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frogesque
2005-Feb-12, 12:47 PM
OK. As some of you know (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=19381) I have been fighting with an old heap o' junk PC and the latest part of the saga involved my scanner which suddenly decided it wasn't playing ball. Uninstalled it, re-installed it still no joy. Shrugs, Oh Well! Live without it untill I get round to sorting the problem out. Carry on working - everything OK. Switch pc off at night. In the morning, switch on, PC refuses to boot - hmm... Ok fire it up again and it defaults to Safe Mode - hmm#2... We (my PC and I) have about 6 goes at this and it looks as if I've a corrupt Windows file. So, it's a re-install Windows job or maybe a format - Eeeeek!!!!. This, all before I attempt to fit a USB card.

The upshot of this is I now have a posh, new (to me) PC and in time honoured BABB tradition I announce to the world it's spec. (OK it's not that special but a darn site bettern' what I had)

Pentium P3, 851MHz, Win XP Pro O/S, 20GB hd, 256MB RAM (768MB max so I'll probably shovel some more in) NVIDA GeForce2 MX 32MB Vid Mem. 4USB ports (2 front, 2 rear) HP CD Writer plus and Compact DVD. I've also whipped the ethernet card out of my old PC for my broadband cable.

And...

I've gone ahead and bought the digi camera! Canon D60 6.3 MPix. :P

My camera kit now includes; Canon EF 28-80 lens, Sigma EF 75-300 f1.4-f5.6 zoom, Pentax Asahi Super Takumar f1.2/55mm fast prime (old 42 mm thead + EOS adaptor - use on manual) and a monster Paragon f6.3, 400mm (75mm at the blunt end!) prime lens (again it's an old 42mm thread with adaptor) as well as my Canon EOS 500 film jobby and a camera bag that now weighs a ton!

The old PC will probably go out to grass and be kept as a back up with its major use as a stand alone PC for MS Office WP etc. (Unless I nick its 20GB H/D to use as a slave - lots of info on there I'll will want to use!)

Just thought you would all like to know (or not as the case may be :lol: )

PS. I'm also skint!

SAMU
2005-Feb-14, 02:22 AM
Don't want to bust your bubble but last year at Office Depot, for between $350 and $400 after rebates, I got an emachines running windows xp, 2.7 GHz Celeron, 40 gb hd, 256 mb ram, 6 usb (4 in back 2 in front), 56k fax modem, Intel pro 10/100 Lan for broadband cable, dvd/cd-rw drive 48x write cd/16x read dvd, KDS 17 inch flat screen crt, canon 250 printer and 3 months suscription to Norton antivirus.

frogesque
2005-Feb-14, 10:54 PM
Nice bubble SAMU 8) I don't have a need for that sort of spec since I don't gameplay but yeah, that was a pretty good deal you got there (think you should upgrade to 1G RAM though)

My next piece of kit is a CompactFlash card reader rather than downloading the pics through the camera and I've got a lens doubler on the way as well which will give me up to 800mm focal lenght (I think thats roughly 1m equivalent on a digi) which should be great for moon shots and wild life.

Doodler
2005-Feb-14, 10:58 PM
Didn't know of this tradition, my home box was recently replaced.

Pentium 4, 2.93GHz, 1.5GB PC3200 DDR RAM, 256MB PCI-E Radeon x700 Pro graphics card.

All of that set me back about $1200. 700 for the tower, 200 for the Radeon, about 300 for ugraded RAM chips. I still have the option of putting another 512 stick in there for a full 2GB of RAM.

I'm running a Linksys USB cable modem and I had my 19" Flat CRT Mitsubishi DiamondPoint from before.

frogesque
2005-Feb-14, 11:32 PM
Doodler:

I think the tradition is more about observing kit (which in my case is the camera and lenses) rather than the pc box but since I had a thread about my old pc I thought I would let folk know the outcome of it all.

Might be an idea to inform people about any new pc droolworthy stuff though. (there is an old thread somewhere about what pc do you use? or something like that)

Gullible Jones
2005-Feb-16, 02:55 AM
Eh? 800+ MHz? 256 MB RAM? GeForce video?!

Time to try out Debian, my friend... ;)

frogesque
2005-Feb-16, 03:39 AM
Eh? 800+ MHz? 256 MB RAM? GeForce video?!

Time to try out Debian, my friend... ;)

:lol: OK. I know, I know. My old box is a museum piece over 7 years old and anything would have been better.

True to form though, the new kit was working OK but I thought I would visit Windows Update and check on things. Said I needed XP Service Pack 2. I download it (over an hour on cable), it goes into install mode then feezes at the last hurdle. Solid. Would even switch off so I had to pull the plug. couple it back up again and Windows starts whining about SP2 didn't install properly, have uninstall and then go through the whole rigmarole again. Another 4 hours later I'm finally back on line to be told there's another 3 updates to download.

