The end of an era...and the beginning of a new computer for me...
I mentioned a little bit ago that I walked in my college graduation (had a great C# graduation cake). They let you walk if you have only a few credits left, and I had to take one additonal three credit class in order to get my diploma. Today I finished the final in my one summer class, and I came home and put Discrete Mathematics (fifth edition) on my shelf with about 30 computer science books and I realized that I have NO HOMEWORK. This may seem like a silly thought to you, but if you count the first 12 years of school, and 11 year B.S. degree, I've had homework pretty consistantly for the last 23 years. To wake up tommorow and have no homework is crazy madness. Of course, I'll continue to stay up all night and mess with Mono and run ILDASM on everything in sight, but I just won't received a grade.
So, I updated my resume, and happily moved the Education section up (it had been hidden before) as I am now a "degreed computer scientist" with no homework!
In celebration I upgraded my PC. The original plan was to go all-out and pick up an AlienWare or a FalconNW and do the whole $3000 PC thing.
Segue: The last time I spent $3K on a PC was in 1991 when I picked up a sweet 486DX/33 (that's right, DX, baby!) with 8 Megs of RAM and a 210 Maxtor HD. I promptly installed DRDOS, Stacker'ed the HD to a glorious 400+megs and installed DesqView.
Well, the wife promptly (and wisely) nixed the new PC idea, but OK'ed a trip to Fry's for parts. I picked up a Pentium4 3Ghz with Hyperthreading, and a great new Intel Motherboard, with a gig of Dual Channel RAM. I moved my 45 gig C: drive in for Windows XP (I'll move to Win2k3 when there's more drivers), dropped in my data array (I keep all my data on two RAID Mirrored 20 gig drivers) and my 400 odd gigs of Firewire drives (seriously, get on the Firewire bandwagon...it's so much faster to installed VS.NET and other CDs when everything is on a Firewire drive as a mountable ISO image!) and a new NVidia 5200 FX Dual-Head (multi-monitor, it's not just a suggestion, it's the law). I also put in my DVD, my CD/RW (the new Nero Ultra software suite is unquestionably the greatest value in software today, full stop), my AverMedia USB TV Tuner (you just can't have two monitors if you can't watch TV in a Window while dual-screen debugging).
I put the whole thing together for $824. Amazing. I also ordered some custom front mounted Firewire and USB 2.0 ports (There are a lot of internal motherboard mounted ports that a lot of us leave unused!) With these new ports I'll have 6 Firewire ports, and 8 USB ports.
Holy crap my computer is fast. Even with a crappy C: drive, it's fast. Even better, the motherboard has Serial ATA RAID on the board. I figure if I upgrade the C: with a couple striped drives (probably two of these 10,000 RPM babies), I'd probably see a 4x I/O increase, which is crazy since the beast goes from zero to the deskop in 15 seconds flat.
So much hardware, so little time...maybe now I'll have the time to tinker.
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
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