I’m not a bully but… - Posted by Jim Locker
Posted by Jim Locker on January 09, 2001 at 17:32:59:
I’m not an MSCE either. However, I am an MS Physics with about 28 years experience with most of the major computer architectures that have existed in that time.
I build all my own systems.
Eric gave you some good advice, but I would modify it somewhat. First, I think you would have no problem with getting a system custom built. There are bound to be shops in your town who will do that. You get the advantage of having just the system you want, without all the extra crap, and this shop will support you. If they won’t, find another shop.
You will not ordinarily find that your processor bottlenecks you WRT your ADSL line; if that is your reason for specifying a fast computer, you don’t need it.
Now, I think that Moore’s Law is going to break in the next couple years because our processors are approaching theoretical limits. I don’t know how fast the engineers will be able to push the clock speeds, but density isn’t going to increase by more than a factor of about three before silicon “hits the wall”. Maybe clock speeds can go up a factor of 5 or 6 from here, but the rate of increase will slow in the next couple years. Also, for the first time really, hardware is ahead of software, and there are very few applications out there that really drive the hardware to its limits.
Accordingly, if you buy prudently now, you probably are looking at five or six years minimum before you MUST upgrade, and there is an outside chance that if you go far enough upscale now you won’t have to upgrade for longer than that.
Dell computers are a good choice, if you want to buy a built computer. They are somewhat pricey, but very well constructed.
I presume you want this as a business system. Accordingly, you need to pay attention to certain things.
First, get a good quality chassis and power supply. Do not scrimp here - it’ll bite you down the road. You want an ATX power supply with a ball bearing fan. Get a chassis that is larger than you need; you need the space for cooling and you might want the room to expand later. Install extra fans. They are cheap, and they are cheap insurance.
Second, get a good motherboard. I have recently put together a very nice system based on the Gigabyte GA-7IXE and the AMD Athlon 750 MHz processor. This combo would do nicely for a business system.
There are plenty of other choices, and unlike eric, I would not rule out the Celeron. Granting that the lack of a cache is a disadvantage, scrimping on the processor is a decent place to save money in the current marketplace. You will not notice the difference unless you are a hard core game player, or run large numerical simulations.
Third. Get a good hard drive. Don’t buy IDE. Those are OK for home systems, but for a business system you want the durability, speed, and reliability of a SCSI drive. I recommend the Quantum or IBM brand names in SCSI. I specifically do not advise Seagate. Depending on how critical your system is to your business, you might want to consider a RAID system. This is Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives, and provides a way to “mirror” and backup your data - protecting you against a hard drive failure. You do this if you really cannot afford to have your system go down for more than a very short time.
Fourth, get a CDROM (and/or DVD ROM), CD/RW, video card, sound card to suit your preferences. For a business system, none of these matter very much; it’s just what you want to spend.
In any case, make sure you have the means to back up your system. You might want to buy a tape drive. If so, buy a good one. HP makes some fine drives. If you only want to back up your data, and are willing to reload your system if necessary, buy a Zip drive.
Fifth, you should stay away from Windows 95/98/ME for a business system. Security and stability problems. Go with Windows NT or Windows 2000 Professional. These are much more stable and can be made very secure.
Finally, with an always on ADSL connection, it is imperative that you consider system security WRT the internet. You will need a firewall (www.zonelabs.com) and an anti-virus package (several on the market). You might want to seriously consider a trojan scanner (www.moosoft.com) and protection against adware/spyware (www.lavasoft.de).
DO NOT BUY Norton Internet Security package. It is being heavily marketed, and it is basically trash. Norton Anti Virus is OK, though.