[svlug] New Computer
dmarti at electriclichen.com
Sun Nov 22 12:22:10 PST 1998
On Fri, Nov 20, 1998 at 08:17:02PM -0800, Rick Moen wrote:
> Build him one.
Or make him build it. My Linux-ignorant brother helped me build the
above system, and that machine works great and is better in a lot of
ways than pre-built systems costing more than twice as much. I picked
up almost all the parts in one run to the Robert Austin Computer show
-- I got the ethernet card from a friend who got an extra on a Fry's
run, and the case, extra case fan, and CD drive from Central Computer.
Building this box was only a little less convenient than getting a
pre-built system, since when I help people put Linux on a pre-built
system at an installfest I try to get them to open the sucker up and
see what hardware is in it anyway. (The only hardware probing method
I trust is a Philips screwdriver.)
> o Your 64MB of SDRAM (physical configuration: DIMM) should be rated
> for CAS2 operation (two CPU cycles needed for Column Access Strobe,
> instead of three) at 100 MHz local bus (aka "front-side bus")
> operation. If the vendor doesn't understand this term, as is usually
> the case, you have the wrong vendor. Clueful RAM vendors include SA
> Micro of San Jose, CA, which does do mail order. Corsair Memory, Inc.
> and Mosel Vitelic are among the firms making compliant RAM.
I don't quite understand this yet, but until I do I'll cut and paste
this advice from Rick and take it to the SA Micro booth at the Robert
Austin show. I won't buy RAM out of some guy's trunk behind Denny's
-- or worse, at Fry's. Why buy a 100MHz board and waste it by using
the wrong RAM? If you're purely going for DSW-compliant hardware
though, go ahead, but don't be surprised if real performance sux.
> o Use at least a mid-sized tower, not a mini-tower.
Size matters, especially when you're trying to hook stuff up inside
the case and cursing the case mfr., but I have seen some cheap,
ugly-ass big cases where I don't understand how the CPU and the hard
drive are supposed to get cooling. Call me a extravagant fool but I
go for the well-made cases that are easy to take apart and have a
place to add a front panel fan. I'd rather get a high-quality small
case with an extra fan than a cheap big tower, but a good big case
with extra fan would probably be better than either one.
> I'm not putting a lot of time into this post. Why? Because most
> people who get free hardware advice from me value it at cost: They
> sop up hours of my time trying to explain hardware to them, and then
> they buy whatever crap the local dealer tells them to.
Most of the sales people at your local computer store know less about
computers than anybody. Selling hardware is a crummy job. If they
knew anything they'd be making twice as much, working as service techs
or support people. All they have going for them is _arrogance_ and
the ability to quote buzzwords off ads for overpriced crappy hardware
-- which too many customers get bamboozled into taking for expertise.
Go shopping with a shopping list (alternate components are OK -- for
example you might specify "either Netgear ethernet card with genuine
Digital chipset or Intel XXXXX ethernet card") and if they don't have
what you want, go shopping again elsewhere. Don't let yourself start
jonesing for a machine. If you have the attitude of "I need a
computer now now now man, anything will do" you will get burned. Take
a while to shop patiently. (Go to Coffeenet if you really need to
read your mail or browse the web.)
Hardware selection is one of the great things about the Robert Austin
shows -- some booths have all good stuff, some have crap, and some
have a mix. You can compare and get the good stuff.
> If you yourself are not well-read on hardware, and not able to be
> critical of what you read/hear, then you'll have no way to distinguish
> good advice from bad. And God knows, there's huge amounts of really,
> really bad advice out there.
But there's only one Rick Moen (or is there?)
You can also check http://sunsite.unc.edu/LDP/products.html#systems --
another option is to buy a complete system from a Linux vendor or at
least see what components they're using.
Don Marti Electric Lichen L.L.C.
whois DM683 -rwxr--r-- Harrison Street
dmarti at electriclichen.com San Francisco, California USA
echo "unsubscribe svlug" | mail majordomo at svlug.org
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ to unsubscribe
see http://www.svlug.org/mdstuff/lists.shtml for posting guidelines.
More information about the svlug