Friday, October 1, 2010

Cloning good equipment...

Last November's build of a Windows 7 box was a qualified success. I'm equivocating only because, a month after building it, I lost the motherboard and had to get a replacement from Intel. It was the luck of the draw and Intel created no obstacles to the exchange although they waited for my old board to arrive before sending me out the new one. (With Dell Computers, you have the new component in hand within a day or so and can then simply reuse the packaging to return the defective component.)

Since replacement, I have had no other trouble attributable to the hardware.

I have had grief with Windows 7 supporting peripheral devices. It simply will not support my internal card reader, my external card reader or my HP Deskjet 5550 printer. As always, I'm willing to admit humbly that I'm a total idiot, but seriously, do you think a platform is really a popular, turn-key solution for the masses if a career software engineer can't overcome what should be simply plug-and-play after several hours bent over the problem? (And Google says I'm not alone!)

Well, I've also got a Linux box next to me, running Ubuntu Lucid Lynx (10.4), but it's just too slow to do my development work on. I find, in particular, that launching the Android device emulator from Eclipse takes more than just "for freaking ever" (as many places on the web say about launching that emulator normally) and is simply intolerable as compared to my Windows box which is long, but tolerable. I think it's the horsepower in my case.

After nearly a year ignoring Linux as my main development host (Avocent was a decidedly Windows shop), I've grown lonesome and decided to clone last year's build to build for myself a competent Linux host again.

So, here's my build-out, arriving from TigerDirect today; I'm a little tamer and it's costing me about $200 less with much more disk (although I later added a 1Tb, unmirrored disk to my existing Windows system):

Case Ultra X-Blaster Black ATX Mid-Tower
Power Supply Ultra LSP550 550-Watt SATA-ready, SLI-ready 135mm Fan
Intel Mobo DP55WB Micro ATX, Intel P55 Express Chipset
CPU Intel Core i5 750 2.66GHz, 8Mb L3 cache, Quad-Core Lynnfield
DDR3 Memory 2 OCZ 4Gb DDR3 PC10666 1333MHZ 4096Mb
Video Card GeForce 9500GT 1Gb PCI-E 2.0 VD 01G-P3-N958-LR
Hard Drives 2 Seagate 1Tb LP SATA
Optical Drive LightScribe DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM

Additionally, this will allow me to take that otherwise nice if slow box running nevertheless modern Linux here and use it as a replacement for my old web server still running openSuSE 10.2.

I'm running my two, five-year old Dell 20" wide-aspect monitors for now (3360 x 1050 pixels total) until I swap my bigger Asus pair from the Windows 7 box to Linux.

The hard drives would be arranged in RAID 1 but for the fact that Ubuntu desktop doesn't support RAID. In order to do RAID, you must either use Ubuntu server or an alternate non-GUI installation that only supports Karmic (one release backward) at this hour. So, my installation of Lucid Lynx 64-bit 10.4 was successful and I've built the disks as follows (hoping to facilitate setting up with RAID 1 later):
  16 Gb swap   (/dev/sda)
80 Gb /
904 Gb /home
1000 Gb /home2 (/dev/sdb)

I have excellent news: the Android emulator starts up on Linux as quickly as it does on my Windows host. I'm back in business.

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