machine. Hope it looks as good as it sounds. (And don't forget to laugh maniacally the first time it boots.)

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"No silicon heaven? That's absurd!
Where would all the calculators go?"
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Posts: 368 | From: State of Denial | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Erbo
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Icon 1 posted April 29, 2006 14:13            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Flashfire:
Ah, the true sign of a computer geek. "It may be a piece of obsolete technology, but darn it! It's just not a computer without one!" [Wink]

Well, some people still distribute device drivers on floppy disk, for one thing...and it's still the one technology you can depend on to boot a machine if all else fails. And it was less than $10, and the case has a space designed explicitly for it, and the mobo has a dedicated interface for it, so why the hell not?

The total price of all the components was just under $1,000. And, as I said, it leaves me with plenty of options. The board has one more SATA port on it for a third drive, if needed. The video can be swapped for a PCI Express board for additional display bandwidth. Another $100 or so would fill those two remaining memory slots for a full 2 Gb of RAM. The processor can be changed out for a faster one, even a dual-core one; Socket 939 will remain relevant for some time to come. And I can plug lots of things into it with USB 2.0, too.

Sangruse may have to last another five years; it's far enough up the tech curve that that seems reasonable.

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Erbo
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Icon 1 posted April 30, 2006 03:11            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
For those interested, Phoronix.com did a review of the ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 motherboard, paying particular attention to its Linux compatibility. With a fairly recent kernel (2.6.14), they reported it to be almost 100% supported, with the SATA II port (the "red port") being the only real exception; I've seen other sources claiming that, by 2.6.16, even that issue has been taken care of. I don't plan to use the "red port" anyhow; 7200 RPM disks simply cannot physically pump out data fast enough to saturate even a SATA-150 channel, so I won't gain anything by using it.

EDIT: I saw the blurb for this topic today...I would probably have phrased it as "Erbo has a New Mojo Coming." "Mojo" is a slang term we use for "computer" over at Electric Minds, short for "mojobox" and related to Hunter S. Thompson's characterization of a fax machine as a "goddamn mojo wire."

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The real Stealth
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Icon 10 posted May 01, 2006 15:23      Profile for The real Stealth   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
ConGrats.

I just built mine a couple of months ago...

I bought the parts on NewEgg to save money but I am not doing that again... Already replaced the case because it was to cheap...went from Al to Steel.

Ill post the specs later. [evil]

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The one and only "§†eal†h the Fallen One"...Between Your life And mine are Three realities, Yours, The real one, and Mine. They they form a bridge shapped in the letters D-O-_-N-O-T-_-C-R-O-S-S.

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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted May 01, 2006 15:44      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've installed about 20 ASRock motherboards, and of those boards, 2 have lasted > 1 year. Those boards are unreliable crap (hence the pricetag) -- I'm surprised you spent the money on things like Corsair and nice WD drives, and cheaped out on the most important part of the whole system -- the mainboard.
Posts: 4897 | From: Cambridge, ON, Canada | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
DoctorWho

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Icon 14 posted May 01, 2006 17:51      Profile for DoctorWho     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just built my new system at the end of March.
My new system: Orion

Mobo: ABIT KN8 SLI Socket 939
AMD A64 FX-55
(2) 1024MB DDR PC3200
Ultra ATX Full-Tower Case Silver
X-2 Connect 550 Watt Power Supply
Plextor PX-716SA / 16x8x16x DVD+RW / 16x4x16x DVD-RW / 48x24x48x CD-RW / Internal Dual Layer Serial ATA DVD Writer
Seagate / 300GB / 7200 / 8MB / SATA-150 / OEM / Hard Drive
XFX GeForce 6800 Xtreme / 256MB GDDR3 / SLI / PCI Express / Dual DVI / HDTV / Video Card
Samsung 913t / 19" / 8ms / 700:1 contrast ratio / SXGA 1280 x 1024 / LCD monitor
Logitech X230 / 2.1 / 32Watt / Black / PC Multimedia Speaker System
Windows XP64bit edition.
Microsft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
Kensington PilotMouse Optical Wireless Mouse
Linux -- undecided leaning toward suse.

Future upgrades: another 19" LCD screen, another GeForce to take advantage of the SLI technology, another 300 GB hard drive, a SATA DVD ROM and 2GB of RAM more.

Oblivion is amazing on this machine [Big Grin]

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Laughter is like changing a baby's diapers. It doesn't solve anything but it sure improves the situation. Leo F. Buscaglia

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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted May 01, 2006 17:56      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
w00t!!! CG's back!!

/me gives CrawGator a big hug

No wonder you were so busy... that's quite a machine!

It's good to see you again. [Applause]

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Change the way you SEE, not the way you LOOK!

Posts: 3849 | From: Lancaster, PA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
DoctorWho

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Icon 1 posted May 01, 2006 17:59      Profile for DoctorWho     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
/me hugs Rhonnie back

I have been around; I have been busy. I am going back to school for my Master of Information Systems through University of Phoenix and my wife is getting her Master of Education in Curriculum instruction.

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Laughter is like changing a baby's diapers. It doesn't solve anything but it sure improves the situation. Leo F. Buscaglia

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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted May 01, 2006 18:40      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How's UP working for you? I've always been kinda sceptical of it 'cause of the heavy advertising. I've wanted to go back to school for something related to computers and/or communication, but wasn't sure if UP had the credibility of other schools like Baylor or Penn State.

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Change the way you SEE, not the way you LOOK!

