PCs For Everyone:Trusty, True & Timeworn
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Posted: 07/06/2008 12:06 PM
Once upon a time, back in the days when I had time and school wasn't all-consuming, my brother and I wanted a computer to replace our aging Pentium 3. We needed a second computer to handle the amount of work we each had to tackle, and of course, it was all about Counter-Strike.
Before going any further, let's delve right into the hardware:
ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe motherboard
Intel Northwood 3.2ghz processor with Hyper-Threading
2x512Mb OCZ DDR PC3200 ram
ASUS ATi 9800XT Pro
Creative SoundBlaster Audigy ZS
Seagate 160GB UltraATA 7200rpm (master)
Thermaltake Xaser III case with a 350W power supply, and overkill red cold cathodes.
Windows XP Professional
Lite-On DVD Drive/Burner
Creative Emu 0404
Seagate 200GB SATA (slave)
Seagate 350GB SATA (external)
Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron
Logitech MX500 mouse
Logitech Elite keyboard
Samsung SyncMaster 226BW (before, a massive 19" Dell CRT)
hp officejet 6110xi
Stax SRM-1 mk2 -> Stax Lambda Pro headphones
NAD Series 20 amp -> 2.2 Cambridge Soundworks speakers
The parts were selected by myself and a friend (an absolute computer junkie), and the computer was assembled by the very friendly folks at PCs For Everyone, in a most thorough manner. The internal cables were so meticulously organized, my friend said it was the cleanest build he had ever seen in real life, online, or even in his imagination (and I had to agree). The Xaser III case was built like a tank, provided excessive cooling with its seven case fans (not to mention the two on the GPU and one on the CPU), and it stunned all at the LAN parties. I could not have been more pleased. Not only were the innards beautiful, but suddenly programs opened within seconds, multitasking became a joy, and 100fps in CS became the norm.
Every year when I see the new Intel and AMD processors, ATi and nVidia graphics cards and general new computing technology, I always feel like I'm missing out. Yet, when I think about it, in every instance in which I've wanted something more, my computer has always been able to keep right up. When I wanted MIDI input and better audio output for my speakers and Stax headphones, it handled the dual soundcards of an Audigy ZS and Emu 0404 with ease. When I wanted more hard drive space, it handled an internal SATA paired with an UltraATA without missing a beat. Even my Linux urges have been satisfied, as I am writing this under Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron. No, I might not be getting the highest score in the latest benchmark, nor can it play Crysis, but realistically, I don't need anything faster in a desktop computer.
So for value, let's look at this. It originally cost about $2500, a hefty price tag. It has been used for about 1500 days. Divide those numbers, and you get $1.67 a day. $1.67/day is a more than reasonable cost for so much utility and entertainment. I have no plans to replace this desktop; it will only become more and more of a value over time.
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