Fractal Design R2I've always enjoyed building my own machines. I've owned a few Macs (And even a mac clone, that's going back a minute), but these days I use PCs running Windows or Ubuntu.

The nicest box I currently have is my home server, running Ubuntu 9.04. Although the specs aren't spectacular (Athlon X4-640, 2GB of RAM) it was an interesting machine to build, with 5x 1TB drives in a RAID 5 array, (4 in use, one hot spare, useable capacity 3TB). That and the case that I used, the Fractal Design R2. It's got eight 3.5" bays, weighs a ton, lined with heavy noise reducing material, it's a great case for the near silent, uber-media-server like this. It's big enough to allow the drives to be transverse mounted, and with cables routed behind, it's very clean.

My day to day work machine was a quick best-bang-for-the-buck build of an Phenom X4-955, in a cheap case and a recycled graphics cart (nVidia 7800GT). Only luxury is a 128GB SSD for a boot drive, makes the machine as a whole seem a lot quicker. A pair of sub-$200 LG screens (E2340) complete the rig. Ordered in haste, I got lucky, as they're matte coated. At that price point, there are a new nicities missing- external power supplies and no VESA mounts are 2 examples.

My home rig recently got a workover, and I'm now running an i7-2600K, effortlessly overclocked to 4ghz, in a Fractal Design arc case. I'm still running my slightly aged ATI 5850 gfx card in it, and a single 24" Samsung screen. I do some work on it, so having a 1920x1200 panel makes a bit of a difference. 

Having used 3 SSDs on different builds now, I'm not sure I can go back. Admittedly, capacities are poor, but you can always sym-link directories to other HDDs as required.  Reliability has been only so-so too, with 2 being repalced under warranty, but the speed can't be argued with.

There is a home theatre box in the living room running MediaPortal, with a low power Athlon X2. It's in a cheap-as-chips micro-ATX cube case, chosen for the 120mm (think-quiet) fan on the back. It's got a dual tuner Hauppage 2200 card in it, driven by the excellent (and now open-source) WebScheduler.  

Old boxen get recycled as servers or passed on to others. 


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