Category Archives: Hardware

Budget Intel Gaming Rig ($500)

Recently I built my first gaming rig (also my first PC build) with a measly
budget of $500.

The specs:

  • Case: Antec 300
  • CPU: Intel Pentium E6300 Wolfdale
  • PSU: Antec EA650 650W
  • GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 4830
  • HDD: Western Digital Cavier SE 320GB
  • Mobo: Gigabyte GA-G31-ES2l LGA 775 Intel µATX
  • RAM: OCZ SLI-Ready 240-pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800

Everything was purchased from Newegg and thanks to a couple combo discounts this build was less than $500 including shipping and applicable tax. It was a tough decision. For example, I switched from a NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT to a NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS, finally settling with a AMD Radeon HD 4830. Fortunately, most of the components are overclockable; with the addition of an aftermarket cooler, I will be flying in no time. As an added bonus, the CPU supports VT which will come in handy for running paravirtualised guests under Linux and Windows XP under Windows 7.

Some thoughts for the future: In the next build, the OCZ memory will be replaced by the Corsair XMS brand and I’m definitely going to consider the Antec Sonata III case.

Update: My build is complete! Although I haven’t installed Linux on it yet, I do get a WEI score of 5.5 (highest is 5.9). I’m quite impressed with the performance of this build as well as the ventilation of the case. Temperatures range from the low thirties (celsius) (for both the CPU and the GPU) under a light load to no higher than 50 degrees for a high load.

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Arch Linux and the HP Compaq 2710p

I recently received a HP Compaq 2710p and I’m quite surprised by the performance of this convienent tablet.

After using it for a few weeks, I can say that it works well with GNU/Linux (Arch Linux in particular).  There are a few issues, however:

  • Use of the stylus occasionally conflicts with the default mouse.
  • Brightness of the screen is fixed (unchangeable) upon resume from suspend (both from disk and RAM).

Here is some information about the devices within the computer.

[antony@ARCH ~]$ lspci
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile PM965/GM965/GL960 Memory Controller Hub (rev 0c)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile GM965/GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 0c)
00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Mobile GM965/GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 0c)
00:19.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82566MM Gigabit Network Connection (rev 03)
00:1a.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 03)
00:1a.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #5 (rev 03)
00:1a.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 03)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) PCI Express Port 2 (rev 03)
00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) PCI Express Port 3 (rev 03)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 03)
00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev f3)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82801HBM (ICH8M-E) LPC Interface Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801HBM/HEM (ICH8M/ICH8M-E) IDE Controller (rev 03)
02:09.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Ricoh Co Ltd R5C832 IEEE 1394 Controller (rev 05)
02:09.1 SD Host controller: Ricoh Co Ltd R5C822 SD/SDIO/MMC/MS/MSPro Host Adapter (rev 22)
02:09.2 System peripheral: Ricoh Co Ltd R5C843 MMC Host Controller (rev 12)
10:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation PRO/Wireless 4965 AG or AGN Network Connection (rev 61)

[antony@ARCH ~]$ lsusb
Bus 007 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001
Bus 006 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001
Bus 004 Device 003: ID 0461:4d17 Primax Electronics, Ltd
Bus 004 Device 002: ID 08ff:2580 AuthenTec, Inc.
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001
Bus 003 Device 004: ID 049f:0081 Compaq Computer Corp.
Bus 003 Device 003: ID 04b4:6560 Cypress Semiconductor Corp. CY7C65640 USB-2.0 "TetraHub"
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 03f0:171d Hewlett-Packard
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 
[antony@ARCH ~]$ uname -a
Linux ARCH 2.6.27-rc9 #2 SMP PREEMPT Thu Oct 9 00:58:03 EDT 2008 i686 Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU U7600 @ 1.20GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux
[antony@ARCH ~]$ df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda5              15G  2.3G   12G  17% /
none                 1009M     0 1009M   0% /dev/shm
/dev/sda2              92M   15M   73M  17% /boot
/dev/sda6              15G  1.3G   13G  10% /home

I’ve kept the system relatively lightweight. Some applications that work well with this computer are:

  • mutt: imap gmail access
  • audacious: music
  • pidgin: instant messenger
  • wget: download manager
  • uxterm: terminal
  • firefox: browser
  • dosbox: games
  • dwm: window manager
  • bash: shell
  • netcfg: network manager

This computer is really convienent to carry around because it is so lightweight.  Soon, I will upgrade to Xorg 7.4 and see if the wacom driver has improved.