Arrrrgggghhhhh! :evil:

Gullible Jones
2005-Feb-16, 09:04 PM
I'm not saying it's a museum piece; I'm saying that it's not designed for WinXP Pro. :lol: But a desktop-oriented (and preferably Debian-based) Linux distro, like, for example, Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org), would probably work fine.

(Yes, 256 MB RAM is quite enough to handle GNOME... GNOME takes something like 40-50 megs, so you'd have plenty left over. A system monitor would show more RAM being used, but it always would, no matter how much you have - that's the disk cache, it shouldn't cause any problems AFAIK.)

Doodler
2005-Feb-16, 09:27 PM
Eh? 800+ MHz? 256 MB RAM? GeForce video?!

Time to try out Debian, my friend... ;)

:lol: OK. I know, I know. My old box is a museum piece over 7 years old and anything would have been better.

True to form though, the new kit was working OK but I thought I would visit Windows Update and check on things. Said I needed XP Service Pack 2. I download it (over an hour on cable), it goes into install mode then feezes at the last hurdle. Solid. Would even switch off so I had to pull the plug. couple it back up again and Windows starts whining about SP2 didn't install properly, have uninstall and then go through the whole rigmarole again. Another 4 hours later I'm finally back on line to be told there's another 3 updates to download.

Arrrrgggghhhhh! :evil:

Unfortunately, downloadable patches and Windows software go hand in hand. My initial install of XP on the box I bought only took 5 hours to fully update on a wide open cable connection that gets 140kbs easy.

Also, there's times when the hang up on that last block in the status bar isn't a lock up. Sometimes the thing tends to pull that last piece and immediately begin processing it, which steals enough cycles away from the graphics to halt the process bar.

Nicolas
2005-Feb-16, 09:32 PM
Eh? 800+ MHz? 256 MB RAM? GeForce video?!

Time to try out Debian, my friend... ;)

:lol: OK. I know, I know. My old box is a museum piece over 7 years old and anything would have been better.

True to form though, the new kit was working OK but I thought I would visit Windows Update and check on things. Said I needed XP Service Pack 2. I download it (over an hour on cable), it goes into install mode then feezes at the last hurdle. Solid. Would even switch off so I had to pull the plug. couple it back up again and Windows starts whining about SP2 didn't install properly, have uninstall and then go through the whole rigmarole again. Another 4 hours later I'm finally back on line to be told there's another 3 updates to download.

Arrrrgggghhhhh! :evil:

Unfortunately, downloadable patches and Windows software go hand in hand. My initial install of XP on the box I bought only took 5 hours to fully update on a wide open cable connection that gets 140kbs easy.

Also, there's times when the hang up on that last block in the status bar isn't a lock up. Sometimes the thing tends to pull that last piece and immediately begin processing it, which steals enough cycles away from the graphics to halt the process bar.

:o Something must have gone wrong there!!

My current Pc (P4 3GHz 1GB ram radeon 9800Pro 128 MB 17" LCD, 1600 euros this summer including Audgy2 soundcard) has a very similar network (gets 160 kbs max) and upgraded the out of the box XP to SP2 within half an hour!

frogesque
2005-Feb-16, 09:37 PM
Thanks Gullible One of these days I'll get round to trying Linux (any thoughts on Red Hat?)

Today though the pc has been absolutely stable so I guess I did something right yesterday(famous last words). Also I've received the CompactFlash card reader and it downloads pics off the card like it was on steroids. Much faster than trying to dowload via the camera and a USB 1.1 connection. If anyone is thinking about getting one they are well worth it.

Once the dust settles I'll also shovel an extra 256MB RAM into the box along with my other 20G hard drive which I'll use as a back up slave. (I got the data I needed off it by temporarily fitting it on the CD ROM cable)

Edit: Nicolas (did I get that right ?) :lol: My total budget, including camera and some lenses was about 800 euros!

Doodler
2005-Feb-16, 09:46 PM
Unfortunately, downloadable patches and Windows software go hand in hand. My initial install of XP on the box I bought only took 5 hours to fully update on a wide open cable connection that gets 140kbs easy.

Also, there's times when the hang up on that last block in the status bar isn't a lock up. Sometimes the thing tends to pull that last piece and immediately begin processing it, which steals enough cycles away from the graphics to halt the process bar.

:o Something must have gone wrong there!!

My current Pc (P4 3GHz 1GB ram radeon 9800Pro 128 MB 17" LCD, 1600 euros this summer including Audgy2 soundcard) has a very similar network (gets 160 kbs max) and upgraded the out of the box XP to SP2 within half an hour!

Its possible, I got return signal strength on some downloads that clocked 140 kbs, but I also had Comcast out to my place no less than 5 times because of loss of signal problems. Turns out there was some bad connectors between the house and the neighborhood hub, along with the fact that my modem connects to the cable wire through no less than four splitters (two PCs, 5 boxes, including a pair of digital boxes).

