I’ve had my trusty computer now for close to 5 years. Its a good ole 1.0 GHz AMD Athlon T-Bird with 512MB of PC133 SDRAM and a top-of-the-line (at the time) ATI Radeon 8500 that supports AGP x4 !!! Its gone through numerous reinstalls, a CD-R, a DVD-RW, and several hard drives. Its gone from windows 98 to NetBSD, to Mandrake Linux, to Windows 2000, to Windows XP Pro(Pirated) and finally Windows XP Pro(Legit). As far as computers are concerned its a dinosaur. This Christmas I’ve decided to upgrade.
Now, I was hoping to hold out for an AMD 64bit processor, but then they came out with a 64-bit dual core, now they are talking about quad cores. Unfortunately I haven’t had the funds to take the plunge into a top of the line PC. So I’m going Budget. I was hoping i could just upgrade my processor however the highest processor speed i can get is a 1.3 GHz. I have v1.0 of my Abit KT7A mobo which doesn’t support the Athlon XP’s, however if i were lucky enough to have v1.3 of my mobo I could have just purchased a new processor. But I can’t. I’ve done some looking around on the net and came across some new trends that have perked my interest. The SFF (Small Form Factor) PC’s which are barebones PCs that are tiny cubes. The cases are so small that the motherboard has to be integrated into them. Some of these PCs can hold their own against top of the line home made pcs and are a fraction of the cost. The advantage is having a small portable PC, but the disadvantage is that you can’t expand much. You get integrated sound and LAN and only two slots for expansions. The Shuttle seems to be the most popular SFF.
Another trend that seems up and coming (maybe it already came? I’m so out of touch in the PC gaming world…) is the Micro ATX cube cases. MicroATX form factors have been around for a while but now computer case manufactures are emulating the SFF PC’s and are making MicroATX cases in the shape of cubes. However since the size of a Micro ATX mobo is still larger than a SFF PC the cube case is also going to be larger. But not too much larger, check out the pic . At first I wanted to get a shuttle, but eventually decided to get a MicroATX. The Case you see here in the picture is actually the one that is on its way to my house right now! The cool thing about this case is that it can hold 3 hard drives and has a built in micro card reader. I ‘m thinking that this may one day be my file server sporting a RAID-5 configuration. This link is the only real review i was able to find on this case.
I bought this case from buy.com since it was cheaper than newegg.com and had free shipping. I also have an Epox EP-8RGM3I Micro ATX mobo and 1 GB of 400 DDR RAM on its way to my house from NewEgg.com. At first I plan on recycling Christi’s old AMD 1700XP until the price of the 3200XP’s come down to about $150. Then I’ll get that and another stick of RAM.
Hopefully I’ll get all my goodies before the end of the week!