Old Chinacats, New Chinacat

This weekend I will be building a new workstation. I ordered most of the parts back in September but haven't been able to string together sufficient time to do the final build.

The name of this system will be chinacat. My main workstation is always called chinacat. This is probably my sixth chinacat, going back over 20 years.

I remember my first chinacat. It was an 80486DX-33. The "33" is the clock speed, and back then we measured speed in MHz, not GHz. I remember it had one amazing component: one of the fancy new Seagate ST-251 hard drives. It had a whopping 40MB of space and -- here is the incredible part -- it fit in a half-height 5.25" bay. (That's the size of a typical DVD drive these days. In those days most hard drives were twice that size.) It ran SCO Xenix.

In all the years and all the chinacat incarnations, I've only once had a dog. It's the system I'm working on right now. This chinacat is a Dell Optiplex GX620. It's a Pentium 4 HT 3.0GHz processor with 4GB memory. It's the first time I've ever bought a system, as opposed to assembling one out of parts. I learned my lesson.

The chinacat I'm working on now wil be built from the following components:

All the components are new, except for the 320GB hard drive. I had that laying around.

The Foxconn case is kind of crappy. It's really hard to find a good, small case these days. When I did the original order back in September, I got an Antec Three Hundred case. It's a really nice case, but it felt gigantic, and I wanted something less obtrusive. So I ordered the Foxconn -- but I'm keeping the Antec. I'm considering relocating the components of garcon, my server, into it.

I don't know what kind of crack I was huffing when I ordered that power supply. There is no bloody way I need 600W for this system. I did want a top-quality, quiet, "80 plus" (efficiency) certified power supply, and the Cooler Master does meet those conditions. Looking back at the invoice, I guess I decided to splurge because it was on sale (then $70, now $100).

Back in September I bought an Intel X25-V 40GB solid state drive. I recently wrote about how I used that to upgrade my new laptop. I got the Crucial last week as a replacement, so I could complete this build. There are some peculiarities of an SSD drive that require some system tweaking to use it optimally. I'll be working on that today. I'll keep notes, and possibly post a report on how that went.