Asus P3B-F Slot-1 Motherboard

 Asus P3B-F Motherboard I love Asus motherboards. Well laid out, and everything is labelled on the board in case I misplace the manual. And on the topic of the manual, it’s written in English that is understandable. This one even has a jumperless BIOS! Asus finally got it working and stable. What’s not to like? My board is the 5 PCI slot version with two ISA. As usual these days, one ISA slot is pretty much useless because of the location of the LED panel connecters, which prevents you from placing any ISA card in the bottom slot that is longer than the slot itself.

Onboard I’ve got two 256MB sticks of PC133 DRAM, two Adaptec 2940U SCSI controllers, nVidia GeForce 3 64MB AGP video card, SoundBlaster Awe64 and a slot1 Pentium-III 600EB (overclocked to 633MHz, of course). There’s also an Intel 10/100 PCI network interface to connect me to the other machines in the house. A Linksys hub, model EFAH08W that is an auto-sensing, auto-switching eight port hub that runs 10-base-T or 100-base-TX connections. The eighth port also has an uplink option so I didn’t even have to rewire my crossover cable to insert it in the loop. Life is good!

AOpen HX08 Full Tower Case

 AOpen HX08 Full Tower ATX Case

Unfortunately, mine is the 1997 model, so it lacks the boasted 13 drive bays of newer HX08 towers. Instead of four 3.5-inch hidden drive bays over the ATX power supply, this tower has just one. Also as of 1999, 300W power supplies are standard equipment.

Beside this rather large tower stands another, older 4 bay SCSI tower. Four full-height bays, that is, which translates into eight spots for CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, hard drives, tape streamers and other such half-height devices of today. This tower houses eight Seagate Barracuda 4.5GB SCSI UW hard drives configured as a RAID 5 “my files” directory.

Dell 15" Monitor (used)

Okay I bought a cheap monitor ($25), but it requires less power than a dreamy 21-inch that I long for. At least it has a digital dash and decent refresh rates. As an added bonus, I can lift this one by myself!

Epson Perfection 1240U Flatbed Scanner

 Epson Perfection 1240U Scanner The first scanner I bought was a Umax Astra 1220S. SCSI, 600 optical resolution and loads of colours, I thought I had it made. Then I left it plugged in to an unprotected wall receptacle overnight one time during a critical scanning assignment. I had just spent twelve and a half hours non-stop at the scanner. While I was out for the evening, a lightning-laden storm hurled a few electrons around inside the scanner, and I came back to a scanner only a shell of its former self. My computer is always protected by my APC Back-UPS power supply, which I think does a pretty good job of filtering out lightning induced power surges because I never unplug my computer during a storm these days and I have yet to see any problems with APC’s claims of surge protection.

The replacement was a gift from my parents one holiday season. Prior to, I was asked to research the topic of scanners to determine the best bang for the buck. From my Umax Astra days, I recall the most annoying factor with scanning multiple images being the slow speed of the scanner itself. I used to wait a full minute to scan a colour photo at 200 pixels per inch. The Epson is a USB scanner with 1200 dpi optical resolution and speed to spare. I now wait a mere 10 to 15 seconds for the same size image to appear in my favourite photo application and I’m loving it! In my humble opinion, you can’t buy a better scanner today for the money.