Photodiary: making computers

It started with two empty boxes and a lot of bits:
Getting all the bits together

Mainboard with processor and heatsink:
A closer view

This is me – yes me! – making my own computer!! We’re all too excited to be able to hold the camera still, LOL!
Shaky cam

Comparing to make sure we’d both done it the same:
"No, no, it has to go in the next pin along!"

Memory in:
Pushing in the memory

Hard drive and DVD drive in, everything hooked up:
DVD drive in

And – OH MY GOSH!! – it works!!
Not a set-up shot

Two finished twin computers:
Twins!

Up and running!
Up and running!

And since Mandriva didn’t like the hard drive, i thought i’d try Debian:
Debian

I have a new computer!

The really special thing is … i built it myself!!

A colleague at work helped me to choose all the bits, advised me what would work well, and what goes together, etc. Another of my colleagues got exactly the same as me, and we built them together last night! The hardware actually went really well, no glitches at all … but getting Mandriva on it was another story! I reckon the hardware was so new that it didn’t know what to do with it! I have:

* A Serial-ATA hard drive (160 GB)
* A dual core processor
* 2GB RAM (DDR II)
* 18x DVD re-writer
* and a GORGEOUS 19″ widescreen monitor!

So we faffed around until half eleven last night trying to get it to install, but it didn’t like it, whatever we tried. Today i found Debian free on a magazine and had a good feeling about it. “Better autodetection and support for a wider range of hardware” gave me some confidence. Sure enough, i put the disk in and it found the hard drive straight away and started partitioning and formatting it for me. Brilliant!

The first thing i had to do was figure out the widescreen monitor drivers because i had some horrible stretched display which did not do my eyes any good. I’m not even quite sure how i did it; i did something dangerous to /etc/X11/xorg.conf and then it just magically decided to work. I now have it on a very acceptable 1440×900.

I’m using the GNOME interface at the moment. I’ve been used to KDE, but i can’t see how to switch it. Still, i’ll have a go with this for a while. I think it’s good to try new things once in a while. I am also using Iceweasel which is basically Firefox rebranded for Debian (because Firefox doesn’t go along with Debian’s opensource policies, or something like that). I’ve just been reading about virtual machines in the magazine i bought, and i’m keen to try out some of the possibilities, now that i have a computer that’s fast enough to do it!

Obviously i have plenty of configuring to do … MySQL, Ruby, Rails, copy all my useful files across from my old laptop, set up my email accounts with … er … what’s the email client here? … Evolution!

I will upload photos to Flickr that prove that i made this computer, and post a few of them in a new entry here!