Tuesday, April 29, 2008

hardware upgrade

For the first time since 2005, I've finally got a new system. Actually, due to hardware prices being low, I got 2 (and for less than what I paid for my old workstation. I snagged a couple of Intel Core2 Quad Q6600's from Ascend Tech with 4GB of mem, Nvidia 8400GS vid cards, Audigy sound cards, DVD-ROMs, and 160GB SATA drives. I opted to go with prebuilt systems because it was actually cheaper than getting all the parts seperately.

This was the first time I'd purchased anything from AscendTech. It took a little while to get the systems (about 9 days.. UPS ground delivery, 2 days for build, 2 days for burnin), but everything arrived well packed and ready to roll.

The big feature I was interested was that these CPUs support VT, and I wanted to play around with how that works in Xen. I'm currently installing XP Pro 64 on one, and have decided to try out Ubuntu's Hardy Heron release.

I ended up setting up a PXE installer on my old workstation to handle the Ubuntu install. Other than me pooching the DHCP configuration and an installer package dependency error, the install went fairly easily. I ended up going with a base X system and plan on adding packages as I need them. Haven't had time to setup the Xen kernel yet, and it'll be interesting to see how their apt system handles the Nvidia driver package.

For the Winders side, the install was just like every other: Put in cd, wait, wait, press a few buttons, wait, wait, press a few more buttons, reboot, wait, wait, reboot, etc. XP64 can luckily run 32bit programs, so I was able to get the staples installed: Firefox, pidgin, msys, python, perl. I left the machine in the process of downloading WoW (5GB of stuff to download!!) and MS VS 2008, planning on slapping XNA on it later. I also got blender on there. Gonna be interesting to see how well everything runs.

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