Table of Contents




Title: Technology Today May 2003
by  Robert Sanborn & Alan Linker

One of the perks of going to meetings in Las Vegas last fall was an email that I got from Intel telling me that as I attended their briefing, I could purchase a new Hyperthreading P4 3.06 gigahertz processor and matching Intel 850 Mainboard at a very substantial discount. What looked like a great deal actually turned out pretty good but you know, becoming a pioneer has its arrows to worry about and I sure ran into a couple on this one.  

So remembering this as I sent my plastic off and received my package. First thing I noticed is that I need to start thinking of what kinds of parts to use. Being the frugal type, I really didn’t want to spend a ton of money on this system as it will become my new test system replacing the “old” 800 megahertz system I had been using for a while. Since the LAN, and Audio are built into the mainboard, that part was easy. I had been using a Premier case for a while when putting systems together and they are great for the price you pay so I ordered one of those. What I like about them is that they have USB connectors on the front of the case as well as the back so I have instantly 4 USB Ports on the computer to use. The Intel D850EMV2 board I received also included USB 2.0 specs so I actually save money <g> by not having to install an extra USB2 PCI card into the system. But here, things get a little more complicated. The memory required is Rambus memory, yet another different type of memory to install and keep track of. Because I have a superfast (for now) system, it requires faster memory and when I checked the usual stores and distributors, couldn’t be found anywhere. I finally went to Kingston’s web site, www.Kingston.com and got the memory from them at a cost of $254 for 512mb RAM. Considering that I normally use Micron RAM for my “old” Pentium 3 866, the same 512mb would have been around $80.  The next snag was the video card. In reading the specs of the manual, you have to use a 1.5volt video card which is the newer variety. I was planning on using a new but older version of an ATI card I had and discovered, wrong voltage. Back to the searching and to buy a new video card.  

Of course, the adventures with Microsoft continue. I decided to use the old test systems hard drive and see again what trouble I would have putting it in the new box. Different processor, mainboard, video, lan, and you name it. The only thing remaining the same was the amount of memory and the hard drive.  Of course, Windows XP said we will have none of this silliness and refused to start without having to reactivate it. I must admit, the person I talked to this time was much better about the whole thing than the last time I went through this process and other than our chatting about other things, it really only took just a couple of minutes to read off the million or so digits, get the new bunch and be on my way. This is actually the third time I have had to undergo this process by taking my legal copy of Windows XP to a different computer. But so far so good and I am very impressed with the way it actually managed the change in all the hardware with a real minimum of fuss. You might remember the last time I did this, I got one of those dreaded blue screens with a cryptic stop message and ended up reformatting the hard drive. Goes to show you. This time, I backed up all the files I thought I would need, checked all the old emails, and went through my “system move” check list very carefully. And for once, didn’t really need to do it. Course, wait till next time. 

Short Takes 

A couple of months ago I wrote about a really neat product for keeping track of files and software on your network from Executive Software called Sitekeeper. What confused a couple of readers was the fact that I said that it was not that easy for me to navigate the program as it is really designed for a server based network and most of my experiences are on peer to peer systems. That wasn’t meant to say that it was not a good program or that I didn’t think it was worth the effort to use it but to the contrary, it is a most useful and to me, necessary tool when you have so many computers that you need to monitor for software compliance. Well worth the efforts. 

DSL Woes 

I thought I had the DSL networking figured out the other day and then ran into something new from SBC (our wonderful old Ameritech bell company) that was new and unfortunately, much more difficult to deal with.  Normally, when I help someone install DSL service to their home or business, they go with SBC (pretty much because it is the only game left in town), and would get the “SBC Yahoo DSL Service” package. What it expects you to do is to load the software CD they give you that not only connects you and sets up your account but also loads a ton of Yahoo related (and other) stuff that you really don’t care about if you just want a high speed internet connection which is what most businesses want. Well the good news was that I had found a way around using the install CD they send you and it was working great. I would hook up the computers to a Firewall router, set up the network, and go to SBC’s web site to setup the user ids and the passwords and they would be in business in less than half an hour. It was working great. 

Well, good things never last. SBC now gives you the option of going with a static IP or a dynamic IP address on your DSL and if you choose the static IP address, life gets a bit more difficult. Now why would you choose the static IP over the Dynamic IP address is more a matter of if you will be hosting some services through your internet connection like web pages and mail servers and the like where people need to know the IP address to find you. Most people, and most businesses, don’t need that type of access and so unfortunately, don’t really know what kind of service to ask for. What happens with SBC is that if you go static, you get a new kind of DSL modem. Let me back up for a second. Normally when you go DSL or even Cable modem, what you get from the provider is a modem that fits that type of broadband service. If you have a couple of computers in your business or home, what you do is to get a broadband router (preferably a firewall router), connect the modems Ethernet port to the WAN port on the router, and connect each computer to the other ports on the router, setup the user id and password if needed, and you are connected to the internet.  

With this new box, at least the one coming from 2 Wire called the Home Portal, it is a router built into the modem. Connect this device to another router and life becomes very difficult. You have no choice, you have to install their software which includes all sorts of Yahoo stuff whether you want it or not. What is worse, if you bought a router for that modem to plug into, you have to change things and let it think that the modem is another device on the hub. You have to disable the router features in order to allow other computers to access the internet.  Not an easy way to connect so when you look to add DSL to your home or office, be sure you go dynamic rather than static. That way, you get a much cleaner installation when building or attaching it to a home or office network.


Robert Sanborn is an Independent Personal Computer Consultant and a contributing editor for the Indy PC News. Reach him through the net at indypcnews@indy.rr.com

Alan Linker is Editor of PC Lifeline email him at alan@PCLL.com


Last Update:06/26/2007


Copyright © 1999 - 2012 PC Lifeline