September 23, 2006

Anime + Geekdom 

Or, how not to have girls flocking towards you.

The other day I bought the boxed set of Hellsing, and I can say I really enjoyed it. It's not a masterpiece or a thought-provoking work, but it's good entartainment.

It has loads of fights, violence, blood (can't have vampires without blood, can you?), a protagonist who's as cool as vampirely possible and who shoots twin .454 Casull semiauto, and some truly nasty villains. A special mention goes to the co-protagonist: she's a cute girls with abundant boobs, always clad in very tight blouse, extremely short skirt and stockings - I've never seen that outfit in anime, really.

The biggest complain is Hellsing's animation: it is at times lousy and lazy; I've never seen a job like that since Evangelion. This anime deserved better.

I need a new computer. I surely can't take my office machine home; my laptop is five years old and getting obsolete; the P200 I have at home would fit better in a museum now.

So I need some new computing power, especially to finish my thesis. I'm no gamer, so I do not require cutting edge technology and preposterous graphics cards. I do lot of multitasking with Office and the like, so RAM is what I need. A probably a dual-core CPU. DDR doesn't exactly come for free tho, darn.

For watching DVD and listening music I have dedicated devices, so I don't need a super soundcard either.

And realibility. Recently I had some bad experiences with failing hard drives, so I won't accept anything less than a motherboard with SATA RAID controller; I'll install two sizable (120 GB or so) drives and make them work in mirror mode. And probably another big, inexpensive ATA drive for less important stuff. I love the concept used by ASUS of heat pipes to cool the chipset.

I won't waste time with stuff like case mods, but I'll ensure good ventilation of the whole thing.

Then what else... DVD writer, a 17" minimum LCD monitor and a Logitech optical mouse because I used Logitech and it's the best. Maybe a trackball if I feel fanciful. I'd like to have an A3 format printer, but I'm afraid it would run out of budget...

Finally, a serious DSL modem with LAN capability - I may just rent it from the DSL provider tho. And wired network: wi-fi has some security issues I don't like.

And now, geeks, fire away with your phasers!


I'm assuming you want a rock-solid platform that would last 4 years. So, here goes:

-- Motherboard --
I would go with the ASUS P5W DH. It has received rave reviews from practically every corner of the web. You can have RAID 1 (mirror) on the Intel ports for the best speed. The ASUS manual is very helpful on going thru with the installation.

This comes with on-board sound, so don't even bother with a soundcard. And it comes with dual gigabit LAN.

Even if you don't buy this: make sure to upgrade the BIOS to the latest version as soon as you can. (If possible, even before you install the OS.) Check the website of the manufacturer. ASUS has an incredible site...The forums are good because one can check answers for differents problems or quirks or simply seek help.

-- Processor --
In June/July of this year, Intel released the Core 2 Duo. It's the heir of the Pentium 4 and it truly thrashes *all* other processors in the market. It makes sense to buy one of these. (I'm in Canada where the cheapest Core 2 Duo costs $260 Canadian.)

-- RAM --
Corsair is a good company. Get DDR2-800, 2x512MB; dual-channel. (If you really want RAM, then up the kit to 2x1GB; dual channel.) I'm assuming you won't overclock, so no need for anything fancy.

There's only one company: Seagate. I've had their hard drives for three years and counting--not a single problem. Plus, today Seagate offers a five-year warranty.

Currently the 300GB model provides the most bang for the buck. If you want to get something with a lesser capacity, then fine but make sure you buy the version 10 or above...it utilizes perpendicular recording, so it offers amazing speeds.

You'll get the SATA2 model; make sure to remove the jumper from the hard disk--it limits the drive to SATA1 speeds.

-- LCD Monitor --
I own a CRT but I've read great things about:

Samsung SyncMaster 940BW 19IN Widescreen LCD
(1440X900 4MS 500:1 VGA DVI-D HDCP Black W/ DVI Cable)

Samsung has an excellent reputation in the LCD business.

-- Graphics card --
I have an Nvidia card which I bought in 2002. I don't know what's good today but you're in luck:

-- DVD writer, mouse --
I don't have a writer but it's hard to go wrong in this area. Just make sure that you buy a recent DVD writer that plays and burns the most or all standards of DVDs.

Logitech: an optical mouse will do. Get something in the range of US$20. (Try eBay for this one, you can get good mice for half the price.)

VERY IMPORTANT: Buy a good power supply. 450Watts or more. Antec, Enermax, OCZ, Seasonic, and Thermaltake are considered to be top-notch suppliers.


Thanks for the tips... but I also have to consider budget and what's available in Italy.

Also Western Digital HDDs seem good.

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