You may recall from the Intro of my switching-to-Linux series that I plan to upgrade my PC prior to making the switch. This is a pretty major upgrade… Really, it’s more like building a new PC, but reusing some of my old components. Let’s take a look at the old build and then I’ll highlight the changes…
Out With the Old
Copied straight from my Newegg history, here’s my original build from 2005/02/07:
In 2005, it was uber, trust me.
I also have a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum which I ordered from another website since it was out of stock at Newegg at the time, and I was impatient. :)
I built this PC at exactly the wrong time, I think. AGP video cards were still king, but PCI-E was gaining speed. Rather than shell out the extra cash for a PCI-E card and a motherboard to match, I opted for the AGP route… big mistake. After a few months, PCI-E came to dominance and AGP cards became more and more difficult to find. I was pretty much at the top of the food chain with a GeForce 6600GT and there was no place to go but sideways.
You know what happened next… After a couple of years, I was ready to upgrade, but to upgrade my video capabilities, I needed a PCI-E motherboard. To do that, I would have to change my CPU and memory, and so I was pretty much building a whole new PC instead of simply plugging in a new video card. I just kept putting it off because the costs would have been too high.
Over the past 6+ years, I’ve upgraded the memory a little bit (can’t believe I paid $190 for 1GB of RAM!), and that’s pretty much it. My epic 19" NEC CRT monitor died about a year ago, and after struggling with a 15" Dell CRT for a while (thanks for the loaner, Dad!), I finally caved a couple months ago and bought a nice 23-inch Asus LED LCD with HDMI, 1080p, and all that stuff. It’s pretty sweet. I highly recommend it.
In With the New
Finally, the time is right, and I have a few extra bucks to throw at this major component swap. I plan for this build to last me at least 2 years, at which point I hope to be in a position to upgrade again (I figure $10/week = $1040 = new PC every 2 years) . Six years is just too long in between PC’s (granted, I’ve had a pretty sweet laptop for the past 2 of those 6 years, otherwise the upgrade would have come much sooner).
So, let’s see what’s going to get upgraded. I will pretty much be retaining only the Lian-Li case and its four 80mm case fans, the 3.5" floppy drive (useless as it is these days), and I may see if the Audigy 2 and its front I/O panel will still work with Linux and Windows 7, even though the new motherboard will have onboard sound. My peripherals will stay, but all the other internal components are seeing an upgrade:
Not bad, eh? I originally went for a little bit higher end build (pushing about $850), but I decided I needed to keep it closer to $500 if at all possible. That turned out not to happen when I realized I’d forgotten Windows 7 would cost me another $100. That left a bad taste in my mouth, especially since I plan to use Linux as the primary OS, but I bit the bullet anyway. The good news is, I hope to regret it and not have to revert to using Windows as my primary OS after this experiment.
As you can see, I’m finally getting that PCI-E upgrade I needed about 4 years ago. And with it, a new motherboard, CPU, and RAM. Apparently IDE is dead now, so I had to replace my DVD burner with a SATA model, and since my power supply only has 2 SATA plugs and I will need at least 3, that meant it had to be upgraded, too.
I think this will turn out to be a pretty good build for the money. I’m getting quad core crunching power with an L3 cache, a spacious 6 GB/s hard disk, and pretty spiffy mid-range video performance for the money. The power supply is modular and energy efficient, and the memory is cheap and highly rated (I still can’t believe it cost me $190 for 1GB in 2005 and now I can get 4GB for $40).
Next up, I’ll give a brief run through the computer build (the parts haven’t even shipped yet!) and detail the dual-boot environment setup and all the trials and tribulations that go with each.