A Good Standard Desktop PC as of 8/98
Estimated cost with no operating system: $1700.
- ASUS P2B Pentium II ATX Motherboard
- Intel Pentium II 300 (recent cuts bring them close to 266 pricing)
- 64M ECC DIMM
- Western Digital 6.4GB IDE Hard Disk (fast, reliable, cheap Ultra DMA 2)
- Medium Tower ATX Case
- Matrox Millenium II 4M PCI (see note: )
- Keytronics Keyboard
- Microsoft, Logitech, or Mouse Systems Mouse
- Iiyama Vision Master 17 or Viewsonic 17 inch Monitor
- Sound Blaster 16 + Speakers
- 3Com 3C905B-TX 10/100 Ethernet (but see notes:  )
- Teac 24x IDE CDROM
- Teac 3.5 Floppy
- Windows NT 4.0 Workstation or Server, or Win 95/98, or FreeBSD
- The original P2B BIOS
1002) does not correctly
identify the 3Com 3C905B-TX ethernet card. Two solutions:
a) try a different card, or b) update the bios using
to one of the later versions like the
- The FreeBSD vx driver does not yet support the
"B" version of the 3C905. Currently the only solution is
to use a different card, such as the 3C590 or DEC chipset cards.
Check the FreeBSD site
for the latest hardware compatibility news.
- The 3C905B-TX is listed here because it's otherwise a
good value and very easy to find.
3Com cards generally perform very well.
I've tended to use them on desktop PCs despite these
occasional compatibility problems.
For purpose-built FreeBSD servers,
the DEC-chipset based cards have been recommended.
Note that I've had a few 3Com cards fail at work lately;
none at home though. Maybe it's time to look for another manufacturer.
- If you play 3D games, get a
Voodoo II or
accelerator card. Riva 128 cards, such as the ASUS V3000
or Diamond Viper V330
do high performance 2D and 3D in a single card,
and are an outstanding value. The Voodoo II cards such as the
Diamond Monster 3D II and
Creative Labs 3D Blaster II
have about 50%
more 3D performance but cost about 100% more (about $200 versus $100).
The Voodoo II cards are 3D only meaning you need a separate 2D video
card (such as a Matrox or Riva 128), so the cost of using
a separate Voodoo II card is really 200% more.
Still, this is the preferred hot setup.
Note that the Riva supports full OpenGL, whereas the Voodoo II supports
Glide. Both support Direct 3D and Quake but in different ways.
- The latest Matrox G200 cards supporting OpenGL and the new
NVIDIA Riva TNT chips look interesting also.
The Intel 740 does not appear to come up to Voodoo2 performance.
Not too familiar with these due to newness.
For now Voodoo2 probably remains the best bet.
slightly lower than the Voodoo2 on
Quake 2 demo1.dm2. Based on this I recommend the TNT as
a combined 2d/3d card, but a Voodoo2-based card for
hard core gaming. (If you don't mind needing both 2d and 3d cards.)
ALSO: It looks like the
is significantly slower than Voodoo2 on Quake 2 (less than half
the frame rate on demo1.dm2), but is
meant to be a good price combination 2d/3d card with better image quality.
Again the Voodoo2 is the best choice for gaming, and the Riva TNT
for a combo card.
- This stuff gets obsolete really fast, but this is a good value
Local SF Bay Area clone stores I've had good luck with:
It usually pays to shop around a bit.
A given store may have good prices on some items but not others.
On the other hand, getting a system from a single source usually
- Hi-Tech USA
-- slow service, short hours, mostly rock-bottom prices, limited but good
items, credit cards extra %.
- Central Computer
-- generally good locations, prices, selection, hours.