Putting a Second Computer on My Desk

Dave's New Workstation
Dave's new workstation includes a
Samsung SyncMaster 770 TFT hooked up to
an AMD Athlon XP 2500+-based Windows 2000
PC via an ATI Radeon 7200. To the left
is the Dell Inspiron 7500 now primarily used
for email. Click on the photo for a bigger
image.

Over the past few months, I've been feeling squeezed. I'm running a late model Dell laptop as my primary workstation. It's a Dell Inspiron 7500 with a 650-megaHertz Pentium III, 15.4-inch display, 512-Megabytes of RAM, and a 40-Gigabyte Hard Disk running Fedora Core 2. This machine is coming to the end of its useful life (at least from my perspective), but it's still quite usable as long as I don't overload it.

I have a nearly new AMD Athlon XP 2500+-based tower system in my office that's been gathering dust until recently. It's a machine I built back in May as a temporary host for hard disks that were installed in a server that I coloed a couple of months ago. I bought an extra 150-Gigabyte SATA hard disk, installed a licensed copy of Windows 2000 and now its my second workstation.

The key benefits of the AMD Athlon system are:

  • CPU Speed: 1.83 GHz is a heck of a lot faster than 650 mHz, and ends up being ideal for applications like iTunes.
  • Display Resolution: The ATI Radeon 7200 that Martin O'Donnell gave me has 1280x1024 display capabilities. I send the output to a Samsung SyncMaster 770 TFT which I bought a few years ago and still looks great-- that gives me almost 32 percent more screen real estate.

    This is a good way to run the Movable Type backend for Operation Gadget and an RSS aggregator like Bloglines on the same screen. It doesn't quite allow me to have the windows side-by-side, but this configuration cost me nothing to setup.

If I need more screen space, I can open a Mozilla window on the Fedora laptop. Otherwise, I just run applications like Novell Evolution which manages my email and my calendar. I can still use Fedora for server-side development as well.

Once I get the desk layout tweaked perfectly, I'll publish a photo so you can see what my new work environment looks like.