Posts Tagged ‘ nvidia

My first PC build, and why you should try it yourself

I recently bit the bullet and built my first desktop. I’d been using laptops for years because I frequently need to travel or otherwise move my computer around – enough so that I’d like it to be powerful – so I’d invested in beefy laptops that were frequently used as desktops, but sometimes not. I bought a $2000 Dell with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo and a GeForce Go 7900GS – that was a fantastic machine. And my Macbook Pro has 6GB of RAM, a 2.4GHz C2D and a 9600GT (aside – I’m a NVidia man because of the Linux support).

But my Mac laptop spent a lot of time on my dorm room desk, as expected, and it started growing tentacles. By the end of last semester, I had:

  • Power
  • Audio (to a nice set of 2.1ch speakers)
  • Video – mini DisplayPort to DVI, my Samsung running at 2048×1152
  • ExpressCard eSATA card, to a 1TB drive (with VM images, ISOs, Time Machine backup)
  • EyeTV Hybrid TV tuner
  • 7 port USB2 hub
    • USB microphone
    • Another tuner
    • Mouse
    • Printer
    • Keyboard
    • iPhone cable
  • Another 1TB drive, over FW800

Using my laptop as a laptop meant disconnecting everything. Surprisingly, OSX is quite pleasant about it – close the TV recording app, unmount both disks, eject the eSATA card, and Bob’s your uncle. But it was still a hassle – TV wasn’t recorded, and it just felt like I was using it as a desktop. Plus, when I actually was, all my games were sluggish – the 9600GT just isn’t really cut out to run that resolution.

So having come to the realization that my laptop… wasn’t, I decided that my inadequate laptop-as-desktop would be just fine if I let it be a laptop, and that I should get my first proper desktop since 1998 (a AMD K6-3D at about 300MHz with 32MB of RAM and a 4GB HDD!). I toyed very briefly with simply buying one from Dell, but I wanted to have some fun. Read more