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DoctorWho

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Icon 1 posted May 01, 2006 18:56      Profile for DoctorWho     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
UOP online is pretty good. They are accredited so no worries there. All of the classes are through newsgroups, so that took some getting used to for me. My courses are all six weeks long. You do alot of group assignments, so you need to coordinate with your team quite a bit. You can take breaks between your classes, but no more than four weeks at a time. If you go there, you get a loan, which is a good thing, because the classes are expensive. They are all quite helpful too. I would say that so far it has been a positive experience for me.
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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted May 01, 2006 19:04      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How soon will you be finished? Must you write a thesis? How do you take exams?

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Change the way you SEE, not the way you LOOK!

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DoctorWho

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Icon 1 posted May 01, 2006 19:11      Profile for DoctorWho     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You write alot of papers and do projects. I have taken no tests as of yet. It's mostly participation based, you have to read quite a bit and make posts that are substantive usually 2 a day four days out of the week. A thesis might be required depending upon the degree you are pursuing. Mine does not.

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Laughter is like changing a baby's diapers. It doesn't solve anything but it sure improves the situation. Leo F. Buscaglia

Posts: 1694 | From: The TARDIS | Registered: Apr 2000  |  IP: Logged
Erbo
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Icon 1 posted May 01, 2006 21:49            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by drunkennewfiemidget:
I've installed about 20 ASRock motherboards, and of those boards, 2 have lasted > 1 year. Those boards are unreliable crap (hence the pricetag) -- I'm surprised you spent the money on things like Corsair and nice WD drives, and cheaped out on the most important part of the whole system -- the mainboard.

I was going on the recommendation of this article on Tom's Hardware Guide; in fact, that's the article that got me started thinking about system upgrades. The Phoronix review I cited above didn't note any particular reliability problems with that or other ASRock boards. The one semi-negative I've seen about them is that their support Web site isn't always clear, but, having dealt with support Web sites for other companies that aren't exactly clear either, I'll chance it.

One thing I won't be doing with the system is overclocking it, though the motherboard does offer overclocking support. This box, running at spec, will be plenty fast enough. If your ASRock systems were O/C'd, that might have contributed to their early failure.

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Erbo
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Icon 1 posted May 01, 2006 22:00            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by CrawGator:
I just built my new system at the end of March.
My new system: Orion

Mobo: ABIT KN8 SLI Socket 939
AMD A64 FX-55
(2) 1024MB DDR PC3200
Ultra ATX Full-Tower Case Silver
X-2 Connect 550 Watt Power Supply
Plextor PX-716SA / 16x8x16x DVD+RW / 16x4x16x DVD-RW / 48x24x48x CD-RW / Internal Dual Layer Serial ATA DVD Writer
Seagate / 300GB / 7200 / 8MB / SATA-150 / OEM / Hard Drive
XFX GeForce 6800 Xtreme / 256MB GDDR3 / SLI / PCI Express / Dual DVI / HDTV / Video Card
Samsung 913t / 19" / 8ms / 700:1 contrast ratio / SXGA 1280 x 1024 / LCD monitor
Logitech X230 / 2.1 / 32Watt / Black / PC Multimedia Speaker System
Windows XP64bit edition.
Microsft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
Kensington PilotMouse Optical Wireless Mouse
Linux -- undecided leaning toward suse.

Future upgrades: another 19" LCD screen, another GeForce to take advantage of the SLI technology, another 300 GB hard drive, a SATA DVD ROM and 2GB of RAM more.

Nice box. SLI (or CrossFire, to use the ATI name for similar technology) is a little beyond my needs at the moment, but everything else compares to my choices fairly well. (Yeah, a little out one way or another, but oh well.)

I've dealt with both SuSE 9.1 and SuSE Linux Enterprise System 9 at work; it's a reasonable Linux distro, but can be a pain in the ass to customize its kernel (which we sometimes have to do, especially since they still ship 2.6.5 kernels). Yet it's often specified as an OS by customers who just absolutely have to have an "official, supported" distro on their cluster. (For those that don't, Fedora Core works just fine.)

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DoctorWho

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Icon 1 posted May 01, 2006 22:35      Profile for DoctorWho     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, I am kind of limited in my distro choice because of the 64 bit processor. Five distros will meet my needs: SUSE, Fedora, Ubuntu, Gentoo & Mandriva. Does anyone here have a recommendation? I would like to pick one that is easy to install and will do non-destructive partitioning if possible, otherwise I will have to get some software to do that. Thanks.

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Laughter is like changing a baby's diapers. It doesn't solve anything but it sure improves the situation. Leo F. Buscaglia

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GameMaster
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Icon 1 posted May 01, 2006 23:54      Profile for GameMaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ubuntu or FC are easiest to install. Ubuntu is debian based, so that would be my choice. As for non-destructive partitioning, there is always fips (if it's not NTFS ... If it is, I'm sure what would work in any distro except maybe Partition Magic).

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Erbo
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Icon 1 posted May 05, 2006 11:16            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, all the gear was supposed to be delivered yesterday, but I guess a train ran late. Now it's supposed to be delivered today...Pamela's at home waiting for UPS now.

"Anticipation...Anticipa-a-tion, it's makin' me wait..."

EDIT: It's here! w00t! [Big Grin]

Now all I have to do is wait to go home so I can start the build...

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Erbo
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Icon 1 posted May 05, 2006 23:46            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
IT...IS...ALIVE!

Right now, the new Sangruse hardware is sitting on our dining room table, powered up and merrily running MemTest86, to exercise the hardware a bit before I start loading system software on it.

It's quiet, too, despite five fans turning (2 on the case, CPU, video card, power supply)...it's quieter than my existing machine, I think.

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