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I sold one of my computers, so I can now enter the modern world of dual core computing.

I’ve mostly been a refurbished Dell fan, it is a Dell Optiplex that I am selling.  Basic hardware at basic price, maybe the GM of the 50’s.  But my most recent experience with them left a bad taste in my mouth.  I had to spend an hour per computer uninstalling all kinds of ad supported crap that Dell sent on the computer.  Way to go, way to make me feel good about unpacking and setting up a couple of new work computers.

I also have a 3 year old HP Media Center.  It has been a disapointment since day one.  No install disks are bad enough, but they did not even provide restore disks.  All it had was a restore partition…then they gave me an upgrade to MCE 2005.  After copying the restore partition to CD…after destroying the restore partition, it made a reinstall go something like this:
Restore from 6 CD’s
Uninstall all the extra crap HP bundled
Install XP SP2
Fix broken drivers, set up security
Install MCE 2005 Upgrade
Uninstall all the stuff HP added
Update broken drivers
Install windows update
Begin setting up new computer

It took like 6 hours.  So I upgraded that box to Vista to avoid all the hassle.  Since it is 3 years old, I added RAM and video card.  It pushes Vista…adequately.  Media Center is great, love the DVR and added functionality.  The inside of the case looks like R2-D2 exploded in there, very hard to work on and no air flow.  I would not buy another HP.  (I do love my iPaq though.)

So what do I get to avoid my previous experiences?  Something with basic hardware that supports Linux would be preferred.  I have a copy of Windows to transfer so it would even be great to get one with no OS or one with Linux preinstalled.

What do I want…maybe a Core 2 Duo with 2 GB’s of RAM, Gb ethernet, DVD Writer, lots of USB and firewire ports, X16 PCIe, midrange graphics card (minimum of 256 MB), and dump the legacy stuff (ps2, serial, parallel, floppy, and modem).  Lets not forget easy to work on with lots of room for expansion.  Oh yeah, $1000 is my budget.  I don’t need speakers, keyboard, mouse, or monitor.

I’ll report back with any success.

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