Tuesday, January 24, 2006

My White Knight in Shining Armor

I have been wanted got get a new PC for myself for quite a while, but I can’t justify it since I don’t spent much time at home. With my resignation came the justification. Besides, I need to equip myself with a good tool in order to do a good job.

Should I get a new Desktop or Notebook? Sometimes I kinda fancy notebook, due to its sleekness and mobility. Notebook seems much cooler, with a higher cost and less firepower of course. Notebook would seem much useful for someone in the software business, as I might need to do demo and support, and perhaps do programming in Star Bucks. But I kinda skip the notebook for the following reason:
  • I already owned a notebook (ASUS M200E), though she is already 3 years old. She is crippled because the battery is dead (less mobility), and I am too Kiam Siap to fork out RM 400 for the replacement. She can still do a pretty good job, as long as there are not too heavy
  • Though the entry price for notebook had gone lower (RM 3000++), but they haven’t advanced much in terms of performance. By forking out another 4K or more, I could only get myself extra 400 MHz of processing power, 512 MB more RAM, 20 GB more HD and WIFI. It seems less bang for the buck compared to desktop.
  • I want a high performance computer to lessen wait time and increase productivity, and a notebook just isn’t meant to do that
So, I had made up on mind to get a notebook. Should I go for AMD or Intel? About 7 years ago in 1998, I would definitely choose Intel due to its stability reputation with existing software. But my mind had been poisoned by review in Tom’s Hardware Guide and AnandTech which seems like AMD always out beat Intel. Besides, AMD had gone mainstream with more than 50% adoption rate in the US. I thought buying an AMD would be cheaper (with cheaper MOBO), but this may not be true. It is almost the same price with Intel, with pricier DDR RAM (Intel use DDR2, faster and cheaper). Somehow, my inner instinct still calls for AMD.

My Faithful Notebook

I can't choose a DELL machine if I want AMD at the current moment. I found DELL pricing is very competitive, with some configuration options, hassle free service and original software. Somehow I just didn't choose DELL (if I would bought Intel Chip), because I still like to customised my workstation. For business or not-IT literate people out there, I would advice them to always go for DELL.

Next question, should I go for budget or high performance? I used to go for mid range processor, expensive MOBO, gaming-friendly graphic card and SoundBlaster (since my dad is paying, not me). Now, I go for budget and cut off all luxuries. I choose the cheapest processor of the latest tech, Athlon 64 3000+ (Socket 939). I would like a dual core processor, but they are way too expensive. The Socket 754 seems like going to be obsolete soon, thus no point cutting the budget until so low. Least time I used to dislike MOBO with integrated stuff, but now I look for MOBO with integrated video, sound, LAN and firewire. I am not much of a gamer as I used to be, thus I ditch the expensive video card (I never bought a 3D card in my life before, wow!). I can’t differentiate sound quality, thus I ditch the SoundBlaster. ASUS A8N-VM CSM is definitely value for money.

I need at least 1GB of RAM (I buy two 512MB Kingston RAM stick to take advantage for the dual channel), DVD writer (backup of torrent download to free up some valuable HD space) and 160 GB of HD (for torrent and my video editing work). I choose Western Digital because I really dislike Seagate, and Maxtor is merging with Seagate (and where the fell did Quantum went to? I miss Fireball). I skip the floppy driver, CD drive and DVD drive.

I wanted a LCD, but they are still pretty pricy. I got a Flat CRT Monitor for less than half the price. I wanted Microsoft Natural keyboard and mouse, but there are far too pricy (perhaps someday). I wanted a CoolerMaster, but I settled for i-CUTE instead. I am really quite budget conscious, but the outcome is quite a good machine as well.

I made a mistake of buying a Firewire card, as I thought my MOBO didn’t had on-board support, RM 70 wasted (anyone wanna buy a firewire card for half the market price?). I thought I need a floppy drive to install Windows XP on SATA II HD, but it turned out not necessary (perhaps the MOBO is good). I had wrong information of Low Yat not charging service charge for credit card payment, thus I end up paying half by cash and the other half by card (cost me another RM 25). I stupidly lost RM 100 from this purchase, a costly lesson.

So, here is my White Knight in Shining Armor. I named him Camelot, hopeful of building a dream of light.

White Knight, Camelot

Too Bad I can't get cheap white colour monitor, keyboard and mouse as well

ASUS and AMD Rocks, SONY and SAMSUNG Rocks too

Camelot Specification:
  • AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (Socket 939)
  • 2 x Kingston PC3200 512MB DDR RAM
  • Western Digital 160GB 7200RPM SATAII HD
  • SONY 16X Dual Layer DVDRW
  • 17” Samsung 793DF Flat Monitor
  • Samsung PS2 Keyboard and Optical Mouse
  • Firewire Card (A mistake)
This machine cost me RM 2,460 (with the stupid mistake of RM 100). One day I shall make back all my investment and laugh at my frustration over this mistake.

My Current Work Desk, Gonna upgrade to bigger table to accommodate the new toy

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