Here are the specs of the computers I use around here. I’m not putting them here to brag, but because it might be helpful in explaining some of my misadventures.

“Fun Computer”, HP p6336f
Motherboard: Pegatron IPIEL-LA3 (HP/Compaq Eureka3-GL8)
Processor: Pentium(R) Dual-Core CPU E5400 @ 2.70GHz (2 of them)
Video: Intel 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller (Module Intel 810 and later)
Hard disc: ATA WDC WD10EADS-65M (1 TB)
Memory: 240-pin, DDR3, 7 GB
Sound card: Intel 82801JI (ICH10 Family) HD Audio Controller; Realtek r8169
Network (Ethernet) card: Realtek RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller
SATA controller: Intel 82801JI (ICH10 Family) 4 port SATA IDE Controller
USB controller: Intel 82801JI (ICH10 Family) USB2 EHCI (8 of ‘em)
SMBus controller: Intel ‎82801JI (ICH10 Family) SMBus Controller
Interface controller: Intel 82801JIB (ICH10) LPC Interface Controller; media class: ISA bridge
PCI bridge: Intel ‎82801; 82801JI PCI Express Port 6 (2 of the latter)
Host bridge: Intel ‎4 Series Chipset DRAM Controller
I got this for some $800 (including a big-ass 23″ monitor) at a wholesale club in early 2010, I think. It sits in my upstairs office, and acts as a file server for when I’m working on one of the computers listed below. It came with Windows 7, but when I first started it up I actually read the Windows 7 licensing agreement, and I felt like I was dying a little bit inside with every word. I’m not kidding. So I installed a Mandriva right over it, and then my wife and I both got ill and I never got around to writing to Microsoft asking for my money back, which maybe I never would have gotten but it would have been an interesting experience. Anyway, it seems like this is a pretty obscure desktop model, and for all I know it is only found in wholesale clubs, but it’s been reliable.

“Play Computer”, Shuttle KPC-45 “Barebones”
Processors: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E4600 @ 2.40GHz (2 of them)Memory: 2gb
Video: Intel 82945G/GZ Integrated Graphics Controller
Hard disc: ATA WDC WD1600AAJS-7
Sound card: Intel 82801G (ICH7 Family) High Definition Audio Controller
Network (ethernet) card: Marvell Technology 88E8056 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller
CD/DVD drive: (Iomega, external)
IDE interfaces: Intel 82801GB/GR/GH (ICH7 Family) SATA IDE Controller; Intel 82801G (ICH7 Family) IDE Controller
Bus controller: Intel ‎82801G (ICH7 Family) SMBus Controller
ISA bridge: Intel 82801GB/GR (ICH7 Family) LPC Interface Bridge
PCI bridges: Intel 82801 PCI Bridge; Intel 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 1; Intel 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 2
Host bridge: Intel 82945G/GZ/P/PL Memory Controller Hub
This is a real little workhorse. It’s square and black—kind of jazzy-looking—and doesn’t take up much room; and it’s pretty agile given its modest specs. My only criticism is that the fan is quite loud. I’m absolutely no hardware guy, and I don’t really have the nerve to replace that fan. But it was my main computer for a while; it’s now in the basement, where I fire it up every couple of days to do some work or to install a distro. I like it a lot and never regretted the $400 or so it cost me.

“Laptop”, Compaq Presario C500
Genuine Intel(R) CPU T2080 @ 1.73GHz (2 of them)
Hitachi ATA Hitachi HTS54168 hard disk
TSSTcorp CD/DVDW TS-L632D cdrom
Intel Mobile 945GM/GMS, 943/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller
Intel 82801G (ICH7 Family) High Definition Audio Controller
Realtek RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ Ethernet controller
Broadcom BCM4311 802.11b/g WLAN wireless controller
Intel 82801GBM/GHM (ICH7 Family) SATA AHCI Controller
Intel 82801G (ICH7 Family) IDE Controller
Intel 82801G (ICH7 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller
Intel 82801G (ICH7 Family) SMBus Controller
Intel 82801GBM (ICH7-M) LPC ISA Interface Bridge
Intel 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge
Intel 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 1
Intel 82801G (ICH7 Family) PCI Express Port 3
Intel Mobile 945GM/PM/GMS, 943/940GML and 945GT Express Memory Controller Hub (Host bridge)
I owe a lot to this laptop. I got it in 2007, when Vista was new, and if Vista hadn’t been so, uhh, Vistaish, I might never have plunged into the wonderful world of Linux. It’s been durable; in the past I would go a long time without even turning it on, but these days I use it almost daily as a replacement for the “Work Computer”, which breathed its last in late 2010, and it also travels with me.

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