New Kidserver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parts List:

  • Case - Xion Predator Mid-Tower
  • PSU - Corsair 750HX Pro series 80
  • CPU - AMD x6 1090T 3.2Ghz Black
  • Cooler - Antec KUHLER H2O 620
  • Ram - A-Data 8 GB 2000MHz Gaming
  • GPU - HIS Radeon HD 6950 IceQ 2Gb
  • HDD - 4-Seagate Barracuda 500Gb 7200 SATA III and 1 Seagate Barracuda 2Tb SATAIII
  • Card Reader - Sony 17-in-1
    Optical - LG 12x SATA BD-R and 1 Lite-On 24x SATA DVD+/- RW
  • Monitor - Acer 23 inch Widescreen LCD
  • Cables - Belkin Digital Optical cable
                     - Belkin HDMI to HDMI
  • UPS - CyberPower 1350VA 810W
     

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m in the process of researching a new desktop computer for the boys. Here are my thoughts.

(2011-7-27: actually we have had it in service for a little while, (a couple weeks) but I’ll leave this as is for reference)

Right now they are using my old Homebase system, built some 10 years ago as a file server at home (my version of a media server) a P4 1.6ghz  (?) with 2 gigs of ram, and about 5 or 6 ide drives of various flavors. (there is an ide card as well as the onboard 4) even with all that I think there is only a little over a terabyte of space. It is running on dual boot WIN98/Win2k Pro with Office 2K and about a million and a half apps that were added over the past 10 years of service. I plan to re-purpose this system by cleaning it up and reloading the 2k OS clean, and dual boot to Ubantu (it’s downloading now!) If all goes well, and with a few mods, I’m gonna give it to my brother Will for an HTPC.

Ok, so on the new system; It needs to be pretty good at games, as well as various standard apps, like Office, and multimedia. It needs to be useful for a few years, so I figure on building on the upside of the curve, that is kind of on the better side of today, rather than using the tech of last week, so to speak. A solid performing 6 core system should be good for a few years, and, while being pretty hot system today, it should age fair, and not be too slow in a few years.

So the train of thought is this:

AMD 6 Core Black Edition 1090 or 1100, 8 gigs of ram in 2 sticks so it can be upgraded to 16 later. A 1 gig video card (ATI Crossfire) so maybe it could be upgraded later, a motherboard with 6 or more SATA 6Gb connectors, and raid 5 ability, good onboard audio 5.1 or better, onboard ethernet as well as wireless, plenty of usb ports (3.0), a front panel multi card reader, BluRay player, DVD burner. Some kind of capture card. I was toying with the idea of a dual tuner card, for an FTA setup, maybe I’ll try that on the old P4 if I have an old dish that will work.

Post Build NOTE:

What’s done is done and there were only a couple mistakes, so read on, Starting with the Case

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next page - Case

 

 

 

 

 

So, why is it called Kidserver?
a short historical story still in progress as of 2011-7-27

   Well long ago in a land far away, there was a business that upgraded it’s computers from 386 and P2, and P3 systems to something slightly better. The old systems, while to old and slow for a business, were a welcome sight around a humble home. In no time at all it was realized that it would be very convenient to connect more than just the father’s computer to the new wonder of the world, the internet as well as each other. This would allow everyone access to the printers, scanners, and the growing music library on the father’s computer. This meant networking. Should be easy, add some network cards, cables, and turn on the network protocols of Dos, Windows 3.11, Windows 95, Windows 98, and OS/2.
 

 

 

   The work began in short sections, father’s machine was already networked to the 386 Dos machine, which was also a printer server for the dot matrix printer. That was easy with OS/2 and it’s advanced networking features. All that had to be done is add a card into each of the other machines, and extend the BNC cables, and move the terminators to the ends. Soon it was realized that Windows 3.11, Windows 95 and Windows 98, were not happy with the community containing all the other sneetches. Some had stars on thars, and some did not. Some had Netbeui, some had netbios, some had TCP/IP stacks, and some had a simple netstart. How was it all to be conformed into a happy united state? Then there was another problem waiting to rear it’s ugly head... memory. Running the programs for the network took memory away from the dos programs they planned to run. The network would run, but then the programs wouldn’t have enough memory to.
 

