July 2012

June 2012 -- 2012 -- August 2012

July 20, 2012

After over 8 and a half years, I finally have a new computer. I decided to build my own desktop this time, and saved a ton of money in the process. Though I did subcumb to the "Well for only $X more, I could get this much more performance...".

So the final specs are: Intel i5 3570k 3.6GHz processor overclocked to 4.3GHz, a Cooler Master Hyper 212+ to provide the cooling for the overclocking, ASRock Extreme4-M Z77 motherboard, 16GB of RAM, 256 GB Samsung 830 SSD, 500GB WD Caviler Black 7200RPM with 64MB cache, ATI Radeon HD 6850 1GB GDDR5 video card, Blu-ray burner, WiFi 802.11N USB adapter, Logitech MK550 wireless keyboard and mouse, Dell 2412M 24" IPS 1900x1200 monitor, USB3 card reader, and Corsair 300 case. It's about 90% of the best you could get, for only about 50% of the price. I compared to what a Dell or HP desktop would cost for the same specs, and it was about half as much as I paid for just building it myself. For instance the 16GB of RAM cost me $87, but on Dell's website that would cost you $250 to "upgrade" to that from 4GB. Though it's fascinating that if you look at that link from my old computer, just 1GB or RAM for "cheap" was $250. Now you can get 16x that for 1/4 the price.

The Solid State Drive (SSD) is the biggest performance improvement, even if I did 16x my previous RAM and 10x my previous processor speed. But with the SSD, programs now load instantly. I can go from pushing the "ON" button, to running Firefox, in just 12 seconds. It's the single greatest thing I've seen in years to how fast the computer responds. I always felt that no matter how fast computers got, that as long as I had to wait at all for anything to happen, even with my 20+ programs open, then computers were not fast enough. But now, at last, they pretty much are fast enough. Multitasking isn't an issue, and as I said, with the SSD, pretty much anything happens instantaneously, even opening up Word or Powerpoint.

I installed Win7 and Linux Mint 13 (based off Ubuntu) on it, and now that Linux supports NTFS partitions, I'm actually sharing my Firefox and Thunderbird profiles between Windows and Linux. It's incredibly convenient now. And it's amazing how much easier using Linux is these days compared to what I went through in the late 90's. I still remember messing up my filesystem if something hung since Linux didn't have journaling filesystems back then. And having to manually mount any Windows FAT32 partition (since NTFS wasn't even around back then, must less natively supported). And now it auto-detects just about everything, and package dependencies are all taken care of (which RPM never quite did right).

June 2012 -- 2012 -- August 2012