Hardcore PC Days
I’ll be honest, I’ve been a PC user for the longest time, since the 286 days. Those were great ! I even had a yellow monochrome monitor. My favorite years with the PC however, is no doubt the "Windows XP" years. This version of Windows was one of the best, if not the best — so far — of any consumer operating system from Microsoft.
When Windows Vista launched, I hesitated to upgrade because there were really very few new drivers available. That and I customized my XP setup so much that it was just daunting to think about wiping my computer and restarting from scratch. After getting to use several Windows Vista-based PCs, I just couldn’t see the need to go through the trouble. There wasn’t anything in Vista that I couldn’t do faster on my XP box.
I built my machine nearly two years ago and it’s still going pretty strong today. Here’s my current Windows XP PC.
|Processor||AMD Dual Core Opteron @ 2.93 GHz|
|Motherboard||MSI K8N Neo nForce 4|
|Memory||Corsair XMS DDR 2GBx2|
|Storage||WD Raptor 36 GB x 2 and Seagate Barracuda 320 GB|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX x 2|
|Sound||M-Audio Revolution 7.1|
|OS||Microsoft Windows XP SP2|
Now this PC runs pretty much everything I want — except... I haven’t touched it in nearly six months. I’ve gone Mac.
Just in case some believe that I’m not really a hardcore PC guy, here’s my system before the one listed above :
|Processor||Dual AMD Athlon MPs 1.5GHz|
|Motherboard||Tyan Thunder 2462NG|
|Memory||Corsair Registered ECC PC2100 1 GB x 4|
|Storage||Seagate Cheetah FC X15 18 GB x 5 and a DPT SmartRAID FC-AL 2 Gbit RAID controller with 162 MB cache|
|Graphics||Tyan Tachyon 9700 Pro|
|Sound||Creative Labs SB Audigy|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional|
It was an extensive RAID setup, with hardware usually not found in a consumer-level system. FC-AL, or fibre-channel arbitrated loop, was something I thoroughly enjoyed using. Prior to it, my desktop used hardware RAID Ultra-320 SCSI. Everything ran on SCSI, even my optical drives. I used Plextor drives exclusively since it was the best makers of CD drives and its drives were well known for being reliable and top performers.
In fact, I was so into extreme hardware, I even had a Sun StorEdge A1000 array. With drives runninng attached to an Adaptec SPEC 2 quad-channel SCSI RAID controller, we are talking about some serious performance. Excessive ? Yeah, pretty excessive, but hey this is Tom’s Hardware we’re talking about here.
The above computer is now roughly six years old, but it was a screamer at the time. But as time went by I ended up simplifying everything. All the upkeep was a chore. I had two Linux servers running 24/7 backed up by twin APC Smart-UPS 1500. Yeah — I definitely miss those days.