 

 

   The dos machines (including win 3.11) had a limit on memory no matter how much physical ram you installed (16 megs max). There was a group of memory formats called things like conventional memory, expanded memory, high memory, extended memory (XMS), then there was VCPI, and DPMI, and HMA and UMA and UMB’s. It could all get so confusing, especially since parts of programs needed certain kinds of these memory formats, in specific amounts, and even in specific places in the memory map. What was one to do. It all seemed so futile. Maybe just buy more Windows 98 copies, it was so swell at networking. OS/2 was getting impossible to obtain, and not to mention fairly expensive, and neither would run well on the old 386. There was a couple programs available in Dos for memory management. That could “save” certain types of memory for certain programs, but they were quite finicky and it was a chore to determine what exactly you needed for what programs.
 

 

 

   Then 2 programs were found, that just might make it all possible, QEMM, and Lantastic. Lantastic was a wiz of a networking suite that worked on Dos, Windows 3.1, Windows 3.51, OS/2, Windows 95, and Windows 98, (later it even worked  on Windows 2000) It was, however, one of those programs with varied and very specific memory requirements. It was built like modules, you could load certain things, and not others to save memory, and system resources. So the Dos machine, for example needed to be a print server, as well as a network client (able to access files on all the other machines) Therefore it did not need the modules loaded to make it a file server, or an internet sharing device, etc. The Dos machine originally just ran the printer. Thus it was called, appropriately, “printserver”. There was a “dadserver”, a “daughter”, and a “boys” (so as not to confuse the machine names with user names).
 

 

 

   Now with the networking seemingly getting closer to a solution, there still remained the issue of memory. Enter QEMM, Quarterdeck Expanded Memory Manager. This had an automated process to analyze requirements and “optimize” memory to the drivers and TSR (Terminate and stay resident) programs loaded by a machine. Thus making the available physical memory available to other formats, while reserving the conventional 640k memory specifically for those processes that must have it to work. It allowed a machine to run the network and hardware drivers, as well as have memory left over for actual programs the user wanted or needed to run. It almost worked like a defrag (loosely defined) type program for the memory, and would group it properly for the best results, running through sometimes millions of scenarios and choosing the best. While not at all perfect, (it sometimes would take a little manual fiddling to get it to complete it’s optimizing) it still could make the difference between getting the machine working or not. Almost a requirement on Dos and Windows 3.x machines.
 

 

 

   So, with all that the network was eventually up and running (that was, honestly, the short version...) and daughter and boys were able to print on the fantastically noisy dot matrix, they were able to actually stream music from dadserver (even though the term stream was not used then). They were able to access the internet through dadserver’s dialup connection. (if the client machine was trying to get on the internet, it would actually cause the dialer on dadserver to connect automatically) There was much rejoicing. And the swallows once again returned to Capistrano, (without their cocoanuts, therefore being, un-ladened, which is the only way a migratory bird could make it back... without teaming up, maybe, although it is said they could grip the cocoanut by the husk, and therefore make it, this is not a theory I prescribe to, because I believe they would fly too low, causing them to crash into the tall tower. Although they might be able to use the cocoanut to rest on, by letting it float, like a duck, and riding upon it.)
 

 

 

   But wait, there was another son, getting older, who really liked Roxio Reading Fish, and many of the other simple learning games. Most of these games would run on Windows 3.x so printserver was re-purposed, and was converted to play many dos games, as well as Win 3.1 applications, it was modified to a multi-boot option, with sub sections in the boot files to accommodate different scenarios, whether Windows was loaded, or just a specific Dos game. QEMM was asked to parse the many options, and solve the memory problems, while Lantastic was reconfigured to work with all the different options. The printer was at some point replaced with a Canon DeskJet, and an old HP laserJet. One of the many advantages of Lantastic was that all the CD’s for games could be archived on dadserver, allowing them to be shared,and served up to the clients who could map them to a drive. Therefore no need to shuffle CD’s around to the different stations. There were actual network games to be had and one machine was setup to be a server. The new machine became the first kidserver.

 

 

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