Inspired by Kevin Sullivan and Ralph Sumner, I decided to build my own computer this summer vacation. Kevin Sullivan liked iWill motherboards and I was looking for a RAID system because I think an extra hard disk set to mirror the original is by far the easiest and cheapest way to back up your software. If one disk goes down, you just use the other. iWill had a RAID model with a nice 266 MHz front end bus.
So when I got to the US I ordered immediately from compuplus.com. I rounded out my order with a 1.2 GHz Athlon chip, 512 MB RAM, 2 Seagate 30 GB hard disks, a DVD drive and a CD-RW drive along with a case. It was nice to have the next-door neighbor, who works at Maxtor, check things out when the system didnít work. It felt like the time in my twenties when I had disassembled and reassembled my motorcycle, and gotten it all right, except the valve lifters were positioned backwards.
While searching for causes I found that the iWill motherboard wasnít compatible with Gforce2 video cards. Searching for a new motherboard at the local computer shop, I found that my Athlon chip was bad. So I dispensed with the idea of a RAID system and bought a DFI motherboard from the local shop, knowing I could just bring it in if it didnít work. Compuplus replaced my chip, and refunded the money for the returned iWill motherboard. They even threw in an upgraded video card because it took almost a week for that to arrive. Once the new chip was here, it took less than an hour to get the computer up and running. Total cost for the system was about $1,000.
Iíll tell you about my flawless installation of Mandrake Linux on the machine next month.
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