Like Riding a Bike

Lately I’ve been realizing that I needed to upgrade by build/install/test infrastructure at the house. For the past few years, I’ve been buying laptops and a quick review of Newegg revealed that I hadn’t built a machine since 2003. Wow, had it really been that long?

I’ve always been a hardware geek. My first hard drive was a Xetec Lt Kernal 40MB for a Commodore 128D. Installation required that I make certain modifications to the motherboard. Later I’d have various Amigas where I’d replace the OCS chipset with an ECS chipset, install a Fat Agnus, upgrade Kickstart ROMS and of course install ZIP DRAM modules. Wow, that’s going back aways… 15 years?

I’ve built many machines since then. When I lived in NoVA I’d reguarly take clients shopping and build up a rig for them. So much time would be spent studying the current sweet spot and features/limitations of all the products available. My skills were so well trusted that I was actually allowed to build white box build servers for a large government contract that normally played it very safe. One day we had some fried caps ( it really smelled ) and within 2 hours I’d gone to the local vendor, picked up another motherboard for a very cheap cost, and brought the build box back up. Anyways, it’s really funny to see what Virtual Server 2005 emulates since I knew the 440BX, Trio64 configuration very well.

So what did I buy? I went with an Antec NSK4480 case with a 380Watt 80+ PS. An Intel DG35EC uATX motherboard with integrated video, audio, usb, firewire, SATA-II, PATA and GigE, an Intel Q6600 2.4G Quad Core and 8GB of DDR2-800 memory. Frys had some good deals for a change so all of this inc tax and same day pickup was $550. Not too bad.

I’m going to reuse some hard drives for now but soon I’ll be picking up a couple WD 300GB Raptors. Those really look like nice drives.

I’m currently loading it up with Server 2008 and Hyper-V. I also want to setup SqlServer 2005, TFS 2008 Workgroup Edition, TeamBuild, a development VM and a bunch of test VM’s for integration. Man, it’s going to be so much fun. 🙂