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Re: hardware quote comments?

Dear People,

Thank you so much for your responses. I'm very grateful. Since I can't
respond individually to everyone (though I would like to) here are my
responses to some of the issues which were raised.

1) There seemed to be a consensus that this company was charging too much.
I may have caused some confusion by including the price list verbatim,
which lists items by quantity. (There are two SCSI disks and 2 sticks of
512M RAM). I have written to some other online vendors asking for matching
quotes, something I should have done before.

Of course, part of the problem is that there are few custom PC builder out
there that support Debian, or even Linux in general. I have had some
experience with doing Debian installs on different computers lately with a
fair measure of success, but am still not completely confident of my
ability to get everything set up correctly, so a complete preinstall would
be nice. On the other hand, I don't want to get ripped off.

2) Some people suggested that I try to build my own system. I've
considered this, of course, but frankly, I find the idea a little
frightening, and will only consider this as a last resort. Matt Wehland
summarised the potential problems well.

Con's of building your own system-
    Choosing what you want can cause hair loss, lack of sleep, nightmares
of mother boards and memory.
    Choosing where to buy it all from will cause even more heartache.
    Waiting for multiple deliveries from separate vendors- The mother
board will be the last thing you get.  I usually will pay a little more to
just have to deal with one or two vendors when building a system, just to
reduce the headache.
    Getting/ordering wrong components- It really sucks to have a processor
that won't fit your MB, for this reason I suggest getting the MB/cpu from
the same vendor.
    Destroying stuff on assembly - For instance if you have a case with
little metal grounding fingers around the openings for the I/O connectors
and one of the fingers get's caught in a USB port and shorts out, the USB
controller will light up real nice for about 2 seconds  (Hmm thats weird,
an LED on the back of the MB, Doh.  Yes I have the Tee shirt, although it
is shrunken and faded by now, oh and that case is now living happily in a
landfill somewhere)
    System incompatibilities - Will all the parts work together and under
your chosen OS (Go Debian)

I think I will probably wait till I have a lot more money to spare before
I start experimenting with expensive hardware.

3) Several people asked me why I want to use SCSI instead of IDE. No, I'm
not trying to build a server. I've just generally heard good things about
SCSI drives. I read in several places, specifically the book "PC hardware
in a Nutshell", that multitasking systems feel much more responsive with
SCSI drives as opposed to IDE drives, because they are smarter of
something. I think they are also supposed to be more reliable.  I was not
planning to use RAID (though I have heard of it). I was going to use half
of the first drive as /, and half of the second drive as /home, and leave
the rest free in case I want to try out FreeBSD or some other operating
system. It never occurred to me to try to do RAID mirroring.

I do plan to do a certain amount of programming on this system, and
compiling large amounts of code is part of life with free software. I
might also do other demanding tasks with this machine, so I want a
responsive system. Do any of you have any experience in comparing SCSI/IDE
systems with similar specifications?

4) I think it is worth while to get a slightly better Ethernet card, so
I'll probably go with the 3com.

If any of you have have further comments, it would be much appreciated. I
found the comments already sent to me extremely helpful.

                                        Sincerely, Faheem Mitha.

On 25 Feb 2002, Faheem Mitha wrote:

> Dear People,
> I got the following quote for a computer (now quite old). I am thinking of
> going with this, with the modification that I'll be using the Microsoft
> Intellimouse Explorer instead of the Logitech.
> The price is probably quite a bit more than I would pay if I was to build
> it myself but these people are going to do a Debian installation, do some
> stress-testing, and make sure everything works properly before sending it
> to me. At least, that is the idea. This is worth quite a lot to me, since
> it would be a nightmare to purchase expensive equipment and then not be
> able to use it under my preferred platform.
> I just wondered if anyone had thoughts/comments about the hardware
> configuration. I was just told that the Realtek ethernet card was a
> piece of junk and that I should use something else instead, so I was
> thinking of the 3com (10/100) PCI. Comments?
> Thanks in advance for your feedback/input.
>                                         Sincerely, Faheem Mitha.
> ******************************************************************************************
>                     Los Alamos Computers
>           2310-C 39th St, Los Alamos NM  87544-1742
>  [p] 505-661-1511  [e] sales@laclinux.com  [W] www.laclinux.com
>                                                date: 22 Jan 2002
>                                               order: 002880
>  LAC Custom System
>  ---------------------------------------------------------------
>  | part no        | descrip                              |quant|
>  ---------------------------------------------------------------
>  | MBABKG7        | Abit KG7                             |  1  |
>  | CPUAMDXP15     | AMD XP 1500+ (1.33 GHz)              |  1  |
>  | FANAMD         | AMD fan                              |  1  |
>  | MEM512P21      | 512M PC2100 DDR                      |  2  |
>  | VCMXG4532DAD   | Matrox G450 32M DDR AGP dual head    |  1  |
>  | HDSIBM18G10K   | 18G IBM 10k rpm U160 SCSI            |  2  |
>  | SCAD29160      | Adaptec 29160 U160 SCSI card         |  1  |
>  | CDPLW2410      | Plextor 24x10x40 IDE CDRW            |  1  |
>  | FD144          | 1.44M 3.5 inch floppy                |  1  |
>  | NCRT100P       | Realtek 10/100 PCI NIC               |  1  |
>  | MDUSR56FE      | USR 56K V.92 ext fax modem           |  1  |
>  | SCTBSC         | Turtle Beach Santa Cruz              |  1  |
>  | SPALACS452     | Altec Lansing ACS45.2 3pc speakers   |  1  |
>  | KB104P         | 104 key PS/2 US keyboard             |  1  |
>  | MOL3WCO        | Logitech cordless opt wheel mouse    |  1  |
>  | CSANSX840      | Antec SX840 400W 8 bay               |  1  |
>  | FANCS          | case fan                             |  1  |
>  | OSDEB22        | Debian 2.2 install + config          |  1  |
>  |                |                                      |     |
>  | LEAD           | Ships in 8-10 business days          |     |
>  | FREIGHT        | UPS Ground                           |     |
>  ---------------------------------------------------------------
>                                               price:  2456.00
>                                       tax (0.0000%):     0.00
>                                             freight:    40.55
>                                               TOTAL: $2496.55
>  o This quote is valid for one week after the date given above.
> --
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