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My new PC

After almost 5 years of usage I decided it was time to replace my trustworthy desktop PC, a HP Pavilion Elite m9060.nl. The PC really started to show its age. It was becoming a bit too slow for today’s software applications, at least to my liking. The limitation of 4GB of RAM set by the motherboard also didn’t help much. Recently I upgraded my 3.5 years old HP Pavilion dv7-1210ed laptop with a SSD and upgraded the RAM from 3GB to 6GB and really found out that for me 4GB is the absolute minimum and with 6GB you get to have some breathing space. I was also sold by the SSD. Boy do those give you one hell of a speed increment!

Since I already had maxed out my RAM and the processor (a Core2Duo E4500) wasn’t quite cutting it I decided to replace it. Sure, I could’ve added a SSD in it and probably extend it’s lifetime with another 6 months or perhaps a year. But that would only postpone the inevitable.

At first I had planned on getting a pre-configured PC by either Dell or Medion. They both had pretty nice offers, especially Medion. The alternative was to build one myself. In the past I’ve been, or actually my brother, rather unfortunate with these kind of PC’s. There was always some hardware issue. Considering that was over 10 years ago and with some old friends convincing me to put together my own PC I decided to take a look if that would give me more bang for the buck.

It turned out it did. The Medion PC I had in mind was around € 1049,-. It contained a nice 2TB HDD and a 64GB SSD (too small for my liking) and the latest Intel i7-3770 as well as a budget NVIDIA GPU and 16GB RAM. With these specs in mind I started configuring my new PC. In the end I came up with this:

At first I had selected a 128GB SSD and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 video card but it increased the price quite a bit. Since I’m not a PC gamer it would be a bit of a waste of money to get this video card. Instead decided to take my older NVIDIA 9800GT Green Edition from my HP PC, which originally had a low end NVIDIA 8400GS GPU in it.

In the end I got all this for around € 921,- saving me € 128,- euro on the Medion PC and still get a bigger SSD.

I only had to put it together, for which I asked an old classmate to help me with. The main reason I asked help was because I was a bit spooked about putting the CPU in its socket. The CPU was the most expensive part of the setup and I was afraid of bending any CPU pins… Did I look like a fool when the CPU was being placed! The buggers no longer have those long pins that the old CPU’s have. It’s been too long for me since I worked with this kind of stuff.

I’m very happy I did decide to build my own PC. I’ve gotten better value for the money and boy oh boy is this machine fast! Windows 7 boots incredibly fast and software applications mostly start instantly. Even stuff like Visual Studio and Adobe CS. I also did gave Ubuntu 12.04 a little test run just to see how fast it was: it boots in about 3 seconds.

Conclusion: I’ve got a kick-ass PC!

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  • Peter

    I’m glad you’re happy with your decision! Bang for buck & selfbuilt ftw \o/

  • Thanks for convincing me :-).

  • bakemushroom

    So are you using Ubuntu now? or just virtualize it in a Windows host?

  • I’m running it virtualized in a Windows host. I’ve yet to figure out how running a fullscreen virtual machine in Virtual Box on a display of my choosing can be achieved. Currently it snaps to my main screen, which is not what I want.

    For most of my development needs I’ll look into using Vagrant (http://www.vagrantup.com) to run a specialized virtual machine for any given project. Vagrant itself is easy to use. But I’ve yet to learn Puppet for provisioning.

  • bakemushroom

    Thanks for the Vagrant link. Is your Ubuntu virtual machine the desktop version or just the server version? Do you notice some performance slowdowns compared using it natively? I’m gonna actually follow your software setup, I’m having a lot problems with my Ubuntu installation lately (eg. machine wont reboot/shutdown after updates, not good multimonitor support)

  • I haven’t had much time yet to play with Ubuntu 12.04 in Virtual Box. I did install the desktop edition but am also running a server edition which runs all the time (actually the same virtual machine I had running on my other PC).

    After installing the Virtual Box Guest Tools I was able to boot into Gnome Shell and it responded very smoothly actually. I’m running it in 1080p on a 24″ display. Aside from Gnome Shell I haven’t tried any video/multimedia stuff. But Firefox seemed to render just fine.

    Yesterday I’ve actually setup Vagrant and Puppet for one of my project (Maximus-web) and it’s turning out to be a very pleasant way of developing stuff that’s going to run on Linux.

  • Just now I’ve tried playing a full HD video and it ran very smoothly. Very impressed!