BtWD 2009 and more computer daydreaming

Today was DRCOG’s Bike to Work Day, so there were a crap ton of people on the trail this morning…ridiculous many; if it were like that every day, I think I’d have to take the bus half the time just to stay sane.

But they did have breakfast stations set up around.  One guy was handing off snack sized Clif Builder bars to us while we were still riding. 🙂  And there was a huge station up at the REI, so I stopped for a few minutes and got some orange juice and several ‘samples’ of Clif bars, Builder bars, Luna Moons (way too gooey for gummy snacks), and a full Luna bar.  Also they had a spin the wheel with pertinent trivia (mine was something like 80% of Americans live within 5 miles of their workplace); for spinning it and trying to answer, they were handing out pairs of wool athletic socks.  So…free socks!  And free Clif bar stuff!  (Chocolate mint Builder bar really does taste lots like an Andes mint cookie.)

So, back in 2003 I built a computer for college, intending it both as my all-around computer for schoolwork of every kind and as a light-medium gaming machine (back then, FF8 wasn’t *quite* as old school as ’tis now).  It consisted of:

Mid ATX Tower case w/300W power supply;
Chaintech NVIDIA mobo;
Athlon XP 2000+ Thoroughbred 1.667 GHz cpu;
WD Caviar WD400BB 40 Gb 7200 rpm hdd;
256 or 512 Mb ram;
Samsung floppy drive;
Logitech keyboard;
Logitech mouse;
Rock 2.1 speaker set;
Viewsonic 17″ CRT flat screen monitor;
Windows XP Pro student upgrade edition.

…all of which together cost approximately $750. I may have also gotten a sound or vid card.  For a little less (but using a mouse and keyboard I already have – worth $15-20), I could now build:

Micro ATX Tower case;
450W 80+% efficient power supply;
ASRock MicroATX NVIDIA mobo;
AMD Phenom II X2 550 dual core 3.1 GHz cpu,
Seagate Barracuda 250 Gb 7200 rpm hdd;
G.Skill 4 Gb (2×2) DDR2 1066 ram;
HT | Omega Striker sound card;
MSI GeForce 9500 GT video card;
LG 20″ widescreen 16:9 LCD monitor & DVI cable;
Logitech Z-4 2.1 speaker set.

Smaller, lighter, faster faster faster!  Unbelievable video memory in comparison, and ohmygod a twenty freaking inch LCD monitor.  Fifteen would have cost plural hundreds back in ’03.  Now it’s hard even to find a CRT new.  Ayaiyai.

I am so itching for two things: one, to get the hell out of this country (and over to Europe); and two, to custom build some friggin awesome computers.  MicroATX sounds gorgeous…make a desktop pack an impressive punch, yet be pretty manageable in size and weight.  Mmm.  Can I can I?


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