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November 26, 2007

Editorial: Upgrading My Computer Harware

by @ 10:41 am. Filed under ALL, BioEngineering, Communications, Computers/Software, Electrical/Power, Electronics Design, Engineering Mgmt, NanoEngineering, Optics/Displays, Semiconductors

Itâ??s amazing how much computer performance can be bought at the â??modest end??? of the curve, for those willing to do some assembly!

I certainly wasnâ??t going to get up at 4 AM to shop the â??Black Friday??? sales, but I wasnâ??t above heading to Frys later in the day. I was shopping for the â??pieces??? for a new, moderate-speed PC. Hereâ??s what I ended up getting (mind you, lots of items are at ridiculously low prices on that day!)

Motherboard with PCI-E, SATA, DDR2 $26
AMD dual-core processor, 1.9 GHz/45W $33
2 GBytes of DDR2 800MHz DRAM $20
256MB Video board, PCI-E16 $30
18X 2-layer DVD/CD writer $30
300 GByte SATA Drive $50
PC case with power supply $25

This entailed only two mail-in rebates (for $70). So, for $214 (plus tax) I have a complete editing and work computer. Fantastic!

As I look over this assortment of goodies (before starting actual assembly), I find that the processor (in a 65nm process) comes from a fab in Dresden, Germany. The motherboard is from Taiwan, while the video card, both drives, the power supply and the case are from China. Much of the design, however, is from Silicon Valley.

And with this low-power processor (under 45 watts, with their â??3800+??? speed range), this system should run quite cool and quiet; with its power-reduction system, it is supposed to cut back to a 1 GHz clock when quiescent. Reports on this chip indicate that I can overclock it by 25%, if I need to. In regular use, Iâ??ll plan to use only the single exhaust fan in the power supply for air flow. Itâ??s part of the â??greening??? of electronics.

Paul Wesling, editor

On-line version: see Page 2 of the December GRID.pdf

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