MacQuarium Goes Intel...
baisley at alumni.rice.edu
Tue Dec 2 18:59:55 PST 2003
Someone asked who builds their own anymore (who buys MS, and a few related
questions). The day after Thanksgiving was just such a day for the women in
the house. I've built so many machines I lost track, but I wanted them to
experience the joy before it goes the way of cottonginhaxoring.
This latest system started out as a relatively modest affair to add Office XP
to the tools available for some college classes that required it. It ended up
as a toy that wouldn't embarrass the average gamer/case modder. It all
started with the motherboard.
After reading endless Tom's Hardware reviews, I settled on the Intel 875
chipset, realized in the form of the MicroStar Neo-FIS2R. It's got all the
niceties like USB2.0, Firewire, 1000BT ethernet directly piped to the CPU,
ATA-100, ATA-133, SATA. And, the 875 Northbridge chip has a fan with
3-colored leds, the review said. I didn't much care one way or the other.
But when I went case shopping, I thought I should look at the models with
windows in the side, too. I wasn't going to pay extra for it, but I wouldn't
rule it out. Turned out the best deal at Global/Systemax/Tiger Direct/Dartek
(their warehouse is 15 minutes from home) happened to have a window, and then
some. 3-colored leds on the exhaust fan (and I had to add a second, you
know). Blue led-lit pillars on the front. And an olympic flame (or is it a
steaming cup of Barrera?), um, light stage I guess you'd call it, with a
multicolored led. Its colors range over the rainbow about every 8 seconds.
Kind of reminds me of the motor-driven wheels and spotlights people used on
their Christmas trees in the 60s.
And then the fan on the motherboard turned out to have 3 pairs of leds which
gyrate through various patterns about every 3 minutes.
The whole thing has become quite marvelously tacky.
http://www.unicom-pc.com/files/cases.htm (4th one down)
2.8GHz 800MHz FSB hyperthreaded P4
1 GB PC3200 ECC ram
AOpen 48X CDRW+DVD drive
I/O Magic 4X DVD+/-RW drive
Sony SDM-X73 1280x1024 LCD Two Tone Gray 17" DVI Monitor, 16ms response time.
Not the 23" Apple Cinema Display, but a very nice monitor for $460.
The system disk is a WD 120GB 7200RPM 8MB cache unit I got over the summer
when Office Max had a $100 rebate. About $71 after taxes.
And for no good reason at all, I got the All-In-Wonder Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB
8XAGP video card. Now I can time-shift .hack//Sign. I can have live TV
wallpaper, which is like being drunk except it lasts longer. I can stay on my
old 266MHz W98 machine paying bills while the kids play.
Most of it I got via newegg.com, a very good experience. The case, monitor
and the DVD were local/Global purchases. ;-)
Should I get bored with that much horsepower, it's apparently possible to
overclock the system from 200 to 250MHz. That gives it a FSB speed of 1GHz
(who needs Rambus?), and the processor then goes to 3.5GHz. I'll need more
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