Yet Another New PC

On Sunday, I finally gave up trying to fix my “old” PC (purchased in June 2005). I just can’t afford to spend more time to find the problem, and I can’t just blindly buy new components in the hope that it’ll fix the problem. So I bought a new computer, and since this time I want to have a decent warranty, I got a Dell… dude!

I was impressed by the Dell Dimension E510 that Corky got me at the office, and the Dell Dimension 9200 that I bought for my home office and that just got delivered (free one day shipping — living so close to Dell rocks!) is very nicely set up too. I’ve already taken some pictures. Here are the specs:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (4 MB L2 cache, 2.4 GHz, 1066 MHz FSB)
  • 2 GB DDR2 dual channel SDRAM
  • 256 MB nVidia Geforce 7300LE TurboCache
  • 320 GB, 250 GB, and 160 GB SATA hard drives
  • 16x CD/DVD burner

That already includes the two SATA hard drives from the old computer. Of course I was thinking about partially cannibalizing the old Athlon 64 machine, but I haven’t decided how much I’ll actually put in. I was surprised to find out that there’s no PATA in this machine anymore; even the DVD drive is SATA. I’m glad I decided to buy a pre-installed DVD drive from Dell. I did that because my old DVD writer, a Benq DW1640, was pretty flaky: Lots of bad burns and noisy vibration of the DVDs.

Now I almost wish I had bought a second DVD drive for an extra $30 since I don’t have any SATA DVD drives around. But I’m not even sure I’d want to put in a second DVD drive anyway; I hardly ever had to use two drives at the same time.

I may add the additional PCI USB 2.0 controller that I have, with three front and four back USB ports, but the Dell has six USB ports in the back and two in the front, so I don’t think I’ll need the additional ports either. I guess it’s just going to be the two SATA hard drives (320 GB and 160 GB). The remaining 160 GB PATA drive will go into my trusted old Pentium 3 733 MHz, which still works great after 6.5 years. I guess I’ll move the DVD drives and the USB 2.0 controller too. No point in letting them go to waste.

I’ve booted the Dell up once, just to check things out. It’s got Windows XP Home on it, but I’ll replace it with Windows Server 2003. Right now, I’m making Ghost images of my old system partition of the Athlon 64, so just in case things go really wrong with the new Dell, I’ll be able to easily restore my Athlon 64 system, as broken as it was. Once the Ghost images are done, I’ll move the drives, and then the installation marathon will begin. This time, I’ll be sure to make a Ghost image of the fresh system too, so if I ever need to reinstall Windows, I won’t have to install and configure all the applications again.

All of this is bound to take some time. At the moment, as the progress bar of Norton Ghost creeps forward, I’m thinking about popping in a movie. I’ll report back soon.


About Mathias

Software development engineer. Principal developer of DrJava. Recent Ph.D. graduate from the Department of Computer Science at Rice University.
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