Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Desktop and Monitor! Yay!


Something that drives me crazy is trying to buy a motherboard these days. I bought a nice case from coreys computing the other day (they said it was $59 when I went there on boxing day, but it was $69, but it has a 450 watt power supply inside as opposed to the 250 watt I had originally believed, so whatever, plus it goes great with the widescreen LCD samsung I bought at futureshop on boxing day.

So for my holidays I had an old Celeron 533 cpu and motherboard sitting around, I figured I'd try to get it working with this new case and LCD (at least until I decide what type of motherboard I'm going to buy) Anyways, after resetting the bios, buying a new disc battery at the dollar store (FYI most motherboard batteries are CR2032) and moving around some jumpers (couldn't get the bios to retain the settings at first, then I couldn't get any sound as I had the jumper for the internal sound turned off)
A friend of mine had two old 128mb sticks of ram from an old motherboard which died on him a long time ago, and he gave them to me and now this PC works nicely. Hurrah. Even plays DVD's great for an old motherboard.

I do plan to buy a new motherboard for it in the next couple months. I hope to purchase a dual core AMD processor and motherboard. The prerequisites are:

1) All onboard components play nice with Linux.
2) It's going to be a mythtv box, and so it needs to have DVI out.
3) I'd prefer a motherboard with ATI graphics embedded than NVidia as I am loathe to support a company that doesn't help out open source developers. I know ATI isn't much better, but it's better enough for me that the ATI Radeon open source driver supports more advanced features suitable for something like a MythTV box. In any case, If I do end up buying one with onboard Nvidia, which seems probable, I'll end up buying a Radeon card to go with it later on.
4) Onboard Wifi would be nice, but so far haven't had any luck finding any Mini-ATX boards with it.
5) Has to fit a Mini-ATX motherboard.

So far, the only motherboard I have found that comes close to suiting my requirements is the Asus M2NPV-VM which has everything but the built in wi-fi and ATI graphics embedded. I suppose I can wait, as I've said before there are still no ATSC signals available in stupid old Winnipeg, Manitoba. Perhaps a better Motherboard with all the features I want will be out by then..

Furthermore, it only has two PCI slots. Now, Maybe some day in the future people will be using PCI Express slots, but I want to use this as a media PC, and most TV cards are PCI based. So that's at least one slot there, and probably two if I want to watch something on one and record on another. So what if I want a DVB card in there for satellite transmission? What if I want a wifi connection to update the box? What use is that PCI Express x1 slot? It has built in Ethernet, I can't get any tv cards that use it, I can't use it for wi-fi.. why did they waste a whole slot on it? As I'm talking it out I'm realising that that one thing totally bothers me. Hopefully I'll find something similar with the features I want that's better supported on linux. Luckily (or unluckily) I have all the time in the world to wait until OTA high def is available here.

In any case, I like my new monitor. It's nothing great, but it was a pretty good deal and it has a blue power light (which unfortunately blinks in power saving mode, pretty annoying choice there, samsung.)

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