April 23rd, 2006


New System Specs

So... rather than doing anything productive, I decided to do some research into what I'd want in a workstation (which I'm tentatively calling "siamese"). I don't know that I'll actually get a workstation (I may think about it and decide later I want a laptop), but if I were to get one, what would I get?

This machine should be:

  • At least somewhat kick-ass, but without being incredibly expensive (somewhere in the ~$1500-2000 range is good)
  • Well-balanced (for instance, a quad-core machine with 256MB RAM doesn't make much sense)
  • Quiet (I'll use it to listen to music, at least, if not watch movies and the like)
  • Reliable -- if I have problems with even one component during its first 5 years of life, it fails the reliability test.
  • Running Linux, and only Linux (unless Windows happens inside VMware or something)
  • A good development box (which means at least dual-core -- yay threads)
  • A good library (I have lots of music and anime, and will only collect more as time passes)
  • An okayish gaming machine (if anyone ever gets around to releasing Linux games...)

I picked components by going through Newegg and looking first at the brands and specs -- did the brand seem reliable, and did the product come with a lengthy warranty? Did the specs fit with the rest of the machine (for instance, getting 1.5GB/s SATA drives is silly when the motherboard supports 3.0GB/s)? Did the device fit within a reasonable price range (neither really cheap, nor really expensive)?

I'm pretty clueless about hardware, so I would like you, my lovely readers, to give me feedback.

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And now, here are my questions:

  • Does anyone have experience with the Audigy2 under Linux? I know the first generation works, but what about the second?
  • What is the difference between Athlon 64 X2 and a dual-core Opteron? I couldn't find any explanation of this on AMD's website, and their specs look to be the same (even though the Opteron costs ~$100 more).
  • Anyone know anything about the virtualization instructions AMD is supposedly putting into its newer processors? Can I buy a CPU with that now, and if so, which ones have it?
  • I'm thinking about the SATA version of the DVD burner, but it's more expensive and I'm not sure it gives me any benefits. Thoughts?
  • What sort of power requirements will this machine have?
  • Any case/fan/PSU recommendations? (Keep in mind, the machine needs to be quiet, although I'm OK with reasonably large cases.)
  • Any positive or negative experiences with the brands I've listed? Please share.
  • Can you think of any better brands/products? If this were your machine, how would you change the configuration?
  • Is there anything at all wrong with the configuration of this box?

-- Des
  • Current Music
    A-Ha - Take On Me