Friday, March 04, 2011

One Piece at a time: Parts 4, 5, and 6

Once the motherboard is installed, as Lydia and I did on March 1, it is then possible to install everything else. This is where the "delay of gratification" thing becomes difficult for me. This is especially true when you know the remaining parts are not all that expensive even in the aggregate.

At this point we have the motherboard and the hard drive installed. In order to be a computer, this is actually all that is required, but most of us want a little more and there are technical issues. By technical issues, I mean that your are going to have to install the operating system in some way. I understand this can be done from a thumb drive if your BIOS is robust enough. As I have worked with this motherboard before, I know this is not the case. That means that an optical drive (CD, DVD, or blu-ray) will be required. I am not quite ready to play with the new technology of the blu-ray, so I decided to go DVD. As one of Lydia's heart-desires is to use this with her iPod, you have to figure this drive will be used even after the operating system is installed.

Oh, yeah, I guess the computer isn't exactly ready to run because it has no memory. On my itty-bitty Ubuntu box, I only used one gigabyte of memory. That only cost me $20. I couldn't find such a deal this time. In choosing memory, you have to be careful to get something that works with the motherboard. There are two things to look for. The first of these is the basic type DDR, DDR2, DDR3. As near as I have been able to figure, the speed and cost go up with the number after the R. Our motherboard requires DDR2 memory. There is more to it than this, however, as you also have to look at the speed of the memory. Our motherboard can handle either 667 or 800 speed memory. This lead me to the choice of memory made by Crucial. Crucial is a common brand and has a good reputation.

The final thing at this point is the connection to the Internet. This will be done from Lydia's room that doesn't have an Ethernet connection in it. Therefore she will need a wireless card that did not come on the motherboard. The motherboard does have one PCI expansion slot however so I have invested in a wireless PCI card. I'm a little worried about this for a couple of reasons. The inside of the computer is very small. Will it even fit? But more importantly, Newegg is trying to sell an extended warrantee on this for $7. It would have to have about a 1/3 chance of failure for this to make economic sense to me, but it is a great source of profit to them, no doubt.

In any case, the die is cast and those parts are ordered. Lydia is getting exited as she has already started bugging her big sister for her old monitor.

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