[SunRescue] OT: PC recommendations

ChrisPetersenhavoc at apk.net ChrisPetersenhavoc at apk.net
Tue Sep 26 14:38:44 CDT 2000

> >>I've finally come to the realization that I *dont* need a
> >>big-penis-Ultra30 system, or even a UNIX box, on my desk at home
> >>(therefore, I've sold it to pay off some bills).
> *gasp!*  *Dum, Dum, Dum, Another One Bites the Dust!* ;-)


Okay, now that the shock's worn off, I can see where you're coming from and
can agree partially...

> >>All I need at home is a machine decent enough for SSH, Netscape, WinAmp,
> and
> >>maybe an occasional game or two.  However, I've been "out of the
> >>loop" of the PC scene for about a year or more...
> >>
> >>So, anybody have recommendations for what kind of system (new or
> >>used) I can pick up for around $500?  Last time I built a PC, it
> >>was a Celeron 300, 128mb, with a Riva TNT (AGP) card; I'd like
> >>to pick up something as-good-or-better than this if possible.
> Gateway seems to have very good deals if you're wanting a complete
> out-of-the-box solution.  So does Dell.  Personally I would trust Gateway
> support over Dell.  They've been the more responsive of the two.  Believe me
> when I tell you that unless you like futzing with your system when you get
> home from work then having support available is a Good Thing(tm).  (Even if
> you know more than the other guy on the phone. ;-) )  That's also why i
> suggest "large" suppliers instead of smaller ones.  You may pay just a hair
> more overall but it will be worth it.

Hmmm, from my corporate-ish dealings, I've seen the opposite (although
Dell's latest batch of laptops have been particularly buggy).

If you can handle the occasionally odd bit, Compaq has always had solid gear
the last few years...I've actually been eyeing that iPaq box of theirs, if
you buy into the idea that PCs are becoming more appliance-like, something
like this makes sense (get a few years out of it, retire it for something

> >>I'm also debating whether to buy a pre-built system, or save
> >>Money (but gain hassle) by piecing a box together myself off
> >>pricewatch...
> IMHO piecing together a box is definitely the wrong way to go these days.
> It kills you in RMA/support time and in initial construction/debugging time.
> Due to low financial resources I built all the machines in my house.  Having
> spent many an hour after work diagnosing my own machines I will probably
> just buy a complete box the next time.

Completely agreed here.  The last PC I put together (for my brother-in-law
about 1.5 years ago) has just finally started working right after a
defective motherboard was swapped and all the settings re-done from scratch. 
Compatibility is a *big* issue these days, even using quality components
doesn't guarantee that your nice video card will work with your nice
motherboard.  One place I've dealt with in the past, Aberdeen
(www.aberdeeninc.com), is now advertising a "kit-o-gen" system, that
guarantees your video, memory, board, and processor will work together. 
Might be worth a look.

Also, to ease your pain, you might try and find things that are compatible
with Solaris x86 - this is tough, as the driver support isn't really keeping
pace with the rest of the world these days.  Still, a friend has been using
it as his desktop OS at work for months now with little problems - he only
switches back to PC for Exchange (a corporate requirement).

That said, my latest thoughts are to go used.  The major name manufacturers
have been building NT "workstations" for a few years now, and they're nice
for PCs - all SCSI, good quality components, nice case design, etc.  A
Compaq AP500 can be had with a PII-450 for around $5-600 and is a very
worthwhile machine still.  I know at least one pundit recently advised that
you really didn't need anything better than that for the average tasks, with
the exceptions being ultra-high-ended gaming and scientific/engineering-type
applications.  I would recommend looking at Compaq's AP & SP-series boxes
(AP500/SP700), or IBM's Intellistations, I think they would probably fit
your bill and give you a machine more like what you'd expect from a

I, on the other hand, am trying desperately to take up a challenge laid out
for me by the same friend - using as little PC/Microsoft-based functionality 
as possible.  I've just got an Ultra 1/200E, starting to use StarOffice, etc.
as much as possible.  Going to give gnucash a try to replace MS Money, etc. 
I'd love to eventually get an Ultra 30 and see what games I could get to run
within the SunPCi setup.  Somehow I think I'll still end up with a gaming
PC, gotta have something to run Diablo II on :)

In short, don't "sell out" completely Bill, you can have your cake and eat
it too with a little planning (or at least come darn close).


Chris Petersen
Systems Engineer, Industry Services, Unigraphics Solutions Inc.
Co-founder, auctions.workstations.org
Email: havoc at apk.net

> Mike Hebel
> _______________________________________________
> Rescue maillist  -  Rescue at sunhelp.org
> http://www.sunhelp.org/mailman/listinfo/rescue

More information about the rescue mailing list