That may have played a role in it, though it still nukes the old dial up I used to use.

frogesque
2005-Feb-17, 01:26 AM
Hehehe! It works!

http://frogesque.com/images/half%20phase%20moon%202.jpg

Not the best moon shot you've ever seen but I know I can improve on that. Canon D60, ASA 400, 400mm f6.3 lens, exp 1/350s, no filter, hand held taken outside my front door virtually directly under a sodium street light.

Musashi
2005-Feb-17, 01:54 AM
=D>

tmosher
2005-Feb-17, 05:04 AM
Thanks Gullible One of these days I'll get round to trying Linux (any thoughts on Red Hat?)

Today though the pc has been absolutely stable so I guess I did something right yesterday(famous last words). Also I've received the CompactFlash card reader and it downloads pics off the card like it was on steroids. Much faster than trying to dowload via the camera and a USB 1.1 connection. If anyone is thinking about getting one they are well worth it.

Once the dust settles I'll also shovel an extra 256MB RAM into the box along with my other 20G hard drive which I'll use as a back up slave. (I got the data I needed off it by temporarily fitting it on the CD ROM cable)

Edit: Nicolas (did I get that right ?) :lol: My total budget, including camera and some lenses was about 800 euros!

800 euros for a Canon D-60? Whoa....the cheapest I can find the camera with one lens in the states is over $1,000 USD (rotten exchange rate the USD is having!).

Gullible Jones
2005-Feb-17, 11:21 PM
Frogesque: Redhat-based distros' package management is generally inferior to Debian-based distros'. Might work for you though.

(BTW, Redhat is no longer a desktop distro... You'd want to use [url=http://fedora.redhat.com]Fedora Core.[url] There are also other Redhat-based distros out there, but I have no experience with any of them, or Fedora Core/Redhat itself. Sorry...)

Also, you'll probably want a distro that uses the 2.6 kernel rather than the 2.4 one - 2.6 has better hardware support, and (in my experience anyway) boots faster.

Laser Jock
2005-Mar-03, 07:16 PM
Forgive me; it's my turn to brag. Now that I got it working, I'll share with folks the info on my new machine. This was the first machine that I've ever put together completely from scratch. I'm pretty proud of myself that it went together without any problems (if you don't count ordering the wrong CPU fan and having to wait a week for the right one to come in :wink: ). My old machine was a 450 MHz PIII. I had upgraded it as much as I could, but it just wasn't cutting it anymore. The new one:

CPU: Athon 64 3000+ (Socket 939)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-K8NS-939 NF3 ULTRA
Memory: 512 MB DDR400 Kingston
CPU Fan: Silent Boost K8
Case: Rosewill TU-153 (3 blue LED case fans, 400 W power supply =D> )
Optical Drive: DVD±RW, SAMSUNG TS-H552B

I scavengerized the hard drive (60 GB IBM) and video card (GeForce4 TI4600) from my old computer.

This is one very fast computer now. But I have now learned how to overclock! Reading various reviews, it appears that this processor is ideal for overclocking. With the three case fans and the Silent Boost, my machine idles at ~26 C and never gets above ~35 C when running a Prime95 torture test (one possible explanation for these remarkably low temps is that my wife likes to keep the apartment at about 15 C 8-[ ). I upped the voltages on the CPU and increased the FSB from 200 to 256 MHz (stepping carefully along the way of course). I had to decrease the FSB:DDR ratio to keep the memory speed closer to 200 MHz because my memory is the "weak link" in this case. Now my processor is running at 2.3 GHz (default is 1.8 GHz)! I ran the Prime95 torture test for 8+ hours last night and it found no errors or warnings. =D> \:D/ The highest temp I have seen is 41 C, so I think I can increase the voltages a little more and get to 2.4 GHz.

The biggest advantage to building your own system (besides the ability to overclock) is being able to get exactly what you want. That was my biggest frustration with my previous computer (a Circuit City special). I was extremely limited in my upgrades. My old motherboard could not handle a processor over a PIII 500 so it wasn't worth trying to upgrade. Also, I was stuck at 256 MB of RAM and 4X AGP graphics.

For the new system, my motherboard is compatible with the top-of-the-line Athlon FX processors. I have four DIMM slots to hold up to 4 GB of DDR RAM. Also, I can finally take advantage of the 8X AGP capability available in my old graphics card.

My first upgrade will add another stick of RAM to take advantage of the dual-channel memory option. I may also get a SATA hard drive in a few months since the MB supports that.

I'm extremely pleased with my system. It's not the best money can buy (although with OC'ing, I can get similar performance), it sure beats what I had. My total outlay was ~$550 (including Windows XP Home Ed.). That's half the price I paid for my original system (although that did include monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc.). Building your own system is the way to go.

BTW, www.newegg.com ROCKS!!

frogesque
2005-Mar-03, 07:31 PM
Sweet box o' tricks on an impressive budget and all your own work too! =D>

Evan
2005-Mar-03, 07:38 PM
He he. Seeing as how I own a computer store I guess I had better not say how much I pay for my computers....

:D:D