A development-environment is developing
I haven’t obtained any new development computer in the last nine years. At least not one which was built for my specific needs. This long lasting period has ended yesterday.
I could get my hands on the last piece for having the first build finished on Beornegar. In spite of writing a boring list I try to have a small description on the why with each item. I’m sure there are some of you out there who won’t agree with me on every detail, but as my field of experience is more on the software side I’m confident that my setup is not the cutting edge of the best possibilities.
As I’m not equipped with the needed tools, I cannot present photos from the assembly procedure, I hope this can be balanced with the manufacturers’ well-made pictures.
The first milestone, after having clear that the next PC will also based on an ATX, was the selection of a chassis. The design for coolability, easy mountability and hand safe edges were as high on my list as the actual looks and the lots of spare space for additions in the upcoming phases (at the end of this article I’ll hint some of these additional levels).
My choice fell on a Thermaltake Armor.
Fast mountability is achieved with the screwless drive-bay design and on the snap-in locks for the PCI-cards. I could only realise at the time of assembly, that the snap-in locks are a bit tight for the metal holders, so I had to use some fiddling and a bit more force to get the cards into place as usual, but I imagine this helps the stability.
Second on the list the power source. PSU.
I’d have liked to get an M850, but I should have waited for that one more than six weeks. This made me choose it’s big brother, although Orwell’s novel should have brought the exact opposit feelings in me …
It reaches maximum performance at 50% of the named output, and that I think I can uphold for long with this configuration.
So we have reached the heart of Beornegar, the piece which has started this quest in the first place:
My reasons were here the built-in RAID (which has other functionality apart from binary, I mean it knows other methods than 0 or 1), support for CrossFire or SLI (this one has both), and support for the new technologies for example USB3.0.
I doubt to find a processor which doesn’t support virtualization, but as this feature was a major setback with Clacker (my former computer), this had to be really high on the demands’ list. The same reason brought me to the multi-core processor’s isle, and here I can have eight paralel threads.
Although there are some rumors that there was a saying “640kb should be enough for everyone”, these have no connection to reality. I would rather say, there can be never enough, but users ready for compromise :]
So, now we have something what can calculate, and items to store the calculations between iterations, we have reached the level of the first personal computers. This means: we have to type in our program every time we switch the computer on, and we should not expect to see any results, apart from the status LEDs flashing.
We need some input/output devices and some form of storage.
I use for an IBM 8820 hungarian keyboard for years now, and a Contour Cmo-Blk-L-R ergonomic mouse.
I had also the problem how will I access all my stuff stored on cds and dvds, as I have only retired Clacker not dismantled. What I’d have liked was LightScribe (I’m not as happy with my handwriting style as I should), and on version B a BluRay drive. To have the final decision LG came to my rescue, as they have released a drive under codename CH10LS20RBB which has both options.
AS of now – with temporary flag – a 500GB Seagate Barracuda is the full internal storage, but this is flagged for a major redesign in level 2.
After all this the only remaining step is to have some kind of display available. I have set up a quartet for that reason. Members are: two Samsung 2243BW monitor (1920×1024) and two Sapphire Vapor-X 6850 1GB DDR5 videocard.
A trick when buying a videocards is, you have to know how to match a specific piece on the manufacturer’s page to the webshops’. Specially when the manufacturer does not state the model number, and the webshops tend to mix up the product pictures. The only meaningful thing you can do is, call the webshop and have them check on the features when opening a box.
All these items and a handful of imagination adds up to Beornegar, who has it’s name from Wufgar’s father, the barbaric chieftain from Ice Wind Dale. This comes from the Drizzt books of R. A. Salvatore.
Level 2 should bring the RAID capability of the motherboard into light, and the two videocards’ ability to drive up to six displays…