New Computer!

Old and busted:

Note dust, multiple hard drives + 80mm fans (loudness), tangle of wires.

New Hotness:
Internal Case Layout 1

Virtually silent. May upgrade processor and heatsink in a year or two and get that much closer to actually silent. Unfortunately I had to cut off the top of the northbridge heatsink to get the Freezer 7 Pro to fit. Not a huge deal, it was really only there for cosmetic reasons anyways. Also, there are actually more wires in the picture than there are in the computer now. In particular, the little fan controller for the Rosewill 120mm fan (not pictured) didn’t keep the fan quiet enough for me, even at the lowest setting, so it’s out.

Still working on getting my software environment back up to speed. Installed Vista Business x64 (thanks, MSDNAA!), and it worked fine for a day or two until it got into a mysterious infinite-reboot loop on bootup. Then Ubuntu x64 install froze, as did XP x64 AND both 32- and 64-bit editions of Vista. After two further days of banging my head against the wall, Vista’s install disc magically started working again, and a quick System Restore put things back in good working order. I’m still not sure what caused the CD issues in the first place. I suspect the install got corrupted from either Daemon Tools or, most likely, AnyDVD. Will very very cautiously approach those apps in the future.

Sadly, iTunes (specifically, CD writing) doesn’t work in 64-bit Windows yet. iTunes will run in a virtual machine, but sound is staticky. Better than it was on the old machine, but still not good enough. That means my options are, at the moment, 32-bit XP or Vista, or Ubuntu with Amarok or Banshee. OK, it looks like manually installing a 64-bit CD driver for iTunes makes everything except iPhone syncing work. Good enough for me, I neither have nor want an iPhone.

Anyways, Ubuntu is a possibility, but I don’t (yet?) have a strong ideological preference for it, and it has a number of things going against it:

  • Migrating a 65 GB iTunes library would be a pain
  • From what I’ve seen, Linux doesn’t have much going on in speech recognition yet. Maybe in 5 or 10 years, Google will share the 411 love…
  • In a related note, hardware support isn’t quite up to par for things like the MX Revolution mouse. There are hacks that will let you change the mouse wheel mode from the CLI, but nothing like SetPoint’s context-sensitive behavior switching.
  • I do like playing the occasional game, which was after all the entire point of getting a nice graphics card in the first place. Thus, I could either run Linux and dual-boot, or just run Windows.

In the future, when I have more money and less time, the solution to all of these problems will probably be to buy a Mac. For now: I actually like Vista so far. The plan is to craigslist 2 of the 6 GB RAM in the pic now, before memory prices drop even further, and make do with ~3.5 GB of RAM for the next few years.


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