Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Big Honker

My main desktop PC (which I call SERVER) is getting long in the tooth. It is a refurbished HP Pavilion 522c that I bought in 2003. It has an Athlon XP2000+ 1.67GHz processor. I'd upgraded it along the way with memory (256MB to 1GB), a DVD burner, 2 bigger hard drives, even a Firewire card.

I did my typical drop the partitions and install a clean version of XP Professional right out of the box. But I had never refreshed it. It was getting a little flaky.

When I started looking for replacements, I wanted to stay with HP since I've had such good luck with them. I wanted something that I could run Windows 7 64-bit since I think that's the new standard for home. I also wanted something that supported virtualization. That turned out to not be so easy.

Intel calls its virtualization VT-x. AMD calls theirs AMD-V. AMD's is pretty simple. Pretty much anything you can buy supports it. Intel's is another story. wikipedia says "Intel uses the feature to segment its market." I would add "and to confuse."

All the Core i3/5/7 processors support VT-x but systems with those processors are expensive and you know how I am. Core 2 Duo/Quad was more my price.

So go look at this page from Intel. Many of them don't support VT-x outright. The rest refer you to their SPEC details. That doesn't help either. I ended up with an E6300. Way too confusing.

I got the E6300 in (another) refurbished HP Pavilion p6112p from buy.com. It has a 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, a LightScribe DVD burner, gigabit Ethernet, and a bunch of other bells and whistles. It came with Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit but was eligible for a free Windows 7 upgrade. The motherboard details are here.

On Christmas Eve buy.com had it for $399.99 with free shipping.

I did my normal process of dropping the partitions and doing a clean install of Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

I put one of the leftover 400GB hard drives from my Drobo in it and added a second DVD burner.

It's up and running and doing fine. I haven't had the first problem with Windows 7 64-bit other than one program from the early '90s won't run. How I resolved that will be explained in a later post.

No comments: