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Sunday, 30 March - link

Computer Hunting

The last few times I bought a desktop computer, I visited a few small immigrant-run computer stores in Silicon Valley. There I picked up my chips and boards and sticks and slots separately and built a reasonably kickin' machine that lasted me for years. I was able to do my own tech support, I saved some money on the whole deal, and I felt more like a digital tinkerer than a pure consumer.

Now those computers are well over four years old - keyboard inputs shot. About the only thing useful in them is the dozens of gigabytes of games and music and pictures I haven't touched since I left for Japan almost two years back.

Now I'm weighing a new household computer.

I've got a two year old laptop - that's about as long as I can go hard driving a machine before my data busts out of the small enclosure and I start having long talks with my sputtering CPU about projects we might undertake if only the beast can be coaxed into a hasty state once more.

My Thinkpad is good enough to support my email and writing on the road for months to come at least. Now I need a machine to store my data when I leave home, a place to archive ~400 megabytes of digital photos taken each month. A machine to play PC games on (my laptop can't seem to handle much after mid-2002). Maybe a device to make music on. And something to experiment with file hosting and system architecture and home networking hubosity.

I have so many smart friends with Macintosh computers. Maybe I would get a Macintosh laptop some time down the road. But between wanting to fire up legacy Windoze hard drives and wanting to play games, I can't go Macintosh now.

Here's what I've got specced out:

at least 2.5 ghz
at least 120 gigabytes
at least 256 megs of RAM
at least a GeForce 4 or ATI 9700 (TX?)

I don't feel like building it again myself - too much else I'd rather focus on. I was considering Dell; I've had some programmer friends have good luck with very cheap barebones desktops from them. I did some searching with independent retailers online, and they couldn't seem to do much better. A Dell system with those specs is around $1200 - but they continually refresh a list of free upgrades and things. Today Dell offered a $200 rebate, free shipping, a free 120 gig hard drive update, and a free 256 megs of Ram upgrade. That pushed the price of what I wanted just $20 below $1000 - strike time! The minimum power necessary to function at an accelerated rate (plus some "Free" stuff I don't want: 6 months of Earthlink, TaxCut Deluxe, WordPerfect Productivity Pack, cheap speakers).

Today I bought a computer, and just about doubled my credit card debt. Now I have to set about figuring out how this machine is going to augment my already swollen income earning potential.

Posted on 30 March 2003 : 15:28 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.