Friday, September 05, 2003

New Windows box: notes with post-assembly comments

Update: 9/03

Assembly and delivery went very smoothly. Everything came sooner than expected. The Antec case is truly amazing, lots of very fine engineering touches and exceptionally good documentation. The Intel MB is ok, but the documentation had a few errors and was internally inconsistent in a few areas. More significantly, Intel's web site and the newer docs say the mb has 1GB/sec ethernet on board. It doesn't on my version, evidently that's a later rev. Intel updates it's mbs but keeps the same identifiers. Annoying.

There were a few other minor surprises:

1. I initially installed Windows 2000. Until I disabled hyperthreading in the bios the machine could lockup in testing. This is a known problem, hyperthreading is not supported under Win2K.

2. After I upgraded the mb BIOS to the latest version, it didn't recognize my mouse and kb under win2k! I went into the BIOS and set it allow the OS to do PnP management. The problem resolved, but recurred when I switched to another IBM keyboard. Finally I switched to a more modern Micron kb (with a Windows key). I think support for the old IBM kbs is pretty marginal

3. The mb doesn't hook up to the case speaker, it has a small on board speaker for error beeps.

4. The Antec's front firewire cable is designed to attach to a motherboard post-style firewire connector. The Orange Micro card has a standard internal firewire connector. I ordered a $6 replacement cable ($7 shipping) from Antec, it replaces the original firewire cable. You have to remove the front of the cable -- watch the location of the white wire and keep it the same after the switch!

5. Intel's documentation is all over the place about which connector is for the a sound card audio and which for a CD audio. I think the black one is for the CD.

Our medium term plan is to have a single always-on XP Pro machine that will also be the home server -- for now. We have an older Win2K machine, a games-only non-networked Win98r2 machine, an iBook (my primary machine) and expect to add a G5 next year.

My system
All purchased from, except the DRAM from I have keyboards, mice, floppies, etc. Total cost about $850 when shipping is included.

CPU: 170
mb: 110
case: 110
drive: 95
firewire card: 70
memory: 200
CD-R/DVD viewer: 70

ANTEC Performance PLUS Model PLUS1080AMG-with
Antec Original TRUE 430W P4 Power Supply
ATX12V Retail N82E16811129115 $105.00

Intel Pentium 4 (800 FSB) Motherboard Model
N82E16813121192 $106.00

Intel Pentium 4 / 2.4CGHz 512k socket 478 Hyper
Threading Technology 800 MHz FSB - RETAIL

Kingston 1GB DDR400 (kit of 2 x 500MB)
Model KVR400X64C3AK2/1G

Seagate 120GB 7200rpm EIDE Hard Drive
Barracuda 7200.7 ST3120022A - OEM
N82E16822148020 $95.00

Samsung CDRW/DVD Combo Drive (Beige) 8mb
Cache, Model SM-352BRNS - RETAIL BOX
N82E16827151024 $69.99

OrangeLink+ USB 2.0/FireWire PCI, 4 port USB 2.0 and 3 port IEEE 1394 addon
card Model# 70HTL00110 $70

Antec 80mm fans (two)

Some comparison/alternative systems

Bruce S's system

Case: Antec Performance Plus 1080AMG
Motherboard: MSI 865G Neo2-LS
Processor: Intel Pentium 4 / 2.4C 512k socket 478 Hyper Threading 800 MHz FSB
Memory: Kingston 1GB DDR400 (kit of 2 x 500MB) Model KVR400X64C3AK2/1G
Hard drive: Seagate 120 GB 7200rpm EIDE Barracuda 7200.7 ST3120026A - OEM
CD/DVD ROM Drive: Sony DDU1621(DD1611) 16X DVD, 40X CD-ROM -OEM
Floppy Drive: Panasonic 1.44 MB 3.5 inch Model JU-256A798P - OEM

An alternative package, from usenet w/ the 8KNXP
Kingwin KT-424 case in black
Gigabyte GA-8KNXP 800MHz FSB Motherboard
3GHz Pentium® 4 Processor with 800MHz FSB
2 gigabytes of Mushkins Black DDR400 memory
Antec True550 550 Watt ATX power supply
Seagate 160 SATA hard drive
Radeon 9800 PRO 256 meg video card
Creative Labs® Audigy 2 Platinum sound card
Sony 16X DVD

Update 5/6/09: Replaced the NIC.

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