Finally the time has arrived to upgrade my main workstation. I should rather say ‘forced to upgrade’ Friday last week my trusty old Windows box decided it had given 25 000 hours of reliable service and wanted to retire. Of course this was on start-up in the morning. I knew I should have finished the quotation I had been working on the night before, but wanted to ‘sleep on it’ before finishing off.
A New System
I was tempted, really tempted, to go the dual XEON processor on a top range motherboard (server board) route, but common sense (and my bank account) prevailed. For the same reason that Mac Pro I’ve been eyeing for months had to take a back seat.
Several days spent researching various products; Intel or Gigabyte motherboard, graphics cards, operating systems and so on. Decision made, I can live with a Gigabyte GA-X58-USB3 motherboard. Specifications are good enough, will accept 24GB RAM in 6 slots (and I have respect for products from this stable). The CPU – no contest! Intel’s i7 3.4GHz processor (as I mentioned, 2 Xeons are just too expensive…)
Graphics cards – well anything with 1GB memory will do – as long as it has connectors for two displays. The only games likely to be installed are MS Flight Sim, Half Life 2 and MYST… And those run fine on an old nVidia 6800 card. (And seldom get used anyway… I’ve had Half Life 2 since it came out – still only on the 2nd level… My cousin blasted thorough 5 levels in an afternoon the first time he played it!
Well, I am yet to find a way to run MAC OSX on PC hardware, so it’s Windows. 64 bit Win 7 and now to figure out how to persuade some of my older applications to run. Microsoft’s website says most will be OK, some in 32 bit compatibility mode. Or using the XP add-on for Win 7 Pro… If all else fails, and I can’t force an app or 2 to run, then will just have to boot into XP for the rare occasion I need to run something like Corel Draw – and that is very seldom. At least the printers here have 64 bit drivers, from the official sites.
Not yet built
Now I’m waiting for delivery – the supplier did not have the motherboard in stock, so will be getting one. Hopefully it will arrive before the weekend, which gives time to put the system together, install the apps and persuade them to work. Hopefully my customers do not have anything urgent before then.
When it’s up and running, look out for a series of reviews on the combination.
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