New PC (Athlon XP)

I assembled a new PC last weekend.

Surprise! Surprise!! It's doesn't have Intel processor. I chose AMD Athlon XP 2600+. Because I didn't want to spend a bundle on a Pentium 4.

I was looking for a processor under $100, to keep cost of my PC down. The idea was to buy a motherboard with audio/video/lan integrated so it doesn't add to the cost too much buying individual components. Also, I don't need to buy Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor or speakers. I just use a KVM switch to use same Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor with multiple computers. This PC is just for playing, playing with linux. So I didn't want to waste too much money on it. But I didn't want to buy a dud machine which is very old hardware and very slow. My budget was around $300. I already had a spare 512MB PC2700 DDR SDRAM sitting around, so I didn't have to buy that. All the other components were already decided:

Case with 1 Fan, 400W Power Supply $36
Mitsumi 54/32/54 CD-RW Drive $39
Western Digital 80GB HDD(8MB Buffer) $49 (after $40 rebate at Fry's)
Any Motherboard with Video/Lan/Audio integrated
There ware many to choose from, both Intel and AMD based, depending on CPU Choice $55-$70 range

That totals to around $194, so it leaves me only $100 to buy a CPU.

Being an Intel guy I obviously looked at what Intel CPU I could buy at $100, and I found that I could only buy a Celeron 2.6GHz or a Pentium 4 1.8 GHz. I don't buy OEM CPUs because of warranty problems and reliability. I always buy Boxed CPU. A quick search on AnandTech revealed that there is really no way I can buy a decent Intel CPU and still keep my PC cost under $300.

So I decided to go with an AMD CPU. AMD Athlon XP 2600+ retail boxed for $99 at local shop.
This is my first AMD based system. And I was pleasantly surprised. It's obviously faster than my Pentium 4 2 GHz system. But I couldn't tell any difference between my 2.8 GHz (with HT) Dell system and this one in terms of system responsiveness.

This PC is for playing with Linux. I like to try different Linux distributions, and see what is going on in the world of Linux. Currently I have installed 3 Linux distributions on this machie. (It has an 80GB HardDisk). Gentoo, Fedora Core 2 Beta, and Mandrake Linux.

Gentoo was compiled from scratch including gcc, glibc all the way upto the kernel. I even compiled XFree86, GNOME and other utilities. After the base system was installed, it took about 6 hours to download and compile all the components of XFree86 and GNOME. That means this machine is really very good.

The processor is fast and the hard disk too. The hard disk has a 8MB buffer (instead of regular 2MB). That also helps in faster compiles I guess.