Hardware: Another New Computer For The Farm

I have always built my own computers from parts purchased at Newegg and other vendors. My current computer, the one at my bedside that gets the most use is one such computer.

It’s also 10 years old!

I’ve been nursing it along with new parts like larger hard drives, more memory etc., but it has finally come to its useful end as a daily machine. I will keep it for loading up Windows 2000 that runs my CNC plasma cutter however.

Off to Newegg, I started putting a motherboard, processor, memory, power supply, etc. in my shopping cart. Money being tight, I decided on a quad core processor, 4 gigs of RAM, case, power supply, DVD burner, and a 500 gigs  hard drive.

With everything ready to purchase, for about $320, I was called away from my shopping to make a run to pick up a prescription from the Walmart  pharmacy.

The trip ended with me bringing home a new computer from Walmart too!

The computer is an Acer, a company who I have purchased scores of computers from over the years for business use. I’ve always found them reliable and well made.

No, this is not a a super-powered gaming machine, and yes, it’s actually a laptop motherboard and memory, shoved into a desktop case;  but boy is it impressive in performance. A well spent $249.00 I think

From the Walmart web site:

Acer Aspire XC AXC-603G-UW13 Desktop PC:
Key Features and Benefits:

  • Intel Celeron J1900 Quad-Core processor
    2.0GHz (up to 2.42GHz via Turbo boost), 2MB Cache
  • 4GB DDR3 SDRAM system memory (expandable to 8GB)
    Gives you the power to handle most power-hungry applications and tons of multimedia work
  • 500GB SATA hard drive
    Store 333,000 photos, 142,000 songs or 263 hours of HD video and more

16x DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti drive
Watch movies and read and write CDs and DVDs in multiple formats on the Acer Aspire Desktop XC AXC 603G UW13

Once home with my new machine, I stuck a Panda Wireless WiFi dongle in one of the rear USB 2 ports (the unit also has a single USB 3 port in the rear as well)  Put a fresh DVD of Linux Mint 17, 64 bit in the drive, booted up and did the install.

It’s interesting how new machines  will actually whine at you, when you configure them for Legacy booting, dumping off the Windows 8.1 install partition.  Now if I could get a refund from Microsoft,  for the Windows 8.1 licence keys I was forced to purchase  with my two new machines. Keys that I will never, ever use!

Boy does this thing fly compared to my old machine. While most of my computing needs involve surfing the Internet,  something the old machine did just fine. What I really give my bedside computer a workout doing, is rendering video.

I’ll take  video with my phone for use on my goat web site. Most of the videos are 2 to 5 minutes long. Once I’ve edited the video to my liking, it’s rendered for use on the web site.

The old machine would take close to 45 minutes to render a 5 minute video into the Flash, .flv format. (Yes, Flash really must die, I hate the format and the stupid Flash plugin crashes constantly, regardless of OS)

Rendering a 5 minute clip on the new machine, the 4 processors plod along at less than 30% and the video was done rendering in 6 minutes!

Machine Stats while rendering video.

Machine Stats while rendering video.

We’ll see how long this low-end consumer grade machine lasts here on the farm. The price was right, but with no expansion slots on the motherboard,  (but of course I took it apart!) What you get is it. The only thing you can do is add another 4 gig of DDR3 SDRAM.