Riding the Dragon – Part 1

I’ve been driving an old Pentium 4 1.8Ghz machine running Ubuntu 8.04 as my personal workstation for the last couple of years.  I use it for the normal surfing and email task, as well as Java development with Eclipse and Apache Geronimo Server.  I use MyEclipse for my development environment which has become rather fat with functionality over the last couple of releases.  I finally got tired of the increasing performance lag and decided it was time for a new workstation.

I waited patiently until this years taxes were completed and began the appropriation (whining) process with my wife.  It’s much easier to struggle through the corporate budget process for new hardware than it will ever be to convince my significant other of my computing power needs.  Given the governments desire to stimulate the economy, the income tax return had a little extra in it this year, and I was graciously allocated $500.00 to do with as I pleased (Sex, Drugs, or Computer).

I decided that I’d like to purchase a new workstation from one of my favorite reputable hardware distributors, NewEgg, and began the process of piecing together the appropriate components and pricing.  As I was seeking development power for the JVM and compiler, I determined that I really needed one of those high end quad processors.  I fretted over processor speed and motherboard selection, or shall we say the cost, and finally went all out and purchased an AMD Phenom II 940 along with an ASUS M4A78 PRO motherboard for it to ride on.  This is a “Hot Rod” to say the least with four processors running at 3Ghz on a single chip, overclocking is optional and has been pushed to 6Ghz utilizing liquid nitrogen cooling.  The motherboard, a Socket AM2+, has an AMD GX780 graphics processor on board, along with a CrossfireX slot and a couple of legacy PCI slots.  I was particularly attracted to the fact that the motherboard had an HDMI, a DVI, and a D-Sub video connector integrated on-board.  This allowed me to forego the crossfire video card for the time being and still have dual monitors for my development work.  The board also contained a Gigabit Ethernet controller, high definition audio, a legacy PATA controller, and six SATA connectors.  This machine was made for High Definition Video!

I opted to purchase a new case with a 585 WATT power supply, and a new SATA DVD burner.  I added a pair of 2Gb G.Skill DDR2-1066 DIMM’s that could be overclocked along with the CPU when desired.  The addition of an existing hard drive and HDTV tuner card (ATI HDTV Wonder with Video 4 Linux DVB and MythTV support) completed the new workstation.

Total Cost including shipping and a high performance CPU fan – $509.11.  6000 BogoMIPS per CPU = 24,000 Total BogoMIPS, or approximately 2 cents per BogoMIP.  Yes, I had to go back to the controller and seek authorization for the $9.11 cost overrun.

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